Bored of all the same old cards in the shops? Charlotte Pearson talks to a Hastings woman doing things differently.
Nowadays a lot of the items in our lives are mass produced, from our clothes to the cards we give friends and loved ones on special occasions.
How many times have you given someone a card after putting time and effort into picking something especially for them from the shelves of a shop to find someone else has had the same idea?
For anyone who wants something a bit special this is where Helen Keall, of Little Rose Designs in Hastings, comes in.
Not only are all her designs hand drawn but she also does commissions.
“People are always taken aback when they find that I have done them all by hand,” she says.
“They just assume that I have drawn one by hand and put it in a computer and printed loads off, or used a computer pad and created it on there.
“There so many apps now available out there that can make things look hand drawn which aren’t.”
The hand-drawn element means although the designs will on the whole be the same there will be slight differences, adding to the personal element of what she does.
Helen set up the greeting card business in January this year while she was on
maternity leave after having her daughter Alice.
“It all came about after I decided to do Alice’s christening cards,” she explains.
“I did about 50 in total, all hand drawn, it took a couple of weeks as I had to do it when she was napping or asleep so if she wasn’t sleeping very well it made it really difficult.
“But it was worth it as it was something I had wanted to do to add that personal touch.”
While the business was set up because of her daughter the name relates to her as well.
“My daughter’s middle name is Rose and so was my gran’s,” reveals Helen.
“And I thought about calling it Alice but then I realised if I had more children I didn’t want them to be funny about it and say ‘where is my business?’ so I thought Rose would be nice.”
Before going on maternity leave Helen was an illustrator and says her style has changed slightly the more cards she does, with a selection she did in January now not available.
“I enjoy working with people,” she smiles. “If someone asked for a card for a two-year-old with a bunny rabbit on it but people don’t always say what they want.
“So I will come up with a range of designs from realistic ones to cartoon style ones.
“It can take a couple of weeks as I send them the design and then will draw it up on the card for them.
“But if it is a card I have come up with the design for myself it can be done in about ten minutes.”
When it comes to turnaround time Helen prefers to have a couple of weeks but says on occasion she has been known to turn them around in a couple of days.
“Sometimes I get a call from a friend who is in need of card so I do that fairly quickly for them,” she smiles.
Her range features the more traditional cards for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. However, Helen admits she has yet to do wedding stationery but says it is something she would love to do.
“I have done a lot of commissions but haven’t done wedding invites I would love to though,” she says.
And with Christmas round the corner she also has some designs up her sleeve.
“I have a couple of card designs for Christmas – one featuring cactuses – but if people want I can do something specific for that person,” she says.
“So rather than a box of 50 cards of all the same design you can have something for that one person that is extra special.”
You can find Little Rose Cards on...
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