Archive | May, 2013

Why French Art Deco Advertising Art?

24 May


I originally started out selling vintage furniture and home wares, but this seriously cluttered up our house and seriously annoyed my other half who lived a simple life before he met me..!

I love the buzz of buying and selling. I think I’m really a market trader at heart! I’ve always enjoyed spotting the potential in the unloved and giving things new life. Haggling and bartering are my just my thing, and it’s amazing how far you can get with a smile and a bit of parlais Franglais!

I visit France a lot and my purchasing first started with a bargainous 6 euro ‘Atomic Era leatherette armchair’ which I pulled out of a skip in the backyard of a Brocante (antique / junk shop in varying degrees depending on the ambitions of the owner). I bought it back wedged in the back of the car only to be mocked for its missing foot and general garishness.

However, a few months living with the red and black plastic amongst my muted decor and my confidence in the chair wavered. It ended up back in a skip. Only later, once I’d discovered ebay did I realise I had briefly owned a classic piece of 60s french design. Potential Sale price £350. Damn.

(I’ve realised there are two lessons to learn here; 1. Only buy what you really love, not just what you think will sell well. 2. Don’t buy broken items when you know you’re the kind of person who won’t get round to fixing them.)

A few years and more than a few markets later, I happened to buy some old magazines as I had spotted lovely pictures in them. When I got them home and looked at them closely I actually preferred the adverts and decided to frame a few for my walls. I bought a few more and my collection grew. Friends asked me where I’d found the images and wanted to know if I had any more they could buy.

I sold a few this way and then at a Vintage Fair here in Leeds where they literally flew off the stall.

I realised that I potentially had a very sellable product and the possibility for a creative business. A business that could fit my 7 criteria. (See previous post!)

The pictures didn’t take up much storage space (crucial), they would be easy to post out to buyers in the UK and around the world and there was potential for creating ‘products’ from them.

More importantly I think they are gorgeous, quirky, help with my French vocab and perfectly chime with my love of a modern/vintage look. If I love them then others will too was my reasoning..


Next Post: Quick diversion into Social Responsibility – It’ll be short but sweet!



So why start my own business?

15 May


I’ve not had a conventional career path. Previous roles in my 20s included dabbling in editorial on women’s magazines, Secretary to Richard Branson (yes, really), Music Events PR, Publicist at Channel 4 Television and Film 4 and a brief stint as a Life Coach…well I always advocated a Portfolio work life long before it was a phrase coined by the media!

I’m now married with two little boys so it’s been a busy few years.

During my time as an employee I’d gradually worked out that I’m really best suited to running a business of my own, mainly so I don’t have to work achieving someone else’s goals (and can work in my slippers listening to Nina Simone)!

During the long hours pounding the streets with the boys in the Phil & Teds, I constantly asked myself “What is that business idea? Come on, think!”

I’d always had little projects going on on the side but, once I’d finished looking after the boys full time, I knew it was a good time to start the business I’d been thinking about for years.

My new business would have to encompass the following;

  1. Be something I could sell – a product, skill or service
  2. Enable me to work from my home office / studio
  3. Be flexible so I could fit hours around school time and other parts of my life
  4. Have potential for expansion, development and a long term income
  5. Allow me to be sociable with people face to face and online
  6. Be creative and something I was passionate about
  7. Be socially responsible and have an ethos I would be proud of

I finally hit upon the final idea last summer and it seemed as natural and obvious as these things should be (with the benefit of hindsight of course)..

Next Post: Why French Art Deco Advertising Art?

Pictures for a Paris apartment

5 May


I visited Paris just before Christmas 2012 and had a great time eating and browsing at Merci (see previous post!) and wandering the streets in the bright, cold sunshine. I also made sure I managed to fit in a quick trip to a gem of a market – the Puces de Vanves.

Here I found some lovely new stock which I packed up in my case ready for framing back at TDP headquarters.

I stayed in a cute little apartment in the 5th arrondissement near to the Sorbonne. It belongs to a friend’s dad and, as a thank you for letting me stay, I mounted and sent him one of the images I’d found – a Citroen car advert from 1927. I had noticed that there weren’t many pictures up on the flats’ walls and I hoped it might be something he’d appreciate, for the design as well as the French vocabulary!

With a little bit of serendipity, it seems that it was just what he’d been looking for and he and his partner recently came to my studio to see what other pictures they might want to buy. They ended up being the proud owners of 5 more gorgeous black and white, art deco adverts and intend to make a striking feature wall, or two, in the apartment!

Here are the pictures they chose – I think they’ll work really well together;


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