An interview with Joanna from Adventures and Tea Parties…
LL: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your brand Joanna! What inspired you to set up Adventures and Tea Parties?
J: When I was young I was my happiest being creative, whether that was writing and performing plays for my parents, designing board games or making accessories for my doll’s house. At school I always enjoyed the creative subjects but didn’t think I could ever have a job in such a sector. Years later and goodness knows how, I ended up becoming a corporate law librarian in London. I stuck at it for around 7 years before realising my creative side was still itching to get out and my handmade clothes didn’t really fit with the suits of the corporate world.
While working full time, I began a blog and opened an Etsy shop under a completely different name. I didn’t over think it and simply enjoyed it as my creative space. As it developed, I realised I was at the same fork in the road I had been at in school and so I decided to see where the creative path lead. After exploring the creative path a bit more and dealing with a few curve balls from life, Adventures and Tea Parties won hands down.
LL: How did you come up with your brand name?
J: It took me a little while to be honest. The first brand name I used was way too personal and didn’t really reflect my entire business. So, after many walks thinking up possible names I finally realised it needed to reflect the core idea and inspiration behind my designs.
Like others, I’ve experienced a fair few personal tragedies, such is life but I’ve found that you can find happiness, you can start over and life is so flipping short that you really should just get on and live it like every day is an adventure. All that is the core idea behind my business and my designs; every day you can seek adventure, feel special and find happiness, whether you’re climbing to the top of a mountain or wearing a brightly coloured accessory to a tea party with friends. On one particular walk, Adventures and Tea Parties formed in my head and it just felt like the perfect fit.
LL: What is your design process?
J: I start out with the core idea of my business, that every day can feel adventurous, special and happy. I keep that at the forefront of my mind when creating a new design. I then begin by visualising the design in my head. I’ll play around with it and think it through before getting it down on to paper. I then go through a process of sketching rough ideas on to a scrap bits of paper before diving on in and creating the design. I pretty much always have to make a sample fairly early on because then I’ll soon realise what works, what doesn’t work and how it can be developed further. It’s then a process of tweaking and adjusting until I’m happy with it.
LL: Where do you work from?
J: I work from home studio in Somerset. I only moved to Somerset last year and I love it here, it’s such a beautiful, friendly and creative county.
LL: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
J: I find inspiration for an idea forms when I’m out the studio and then I can’t get back soon enough to start making a sample up immediately. If I don’t get out the studio whether it’s for a local walk or to explore a new place or watch a band play, then I wouldn’t have any inspiration. There is so much out there to inspire everyone from stunning views to colourful plants and beautiful buildings, you just need to get out there and look at it all. And as a complete colour addict, I’m regularly looking for colour combinations, patterns and textures when I’m out and about. I usually take photos of them and look at how I can work them into my designs.
LL: What advice would you give to any designer-makers just starting out?
J: I recently wrote a blog post on this! In it I share my top ten tips for starting an online business but if we only had 10 seconds together I’d say this: Test those designs first, take the best photos you can or hire a professional to do them for you, learn all about and implement SEO and regularly acknowledge the progress you’re making.
LL: What is your studio playlist?!
J: I am a complete and utter music addict and I pretty much always have 6 Music on in the studio. It’s that, a creative podcast or Just A Minute, which I love!
Every Friday I pick out my favourite tunes from the week and share them on my blog, so that I don’t forget them. I love all music, indie, rock, blues, folk, dance… and if I were to start naming songs we’d be here all day! But here are just a few favourites I shared on my blog recently
LL: What is your favourite social media platform?
J: Without a doubt, it’s Instagram. I am a completely visual person, so I love scrolling through the feed to see everyone’s pretty pictures. I also find it’s the most interactive platform and builds such wonderful communities.
LL: Who are your favourite designer-makers?
J: Oh that’s such a hard question because there are so many! Some current favourites of mine include, Hello Sunshine because her designs make me feel happy when I wear them; Hello DODO because their designs are so bright, fun and have such a positive vibe; and Stitchsperation because her modern cross stitch kits are like nothing else I’ve ever seen, they’re truly creative and all those fresh, bright colours are flipping gorgeous!
LL: What are your plans for the future of your brand?
J: I’m currently re-branding and finally getting a website, which is exciting and should hopefully be launched this year! I’m also working on expanding my product range and getting a load of ideas out into the world.
LL: Thanks Joanna!