We’re extremely proud to be a stockist of Jessica Hogarth's quirky designs, we interviewed her to find out where her design inspiration comes from, what her career highlights have been so far, and what advice she has has for designers starting out.
Full name, age and job title?
My name is Jessica Hogarth and I'm 26 (nearly 27!). I'm the owner of my company, which means I do many jobs so my title would be something like ‘general all-round worker!’
Tell us how Jessica Hogarth came about?
I decided I wanted to run my own company when I was in a full time design job in 2011. I have always been very driven, and it became obvious to me I wanted to run a business, rather than simply producing art work and seeing my designs go to end product.
After some planning, I did my first trade fair in 2012 and the business has grown from there. As well as selling my own cards to shops and customers online, I also work with companies around the world to produce designs for use on all kinds of products on a freelance basis.
How big is the team? What roles do they have?
There is only me officially in the team at the moment, but my mum does all of my Post Office runs for me and packages virtually all of my cards, as well as talking through my ideas with me on a daily basis - she is pretty busy!
What’s a typical day like at Jessica Hogarth?
I don't think there is a typical day when you run your own business! I normally have some form of admin to do, online orders or shop orders to pack, and this month there is an awful lot of design work to get done. Of course there are times when I’m out of the office too either for meetings or trade shows. I love getting out and about and it provides a nice contrast to being in the studio at my desk.
Why is Jessica Hogarth different, what is the signature design?
I've been told my work has a unique handwriting, which over the last few years has been really nice to hear. I think this is partly down to my wonky hand drawn linear illustrations, which always makes my designs look playful and quirky. I have the fact I'm left handed and my inability to draw a straight line to thank for this! I'd say my signature design would be one of my architectural patterns. Buildings are by my favourite thing to draw and it's often what I get employed to do on a freelance basis.
What is your favourite design/ product you’ve created?
One of my favourite designs is my Yorkshire Bike Ride design. I created it initially for wallpaper in collaboration with designers Graham & Brown. It's a celebration of the all of the attention Yorkshire is getting at the moment, particularly in the cycling world. I now sell the design myself on cards, tea towels and prints.
What is your best selling design to date? And why?
My Coastal Cottages design, which is part of my coastal range has been really popular. I did the initial print in my first year of art college back in 2008. It's based on the village I live in (Robin Hood's Bay), and I think that whole body of work has been successful, due to the fact it's so personal to me. I reworked my college version before I sold it commercially, but it's since been sold on all kinds of products such as wallpaper, kids clothing, gift wrap and bags and is soon be released on a kitchen range.
Where do you take inspiration from for your designs?
It's probably a cliché, but I just love to go to new places. It's so refreshing to be out of the studio, and since I'm obsessed with architecture, I love visiting a new city whether in the UK or further afield.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
By far the biggest challenge is figuring out how to keep up with everything. I hate getting behind with admin and find it difficult to concentrate on designing when there are organisational tasks to be done. As the business grows, both the admin and design side are becoming more intense, so it's hard to keep up! I hope to hire someone soon to help out with that, but for now it's mainly just me.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career?
This is difficult as there are a few things I've been really pleased about, but getting my work selected for the Graham & Brown wallpaper collaboration I mentioned earlier was ridiculously exciting at the time. I had to design a pattern, then take it to London to pitch to a team of people. I was so nervous waiting to hear the result, but getting the phone call to say I had been selected was just brilliant.
From a wholesale point of view, I’ve now started exporting my cards overseas, so the initial few months of doing this has also been a big highlight for me. To know my cards are on sale all over countries such as Hong Kong and Canada is really exciting.
What do you love most of all about your job?
That I get to make the decisions and decide where the brand will go next. It can be stressful, wondering if I've done the right thing sometimes, but it's really exciting too!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Throw yourself into all aspects of the business. Social media and marketing, the accounting side and designing are all so important in a creative business today, and I think to succeed you need to do dedicate some of your time to them all.
Can you describe the company/ brand in one sentence?
Quirky yet sophisticated with a strong focus on pattern.
What does the future hold for Jessica Hogarth?
Who knows! I definitely want to spend some time focusing on my style and developing my portfolio this year, but generally I'd like to continue growing both the wholesale and licensing side of the business. I’d love to do trade shows abroad. On a personal level I want to allow myself the opportunity to visit all of the places in the world I'd like to go and explore, so I need to keep working hard for now!