‘There is so much information out there now that you can get for free, I think that there are a lot more people now thinking, “I can do that,” they are not as afraid. That’s how I felt, I’ve seen other people setting up their businesses and I thought, “I’ve got to do it.” Yes, things can go wrong but you don’t know if you don’t try.’
enelope Hope was due to be the name of Nadia Newton’s third child but when her baby was born a boy she saved the name for what turned out to be her fourth baby, her own textile design business. Characterised by bright and bold colours, Nadia designs every print herself and has built several beautiful collections which she will be launching online at the end of the summer.
It was Nadia’s mother who first introduced her to textiles and sewing as a child and bought Nadia her first sewing machine, which she took with her to Art College. A degree in retail management followed and as part of her course she spent a year working at Marks and Spencer, helping to choose trends and design for the lingerie collections. ‘That year is what made me think, “I love this, I want to do it again”,’ said Nadia. Following graduation she came back to Guernsey and worked in merchandising and marketing roles but always had the feeling that she wasn’t using her creativity to its full potential. ‘I’ve always been a frustrated creative. Although I’ve always enjoyed working in merchandising, buying and marketing I felt that there was something missing, that I wasn’t being fulfilled because of this dream I had of starting my own business and working for myself.’ While she was working full time Nadia struggled to dedicate time to her own business dreams but taking a career break to have children gave her the time and inspiration she needed to create Penelope Hope. She started formulating a business plan after the kids were tucked up in bed and took a digital textile design course at London’s Central Saint Martin’s College. ‘That was what really put the fire in my belly and made me realise that this is definitely what I want to do.’ Nadia has spent the last two and a half years experimenting with different design techniques to build several distinctly BECAUSE QUALITY MATTERS
colourful collections, which she will launch at Tent London, a design trade show, this September. The use of refreshingly vibrant colours is the first thing anyone who visits Penelope Hope Studio & Showroom in Mill Street will notice about the collections. ‘I’ve always been really quite obsessed with colour, the bolder and brighter the better,’ she said. ‘I like really saturated colours and I think that has probably been enhanced since having children.’ Nadia’s designs have also been inspired by her travels around the world; some of the designs have been taken directly from her photos. ‘Travel has been one of the biggest inspirations for the brand. I was lucky enough to travel around the world with my husband after we got married and before having kids, so I took about three cameras with me and took thousands of photographs.’ This inspiration is evident in her Oresome Collection, which features hand screenprinted metallic foil designs using gold, copper and silver overlays. The collection mixes exotic Moorish designs with classic heritage patterns such as herringbone and dogtooth. Nadia’s love of Guernsey is also evident in the Plunge Collection which is inspired by fresh waves crashing over the island’s sea walls and vivid memories of fish and chips on the beach. The fabrics and cushions feature two of Nadia’s abstract ink paintings with vivid turquoise, indigo and cobalt blues. Nadia uses a variety of design techniques to create her unique patterns including painting, drawing, photo manipulation and digital design. Modern technology has given her the freedom to experiment using programmes to manipulate images. She has also made use of the huge range of tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest and taken online courses to learn new skills.
‘There has definitely been more of an encouragement for people to set up their own businesses, particularly in the designermaker sector. In Guernsey we have great support from Startup Guernsey; they helped me a great deal when I was looking into setting up my business.’ Nadia is now putting the finishing touches to her collections and is planning to sell them to stockists in the UK and Guernsey as well as through her website. Her designs are already being stocked in Clermont West on Guernsey’s Kings Road and she is working on a collaboration with a large UK retailer Swoon Editions where her fabric will be used on limited edition armchairs, launching in the autumn. Watch this space! penelopehope.com swooneditions.com www.facebook.com/penelopehopestudio Instagram: @penelopehopestudio Twitter: @Penny_4_Them
WIN! Penelope Hope are offering Gallery readers the exclusive chance to win one of their coveted designer cushions, Palm Sky in Midnight (pictured), by signing up to the PH newsletter on their website at penelopehope.com
Nadia says this accessibility of information has really helped her to hone and expand her craft without having to necessarily leave the island and encourages more people to use the resources at their fingertips.
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