Kate Sproston Design

Behind the scenes at Kate Sproston Design, making beautifully embroidered textiles for the home.


Leave a comment

Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird Collaboration

If you have been following on social media for a while, you will know that I have been working on a collaboration project with Kara from Perched Bird. With the launch of our first product I thought it would be an ideal time to tell you a bit more about how our collaboration came to be. It has taken a few months (especially with lockdown) but we are very excited to share our Embroidered Bee Ornaments with you all. These delicate baubles are personalised with a handwritten name and finished with a little bee charm embroidered onto natural linen, and we couldn’t be more pleased with what we have created together.

Personalised Large & Small Embroidered Bee Baubles by Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird

Our first collaboration – Large & Small Personalised Embroidered Bee Baubles

I first discovered Kara’s work when leafing through the notonthehighstreet.com catalogue on the run up to Christmas last year. I was completely enchanted by her delicate glass cloches; the miniature scenes captured within the glass domes were beautiful and unique. From that moment I became a total fan girl of her work!

When I signed up for the Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair in Leamington Spa, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out Kara would also have a stall. We spoke a little during the fair, and when I brought one of her gorgeous cloches, we discovered that we lived only a few miles from each other. What were the chances?!

Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird collaboration brainstorming session.

Brainstorming ideas and deciding on designs to develop before Covid-19 hit!

Once the chaos of Christmas had passed, I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a message from Kara, asking if I would be interested in a collaboration. I had no idea what we would create but I said yes straight away. We arranged to meet for a coffee and chat about ideas, deciding on three designs we would like to develop. Unfortunately, we only managed to meet twice before Covid-19 hit!

Embroidered Bees by Kate Sproston Design for the Perched Bird collaboration

Our socially distanced working method. Packing up embroidered bees to be posted through Kara’s door.

The situation has not been ideal but looking back I am so proud of the two of us for continuing to work through it, and develop our designs. There have been lots of Whats App messages, photos of mock ups, and samples posted through each other’s doors. I’m sure decisions could have been made faster at times if we had just been in a room together, but these few hurdles have made us all the more determined.

Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird promotional material

Collaboration promotional material created by Kara all ready for launch

Despite the distance, discovering each other’s skills and strengths has been very interesting. For example, I always find creating promotional material very hard work and spend lots of time worrying over layout. With Kara’s background in wedding stationary, design and layout was a breeze.

Design development of Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird collaboration

Original bee illustration taken from Perched Bird stationary, and first sample of illustration converted to embroidery

Merging our two styles has also been an interesting experience, which has made me realise just how strong the look of our individual brands is.  From a design point of view, collaborating on a product is a great exercise on pushing each other’s boundaries. But I speak for us both when I say we are thrilled with the outcome.

Embroidered bees by Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird

Finished bee design ready to be made into embroidered charms

You can find our Embroidered Bee Baubles at notonthehighstreet.com, Perched Bird Etsy Store, or on my website, so please pop over to take a closer look. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about our process, and for those that have got this far, here is a sneaky peak of what to expect from us in the near future.

Astronaut & Moon cloche by Kate Sproston Design & Perched Bird

A sneaky peak of our next product!

Kate x


Leave a comment

Spring Fair 2019

Well what an amazing trade show to start the year. It is only our second Spring Fair but with each year it gets a little easier and less daunting. We are able to take things in our stride a bit more, and enjoy meeting lots of new stockists and compare notes with fellow designers and business owners. Therefore I thought it might be fun to do a little round up of this years show, and things that we spotted.

Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers by Kate Sproston Design were Highly Commended in GOTY Award 2019

Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers with our Highly Commended Trophy.

Our big news is that the Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers won Highly Commended in the Festive & Occasional Gift category in the Gift of the Year Award 2019. We were thrilled to attend the award ceremony and receive a trophy which now has pride of place in the studio.

Gift of the Year 2019 Winners and Runners Up Group Photo

All the winners and runners up having their photo taken on stage at the award ceremony. Spot a smiley Kate at the back!

I also got to have my picture taken on stage with all the winners and runners up. You can just spot me at the back looking pretty pleased with myself!

Kate Sproston Design stand set up before, during and after completion at Spring Fair trade show 2019.

The before, during and after shots of the stand build.

Set up took place over two days, with the stand wallpapering done on Friday evening in the gloom, and the shelving and display finished on Saturday morning. The hall is always freezing during set up with all the doors open for unloading. We work in our coats as fast as possible to keep warm. The change in atmosphere is always amazing, from a dark and echoing hall during set up, to a bright and bustling fair once the doors open to visitors on Sunday morning.

We had fabulous stand neighbors as always. Some we knew from last year and others we got to know over the duration of the show. (You really do get to know each other very well especially when you are stood next to each other for five days straight and there is a lull in foot traffic!)

Ceramics by Tragear Pottery

The beautiful ceramics by our stand neighbors Tregear Pottery.

We met Neil from Tregear Pottery for the first time and fell in love with his work. The creation process for each piece is fascinating, although I won’t give away any trade secrets! In particular the seal designs really caught my eye as the shapes were so simple, yet conveyed so much character in their form.

Botanical trend spotted at Spring Fair 2019

One of the fantastic stands that caught our eye, complete with ceramic animal heads.

As always there are a real mix of companies at the show, from large multi national businesses, to independants like us. Some of the largest strands had huge room set ups with the botanic trend still as popular as ever. I couldn’t help but spot the fantastic animal heads on this company’s stand, the name of which I have unfortunately forgotten!

Needless to say we have returned from the show exhausted but buzzing with ideas. We have lots of leads to follow up, and new designs to start as well as a few orders to fulfill! I hope you enjoyed a little bit of the behind the scenes of our time at Spring Fair, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Kate x


1 Comment

Woodland Crackers Finalist in Gift of the Year Award 2019

Just before Christmas we entered two of our products into the Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year Award 2019. After being shortlisted last year with our Rabbit Egg Cosy, we were delighted to be shortlisted again this year in two categories. Firstly our Embroidered Dog Christmas Stockings in the Pet Gift category, whilst our Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers were shortlisted in the Festive and Occasional Gift category.

Embroidered Dog Christmas Stockings by Kate Sproston Design

Our Embroidered Dog Christmas Stockings Shortlisted in the Pet Gift category in the Gift of the Year Award 2019.

With over 1,100 entries, it is safe to say we were absolutely delighted to have gotten this far, and after making up product samples, we sent them off for the live judging day to be viewed by a panel of industry experts. Having been judged on several elements including design, innovation, originality, quality of manufacture and WOW factor, it was with much excitement that we read the email a few days later telling us that our crackers had made it through to the final. This means that they have been either highly commended or have won the category.

Woodland Christmas Crackers in Gift Box by Kate Sproston Design

Complete set of six Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers in gift box.

The award ceremony will be held on Sunday 3rd February after the first day of Spring Fair at the NEC, Birmingham. We are over the moon to have been considered for such a prestigious award and will be keeping everything crossed for the final. Now we are off to celebrate with a big cup of tea!

Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers by Kate Sproston Design

Our Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers are finalists in the Festive & Occasional Gift category in the Gift of the Year Award 2019.

 


1 Comment

Rabbit Egg Cosy Shortlisted for the Gift of the Year Award 2018

Just before Christmas we were very excited to hear that our new Embroidered Rabbit Egg Cosy had been shortlisted for the Gift of the Year Award 2018 in the Design & Craft Category. This category consists of products that are designed and made in smaller studios with the personal touch.

Embroidered Rabbit Egg Cosy by Kate Sproston Design shortlisted for the Gift of the Year Award Design & Craft category 2018.

Our Shortlisted Embroidered Rabbit Egg Cosy

This meant that as soon as we returned to the studio after our Christmas break we had to make and send three special samples of our cosy to be viewed by the panel of judges.

Digitally embroidering the rabbit design ready to make the egg cosy samples.

Digitally embroidering the rabbit design ready to make the egg cosy samples.

Running for over 40 years the Gift of the Year Awards aims to find the most original and innovatively designed products that could be given as gifts. Our cosy will be judged on several criteria including the WOW factor, quality of manufacture, and customer appeal. Just reading the long list makes our palms sweaty!

Embroidered rabbit egg cosies by Kate Sproston Design embroidered and ready to be sewn together.

Three little rabbits embroidered and cut out, ready to be stitched into egg cosies.

Based on the judges scores, one overall winner will be chosen from each category, with two or three products being highly commended. We are incredibly honoured just to be shortlisted and will be keeping everything crossed when the winners are announced after the awards ceremony at Spring Fair on Sunday 4th February.

Embroidered Rabbit Egg Cosies by Kate Sproston Design packaged to be sent for judging.

Egg cosies complete, labeled and ready to post.