Minimalista sista Fiona Burrage’s super-slick design business is the new normal for Norfolk. The East Anglian mum of one and her husband run a design business and have just launched Nor-Folk, their homewares and childrenswear design business. The first collection of childrenswear is about to launch and is called The Wonder Years – not an homage to Kevin and Winnie, but a streamlined take on the first few years of our little ones’ lives with a graphic number printed on a black or white background.
The new business comes right after the superb renovation of their spacious river-side warehouse apartment. Fancy combining baby-raising with a small business and renovation? See how Fiona did it in her interview here.
My name is Fiona, I am an Essex girl, who, after art school in Norwich, Norfolk secured my first job here. I then met a boy, got married, started a family and have been here ever since. My husband, Bobby, is my sounding board, creative sparring partner and soul mate. We have a beautiful boy, Stanley, who is almost two. We have two feline fellas, Tim and Gareth, who are brothers.
I actually have two businesses. The first is The Click Design Consultants, a branding consultancy that I co-run with my husband. My second, which is a new and exciting project, is Nor-Folk. At the end of 2014, we almost bought a barn to run as a holiday home business and had intended to call it the Nor-Folk barn. My gut felt like this wasn’t the right path for us, so we pulled out, retained the name, Nor-Folk, and decided upon a clothing and homewares line. What we design is inspired by our surroundings but is combined with a graphic design application. We tentatively got a few totes screen printed at the end of last year. These sold really well and we started to get recognition – now we regularly get orders from all over the world. Whilst, we began with a small Etsy shop, we are focussing hard on new projects behind the scenes. We’re about a month away from launching our online store which is going to be a very exciting next step. We have so many new products and ideas on the horizon, the main task is finding time to develop them!
The entire concept came from becoming a mother to Stanley (little star of all these photos). My role at The Click, was no longer full-time and as Stanley started to get older and more content spending time with family, it felt the right time for us to launch Nor-Folk. My mother-in-law looks after Stanley at ours two days a week (whilst I work from our home studio) and Bobby and I have an afternoon working together on a Friday when grandparents alternate afternoons out.
I absolutely love it. I love being creative and getting the recognition for completing a project or task. Being a mum can often feel like a thankless task – it goes without saying it’s incredibly rewarding but I am getting such a buzz when someone says they love what I do. Having Stanley really has reawakened my creativity. I hope, as he gets older, he will be proud of what his mum has achieved.
Time. I am still breastfeeding so I don’t get (and never have had) a full day off from Stanley. We’re now on a manageable three feeds a day, morning, before nap and before bed. This means I have windows either side that allow me to get stuff done. To supplement this, I work a lot in the evenings and that can be really draining. In terms of the tiredness, I know it’ll get easier. The way I (rather optimistically) am looking at it, is that as he gets older, say when he’s three, he will go to nursery and then onto school which will organically give me more time to work in the day. That by no means is me wishing his life away, but just when I feel shattered, I just remind myself things will get easier. Failing that there is always coffee in the morning and wine when he’s in bed. 🙂
Creatively, life inspires me, galleries, travels, photography and blogs. As for people, that’s easy and I’m afraid mine are all masculine. The first is my husband, Bobby – he has absolute faith in me and when I doubt myself he reminds me I can do it! He has an incredible work ethic and set up The Click when he was 24 and we are now in our 10th year of business (even negating a recession). The second, is my dad, he’s my best friend and confident – he quietly takes it all in, follows every social media channel with interest and, when asked, imparts his years of wisdom. Finally, my inspiration trio wouldn’t be complete without my muse, Stanley. Without him, none of this would have ever been possible and for that I will always be grateful.