Today on Coffee with a Creative we meet Beki Gowing, of Print and Press London, she talks us through her work, daily routines, inspiration and of course the hot drink that she loves
What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?
Soya latte, or an Americano if it’s going to be a long day
What inspired you to set up your Company?
I was working in the corporate world as a retail buyer, but growing frustrated at the amount of red tape and how every idea would have to be watered down to fit in with everything else. I (slightly foolishly) wanted to do things for myself, instead of delegating to everyone and feeling like I didn’t have any real ownership. Over a year later and I am running a digital fabric printing studio – Print & Press, London. It has been an incredibly steep learning curve, and I often wish there were more people to delegate to, but I love having the freedom to decide what to do each day, and where I want the business strategy to focus on.
Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?
I’m not a natural early riser, although I am trying to make myself have a better morning routine. I normally have a coffee and porridge at home listening to Radio 6, making a list and planning the day ahead, before going to the studio. I love dressing up in bright clothes, but unfortunately printing can get quite (very) messy, so I normally dress in jeans and a t-shirt. At the studio I’ll catch up with Joe my technician, and any interns or freelance technicians if we’ve got a busy day planned. We’ll all sit down together for 15 minutes and go through the day’s priorities and what needs to be done. I try to leave the printing to the tech team, while I focus on customer emails and marketing, but as we’re such a small company we all end up swapping roles throughout the day. The morning will normally be admin; replying to emails, answering phone calls, ordering materials, and in the afternoon I try to focus on marketing; things like writing a blog post, engaging with people on social media, and improving the website. Every Monday we have a trade team meeting to see how sales have been, Thursdays are for working on the coaching and business support side of the business, and I try to block out Fridays to focus on my print design work. At about 6.30 I stop working and head home to meet my partner so we can make dinner together. Evenings are normally quite lazy, either sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, going to a pub quiz, or if I’m being productive heading into central London for a networking event.
Describe your signature style
Short red hair and bright pink lipstick. I love bright colours and loud patterns, preferably with lots of geometrics.
Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender
A collaboration with a fashion designer to create a collection of bright placement patterns for beautiful dresses (with pockets).
What’s next for the Company?
We will be launching Print & Make very soon, customers will be able to send us their print designs, and receive a professionally sewn bespoke make up bag, tote bag or cushion in the post with own unique design on. I’m also writing an online course to help small businesses and designers launch their brands and sell more products.
What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?
In London there is always something fantastic going on, it can just be a bit overwhelming trying to find what’s right for you. We’re based in Greenwich, which has so many creative people. It feels a bit more chilled out and is a great environment to meet people to collaborate with, instead of in central where it can sometimes feel very competitive.
Who is the creative to watch?
There are a few print designers I love at the moment. Rachel Parker is a surface pattern designer who uses print and stitch to make beautiful geometric patterns which are available through Studio Flock and in John Lewis. Coral Fowley will be exhibiting at New Designers One Year On in 2017, and creates beautiful textured patterns, she made a fab planner for us. Anna Mac is another print designer I can’t get enough of at the moment, and I covet her beautiful printed floor cushions.
How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?
I studied Fine Art until I was 19, and always thought I would follow an artistic career path. However I fell out of love with it, and desperately wanted to learn a skill and do something useful. I love design because it solves problems, and is a way of making something better, while still being beautiful.
What are your top 3 *creative* tips?
– Keep showing up. Sometimes it’s just about putting in the hours.
– Talk to people. We are all better when we collaborate and help each other.
– Don’t be so hard on yourself. Creatives can be really self critical, we all need to get better at letting ourselves have time off, and celebrating what we’ve achieved.
What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?
Good question! I’m not a fan of text. Text on walls, text on t-shirts, text on fake hipster signs, it feels like someone is shouting their motivational quote on repeat, and makes me cringe a lot. I’m also not the biggest fan of the minimalist interior design. It looks very pretty but is so impractical. I love stuff, I think it shows our personalities and what matters to us. Oh and rose gold!
Describe your life in 5 words
Busy, messy, colourful, exciting, tiring
What are you thankful for?
My lovely partner is really far too patient with me, and he has given up a lot to support me with my business. Also coffee and a good curry.
What is your perfect weekend in the City?
Catching the Thames Clipper in for a bottomless brunch with friends. Sitting in a park to recover, and then going to an art gallery followed by a comedy club. And the Clipper back home in the dark looking at the lights.
What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?
Camping in our bell tent, cycling to the butchers and having a BBQ over a campfire (with a fair bit of wine)
Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?
Brighton. I studied there and had the best time. Every time I go back I miss it more, it has such a great atmosphere and I don’t think there’s anywhere else like it. After that it’s Hoi An in Vietnam for lovely weather, food and coffee.
Take a look at the work that Beki has the pleasure of creating over on her website, she has some great print designs just ready and waiting for your next project, better yet, why don’t you try your hand at creating your own? You can follow Print and Press London on the usual socials Facebook, Instagram, and twitter …