• Danielle Tucker

Spotlight on - Tabitha Mary

At Spotlight, we got the opportunity to talk to Tabitha Mary, Owner, Designer and everything in between of her own print company. She spoke about choosing a career that suits you and overcoming challenges and staying motivated.

The beginning

I studied mixed media Textile Design at Uni and self-taught myself adobe illustrator. My final project was heavily graphic based and less mixed media textiles and I think this reflected where my skills and heart lay. I sort of knew that to make a living in the commercial industry I needed to be a ‘graphic designer.’ So when I left uni, I promptly broke my leg! and spent the summer recovering and applying for jobs. I went to my first interview with my leg in a cast and as soon as it was off moved from East Sussex where I grew up to Hertfordshire to start my first creative job as a Christmas Cracker pattern designer. From there I had a few jobs, ranging from designing packaging, products, and working on licensed stationery. A real mix of things!

In 2010 I designed the Shipping Forecast print for my Mum and Dad and put it on Etsy as a long shot…. it sold!!! The business slowly grew around my 9-5 job and then in 2014 I took the plunge, quit my full-time job, relocated to Bedfordshire to be with my now Husband and Tabitha Mary became my full-time job. A gamble that was SO SO scary, but my gosh has it paid off! PHEW!

Tabitha Mary has grown and developed quite a bit over the past 6 years. There’s now around 200 designs on my website! Among other products. I’ve learnt an awful lot! Had ups and downs but it’s been such a fun journey and a stressful one at times. This July sees 10 years since my first online sale. I just can’t believe that! (Makes me feel old! Ha ha!)

Drive and determination

My husband is my biggest supporter, he’s such a champion of mine. And honestly, the reaction of my parents when I told them I was quitting my job; They are both academics so we don’t always ‘get’ each other with my being the ‘creative one’ but their instant reaction was - go for it! good for you! And I knew they wouldn’t have said that unless they thought I could make it work. So that gave me the boost and confidence I needed to take the plunge.

Advice for anyone starting a business

Go for it! It’s scary but SO worth it. And remember to sort your accounts! Numbers don’t come easily to me, and I always buried my head in the sand, but as things got more serious I had to get a grip on my numbers. After all, you can’t run a business unless you make a profit.

There are highs and lows to any job in my case I find the pressure can get on top of me. There’s a lot of pressure running your own business. Tabitha Mary is literally just me. I do everything. sometimes that gets too much. But you just gotta plough on, take the rough with the smooth and it all comes good. Again… work hard and be organised.

Overcoming COVID- 19

I’ve tried to be really transparent on social media and show the behind the scenes day to day reality. Trying to keep it real. The beginning was a very worrying struggle. We’ve now found our feet a bit, but it’s still really hard. I’m struggling to find time to do any decent design time, so my collection of prints is growing a lot slower than I’d like. Around the kids, my time is just all about the admin jobs and processing orders. Ultimately it’s hard. It’s hard to survive I have an 18month old and 3 years old. So just surviving with no childcare and a husband working full time is all it’s boiled down too. We’ve definitely had good days and very bad days and I work all sorts of crazy hours to keep up. But, we are healthy, together and so very lucky.

If you enjoyed this Spotlight blog check out more just like it here. To learn more about Tabitha check out her website here.

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