How I went from working with Turner-prize winning artists to creating my own business.
Launching a start-up business can be daunting, and I’m often asked why I started my own business, how I launched STORY and most importantly, how I came up with the idea for Walk-in-Books.
So I thought I’d share my story with you, to answer some of these questions, and share my experiences with you.
Before I retrained in graphic design, I worked for Artangel in London and was lucky enough to work with some very inspiring artists during my ten years there. People like Jeremy Deller, Steve McQueen, Janet Cardiff and Francis Alys.
The unique and imaginative ways these artists had of viewing the world around them, inspired me to see the world, and my surroundings in a different light. I learnt to look for the hidden and to dig beneath the surface.
After working with such inspiring artists for almost 10 years and learning so much about their practice, I felt I needed to give myself the opportunity to explore my own creativity and decided to take the leap and change careers.
Just after the birth of my second child, I decided to retrain as a graphic designer and illustrator. Taking on such a huge lifestyle change, while also juggling the demands of a young family seemed crazy to some people, but I knew I was ready to step away from helping realise other people’s visions, to making my own.
I retrained – first at Brighton University, and then at the University of the Arts, London – and became really inspired by the idea of creating walks, that combined the physical spaces with stories of their pasts. I produced past, present and future walk of Brighton, a walk discovering the hidden green space in the City of London, and for my final major project: a Thames Walk in London. Real places combining with storytelling. Maps and images, with words. The past mixing the present, and fact mingling with fiction.
I designed these walks to help people see their surroundings in new and interesting ways. To help lift their heads and see their world differently, to become inspired by the everyday, in the way that children constantly see wonder in what’s around them.
That’s when the first seeds of the Walk-In-Books were sewn. I could take the ideas of storytelling, imagination, locations, and maps, as a way of inspiring new ideas. But this time I wanted to tap into the richest, most vivid imaginations of all: the childhood imagination. STORY was about to be born.