Friday 7 December 2012

Mischief Meets: BerinMade

I can't believe how fast this week has flown by, I've been so busy I've not had chance to write any posts but I am at least leaving you for the weekend with this great interview with the quirky and very talented illustrator and calligrapher Erin, founder of Berin Made : Illustrated Paper Goods. I first came across Erin's work when one of my friend's used one of her beautiful DIY wedding stamp designs at their wedding last year and I have been a fan ever since. I don't need to give her much of an introduction, once you begin to read Erin's interview you will be completely taken in by her magic. 

• Who are you? What is the essence of your business? What do you do?
I'm Erin, the illustrator and founder of BerinMade Illustrated Paper Goods. BerinMade is founded upon a love of whimsical illustrations and finely-crafted lettering. I have a collection of greeting cards, social stationery and prints for the home.

I also have a wedding collection which was launched in May this year. It celebrates fun-loving creativity and a feminine aesthetic for the spirited bridal couple, offering a full-range service from Save the Dates to On-the-day accessories such as menus, escort cards, and everything in between. 

We also love DIY here so I do a lot of DIY tutorials (and write regularly for Green Wedding Shoes in the US and Love My Dress here in the UK), as well as DIY wedding stamps for my clients who love a personal touch on their stationery!

• What is your background? Have you always been creative? How & why did you start doing what you do?
I've always been creatively inclined. I think that means that I've always been an "ideas" kind of person, and loved to make things. As with many creative people though, I drifted from hobby to hobby (I danced and played the piano when I was younger) then drifted across disciplines in art college-- I was classically trained in Fine Art at Byam Shaw which was a part of Central Saint Martins- where I made sculptures, played around with photography, then finally settled down into painting huge canvases. 

After I graduated from my degree, I somehow took a small detour in working in Contemporary Art in an auction house. Although it was art-relate, I felt dry and uninspired- and also a bit like a glorified sales person. During that time, in the evenings and the weekends, I started doodling and sketching again, and became obsessively interested in lettering, and I realised that I must put it to use because I couldn't stop thinking about it. My Etsy shop started picking up attention also, and when I came to cross roads at my day job, I made a quick exit, dived straight into here and never looked back!

• Where do you work? Describe your studio
I work from home in my studio in Central London. I have three worktops- one packing station, one digital desk (where my computer resides) and a painting/sketching island which faces the window with lovely sunlight. Sometimes, when it's so busy it looks like my studio has had a tornado ripped through it, I think about going out there and renting a space, with filing cabinets (and also hiring an assistant who will diarise for me) but then I realise that I love working in my fluffy slippers and randomly bursting into song a little too much and may possibly never give that up, so I've stayed put in the privacy of my own home!

What is a typical day for you?
Everyday is a little bit different, but starts quite similarly. I'm not really a morning person, and prefer to work at night, so I don't really start working until 9:30. It always starts with coffee, emails, sometimes more coffee when the emails are crazy! Then I get through my list of admin to-dos for clients such as drawing up quotes, doing timelines, sending out proofs, speaking to my printer, ordering supplies, and try to finish that before lunch.

In the afternoon, sometimes I do product shoots, DIY tutorials, other times I make more new products, and sometimes personal projects. It all depends on my calendar, but it's my peak hours and creative time! 

Then my late afternoon is spent battling the post office queue before it closes! I then spend some more time working on whatever project I have on, stop for dinner with my amazing husband, and start again later on in the evenings I wrap up whatever email threads I had going on during the day.

• What do you find most satisfying about the work you do? What are your biggest challenges as a creative?
I love that this is mine and I get to call the shots and make the big decisions. It means that I can carve the path the company takes, and I can push it along in a direction and pace for me. I do have big dreams for this little business, so reaching those small milestones along the way definitely feels like a much bigger accomplishment than anything I'd ever done in my day job. 

• Which 3 things couldn't you live without?
Coffee, gold glitter, and good design. 

• What is next on the agenda?
A rebrand in the new year, expanding my greeting cards collection, and possibly taking on a person or two to help out.

• Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any favourite books, magazines etc?
I love print: books, stationery, posters, etc, but really try to stay away when I'm looking for inspiration. My sense of colour is actually derived from my background in Fine Art-- it's just what makes my heart beat faster. Some great colourist I love are Peter Doig, Patrick Heron, Turner, Francis Bacon, but mostly I'd say, inspiration is an unexpected thing, and happens when you're living life. I guess life is design. I'm sometimes hovering over old shop windows checking out their weathered painted sign, or the pattern from an old sofa. It's mostly a feeling rather than a conscious decision.

• Blogs are taking over the world, which are your favourites?
Are they? Yes, probably! This is terrible to admit but I read just about enough to get by and to know what's going on out there. I think some bloggers have great voices but if you're not careful, you end up being kind of drowned in them and lose yourself in all the things other people are doing...

I love Shini's fashion and lifestyle blog Park and Cube, she makes me laugh out loud and her photography is amazing. I've known her since our university days and I've always been blown away by her talent.

Will Taylor's blog Bright.Bazaar is my daily hit of colour, and he is mostly responsible for my list of beautiful household items that I want but can't afford! Will's a lovely person as well, and just so kind and supportive of the blogging community.

The one blog that I read obsessively before getting married was Green Wedding Shoes. It's great because now I work with the editor Jen sometimes for DIY tutorials, and she is the sweetest. But yes, her blog pretty much encapsulated everything I love about weddings in its creativity and quirkiness.

Of course, since I started working in the industry, I have loved working with Annabel from Love My Dress- she is amazingly resourceful, not to mention kind and authentic. I think that at the end of the day, there are a ton of blogs with glorious images to look at (and Love My Dress has archives and archives full of them), but it's the voice and person behind the blog that makes people want to keep coming back. Annabel does that so right.

• What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own creative business?
Prepare to work your butt off! It's great, you're going to love it.

Erin has designed a range of very special personalised Christmas cards with your own name and message written in calligraphy. 50% of the proceeds from these Christmas cards are given to Via Design (a UK-based charitable company) to help towards their work with vulnerable women in India, rebuilding their lives by equipping them with craft skills as a sustainable means of living. Hurry to order yours now as time is running out! If you are interested in learning more about the work of Via Design, you can read her interview with CEO Jane  Rogers on the blog

You can find out more about Erin and her work here and visit her shop here. She also writes a lovely blog where she shares her inspirations and some of the weddings and projects she is involved in. 

Hope you enjoy and have a lovely weekend!

All images are courtesy of Berin Made. 


  1. I love creative people like Erin. She makes such gorgeous things. I wish I had half of her creativity!

  2. Great interview, love her work, especially those gorgeous rubber stamps...adorable! And wow, what a lovely, tidy workspace : )

  3. Beautiful post!! I love seeing Erin's office and the DIY is very neat!


Well if you are here then you must have read my post, so a big THANK YOU for visiting and for taking the time to comment. Your words bring a little bit of sunshine to my day (if they are nice) and I look forward to reading them. Thanks for supporting me. Anna :-)

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