Tell us a bit about yourself
I launched my business, Charlotte Berridge Studio, 5 years ago creating illustrated prints, cards, tea towels and mugs of West London landmarks. I started by illustrating Ealing (my home) and have gradually added more areas of West London as my business has grown. Chiswick was the first area I added to my collection after Ealing as my partner lived there for 10 years so it’s a place we are always drawn back to.
Can you tell us how you became a designer?
I studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Bath Spa University before embarking on a successful career designing magazines.
My publishing career saw me launch and redesign many influential UK magazines (Marie Claire, FHM, heat, New Woman, Look and Instyle to name just a few) and win many industry awards. My last full time role was as the Creative Director of Marie Claire UK. I absolutely loved it, but after 4 years in this high pressure role when I took some time out to deal with a health issue, I made the bold move not to go back. I fell in love with my new pace of life and decided to see if I could build my own business
As an Art Director in media publishing you don’t just design the magazine but also act as the main “brand-guardian” of the title. You’re responsible for pretty much anything that carries the logo, from invitations and awards to books and branded products. I therefore have a very wide and varied design capability. There were many directions I could have taken when I left magazines but my love of all things local grew from my time off and having the time to explore all the amazing places on my doorstep.
How would you describe your work, and where do you draw your inspiration from?
All my prints and products feature places not far from my home so they are places I love and know well. It’s wonderful that so many other residents feel such a connection to the area as well. People have rediscovered their local areas throughout the various lockdowns and I believe that sense of community and belonging is now stronger than ever.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Meeting people, talking about where we live and discovering more about the history of the buildings I illustrate.
I’m possibly best known for my illustrations of our historic pubs. People always have great memories to share about dates, birthdays and events they have celebrated in each of them. We are luckily spoilt for choice when it comes to great local pubs and for me, researching both the inside and the outside of each pub, makes each print even more fun to produce!
Being my own boss, although challenging at times (I’d love an IT department!), gives me the flexibility to work on my own terms on projects I enjoy and to take time out when I need it. I was particularly grateful for this when my Mum became ill a couple of years ago, as it meant I could scale back my business to be with her.
How important is sustainability to what you do?
I have sourced bio-degradable packaging and recycle wherever possible. Protecting the planet is incredibly important to me but I’m also dedicated to supporting my local area too. There are lots of great local shops, cafe’s, pubs, restaurants and businesses that have gone above and beyond to serve the community throughout the pandemic. Using small businesses rather than large corporations is essential to our local economy and our community.
Do you belong to any other creative communities in addition to Chiswick Creatives? How do they contribute to your practice?
I’m incredibly lucky that I have a permanent space to sell from in All Original (20 Ealing Green, W5 5DA). This family-run independent gem in the heart of Ealing seamlessly knits together a beautifully curated selection of unique gifts alongside the work of around 30 individual designers (like me!) who rent shelf space to sell their wares.
I love it, not just because it’s the bricks and mortar place where I sell my work, but it really has become the heart and soul of my business. It’s the place where I’ve met so many likeminded creatives and their advice and support makes everything about running a small business a lot less isolating and definitely a lot more fun!
What is the best thing to have happened to your business to date?
Having a permanent space to sell from really changed my business. I have learnt that without an outlet in a particular area, be it a regular market or annual event, my prints don’t sell as well. People need to see them in the flesh, the colours, textures and quality.
Most of my online sales are follow up purchases from people who have seen them or already collect my work. Having a professional website is essential but face-to-face sales are definitely the best!
Are you planning anything new that you can share with us?
Duck Pond Market has launched a new regular market outside Chiswick House and will also be continuing their successful market in Gunnersbury Park. I am planning to join them once a month at both venues and can’t wait to get back to seeing my regular customers and meeting new ones too. With the launch of the new market in Chiswick I’m excited to add a new illustrated Chiswick Mug to my collection
Charlotte will be at Chiswick House and Gardens Market on Saturday 1st May and Gunnersbury Park Market on Saturday 8th May. Find details of both markets at duckpondmarket.com.
Images: © Charlotte Berridge Studio. See more of Charlotte’s work and shop online at charlotteberridge.com.