For 16 years and 360 days a year I used to wear an apron. Now I design
My original business began by accident 12 years ago when, unable to afford them, I painted my own Christmas cards. A friend suggested I
try selling them at the village Christmas Fair. They were a huge success and
I repeated the exercise a week later. I then painted some non-Christmas
cards and sent them to Country Living Magazine. A small feature on the
Emporium page was the beginning of a new career. (I had previously run my
own restaurant for 16 years). At the same time I began painting my pet goose Ermantrude. I took a stand at the Garlic Festival, which proved successful.
I then spent 1997/98 discovering, by trial and error the right kind of
consumer for my product. I now take stands at agricultural shows, horse
trials and upmarket magazine promoted fairs.
My original watercolour paintings have proven hugely
successful and over five years my turnover has quadrupled. My tools, a set of paint brushes, 7 tubes of paint and lots of
paper are all I need. For four years I worked on the kitchen table. I now
use a converted bedroom. I paint just over 2,000 watercolours a year. I
realised I couldn’t increase my turnover further because my work is so
labour intensive. So, I designed and published a range of Christmas cards
and a set of prints.
In 2003 I launched Angela Hewitt Designs Ltd. That
year I created the Famous Goose Apron, 1,500 of which went to The Mill
House a new up-market mail-order company. I also designed a range of country pottery
and complimentary place-mats and coasters. I did my first trade show at the
NEC in 2004.
In April 2004 I moved into a small rural industrial
unit which used to be a pig farm. I do not employ people directly but
commission other local rural businesses to make picture frames, print cards,
textiles, run my web site and supply my packaging. By supporting other local
businesses I believe I am helping the local rural economy. Occasionally this
costs more but close contact with them and a personal service compensates.
My business has grown slowly - this is deliberate -
and it is entirely customer led. I have developed by listening to the public
and part of my success is because I maintain direct contact with my
As a result of being customer led the mainstay of my
business has become the aprons with
Attitude range, now a registered trade mark.. I have dropped certain products such as the
pottery and laminate place mats and now concentrate upon the textiles and
It is now 2005, and due to the
tremendous success of my painting sales I can no longer keep up with demand,
and my customers are demanding more of my work in one form or another. so I
am now offering licensing opportunities to other companies who would like to
use my designs on the products such as fabric, aprons, ceramics, placemats,
prints and greeting cards.
2013 - I am amazed how my range and style has developed. I have so many ideas and constantly fret that I will not get
it all out. My one big life change and now my greatest influence is my nature reserve. In 2007 I purchased a neglected site part of which was an SINC (site of
important nature conservation). Since then I have spent all of my spare time resurrecting the site and bringing it back to life. I read a book called A World Without
Bees. It had a huge effect on me and now I am spreading the word to as many people as possible about the importance of wild flower meadows and native species
plants. In this process and new art project evolved in my head. "The World of Bea and Styng". A virtuous world full of love and caring and kindness. So there we go.
And to my delight it is going from strength to strength.
I have also begun to do projects in school. The project "A Brush with Nature" involves
me working with a group of children, teaching them art and at the same time teaching them about nature and natures life cycles. At the end of the process they will
have helped me design some story boards that will be printed on to foamex and displayed in the school.