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Abigail Warner | Stationery Designer

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

I can safely say that EVERYONE at Rock My HQ are purveyors of beautiful stationery. Whether it be deliciously designed greetings cards, cute notepads, an invitation suite, unique gift wrapping or the prettiest pencil, we have all been known to wander into the office on a frequent basis showing off our most recent paper-related purchase.

One of our favourite designers is Abigail Warner, who creates all of the aforementioned items above for boutiques across the UK, Europe and Australia, celebrity types and even Royalty. Abigail is currently working on an exclusive range for Harrods and has several exciting projects in the pipeline with various other super amazing brands.

I know, luxe de la luxe.

As with any business owner self-made success story I am always fascinated to find out about their journey, what challenges they have faced and what inspires them, in turn we hope these career features inspire you folks too.

In the image slider above you can see a few sneak peeks of Abi’s gorgeous home office, we’ll be sharing the rest of her stylish eclectic decor in her full home tour coming to Rock My Style soon!

Hi Abigail! Thanks for letting us interview (ahem…grill you)… You now own a successful stationery business, have you always worked in a design led industry?

Well I can’t quite believe where time flies – but I’ve now had my own stationery business for nearly seven-whole-years {i’ve just started planning my studio partaay in June!} but before that I was a suit! I worked in the good-op corporate world based out of London for more years than I care to remember. I have a Masters Degree in Human Resources {yes you read that right} so my little adventure of quitting my day job and running my own business was also an ‘uge learning curve of learning to put all my thoughts from papers and scribbles onto my mac {I was a PC!} and learning the whole design process from start to finish, as well as making money.

What made you decide to start your own business?

I’ve always been what my grandad would have described “a grafter”, I’m a real do-er as well as a thinker, and when you combine people with vision who graft, in my experience, they tend to have a habit of doing well… so I figured if I could work even half as well working under my own name, as I did for someone else, surely I could manage my own show {as it were}. So never being one to do anything by halves… as I was sat at another fancy pants lunch drinking champagne and having jolly-good-fun and conversation moved to the next-twelve-months a little bit of me died and before I knew it I was verbally handing in my notice and never looked back. I didn’t have a plan I just knew I had to take the chance, and fast.

Where do you find most of your inspiration comes from?

My designs are totally inspired by fashion and interiors, I spend far too much time pondering love, life and the universe at the V&A, Harvey Nichols and Liberty, and my ultimate brand inspirations are Stella Mccartney, Orla Kiely and Kate Spade.

I absolutely ruddy adore to travel and my favourite place in the whole wide world { with the exception of my freshly made bed} is the Amalfi coast in Italy and {predictably} Paris. In terms of business I find incredibly successful business women who appear to have life ‘sorted’ beyond inspirational, there are too many to name but they include Natalie Massenet who founded Net-A-Porter and Sophie Dahl and I am really privileged to have some super awesome friends who also happen to kick serious ass in business who are informal mentors.

What would you say is your personal “style” and do you follow trends when you are designing new collections?

My personal style is hard to define, I’m one part high street, one part designer, one part librarian, one part boho, just really eclectic. In my personal and work style I try not to be too trend whoreish, but I think to not have your eye on the trends and what’s evolving would be a mistake. I just love the creative process and I seem to attract clients that like what I like, which is always nice, that old law of attraction at work.

How do you organise your day? do you have a designated structure or generally take each day as it comes?

I would love to say that my bohemian side takes each day as it comes, but the bohemian side of me starts and ends at Glastonbury festival. I am super regimented when it comes to my schedule from client design and print schedules to warehouse delivery schedules and everything in between. I am rather old fashioned and use lists and diaries, I am quite a luddite, but it seems to work for me.

We hear you have some exciting projects in the pipeline with some significant brands, congratulations! could you tell us a bit about these?
Thank you! I have lots of meetings in March to dot the i’s and cross the t’s so looking forward to sharing my news very soon.

Owning and managing your own business comes with a multitude of challenges, what would you say have been your most significant set-backs so far, and how have you overcome them?

hmmm I have had my fair share, I’m a risk taker who wears my heart on my sleeve so think it comes with the territory, but I won’t share the more serious set backs as they need a stiff gin or two, but on a positive note I would say that one of the best decisions I ever made was in 2011 to really cut back on my work and take on less volume. So I now limit the number of clients I work with when it comes to design which helps keep my brand exclusive and me totally in control {*most* of the time}.

What is your favourite design of your current collection and why?

I am more than a little obsessed with my wrapping paper, I only have three designs and am launching another three over the summer and to say I love them is an understatement! One of my goals is to design wallpaper and I see my wrap as one step closer… {it’s totally not, but don’t trample on a girls dream}.

As well as designing and selling stationery you also run workshops for other budding paper enthusiasts, what made you decide to share your knowledge and experience with others?

I do! i am one half of the Papergirls, which is essentially Lucy and I sharing {read that as talking-a-lot} about our experiences, recommending contacts and giving advice to other small print companies, mainly based in the UK but we have met some overseas designers too! We offer class based courses and online courses which are a real success and we are launching a series of courses in collaboration with the V&A over the summer which is really exciting as well as our super exciting One day Paperfest in July.

I also ran series of print workshops at a Pop Up Shop I held at Ink and Thread in Derby last year and I am planning on doing the same over the summer with screen printing, letterpress and calligraphy. I love to learn and I love to teach {“you love the sound of your own voice” was another one of my Grandad’s gems to my five year old self} and I am all about being inclusive and really supportive in life generally, so the whole concept of the Papergirls sharing knowledge and best practice and my own print making workshops just totally adds another dimension to my life that I love {sorry if that sounds beyond twee}.

Your office is beautiful! and SUPER organised, any tips on how you maintain this environment?

Thank you! my office is a place for me to sit, think, dream and just be and I have a small warehouse operation too where the real stuff happens, which is a totally different story to the white pretty of my office! I am an incessant tidier so the only tip I can offer is stay on top of everything – It’s a totally alien concept to me how anyone can end up with piles of anything whether its paperwork or rubbish, just tidy as you go, what’s the big deal {and don’t even get me started on people who moan about ironing piles, i mean, really?}

I live by many words of advice but my two favourites are “pay as much as you can afford” and “all one needs are good manners”. C’est la vie.

{Profile}

IMG_9811

Name: Abigail Warner
Occupation: Stationery Designer
Lives: Derby
Education: Masters Degree in Human Resources
Favourite Stationery: New wrapping paper collection
Favourite Handbag Designer: Miu Miu
Most Beautiful Flower : The Avalanche Rose
Tea, Coffee Or Champagne?: Champagne!

{Contributors}

Interviewee Abigail Warner | Photography Adam Crohill

Author
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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23 thoughts on “Abigail Warner | Stationery Designer

  1. Ooooo loving the office and that wrapping is A.MAZ.ING!
    Need to learn me how to make one of those bows!! 😉

    Also, I have one of the ends of those desk tables (The A frame thingy!) as my hallway console table!! Well maybe not a table, the top is more like a little bar! But still it looks ace!
    Got it for a bargainous £10 in IKEA’s ex display sale.

    Will be coming back for a proper read later! Bring on 5pm….! 😉 xx

    1. What a clever idea Rebecca! we have these too as the RMW HQ desks – a bargain but they look really ace x

    2. So pleased you like the wrap!
      My trestle legs are 7 years old but I love them too and have never found anything else I prefer xo

  2. Bet there’s a lot of people out there wishing they had your drive and inspiration. Looking forward to seeing many more years of it. You well deserve the success you’ve achieved so far. Am very proud to be associated with you. Good luck. Xxx

  3. I’m not sure if my favourite piece is the spotty wrapped presents, the ‘thank you for the drinks’ cards or all the pencils!
    I had a sneak peek at the upcoming home tour and it’s divine! Lovely to have you on RMS Abigail x

  4. I’m absolutely loving your latest designs and SERIOUSLY need to get my hands on some of that wrapping paper! Well done lady on your achievements you deserve it!! xxx

  5. Absolutely love this interview – what an inspiring lady! Seriously jealous of the beautiful organisation too – something I need way more of in my life!

    1. Thank you! What a lovely comment! and the whole tidy thing is just a total way of life! My poor boyfriend doesn’t stand a chance! xo

  6. Major home office envy. I don’t even want to see the feature on your house, compared to my shoe box in London. Sob! Such pretty style and such a business inspiration lady xo

    1. Sweetheart my house is small too! Get yourself up here and see! and any way small is beautiful right?! xo

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