I’ve always said inspiration is everywhere but it’s also in the people around us. I’m constantly inspired by other creatives, designers, artists and bloggers. In person, online, in magazines, people I meet randomly so I thought it would be a good idea to interview some of these in my new Meet the Creative series.
©image credits Marion Botella
Powder Butterfly. I’ve been racking my brains trying to remember when and where I first met Corinne Lewis-Ward of Powder Butterfly. We have a few friends in common, so we could have met through any one of those, it could have been at the Festival of Thrift one year, or a local networking event? I really can’t remember, probably because we just seem to get on so well I feel like I’ve known her for years.
She’s one of those creative souls that lives and breathes art, design and attention to detail. Through Powder Butterfly she creates beautifully illustrated giftware for souvenirs with a city based theme, currently featuring Newcastle, London and York but I wouldn’t be surprised to find New York and Paris soon!
As well as homewares, her candle range is stunning, I love the gold and black packaging, it feels like a real treat to have one in my home, so it would make a great gift too. It’s hard living in a house with boys as they moan about flowery smells all the time, so this range is perfect. Not too girly and not at all flowery. My husband wanted to know if candles were the reason other houses smelled so nice! Implying that ours didn’t until I started using candles! Rude but true.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no candle connoisseur, you won’t find me talking about the subtle undertones of tea infused seeds with an aroma of madagascan vanilla. What I do know is that smells can take you to another place, they can relax you and can really change your mood. I tried both the Black Pomegranate and Blackcherry & Frankincense. I loved them both, the boys in the house both preferred the Black Pomegranate. Hand-poured in Northumberland the soy wax doesn’t have any harmful toxins and means they burn really evenly. I would definitley put them up there with the more expensive candle ranges out there.
Read on to see how her creative mind works.
©image credits Marion Botella
Where did the name Powder Butterfly come from?
When I was trying to come up with a name for my business I was thinking of iconic brands like Apple, that don’t necessarily describe what the business does within the name. But they create an image in the customers mind, with Apple I always think of fresh ideas.
At the time that I came up with the name Powder Butterfly, I was working as an artist and I was making a specific kind of scientific photography, which is called Microscopy. I was researching how to photograph the wings of butterflies and I remembered being told as a child about the powder on butterfly’s wings. I started to think about what I would create, and I wanted my gifts to be items that would be shared across the globe, I knew that butterflies can fly up to 4000 miles and they were the perfect symbol for my global ambitions. I imagined each gift having butterfly wings that would transport it across oceans to its final destination.
Where does the magic happen?
I have had studios in the past, but I haven’t found the right studio environment that works for me. I long for a shed at the bottom of the garden, but I would need to get a garden first!! I work from home, and as I only need a laptop this works quite well. But long term I would love to have my own studio space so that I can have a division between work and family life.
What has been your breakthrough moment for your business?
I would say hitting upon the idea that the Angel of the North could fly was my breakthrough moment. This was the design that would start me on a path to create the Newcastle collection. I had worked as a self-employed artist for 7 years prior to starting Powder Butterfly. And creating products that people could understand and buy into easily was new to me. Having such a positive response to something that I had created from such a wide variety of people spurred me on to think about how I could expand my collection.
©image credit Powder Butterfly
How important is it that your products are British made?
For me it is essential. My company is not just about my creativity and ideas, I genuinely collaborate with my British suppliers. And in many ways I curate the products that end up on the high street shelves. If they don’t pass my own quality standards they don’t end up being made available to my customers. It is also important to me to make sure that I find some of the best manufacturers and creators in Britain and show case them to national and international customers. I am all about building bridges and showcasing the amazing British companies that are working hard to deliver beautiful quality product. It is all too easy to buy cheaper imports, and don’t get me wrong they have their place. But in these challenging times I want to be able to give British people and our international customers products that proudly fly the flag for British crafts and manufacturing.
What is your favourite part of your job – which part do you enjoy most?
I love designing new products, and I love it when I meet customers that love what I do. Designing is where my heart lies and creating something special that will really delight my customers is a wonderful task. Meeting customers at events and when I do pop-ups in places like House of Fraser is amazing because you get to see first hand what people are drawn to, and you get to talk to customers about who they are buying for. You get a huge amount of knowledge from this sort of event and this helps you plan the future of your business. I am doing Living North this year and I am really looking forward to meeting some great new and loyal returning customers.
What one piece of advice would you give your teenage self?
You will find the thing you love doing, don’t give up!! For me I did wonder for many years if I would find the thing that makes me get out of bed in the morning. And I would say that it probably took me longer than most. And I wish I had found it a bit earlier on, however I am a firm believer that everything happens and falls into place as it should be. So I would encourage my teenage self to be patient, and there is no rush.
What do you do to escape and recharge?
The best thing for me is to go on a spa break. As I work from home it’s very hard to switch off and this can be really challenging. If I don’t have the time or money to do that then I spend time with friends and my family. My kids are good at getting me to focus on them too. I would also say that on a good week I will also use meditation to help me relax, and the added bonus is that when I do this it helps me be much more focused and efficient.
©image credits Marion Botella
Do you have any rituals, creative or otherwise?
I do have to say I enjoy lighting candles. And I also have a real open fire in my front room and I love it when it is cold enough outside to light the fire and put my feet up. They would be my go to rituals for relaxing. For creativity I love to visit places that inspire me and take me away from screens and laptops. I recently went to The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, I had wanted to go for the last 13 years and I finally went for my birthday in 2018. The garden is only open once a year and I have to say I think it is made all the more special for that very reason. I went with my family and we had the most amazing time there.
If one person or shop could be your celebrity endorsement who would it be?
I would love the team at Bake Off to wear my aprons. That would be amazing!! Or Nigella using my apron and chopping board would also be wonderful. To get our London Tea for one set with real gold on it to be sold in Harrods would also be a wonderful moment for Powder Butterfly.
Watch this space for the next interview coming soon. Who would you like to see featured and I’ll do my best to speak to them?
Disclaimer: I was gifted one of the candles and tea lights to test out. My opinions are always nothing but honest.