Bethan John is the co-founder of Decorator’s Notebook, along with her brother Joe - working from Somerset. Together this brother and sister duo are on a mission to prove that beautiful designs can also be ethically sourced and manufactured. In fact they use their blog to showcase the best of what they find from around the world. They opened their store in 2013 selling design-led home accessories crafted by fair trade groups and social enterprises in the developing world. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Bethan John.
Image Credit: 1-5) Decorators Notebook
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
Decorator’s Notebook products are a celebration of traditional crafts and contemporary design. We sell a curated collection of design-led home accessories made by artisans around the world who get a fair deal.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
I look to balance pieces that complement the existing Decorator’s Notebook range yet also offer something different, beautiful and inspiring. That could be the materials used, the craft method, origin or the artisan’s story.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
My brother, Joe. People are always amazed that siblings can make a good business team, but we work really well together. The key to our relationship is that we both have a shared focus, but different skills. I look after product selection, liaising with suppliers, PR and social media. Joe runs the website, does all our product photography and controls everything to do with numbers!
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I find the best way to find inspiration is not to be looking! I usually have my best ideas when my mind is allowed to wander freely, like when I’m walking my dog or gardening. As Picasso said, “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I began writing a blog – the original Decorator’s Notebook – in 2011, while I was working as an interiors journalist. My brother Joe was working in e-commerce development at the time, so we teamed up, enrolled on a startup business course and launched the Decorator’s Notebook shop in October 2013. My advice is to honestly assess the skills you have and what motivates you, make those the centre of what you do and go for it!