Our interview with Katie Leamon
Katie Leamon products are one of our, and our customers, favourites. The gorgeous designs, quality papers, pencils and notebooks are elegant, practical and a joy to use. So we're excited to ask Katie Leamon herself a few questions. Read on to discover more.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Harlow, Essex, and grew up in the Essex countryside in a place called Matching Green.
Did anything in your childhood point you toward a future creating a stationery, leather, and ceramics business?
I was always crafting, drawing and creating. It was always my favourite subject at school and I always wrote poetry, made cards and sculpted things from paper mâché.
What aspect of stationery appeals to you most?
I love the human connection to paper - from a card, a letter or a book. It's tangible, personal and beautiful.
Who's inspired you in your life and how so?
As a young designer I loved the work and business model of Cath Kidston. She seemed to make it possible that you could start your own business as a young female and inspired me to do it alone. My brother was also a catalyst to help me get on my feet as a young designer. He helped fund my first studio space (that I shared with him) and inspired me to break the mould and take a risk of doing my own thing.
What habits, practices and/or conditions make you most effective in your work?
I like to work with background noise such as a podcast, radio or music. We have introduced a Monday meeting between my partner and I (we run the business together) so we catch up first thing to plot and plan the week. I like to make lots of lists and break tasks up into bite size amounts.
What are your favourite colours and motifs to work with in your creations?
I like to work in soft muted tones and monochrome palettes. I like simple organic shape, repeat pattern and geometrics as well as more illustrative typography and graphics.
What's your favourite aspect of owning your own business?
The freedom it brings to determine your lifestyle and to do something I'm passionate about for a living is something I want to breed in our children and others. Work doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be your hobby come to life.
We love how your stationery states 'Proudly Made in England'. When did you decide that locally made items were an integral part of your brand?
My first job out of university was in fair trade fashion and it became apparent how hard it can be to monitor your production line, and remain ethical and transparent when you can’t even visit the places making your product.
What are the best books you've ever read?
- To Kill a Mockingbird [by Harper Lee]. It's playing in London at the moment and we went to see it last week. It was the best theatre I’ve seen now, too!
- I also love a more recent one - Where the Crawdads Sing [by Delia Owens].
What's your favourite writing instrument?
If I’m brainstorming in my sketchbook, I love using a fine felt pen, but if I’m writing a letter, a like a fountain pen with a nice soft wide nib.
What's your favourite ink colour?
What's your favourite way to spend your time outside work?
Wild swimming, cycling, long walks, cooking, and eating out with friends and family. I love time to myself browsing antique markets and thrift stores and I also love a bit of home improvement!
What's your most marked characteristic?
What's your motto or mantra?
Through designing I’ve learnt that if I don’t LOVE it, I should leave it, much like shopping! I also try to live by the motto of sleeping on it, frustrating as it might be, it always helps.
What are the places you recommend people visit or things they should do when they're in Essex?
I don’t live in Essex anymore so I’m more familiar with London, but if you're in Essex, then a trip to Epping Forest is a must. It's between London and Essex and is such an incredible forest with some lovely walks and pubs tucked in and around.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview and learning more about the person behind the Katie Leamon brand.
We also wish you a happy long Thanksgiving weekend! Stay tuned for an upcoming Figg Street Co. event where we'll be thanking you!