It’s been a while since I posted a Creative Chat, but I can promise you it was worth the wait! In this post I’m chatting to the lovely Cat from Twin Pines Creative. I first met Cat at Blogtacular last year, when I sat next to her and Jo from Hello Sunshine at a writing workshop. I immediately realised how cool Cat was when she loaded a picture to Instagram from that session and I realised that we had been using the exact same pen (it was a fancy Ban.do one, not just any old Bic ballpoint!). We’ve stayed in touch via social media since then and I can always rely on a bright picture from Cat’s Instagram feed to brighten my morning.
Since we first met, Cat has launched a range of paper goods including cards, notebooks, postcards, and prints. I’m the proud owner of a number of her products, including some recent purchases for our nursery. Mr Makes declared her wonderful bear print as ‘his favourite piece of artwork in the nursery’!
So, read on to find out more about Cat, her amazing creative business, and how she relaxes in between all of her hard work.
So to begin, who are you and what do you do?
Hi there, I’m Cat, the creative force and face behind Twin Pines Creative, a design studio that provides contemporary design for both small creative businesses as well as your home. I launched Twin Pines in May 2015 as a design studio offering branding for small creative businesses, but having worked as a web designer for a couple of multi-channel retailers for around 8 years I decided to use these skills and expanded my business to also design and build custom web sites using Squarespace in order to give a full service for my clients. Craving an opportunity to flex my creative muscles just for me, I also launched my own paper goods collection which is sold on my own website, Etsy, and in selected local retailers. You’ll probably think I’m crazy but I do this all alongside my day job as a senior digital creative at a clothing retailer. As you can probably tell already, I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I promise I do know how to switch off every now and then!
How did Twin Pines start?
I’ve always been interested in design from a young age whether it be graphic, web, or even product design and eventually went on to study creative advertising at university where I trained as an art director. Because of my design skills and understanding of customers I often had friends and family ask for my help on branding and other design work, but it wasn’t until my friend Jo of Hello Sunshine fame approached me to help her re-brand her business, that I started to think I could actually offer this as a service. Working with Jo gave me the confidence to give it a go and I did a soft launch of Twin Pines where I dipped my toe into working with other small businesses. Then last year once I’d started to find my own feet and my own style, I re-branded and focussed my business into what it is today.
What inspires you?
Honestly, the list is endless but the first thing that comes to mind that inspires me are other small creative businesses and their owners. Not only are they incredibly innovative but also they are incredibly brave to do what they do. Owning a small business is bloody hard work as you’re not only the owner, designer, and maker, you’re the accountant, social media manager, merchandiser, customer service, and most importantly the only person doing the tea round! This is one of the many reasons I focus on working specifically with small creative businesses.
Who are your favourite independent makers/creatives?
There are so, so many independent makers and creatives that I love and I genuinely could go on for hours listing them all out, but then that’d be no fun to read! Jo from Hello Sunshine has to be on this list though. Not only is she a huge inspiration but also Twin Pines wouldn’t be what it is without her encouragement and support. Holly Booth is hands down one my favourite photographers and a genuinely amazing person. What she’s achieved in the past 7 years with her business as a one-girl band is phenomenal! Menekse Stewart (of Cheerfully Given and Lintel Studio fame) is also an incredibly talented soul and I swear she will be a worldwide success very soon. Last but not least Rox Webster who runs Studio NL and Young Double, with help from her husband Scott and their superstar daughter Eden, never fails to surprise me. Whether it’s owning it as a small business owner in general, creating insanely perfect products or pulling together an amazing group of like-minded folks at the Hustle meet ups I can’t help but feel inspired.
What does a typical day at Twin Pines look like?
A typical day can go one of two ways. During the week my Twin Pines day doesn’t start till I get home from work in the evening, but I always try to take a little time out before I get started, whether that be walking the dog, scrolling through Instagram, or just cooking tea for the family. Once we’ve eaten I’ll usually start with emails and catching up on any little tasks for clients work and then finish off by packing the days orders. At the weekends (or during the week if I have time off from the day job) it’s a different story. These are the days I spend most of my time working on my larger client projects. I do however start the day with the less creative work and smaller tasks that I can easily tick off the to do list. This starts my day off perfectly as not only am I my least creative in the morning, but I’ve started the day already feeling like I’ve achieved a lot. Late mornings, afternoons, and early evenings are reserved for my most creative work, whether that is wireframes, branding concepts, or even product development. The end of the day is then saved for emails and order packing so everything is ticked off the list ready for the next day.
What’s your favourite social media channel?
Despite all its challenges recently and the general feeling around it, Instagram has got to be my favourite. Not only is it visual (which works great for me as a designer) but also the community there is second to none. I’ve met so many amazing people via Instagram and built some genuine friendships, so Instagram always has and always will have a special place in my heart.
What’s your favourite Twin Pines product and why?
That’s a tough one but I’d have to say my new postcard sets. These have been an idea I’ve had for a long time, which I finally managed to create a couple of months ago. I designed these as one of my main aims is to make people smile with the products I make. With my compliment and motivational postcard sets, not only do they make the buyer smile and feel good but when they then send the postcards on to their nearest and dearest they make them smile too. A win/win if you ask me!
What’s your fuel of choice when working?
I don’t really have any food or drinks that keep me going when I’m working and actually find music is the perfect fuel for me. I have an incredibly eclectic taste in music but currently I’m listening to a lot of Foo Fighters, Barns Courtney, and the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
First thing I would take is my guitar. Music is a huge part of my life and as I don’t get anywhere near enough time to pick up my guitar as often as I’d like, some quiet time on a desert island with my guitar would be perfect.
A Hammock, so I can really enjoy the time relaxing in the best and most comfortable way possible.
The factor 50 sunscreen, as I’m well known for turning a very lovely shade of hot pink every time I go into the sun.
If you could follow only 5 accounts on Instagram, who would you pick?
@emilycoxhead – For all the happy
@sunshine_jo – For sunshine and cute kitties
@onrshop – For plant love and of course even more cute kitties
@hollyphotobooth – For the most beautiful feed and of course little Remi and Juno
@mr_bingstagram – For all the giggles
What do you to relax/in your spare time?
I don’t currently get much spare time, but when I do I love to take our 2 year old lab for a long walk either in the fields just down the road from where I live or round a local reservoir. I’m also obsessed with movies, which if you’re a die-hard fan of Back to the Future you’ll already know by my business name. So, I can often be found at home on the sofa or in the cinema watching, lots and lots of movies.
A HUGE thank you to Cat for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to find out more about Cat, her branding and web design services, and of course her wonderful products, be sure to check out the following:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this latest Creative Chat, I hope to be featuring more of my favourite creatives very soon. If there is anyone in particular that you would like me to feature, be sure to leave me a comment below.