Textile artist Tahlia Paige runs a small creative business. Creating fashion and art designs inspired by endangered woodland animals. She shares her story and what inspires her on The Table Read, “The Best entertainment magazine in the UK“.
Written by Tahlia Paige
Hey there! I’m Tahlia, and I’m the founder of Tahlia Paige. A gifts and accessories brand with a focus on handmade, fabric items, featuring cute illustrations of endangered woodland animals. I’m the designer, maker, admin and everything else here. I love it, everyday is so different.
I started my business in May 2021, after graduating from University in the lockdown. Unfortunately, I was struggling with my health at the time and was trying to figure out how I could move forward with a career, self-employment had always been on my mind but I had no idea where to start or how I could even make it a success.
My inspiration for my designs started in my own back garden in rural Carmarthenshire, Wales. With the lockdowns, I wanted something to pass the days, so I bought a trail camera and set up a hedgehog house in my garden, hoping to catch some activity.
Well, it wasn’t as easy as it looked! It took months of rearranging, testing different foods, tracking and camera angles to finally see a hedgehog, but after that he kept coming back every night, he’d walk through, have a snack, go for his little adventure and then settle somewhere for the daytime. This little guy inspired the Hedgehog pattern!
I read up about hedgehogs and how much they have declined in population over the past few decades, and I felt really touched by this. I remember seeing hedgehogs a lot when I was young, living in a town too, so to not see them in the countryside was a big indicator that they weren’t around much anymore.
So now my products, social media, and website all work to raise awareness of these little creatures, along with Red Squirrels, Hares and Dormice!
The patterns themselves take inspiration from the animals, and their surroundings. The squirrel pattern contains a lot of leaves and branches, as I imagine them mostly up in the trees, then the hare pattern contains more grass and mushrooms, because I picture them running through fields and through ground foliage.
I started attending craft fairs during the run up to Christmas, and still continue now, you can catch me around South Wales, I’ll always post about where I’m heading.
I also opened wholesale this year, which was thrilling to have shops and boutiques ordering my products, this was a huge goal of mine and I’m so pleased it happened.
The Creative Process
Design is the starting point for what I do, and to do this I usually start with my Ipad and a cup of tea. I usually have an idea of what I want to do in my mind, but getting some sketches and colour schemes going usually helps define my plan. I then start drawing everything I need to build my patterns. This includes all the animals, and all the nature foliage, leaves and flowers that I want to fill in the pattern.
I then move everything over to my laptop into Photoshop, and start building the seamless pattern. I may fiddle around with background colours a little at the end, maybe send it to a few friends for some construction critiques, but once it is done it is ready to be send off to the printers!
The fabric arrives after a couple of days, unpackaging is a fun part when it’s a big order because the roll just seems to keep on going, and I love unrolling it and seeing designs for the first time!
I then start making the fabric into my product range, make up bags, pouches, sleepmasks, reusable makeup pads, and more.
So that’s the process for my usual line of items in the store. I also offer custom commissions, where my client will tell me what they want from the pattern, I’ll design it, and then I make it into what they want. I’ve done groups of cushions, self-care giftsets, bridal party accessories and more.
Commissions are fab because they’re always different, usually personal, and I’m always so interested in how thoughtful people are when they are ordering a surprise present for someone else!
The custom commissions really got started from a single cushion. My gran passed away on Christmas day a few years ago, and I noticed that my grampy carried a small photobooth image of the two of them from when they were in their 20s I think. I sneakily snapped a picture of it one day with flowers around it, printed this onto fabric and made him a cushion as a surprise. He loved it, and still talks about it now years later.
So when I do commissions, I think about this, and even though I don’t get to see a lot of the reactions, I always hope it’s similar to this one.
What My Business Means To Me
Tahlia Paige lets me do what I love doing, surface pattern design, sewing, and organisation! The amount of work required just to keep my stock and office straight is unbelievable.
It also means I get to do something meaningful with my time, at hours to suit me, which is especially important on the more unpredictable days when I don’t feel my best.
I think working on my business has also given me a lot of independence, every decision has to be mine, and there’s no one but me to make sure I meet deadlines.
It also makes me think about what I want from life, and where I’m going, I think because my days are so different I don’t get so stuck in the weeks flying by and have to reassess things a lot. Don’t get me wrong, the time still flies! I just think that with all the business check-ins, I also recognise what I want from life too. Since Christmas I started some hobbies again, some old, some new, and it’s been lovely fitting things in that I enjoy doing without it being ‘productive’.
Products and Services
I offer a range of products on my website, in many different patterns I designed. These include:
- Makeup Bags
- Tote Bags
- Reusable Skincare Pads
- Hair Accessories
- Art Prints
I also offer custom commissions, this could include any photograph or drawing on any of my items, or as an art print. I specialize in animals and nature, but I cover a lot of subjects through my portfolio and love a new challenge! Cushions are a popular one, or a giftset of a makeup bag, some reusable skincare pads and a scrunchie with a custom pattern is a lovely one.
Finally, I also offer licenses for my patterns, or can create custom pattern designs, and am always happy to talk collaborations with other small businesses.
You can find me in a few places including:
Instagram : @tahliapaigetextiles ( https://www.instagram.com/tahliapaigetextiles/ )
Facebook: Tahlia Paige Gifts and Accessories ( https://www.facebook.com/tahliapaigegiftware )
Website and Blog: www.tahliapaige.co.uk
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