Design Divas: Abi and Helen from Rude Limited

Rude Limited

What’s your name? Abi Meats & Helen Shortall

Helen : I was a fashion buyer with House of Fraser before starting a family and now I work with Rude on their PR and social media…it helps that Abi is my best friend from way back!

Abi:  Our paths have always crossed workwise so I’m delighted we are working together, we think in the same way and we both love product! It definitely helps that we are old friends, as we trust each other completely which is so important in business.


How many children and old are they?

Abi : I have 2 boys, Billy 9 and Herbie who is nearly 5

Helen : my two are a bit younger Will is 4 and Lyla is nearly 2


What is the name of your business? Rude limited

Rude Limited

What is your business and when did you start it?

Rude is a creative agency that specialises in design, product and illustration. We develop our own collections and work with people such as Tate modern, the BBC and Urban Outfitters. We started up in 1998 so this is our 15th Year anniversary.

We are launching an online Home collection in September, which is so exciting as we have had some great press already. We are going to be offering everything from flat pack furniture & cushions to laptop & tablet cases all printed with Rude’s exclusive designs.  To celebrate the launch we are giving away one of our laptop/ tablet cases to one of our Facebook fans when we get to 1000 likes …so like our page and you never know!


What was the inspiration behind your business?

Abi : My husband and I are from a graphic design background and when we left Uni we entered into the world of Graphic design but as we are both illustrators we decided to turn our passion for drawing into a t-shirt business rather than designing annual reports for large corporate companies. At the time that market was open as there were no interesting t-shirt designs around and so Rupert and I started “Rude”.

The label grew very quickly and we were soon stocking to Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods alongside 200 stores internationally.

Rude Limited

Can you share 3 positive aspects about being a business mum?

Abi: The flexibility is great for the family and answering emails out of hours is the norm.

Rude has always had a childish edge to it and having the children inspires the playful aspect of the product for me. It’s also great to involve them in projects and sourcing trips when possible

Helen :

I work from home and love being able to flit from Business to Mum and back to business again. For instance this morning I have dropped the kids at nursery, hung out the washing and filled up the paddling pool so that its nice and warm for when the kids get back at lunchtime before reading blogs, writing a new press release and preparing for a Skype meeting with Abi with no time wasted travelling to work. Having another passion aswell as your children is definitely healthy for the whole family.

Rude Limited

Any downsides?

Helen : we both agree that trying to have a serious business conversation on the phone with a 2 year old hanging off your leg asking for an ice-cream is not easy!


How do you keep motivated?

Abi : I love to get to exhibitions and museums when possible and having the children is a great excuse and living in London is pretty inspiring all round.


Would you change anything you’ve done in building and developing your business?

Abi : We expanded very quickly at the start and if we had had better professional advice we could have avoided a few painful years… however I believe these are called the growing pains!


What tips would you give anyone wanting to start their own business?

Both: Creativity doesn’t always come with a business mind so make sure your understand your finances from the beginning. Watch the outgoings very closely and make sure you are getting a good return for everything that you spend. Alot of people will work with you and support you for little or no cost at the beginning.

Do take advantage of free trials to promote your business, there are lots out there surrounding social media.

Thank you so much to Helen and Abi for sharing their story and their success with us. I just love their designs and wish them loads of luck wtih their new home range in September. If you would like to follow them on social media do check out the following pages:

Twitter: @rudeltd

Facebook: Rude Limited

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  1. September 22, 2013 / 4:25 am

    These two are incredibly business savvy while being incredible Mums to match. I look forward to seeing what they’ll come up with next.

  2. La'nae
    February 4, 2015 / 2:07 am

    Very cool article! I love how innovative and fun RUDE is. The name is pretty attention grabbing as well. I wasn’t sure what I would scroll down to, but I was very pleased once I did. The fact that the owners being moms, as well as Abi having a graphic design background and this all started with t-shirts is very cool. It definitely debunks the notion that you can’t be a business owner as well as having a family. Very inspirational for those wanting to venture on a similar path. Well done to the two ladies involved, and the advice was very helpful (every little bit counts!).

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