Welcome back Design Divas! It’s been a while, but I’m bringing this page back to help promote and feature the amazing work that business mums do. Today it’s the turn of Helena Tyce and her beautiful designs. I first met Helena a few years ago at the East Midlands Baby Show when we had stands next to each other, and I loved her gorgeous prints and cards. We’ve bumped into each other a few times at different shows and I’m thrilled to be showcasing her work on the blog today.
What’s your name? Helena Tyce
How many children and old are they? 2 cheeky monkeys – Louis who is 2 and Iris who is 4.
What is the name of your business? Helena Tyce Designs.
What is your business and when did you start it?
Helena Tyce Designs creates unique, vintage-inspired designs that are sold across a range of products from framed prints and greetings cards to T-shirts including personalised gifts. I also do a popular range of modern, large scale botanicals which the grown-ups seem to like.
The business was founded back in 1994 when I graduated as a Surface Pattern designer. I worked freelance for some time (including doing ranges for Liberty) then trained as an occupational therapist so it’s taken a back seat for a few years. At the time I felt the need to do something more altruistic.
Being on maternity leave the first time round gave me the time and the inspiration to start designing again in earnest and the business has grown from there.
I create all of the designs and most products are created in the home studio in Nottingham. Everything else is made in Britain.
I have always coupled the written word and typography with vintage images and gorgeous colours in my work but having kids took this to new heights. Suddenly there was a never ending supply of inspiration in the form of nursery rhymes, gorgeous children’s illustrations and the children’s own colourful masterpieces .I found myself doodling a soldier one night while humming the “The Grand Old Duke of York” and first design in the range was born.
I have also met so many mums using their entrepreneurial skills to earn and to fit their work around family life and I am always inspired by this dedication and the ability to juggle everything. Go mums!
Can you share 3 positive aspects about being a business mum?
- The organic nature of running your own business. It weaves it own course dependent on customer needs and feedback and this is always exciting.
- Meeting other inspirational women doing similar things that work around family needs
- It’s great to be able to do something that the kids can get involved in. We often sit around the kitchen table and create together – me on my designs and them on theirs. I get ideas from what they do all the time and this feeds directly into my work. Most importantly we all have fun doing it.
It’s easy to work too hard and not get a good balance – I take after my dad with this. When I was tiny he worked at the Steelworks, as a mechanic and as a sales rep and still did most of the nappies!
I absolutely love what I do and the thrill of people liking your work enough to buy it (especially during a recession) never wears off.
I would probably do one job or the other. At present I am still working part time as an occupational therapist (OT) so it is hard to fit everything in at times. My OT experience is mainly in neurology so I get involved with a lot of older people with conditions like Parkinson’s disease & stroke. Being an OT still fills that need in me to be doing something that benefits others. All three roles (mum, designer and OT) require similar skills – lateral, creative thinking and lots of problem solving!
Do something you love and get out there! My designs have recently been stocked nationwide in John Lewis as wall art. This only came about after I plucked up the courage to speculatively contact the buyer. You will never know unless you try so give it a go!
Thank you to Helena for sharing her story and inspirations with us. If you’d like to be featured on the Design Divas page, please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.