Design Divas: Joanna Miller at Bespoke Verse

Today I am thrilled to introduce to you a Business Mum running a very different kind of business. Bespoke Verse is a great example of how you can turn your talents into a business venture and be successful. Over to Joanna……

What’s your name? Joanna Miller

How many children and old are they? I have three children; Darcy 8, Jackson 6 and Archie 3

What is the name of your business?  Bespoke Verse

What is your business and when did you start it?

I write witty and unique poems and rhyming speeches for milestone events.  We also offer a framing service, and recently launched a range of generic framed poems under the titles ‘What is a…Mum/Dad/Friend/Marriage?   These are retailing in local shops.  Bespoke Verse was established in 2009, although I already had a huge portfolio of work by that point.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

When I couldn’t find an original poem for my own wedding, I decided to write one.  I composed a rhyming speech in the voice of my husband charting our relationship.  It brought the house down and led to request from friends for poems, and then their friends.  However, it was after the fantastic  reaction to the speech I made at my 40th birthday (and possibly due to a 40th birthday crisis!), that I set up my website Can you share 3 positive aspects about being a business mum?

  1. Flexi-time.  I drop off and pick up my older children everyday, and work around Archie’s pre-school schedule/sleeps
  2. I am learning about business all the time, and writing poems keeps me constantly stimulated.  I am finally using my English degree from Oxford!
  3. My children see me achieving my goals…and love writing poems to sell to their Grandparents.

Any downsides?

  1. Working in the evening and at weekends.  It can be hard to find the space I need in my head to write.
  2. Having to say ‘I’m working’ or ‘not today’ to the children.
  3. Giving my already over-worked, but very supportive husband more to do.  Without him, I would not eat supper.

How do you keep motivated?

I am motivated by the response I get from clients after they have read their poem for the first time, or when they describe the reaction of the recipient.  The testimonials I receive are wonderful.  This role has introduced me to the lives of some truly inspirational, but ordinary people.  The irony is, I hardly ever meet them!

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

I would have gone into framing much earlier, as the visual images of our vintage-style framed poems and poems framed with photos have increased business dramatically.  They have also led to increased media presence.



What tips would you give anyone wanting to start their own design/craft/interiors business?

Remember that it takes time for a business to grow, so don’t be disheartened.  Don’t let any knock backs put you off.  Take a deep breath and believe in your product.  Send press releases, but try to speak to people in person; it works wonders.  And finally, have a clear brand and gorgeous visual images from the outset.

Wow Joanna, what an usual and beautiful business. And I love that your children are budding little entrepreneurs themselves! Good luck for the future; we’d love to see you again on the blog.

If you want to find out more about Bespoke Verse you can contact Joanna in the following ways:

By phone: Joanna Miller  07909 562539





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