Into the Spotlight, kindly sponsored by Scriba PR, is a regular feature where we highlight some great small businesses. Here we profile Kirkburton-based Magpie Design.
People can improve their mental health and sense of well-being simply by the way they decorate and furnish their home, says a Huddersfield artist and designer.
Kirkburton-based Rachael Wilson says home really is where the heart and soul is so it’s vital people’s surroundings reflect this.
“Our interiors are intrinsically linked to our well-being and mental health far more than we may realise,” she said. “The choices of colours, light and furniture in our homes and how the space flows and functions all have a huge impact on our mood and how we feel every day.
“Mostly we are unaware of just how much this can impact our quality of life but it’s all about capturing an emotional connection.
“We think that having the latest colours or trendy wallpaper is the solution to a dream home because they’re new, eye catching and make us ‘look good’ to others. But what really counts instead is that our surroundings make us feel at ease, comfortable and content.”
Rachael, who has a degree in Fashion and Textile Design from Leicester University, is an interior designer who chooses colours, finds furniture, picks fabric patterns and sources accessories for people.
“My aim is to transform people’s homes into a place that feels as well as looks exactly like they’ve imagined,” she said.
Rachael, who is married to Jeremy and they have a 14-year-old daughter, Emily, comes originally from Cheshire and moved to Yorkshire from London, when she began to work for the famous Hallmark Cards which was then based in Bingley.
Her first role there was as a design manager for Hallmark’s Tigerprint brand which exclusively provided greetings cards and gift wrap for Marks & Spencer.
Around the Millennium she became head of content of the mobile phone greetings division at Hallmark International which was in its infancy working with the latest Japanese technology but also discovering that English mobile phones then simply weren’t technologically up to what was needed.
So she returned to cards as creative manager leading a team of 10 designers responsible for devising cards and gift wrap for such big high street names as Clinton Cards, Asda and Sainsbury’s along with many others.
Rachael left in 2007 to have Emily and then decided the corporate culture was no longer for her as she wanted to be more hands-on creatively and in charge of her own destiny so she started Magpie Design based at a studio in the family home.
She said: “I chose the name Magpie Design as I’m something of a magpie, always on the lookout for creative ideas, be that in shops or out and about in nature. Creativity is all around us and I never stop looking for anything that catches my eye.”
Rachael started with her own greetings card range which quickly expanded into notebooks and tea towels and saw significant business growth through the pandemic.
She also creates bespoke wall art – Rachael works in acrylics, watercolours and digital designs from her own original artwork – and produces unique artwork for people which often originates with a special significance in their lives. It could be a favourite place from their childhood or a flower.
She then realised that this sparks an emotional attachment and a personal connection but often the rest of the room or, indeed, house, doesn’t reflect that.
So Rachael, who also takes photographs to go on prints and canvas wall art, now advises on all surroundings from colour palettes to home furnishings.
“For some people they just want to feel cosy, comfortable and at peace with themselves at home,” she said. “Others may want a room that inspires their mind and creativity.
“Everyone is different and it’s my role to understand and grasp their vision as to what their room should feel like and then create a design around it.
For instance, they may be sitting on a leather sofa that looks great but just isn’t comfortable for them and they find the material cold. There may be a lack of light in there … or too much which means we need to look at different window coverings. It’s about me looking at a room objectively to see what can be done and then working closely with the person subjectively to understand just what they need and replicate it.
“What I do is all about how they feel in their space at home, not what it looks like. They may feel stressed, uneasy or fed-up but don’t know why. My role is to find out and then come up with solutions.”
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.