Alison Bick has created a successful business using her illustrations to create a range of modern interior products.
As a designer and illustrator, Alison creates unique artwork inspired by the natural world with a modern heritage twist. She creates a wide variety of everyday products including lampshades, cushions, home textiles, art prints and greetings cards. Her design business was set up in 2015 where lampshades soon became a bestseller both online and at craft fairs. She describes her style as:
Bold modern florals and contemporary coastal designs - bringing the outside indoors.
Alison grew up around the exotic colours of nature when living in Vanuatu, a group of islands in the Pacific. Her parents were keen gardeners and her daily job as a child was to water the plants in the orchid house; she spent most of her childhood surrounded by flamboyant plants. After finding the confidence to return to college in her 30s, Alison went on to study Multi Media Design where she became a web and graphic designer, working for local companies in Cornwall. She soon realised that her passion lied within creating artwork of her own.
Following her creative energy, Alison signed up for evening printmaking courses, initially creating fabric collages by hand using tiny pieces of vintage fabric, before going on to do screen printing workshops. This was the impetus for a new direction and she began selling her screen prints at design fairs around Cornwall; the response she received was phenomenal.
Visiting beautiful botanical grounds and working in her own cut flower garden is her main source of inspiration. She also enjoys searching the strandline for interesting shells, pebbles and seaweed and foraging for elderflowers and sloes along Cornwall's unique hedgerows. Her designs start as rough sketches which are then digitised and applied to a range of printed surfaces, whether that be fabric, paper or wood. Alison is passionate about being a part of a creative community and designing colourful textile pieces that create a mood in a room.
It is never too late to start something new
At the start of her design career, Alison signed up to an 8 week workshop on how to set up a business. She was featured in a marketing campaign by Outset Cornwall, called "Choose Outset", where she was invited to speak on Radio Cornwall about her experience.
In 2016, Alison co-founded a local team, organising the first ever Etsy-made local fair in Cornwall. After three successful years in St Ives, they moved the event to Penryn Campus Sports Hall where over 5,000 visitors attended. In 2020, Alison was given the opportunity to be filmed and featured in an episode of the BBC's well-known program, Escape to the Country (Series 21 Episode 33).
To make her business flourish, she ensures that her products are of a high quality and relies on Prinfab for printing her custom fabric, knowing the colours will be accurate to her digital design files. Using her experience, she has gone on to teach her children the importance of loving what you do and that having a passion is the key to success.
We asked Alison if she had any tips for new designers starting out in the creative industry:
Find your niche. Not everyone is going to love what you do but by following your heart, and not necessarily what is on trend, you will find customers who will connect with you and your story.