The Queen of Cards

What happens when a woman with a military background, a love for creativity, both free spirited and and unable to say no, believes she can do it?
Meet Abigail Warner.

In 2007 Abigail opened her studio in Derby and began her journey within the luxury paper goods industry with her homonymous brand, focused on creating a range of beautifully crafted and designed products and filling what she felt was an existing gap in the market.
Abigail Warner has ultimately become a synonym of luxury paper goods, from her signature weekly planners, beautifully patterned notepads to paperclips and the ‘Be Happy’ pencils, her creations are all must haves for stationery enthusiasts.
Customer focus is at the core of Abigail’s brand mission, which lead to the creation of her new bespoke services that allows the clients to customise their favourite products to fit their specific needs.

When I met Abigail, her positive attitude and passion for her work couldn’t be more obvious, and that’s probably the key of her brand’s success, with collaborations for the likes of Harrods, Selfridges and – soon – John Lewis.

abigail new

Could you give us an insight of your initial inspiration and the journey from there to opening your studio in Derby in 2007.
I was working in the corporate world half in London half in Derby, which I loved, but I knew I wanted more than the corporate world. I needed somewhere I could spread my wings and be in charge of my own time, so I left that life in 2007. I had no design experience but always had an interest in it. From the outset, I was sure I wanted to launch a boutique luxury brand that was all about the customer experience and craftsmanship, so I set about learning about my new trade and meeting experts who could teach me to be the best I could be.

Among the techniques you use in the studio, which one is your favourite?
I absolutely love combining great design with traditional print-making techniques. Most of my work involves a combination of processes such as letterpress – creating a design that is pressed into the paper – foiling – using a hot transfer process to create a gorgeous finish – or thermography – using heat to create a raised design. But edge painting is my absolute favourite – adding a cheeky pop of colour to a classic style or design.

Has your creative process and inspiration stayed very personal even through the expansion of the brand?
My inspiration is a daily constant and my designs are greatly inspired by fashion and interiors too. My products are unarguably feminine and playful and I use a mixture of contemporary design and heritage print techniques to create design-led products. I like to keep motivated by booking myself on workshops and classes to broaden my skills, but I also spend lots of time with very inspirational people, which in turn directly affects my work. I adore travelling and my favourite places in the world are the Amalfi coast in Italy and Paris. In terms of business, I find major inspiration in successful business women.

You have a varied client base, which aspect do you love getting your hands onto the most and why?
Weddings! Are my absolute favourite, I’m very hands on with my wedding clients. When it comes to wedding design I try to limit the number of clients I work with – which helps to keep my brand exclusive. I’m neither a trendsetter nor I do follow trends, I just love the creative process and I seem to attract clients that like what I like, which is always nice.
I love developing my own work with my team – that’s where I can be very free and expressive. Working on my own brief always feels like a real treat.

Congratulations on your success at Paperfest last year. Quite a different job role from you designing in the studio as you styled, planned and hosted the whole event. What did you enjoy the most of the whole project?
No experience at all – I just think that if you have an eye for style or design you can translate it to most creative areas.  I loved the planning stages – picking a theme, selecting a venue, the thrill of the chase for an amazing speaker. Ultimately I loved the day – I love throwing myself in the deep end and speaking in front of hundreds of people was pretty deep!

(Abigail will be heading up to the second year of a three days long Paperfest – this time as Creative Director – with Clarion Events at the helm of Top Drawer Autumn. )

Abigail shared with us three pieces of advice she lives by:
kill them with kindness,
be the best that you can be at what you do,
pay as much as you can afford.


Visit Abigail Warner’s Official Website here

Images via Abigail Warner. 

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