Penny doll printed tea towels so cute they'll make it ok to have to do the drying-up; Night Night Sleep Tight pillow cases and doily-style "Life Would Be Rubbish Without You" prints – these are the supercute stock in trade of Kiss her ... by Bianca Hall. Perfect for Valentine's Day gifts or for upping the design factor in your home all year round. We spoke to Bianca to find out more...
Tell us a little about yourself and your design/career background
I wanted to change career a few years ago, when it became apparent that for me, motherhood, and a busy, stressful life in television production didn't mix. I have always drawn, painted and made things, but had fallen into my previous career by accident. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and that would allow me to be creative and be my own boss.
I'd been playing around with some ideas for prints, and decided to take the leap and signed up for a screen printing course, built my website and Kiss Her was born!
When did you launch Kissher.co.uk?
About two years ago. It was a 'soft launch' in that my website was sitting there ready to go, but I had no idea about how to promote my work. Luckily I've managed to get some great press since then, and it's amazing how things have just snowballed.
What inspires your designs?
Dark romance. I don't know why, as I'm an upbeat person, but I am often drawn to the slightly sinister. I'm more of a 'til death do us part' than a 'you're the spring in my step' kind of girl! So I suppose that's my dramatic side (my Mother always accused me of listening to melodramatic music as a teenager...) Having said that, I also love vibrant colour, typography, word-play and ambiguity.
Recently I've become obsessed with antique bisque dolls that feature in a few new products. It all adds up to me generally having lots of fun coming up with new ideas and designs. I certainly don't have any rules – I design for myself, and if I wouldn't buy it, I won't make it.
Do you have a favourite design or product at the moment?
It's definitely my new cushion range. It was only a matter of time until I started branching out into soft furnishings and homewares as I'm a serious interiors fanatic. It's been a real learning curve - for the past two years I've mainly printed on paper, so I've been exploring a whole new world. I've enjoyed designing with other products in mind rather than just prints, and I'm really looking forward to adding more homeware to the range later in the year.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
A little off-beat, whimsical and fun...
Which products are your best-sellers?
My 'Rubbish Without You' print sells incredibly well. I think people are quite taken with the sentiment; that it's romantic, without an ounce of soppiness. Rather annoyingly, I didn't come up with the phrase myself – my husband had it engraved on my engagement ring, so I have to give him at least half the credit. My 'Kiss Her' print also does very well, as does 'Silence Is Golden' with Diamond Dust.
What would be your dream design commission?
Maybe to design a range of notebooks for Smythson. I've always had a thing for stationery!
Which of your contemporaries do you admire?
The wonderfully talented and kind-spirited Emily Peacock, who has single-handedly changed the way cross-stitch is perceived, and well and truly pulled it into the 21st century.
I bought her 'Kiss' kit the second I laid eyes on it a few years ago, despite the fact I'd never done tapestry in my life. It's quite addictive, and (egged on by my husband's ridicule) I did eventually finish it and make it into a cushion, which looks gorgeous on our daughter's bed.
I also admire John Derian, Abigail Ahern, and the amazing Jonathan Adler.
What job would you be doing if you were not a designer?
I think I'd have made the transition into working on films, in the art department. A part of me still misses the buzz you get from being part of a production team; having your own small business is incredibly rewarding but it can be rather isolating sometimes too.
What next for Bianca Hall?
I'm very excited to be exhibiting at Pulse for the first time in June, where I'm launching two new products. I'm also working on a range of neon lights, which will hopefully be launched around the same time as Pulse.
Click here to check out everything that Bianca has to offer at www.kissher.co.uk