Hollie Forster's beautiful Flora Fairweather children's blankets, wool socks and pom poms are a feast for the senses; soft, snuggly and bursting with colour. Not really that different to Hollie herself, who is sweet, kind and full of colourful energy. Today we hear about the journey that led to the launch of Hollie's business and why it's such a personal venture for her.
"The day Flora Fairweather happened, I felt an honest release. A relief. Being 29, hysterically creative and living in a less than inspiring area of Norfolk was teeth grinding. My entire education was meant to provide me with an artistic career. A photographer, designer or illustrator would have suited me just lovely - but without scolding ambition, things in this world happen less organically."
"My first flight was booked a few days after my final deadline at University. I was good. But not confident. Nor interested. The £15,000 and 3 years I'd just spent on a degree in children's book illustration wasn't real money or time to me, I was just playing and I didn't even like children, writing or drawing anymore! I missed my graduation and flew to America with no plan, then Australia, New Zealand, India, Nepal and lots of other countries along the way. It took up quite a few years but when I finally stood still, back in England, I needed actual money and with no portfolio (just a damn good tan) meant a 'real job.'"
"I worked for Social Services Adult & Children's Learning Disability teams for about 7 years. A miscarriage, a wedding, a home renovation and another pregnancy meant I only briefly went back before Flora was born. I don't think my colleagues would've recognised my old intrepid self since becoming a mother. I now haven't left the country in 3 years. I deleted and re-wrote that sentence twice before I actually accepted it should be in this! Flora doesn't have a passport and though I'm hopeful she'll see the world as my brother and I have, our 5 acres of cotton wool here in Norfolk are just too comforting to leave."
"The blurry years preluding this one have all lead to Flora Fairweather's success. I believe (in the most humble way) that which ever of my 'hobbies' I launched would have worked. I was wholly ready and had time to be refined. I'd grown a whole tiny human in my body and kept her alive in the world for a further 6 months - flippin heck of course I could sell a few blankets / photos / screen prints / paintings / ceramics. I enjoy them all!"
"Anyway, blankets it is. I still do everything myself, by hand when Flora sleeps. It will stay that way as I'm not interested in being 'business woman of the year.' I'm a mother. It's a very personal thing to me, wrapping my precious baby in a pretty handmade blanket is just another way I take care of her. But being able to combine this with a true adoration for colour, aesthetics, photography and fabricating whilst sharing with 5000 Instagram followers is mind-boggling yet health-giving. Let it continue!"