Being working mothers, Kate and I know the juggle that comes with running your own business - which is why it means a lot for us to support others in similar positions.
Meet Kate Beatty of KBT Design - independent artist and maker of Bristol-themed items and gifts. Kate's brand was born out of lockdown with a baby, getting creative during naps and feeds, and has now grown and diversified into a part-time business which offers the flexibility (and at times chaos!) to fit in with family life.
We stock her beautiful Coasters and Tea Towel which celebrate the vibrancy of our brilliant city and combine some of Bristol's best-known features. The perfect gift for anyone new to the city or wanting a reminder of this wonderful place we are lucky enough to call home.
Read our interview with Kate below to find out more about how her brand came to be.
Tell us more about why you started KBT Design?
KBT Design came about following an unprecedented reaction to my now signature print, which I designed in the summer of 2020, in response to the pandemic. As a former art teacher, working more recently in creative marketing; in June 2020 I found myself at home with a new baby during lockdown. And somewhere during those brief idle moments of naps and feeds, my restless mind developed the ‘balloon rainbow’ idea, rising over some of Bristol’s best-loved landmarks.
Spurred on by the positive response, I then sought a small number of complimentary items to develop the range in the run up to Christmas 2020; which includes one of my most popular additions to date - my colourful Bristol coasters – the very item that introduced me to Boxlocal!
My little offering continues to grow and diversify and has since developed into a part-time business which, fingers crossed, at the moment offers the flexibility (and at times chaos!) to fit in with family life.
What are the core values of your brand?
I suppose the core value of my little business at the moment is an earnest one; being a ‘one woman band’ as my father would say – from initial conception and creation; to realisation either in store, or within a delivery parcel - and every process in between! Of course that is true of many small independent makers, but I feel very lucky to be regarded amongst them. My products are also exclusively stocked at local independent businesses.
Even at school, my artwork often had a graphic/illustrative edge and in terms of my Bristol range, originating from a hand-illustrated design, I then scan these to a laptop or tablet to enable me to add digital colour. The bold, flat colours I use alongside my illustrations have been deliberately bright to date; reflecting the vibrancy of this wonderfully dynamic city.
How is your product sustainable?
My paper products are obviously recyclable and my latest tea towels and tote bags for example are craft printed in the UK on 100% cotton, as well as all of my packaging being recycled and recyclable.
My Bristol range was where it all began for KBT Design, however another branch of the business over the past year (mainly just because I love them) has been bees! This range by its nature does make much clearer use of both reclaimed and natural materials.
Talk us through a typical day!
My ‘work time’ is mainly when our daughter is with the childminder, which is three mornings a week, and during that time you’ll most likely find me sat on the playroom floor surrounded by organised chaos! – online orders ready to be packed and posted; a stock delivery in progress waiting to be labelled; catching up with emails and invoices, ordering new materials – usually all in between trying to hand-paint coasters! Things are rarely neatly tied up during that time, so every day is different and usually involves either an errand in the afternoon or some extra work in the evening.
Tell us one of your career highlights!
I suppose Christmas 2021 was a career highlight for me as a maker. I am sure many people have heard that when you place an order with an independent maker, they do a happy dance = completely true! I had a moment of realisation that my items were now available to the public via a handful of platforms, not least to be included in Boxlocal’s amazing Christmas hamper range – I suddenly felt like a ‘proper’ business!
What does it mean to you to support local?
I have always enjoyed supporting the High Street, but since starting my business, I appreciate the real difference it can make to shop local; both on the High Street and online – not only because local businesses need our support, but also the quality of service I have experienced in using local business; the potential environmental benefit of shopping locally and the sheer variety of often unique products you can find via local suppliers and businesses that aren’t widely available which, especially on the gifting front, make that gift that bit more special.
We could not agree more! Thank you for chatting with us about your brand Kate and check out the KBT Design products we have on offer here!