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A Magazine for Sheffield

Tillie Rose Studio All things cute and colourful

The Sheffield-based designer shares her tale of setting up a new business during the pandemic – and how taking time out can sometimes be just the tonic.

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Shop Small handmade clay ornament.

Tillie Rose

There's no denying it, I'm a real sucker for a nice print. Wrapping paper, greetings cards, washi tape – if it's got a nice print on it, I'm into it.

With their clean lines and pleasant hues, Tillie Rose’s stationery and paper goods are colourful, playful and functional. I sat down for a chat with Tillie to hear about the whirlwind of the last few years and how she’s getting ready for Christmas.

Hi Tillie. Nice to meet you. First things first, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how Tillie Rose Studio came to be?

Hi Flick, it’s lovely to meet you too. I first started my business just under four years ago from my bedroom at my parents’ house in London. At the time, I had recently graduated and was in the process of looking for design jobs and internships, but nothing I did felt quite right. I created some illustrations in my spare time and decided to make them into prints, put them on Etsy and the rest is history.

My first year was slow, but in 2020 when the first lockdown hit and I was furloughed from my day job, I finally had the time to put into my business and it just took off from there. It became my full-time job not long after and honestly I've never looked back.

Since then, I have moved out of London, first to Manchester then to Sheffield, where I now live, and my business has continued to grow. Since starting my business in 2019 I have made over 44,000 sales worldwide, which still feels very much like a ‘pinch me’ moment.

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Tillie Rose in her studio.

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Tillie at a market.

Where do you draw inspiration from when creating new collections?

A lot of my inspiration comes from things I see or do in everyday life. I take a huge amount of inspiration from my love of movies and TV shows, and I suppose that is sort of where my business began, with creating movie posters for all the films and shows I love. It’s almost bittersweet that the thing that started my business isn’t something I’m selling anymore, but I’m excited to see where I go next.

Another source of inspiration for me is travelling. There’s something about wandering around a place that is different or new that just ignites my creativity, but I think part of that is also just getting out of my usual environment and being immersed in something different.

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Caterpillar Cake birthday card

Tillie Rose

You went through a tough time in September when your Etsy shop was closed down due to copyright issues on your movie and TV show prints. How did you navigate your way through this?

Yes, I did. It was really difficult initially and there were a few days where I honestly felt like my entire world was just crumbling down around me. Essentially 90% of my income was now gone, just like that. I wouldn’t say I’m an optimist in any way, but when it happened, I did everything I could to try and stay positive and tell myself that no matter what, it would all work out. I’m extremely lucky to have the most incredible support network of family and friends, and the loveliest followers and customers who were all so supportive of me and my next chapter.

I went on holiday in October for the first time since before Covid and it was exactly what I needed. It was a chance for me to step back, take a break and think about what direction I wanted to take my business in next. It has been a huge learning curve figuring out what to do next but it’s also been really nice to try some new things and slow down a bit. I’m really excited to see where my business goes in 2023.

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Wrapping paper

Tillie Rose

Your online shop is chock full of lovely stuff. If you have to choose, which are your three favourite pieces at the moment, and why?

Thank you! My three favourite pieces at the moment are probably my new Shop Small handmade clay ornaments, my Table of Cakes print, and my new Christmas wrapping paper designs!

The festive season must be a busy time for you, especially with the Christmas markets being back in full swing. What have you got coming up?

The Christmas season is always the busiest time of year for small businesses. There are always a million things going on at once but there never seems to be enough time to do them all. I don’t have a huge line-up of Christmas markets this year but I will be at Sheffield Christmas Market for a week from the 6-12 December. You can find me on Pinstone Street by the Peace Gardens. I’m hoping to get to lots more markets in 2023 too, so come and say hi if I pop up in a city near you!

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)

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