Stationery in a digital world

Meet Rebecca Bradley, owner of Proper Post, a monthly subscription delivery of greeting cards and stationery. In a digital world there is something special about receiving a card in the post or simply taking time to write your thoughts down in a notebook.

Tell us about your career journey and why you launched Proper Post

It’s been a winding path that led to Proper Post. I started out as a nanny in London, worked at University, gained an MA in HR and ran a social enterprise children’s centre for years along the way. All that experience led to knowing exactly what business I wanted to grow. I didn’t want to create a job for myself because I already had one, I wanted to create something I felt passionately about and Proper Post was born. I wanted a relationship with customers that was ongoing to feel as if I was sending products to people I actually know, to add to their lives and help them, not to create ‘just another’ consumable.

I also run a Pinterest training and consultancy business, Pinright, which has allowed me to use my social media skills to grow Proper Post and learn all about Instagram too. Bringing the threads of various visual digital mediums together is perfect for a business like Proper Post because it is so visual, but also emotional and these are perfect ways to connect with customers.

Why is the giving and receiving of mail still important in the digital age?

Essentially post is pieces of paper, folded or otherwise. But in reality it is (and represents) so much more than that. Post and letters in general are a way of connecting and strengthening relationships. Who doesn’t love receiving a card or letter and feeling thought about and special. There’s something about good old-fashioned snail mail and receiving a thoughtful card that just can’t be beaten.

Try one of the monthly subscription packs.

Letters and greetings card are a way of expressing emotion in a tangible way, they can tell a story and have more meaning than the physical card itself. Whether it’s wishing someone a happy birthday, letting a friend know you are thinking of them at a difficult time, showing someone how special they are to you or simply just saying hello, cards spark joy – fact!

What other product can do all of those things in one form? Cards and letters are a positive product in a sometimes negative world. They are a solid, physical, tactile and real ‘thing’ in a digital age.


Rebecca is following…

@etceteravintage: Shelly and I have been friends forever she has always been creative and entrepreneurial and most importantly she marches to her own beat. She has always been an innovator and ahead of most trends and she doesn’t follow others. She inspires me to be creative and to be brave.

@nutmegandarlo: Elle is someone I am lucky enough to have met online and what a lucky find she is. She inspires me because she has stumbled into her business quite by accident and has had huge success because her design work is gorgeous. She has had a really hard year personally and in spite of that her business has flourished, her positivity and her humour inspire me all the time.

@jengotch: I think I had to include someone I don’t actually know but that I follow and Jen as the Founder of Ban.do has the dream business and work set up and she makes me laugh every single time I watch her Instagram stories. She has built and incredible brand and stayed utterly true to her own personality.


Rebecca’s work

properpost.co.uk
instagram.com/properpostuk
pinterest.com/properpostuk
facebook.com/properpost

Our subscription service is all designed to make life easier, reminders for birthdays and important occasions, cards to choose for the right person and a monthly delivery to make sure you have your stationery addiction sorted and unique and design led cards that will make you look like the best friend ever. Our blog series the Collective features 14 writers from all over the world covering stories from craft DIY to stories of family hope and connection.

Design with style

Gayle Mansfield lives in Worthing and runs her own company Gayle Mansfield Designs, which specialises in producing bold, typographic prints and cards. Having changed careers and taught herself design and typography she successfully setup her studio and was able to pursue her passion for design and interiors. Gayle now runs a growing business and is a great entrepreneurial example to other women looking to find a fulfilling career which fits around family life.

We asked Gayle to share her story and her interior styling tips – check out her dreamy Instagram accounts for beautifully curated photographs of her prints (see images below) and her magazine-worthy home (which will be featured in House Beautiful magazine later this year).

How and why did you set up your design business?

I’ve always loved design and interiors in particular but never had the confidence or opportunity to pursue a career in the industry, instead I worked as a project manager for a housing organisation and interiors stuff was a hobby. After I graduated (more years ago than I care to remember!) I started working for a local council and progressed from there. After about 15 years in that field I had the opportunity to quit and took a couple of years out, focusing on renovating our house and looking after our young daughter. I felt the time had come to set something up by myself. I’ve always had friends telling me I should be an interior designer and I do hope to end up doing some styling in the future.  My partner is a graphic designer and I kept having ideas for designs for wall art so he encouraged me to set up a small shop and see how it went. He has been instrumental in the whole process and I absolutely couldn’t do this without him. We bought a huge industrial printer from one of his clients as I was keen to do all our production in-house.  I had a business idea years ago when my daughter was a baby but due to personal reasons I couldn’t pursue it (someone else has since done it!) and that really spurred me on to come up with something else.

How has digital technology and social media helped grow your business?

There really is nothing else quite like Instagram for small businesses, particularly a visual one such as mine. I owe a lot of my success so far to Instagram. I tend to use the same content on Facebook but it’s not really so instrumental to my success (aside from nudging my friends to buy something!) and I feel my business is best placed on Instagram at the moment. Having said that I am a member on some Facebook groups set up for women in business and these are brilliant. I’m currently doing a course about how to use Pinterest effectively for business, which is really exciting.

How to style prints in your home

Try hanging pictures without a frame for a relaxed look

gayle mansfield

“In our daughter’s room I have styled one of our personalised prints with a Happy banner from This Modern Life and some ball lights from Tiger. I like to hang pictures with no frames for a relaxed look.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple picture ledge creates an effective display

sofa and picture by gayle mansfield designs

“Above our sofa we have an IKEA picture ledge with framed photos we sourced from Unsplash. I really like the thin profile frames from IKEA as shown here in black.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group prints together for a bold, contemporary look

pictures on wall by gayle mansfield

“We have an area at the end of our kitchen that needed to be pulled together and I have achieved this by hanging two prints above this upcycled (by me) dresser. I like the look of two different sized prints together but with the same colours (one on the left by Seventy Tree, one on the right by me).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t have to attach pictures to a wall – try propping them up instead

shelf display of pictures and objects by gayle mansfield designs

“I like to prop prints up rather than commit to always putting them on the wall, as I am constantly moving things around! I have left the cat eyes print unframed as I like the relaxed look.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By placing simple, typographic prints on shelves you can create Instagram-worthy displays

shelf display of pictures and objects by gayle mansfield designs

“Again, I have propped up two prints here, on our shelving in our living room, so that I can move them around easily.  I am naturally drawn to prints that are typographic and simplistic.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gayle is following…

sarah akwiscombe

 

 

 

 

I find @sarahakwisombe‘s approach just so refreshing and real, she really inspires me so much.  She’s clearly very hard-working and knows what she wants and is very passionate about what she does.

blogga i bagis

 

 

 

 

I cannot get enough of @bloggaibagis interior styling.

selfish mother logo

 

 

 

 

I have a lot of respect for Molly Gunn @selfishmother.

Gayle’s work…

gaylemansfield.co.uk
instagram.com/gaylemansfielddesigns
Pinterest.com/gaylemansfield
hello@gaylemansfield.co.uk