From big smoke and back to the Bay for designer

Jessica Hogarth, working on this years Christmas range. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.
Jessica Hogarth, working on this years Christmas range. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

Jessica Hogarth’s client list includes the RNLI, Marie Curie, Graham & Brown.

She sells products in the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco and also in Singapore and Australia.

Jessica Hogarth with some of her work. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

Jessica Hogarth with some of her work. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

A place on the shortlist for most promising young designer of the year followed and she has a product range from cards to tea towels to prints and wallpaper.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was the work of a designer based in the capital and living the high life in London.

But the bright lights have never come calling for local lass Jessica - who has done all this from a desk in her bedroom in her parent’s cottage overlooking the sea at Robin Hood’s Bay.

Jessica, 26, said: “People have often said ‘do you need to be in London and why aren’t you going?’.

This years Christmas range by Jessica Hogarth. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

This years Christmas range by Jessica Hogarth. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

“But, the way that technology is today, you can run a business from anywhere.

“For the moment, I have a life here and am quite settled. I don’t see the point in spending everything I earn on paying extortionate rents in London.

“I go about ten times a year for work and meetings and I travel a lot but that keeps the variety. No two weeks are ever the same and I love that.”

So for now she is sticking to her guns - and her roots. Ironically, it is this affiliation and sense of where she is from that has contributed to the success of her concept and her product.

Jessica Hogarth Designs has grown so much in the last year that after three years she has now outgrown the desk and last month moved into her own studio in Whitby at the St Hilda’s Business Centre on the Ropery.

“I could have struggled on at home but there wasn’t the space anymore.

“Now I have got that work home divide I have never had.

“ I wouldn’t have dreamed of getting premises a year ago but it has expanded enough to warrant that.”

RNLI Range by Jessica Hogarth. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

RNLI Range by Jessica Hogarth. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

In that last year Jessica started getting more freelance work and cites her online presence as being key to the growth of the business.

She added: “The Yorkshire thing has been key for getting press. At the start the fact that I had moved home to my roots was a good selling point.

“There are so many amazing designers and products out there, having a story and a reason for what you are creating does help.”

The early range was based upon drawings she had done of coastal cottages and the iconic rooftops and cobbles of Robin Hood’s Bay - the very streets where she had grown up as a youngster before heading off to the Leeds College of Art to hone her trade.

It formed a few prints and cards with a coastal theme which at first just sold in Whitby bookshop and trade shows.

The products caught the eye of other people in the industry and as they were distributed to other stockists around the country demand grew.

Now there are greetings cards from birthdays to babies but all have the unmistakable Jessica Hogarth look.

She said: “I really made a conscious effort to listen to what they were saying and at the end of last year I was shortlisted for greetings card’s most promising young designer.

“I never in a million years expected that and thought people do respect me and that there was scope to expand in that area. Now it is beginning to attract an international audience.”

The cards are now on sale in the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design as well as in Canada, Australia and Singapore.

The international presence didn’t go unnoticed back home either and Jessica has since had the chance to work with national brands.

She was asked to pitch a brief to Graham & Brown - manufacturers of designer wallpaper - and came up with a special design to commemmorate the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire this year.

She ended up being one of just 13 designers picked to be involved with the project after calling on her Yorkshire influences again.

Her design, now available as wallpaper, included cobbles, Yorkshire landmarks and iconic buildings such as Betty’s tearooms and of course bicycles.

Jessica said: “I decided to stick with my Yorkshire roots. There was a lot of press about Yorkshire, not just for le Tour but because it is a beautiful place. I made a concerted effort to keep my style because that is why they picked me in the first place.”

After that Jessica was approached by the RNLI asking her to come up with their summer range of products that would be placed on sale in the organisation’s charity shops nationwide.

And the Marie Curie charity had just launched a stationery range designed by Jess.

She said: “It is nice to do something that is important to people and working with high profile charities is brilliant for me.

“I had faith that I could run a business because I am very driven but to think that people want to buy into my work is really exciting.

“The Robin Hood’s Bay print though is by far the most successful and it is a dream come true to make a living out of something that is very personal to me.

“It wasn’t my plan to stay but I have proved that is possible to run a business from here.”