FAQs

We love talking about Decorator’s Notebook and our passion for ethical and sustainable design. Whether you’re a reader with a question, a journalist looking for case studies or a fellow blogger who’d like to interview us for a guest post, we’re always happy to hear from people who’d like to work with us. You can get in touch using our contact form. If you are a journalist looking for hi-res images of our products, there’s a special email address on our press page.

If you’re new to Decorator’s Notebook, we’ve picked out a few questions we’ve been asked in recent interviews to help you get to know more about us and where we’re coming from with our blog, shop and ethos.

How did the Decorator’s Notebook blog develop into an online shop?

Bethan: I started the blog three years ago as a personal scrapbook. I didn’t think about anyone reading it, at first. I love things that are made by individual craftspeople and I sourced these items for the blog. It seemed like a natural step to have a shop where the products could be bought. It was something that evolved.
asked by Laura Pashby, 91 magazine

Your shop has got a really distinct look – how do you decide what to stock – and what not to stock?

Joe: We try to be distinctive in our ethos as well as our look. We intentionally launched with a very small and tightly curated first collection that really encapsulates our concept: a refined range of home accessories that combine quality natural materials with thoughtful design, skilled craftsmanship and interesting origins. That could be an intriguing story behind the maker’s inspiration, the revival of a rural craft, a social initiative or a product that makes use of recycled materials. Decorator’s Notebook isn’t about selling, it’s about inspiring people to buy.
asked by Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Design Geek

Describe your store in five words

Bethan: Beautiful homewares with interesting origins.
asked by Caroline Kamp, Indie of the Week

What is the creative force behind your business?

Bethan: A lifelong passion for interior design. I’m a child of the Changing Rooms generation and ever since then I’ve been borderline obsessed with helping people make more of where they live. I turned that love into my career as an interiors journalist and stylist, my hobby with the blog and now my new business, with the Decorator’s Notebook Shop. Home is the one place you can really be yourself, so I feel very strongly that the space you live in should really reflect who you are and the things you love.
asked by Alison Cosier, Grey Chic

Why did you decide to stop work and launch your own startup?

Joe: Last year we enrolled on School for Creative Startups, a course designed to teach creative thinkers the skills they need to start and run a successful business. We learned about writing a business plan, marketing, finance and loads more. But what we didn’t bank on was gaining the confidence and conviction to actually take the leap and approach Decorator’s Notebook as a full-time venture! We just realised that we’d never truly know the potential of our idea unless we gave it our all. So, in July 2013 Bethan sold her flat in London, left her full-time job as an interiors journalist and moved back to Somerset. It was a huge life change, but was the only way to get the time and focus we needed to get Decorator’s Notebook off the ground.
asked by Emily Quinton, The Startup Wife

What makes you different?

Joe: Online shopping can sometimes be bit of a cold and clinical experience so with Decorator’s Notebook we wanted to help people reconnect with the products they choose by sharing the stories of the people, places and processes behind them. You’ll find workshop tours and interviews with makers on our blog and we have plenty of styled photographs and in-depth information on our product pages so people can learn how things are made and where they come from. Of course we still offer simple ordering and speedy shipping – the things that make online shopping brilliant – but with a more personal touch.
asked by Caroline Kamp, Indie of the Week

What do you think is going to be ‘hot’ for this year?

Bethan: I think people are becoming more and more interested in the provenance of the things they have in their homes. What started in food – an appreciation of local, fairtrade, organic and handmade products – is spreading into design too. We all yearn for more of a connection to the things we surround ourselves with and a growing appreciation for simple objects made with love and care. Visitors to our shop and blog tell us they love our ‘Meet the Maker’ posts – they bring the stories behind the products to life and help people feel a more personal connection to the pieces they choose.
asked by Lou Archell, Littlegreenshed

How is working with your brother? What do you fight about?!

Bethan: So many people find it completely incomprehensible that a brother and sister can work together! I think the key is that we have a shared vision but quite different skills on a day-to-day level. We fill in the gaps with each other’s strengths and weaknesses so when a task needs doing, it’s easy to trust one another’s abilities. That’s not to say it’s all plain sailing, but we’re a good team.
asked by Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Design Geek