Introducing the So Close Studio Community
Anyone who runs a small business will tell you that when you are working side by side with a small team, you get to know them pretty well.
The So Close Studio team has always been tight knit. What began as a family only business with me and Tarot has grown steadily.
First came Helen, who just popped in to help us during busy periods. Then in June 2016 we had our busiest ever season as our “Daddy McDadFace” mugs flew off the shelves for Father’s Day. I posted on Facebook to show the piles of mug boxes in our trollies waiting to be shipped, and Louisa offered to help out. A few months down the line, our friend Cara joined us, then Kate, and all of a sudden the studio was a hive of activity with different sections of the team in and out at different times.
Studio life has many seasons. As we worked together through the pressures of the Christmas rush, chuckled together over quirky personalisations, and shared tea and lunch breaks, we got to know each other pretty well. We discovered that we shared many of the same parenting challenges, found humour in the same things, worried about the environment in the same way and felt the same connection to the East Devon landscape. Our small business offered us the chance to work around the kids within school hours, we were able to offer our little team the same flexibility.
Fast forward 4 years, and So Close has entered another phase. Earlier this year, when Tarot began to split his time between his wildlife management course and the Studio, we realised we were going to need extra hands here. Our little team of 6 (plus Pip the pug) has now become 10!
We had the chance to select some really great team members, and they’ve been quickly thrown into the deep end with one of the busiest Christmases we’ve seen. I realised pretty quickly that we were going to need to schedule in some sociable time together if we were going to bond during such a busy time, so we started Friday lunch club for our studio assistants and it’s been a great hit! Despite the mix of vegan, vegetarian and carnivorous diets, we’ve managed every week to find ways to adapt and enjoy all sorts of food.
Catherine made Tikka Masala, Cara made a lasagne, Becky knocked together a delicious chilli … and Katie and I opted to support one of our fav local takeout's and get lunch in from Munch Brunch cafe.
So, now we’ve had the chance to get to know our team, we thought we’d introduce you to them in alphabetical order.Becky, Studio Assistant.
Becky loves cycling along the seafront, paddle boarding with the kids and dinner parties with friends.
Outdoorsy Becky has a sophisticated side, with a love of printed textiles and good wine.
Her lockdown tip is: If you can, have dinner as a family every night. It’s tempting to let routines slip but making time for each other is so important.
Also, invest in some good flannel pyjamas.
Catherine, Studio Assistant.
Catherine loves baking with the kids, weekend beach walks and cocktails with the girls.
Good natured and outspoken, Catherine keeps us chuckling in the studio with her tales of life with small children.
Her lockdown tip is: Give yourself something to look forward to every day. A socially distanced doorstep cuppa or Friday night gin with my next-door neighbour is my daily treat.
Cara, Studio Assistant.
Cara loves climbing, crafting with her kids and walking her pug Bailey.
Nature loving Cara is also an advocate for marginalised and disadvantaged young people, and often inspires us with her insights.
Her lockdown tip is: Use the time to reach out to people you don’t normally chat to. Connection is so important.
Claire, Owner and Designer
Claire loves living by the sea and vintage homewares. Her warm sense of humour and love of pop culture and coastal living give Claire Close studio it’s unique style.
Her lockdown tip is: Try new things! It’s easy for the days to become a blur when you’re stuck at home but doing something new will help you mark the days and keep your mind active. It doesn’t have to be a big, complex project; cooking a new dish or memorising new song lyrics are all simple ways to make learning a part of your day.
Edie, Studio Assistant.
Edie loves musical theatre, spending time with animals, and swimming.
A talented singer and actress, Edie brings a little bit of stage sparkle to everything she does.
Her lockdown tip is: Enjoy the chance to stay in your PJ’s all day!
Helen, Studio Assistant.
Camera shy Helen loves wood fired pottery, Japanese textiles and printing. Inspired by scents and texture, Helen is rarely without a lemon and ginger tea!
Her lockdown tip is: Take time to savour things throughout the day, stop and check in with all five of your senses. Eat and drink a little more slowly, spend time in front of your artwork and objects at home, enjoy the texture of your favourite blanket, play a favourite song and give it your full attention.
Kate, Customer Services.
Kate loves netball, cars and coffee. Petrolhead Kate is the steadying influence in our creative studio hub. She is our very own problem solver!
Her lockdown tip is: Try to remember that the businesses serving you are made up of people facing the same challenges you are during the pandemic. Treating each other with kindness and respect is even more valuable when we’re all under pressure.
Katie, Studio Assistant.
Katie loves her animals, garden centres and a good boxset on the telly.
Country girl Katie is a big fan of the hygge lifestyle, and spends her time walking her collie-lab cross with her fiance, or snuggling up with her new kitten.
Her lockdown tip is: show kindness wherever you can, including to yourself.
Louisa loves cake, novels and walks on the coast. Pinterest addict and artist Louisa never misses the chance for an up-cycling project!
Her lockdown tip is: Invest in your creativity, even if you haven’t made things since you were a kid. It’s a great way to find topics for conversation if you’re finding that you’ve less to say without your normal routines. Time spent researching things that inspire you is never wasted!
Pip, Studio pet
Photographic model & aspiring instastar, Pip loves chocolate treats, horse pestering, snoring and eating seaweed. The laziest member of the team, he spends most of the day chewing cardboard and having lap naps!
His lockdown tip is: With your owners home, there are more opportunities to harass them for snacks and snuggles - make the most of both.
Tarot, Owner and Designer
Tarot loves Roller Derby, British humour and zombie movies. He is the maker of puns, strong coffee and playful illustrations.
He’s currently pursuing his passion for the environment alongside his passion for design, having begun a course in land and wildlife management earlier this year.
His lockdown tip is: Support your local businesses during lockdown, especially with your Christmas shopping.
We hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into studio life. Your heartwarming and hilarious personalisations are keeping us all cheerful in the run up to Christmas, we hope that you are all finding things to lift your spirits too.