With the start of February comes the countdown to the Uniko February Release and this year is our 4th Birthday!
To kick off the celebrations I thought it would be nice to take a look back to when, where and how it all began (you might want to grab a drink, I didn't realise how much I waffled on and apologies to those who have heard all this before!)...
Since as far back as I can remember I have always been creative and enjoyed a variety of crafts. My late Nana and Mother were both creative, enjoying various crafts from sewing to knitting to making cards. So being creative has kinda embedded itself into me!
When I moved to the North East of the UK from the South East back in 2002 I was working as a full time nurse in the NHS, having graduated back in 2000. I was new to the area and made friends at work, but working such long hours I wanted to make friends outside of my job.
With my love of card making and stamping really taking flight in 2008 after the sudden death of my mother I found the wonderful world of blogger and began blogging and joining in with all things stamps over at Hero Arts.
It was soon after, that I found a handmade card class at one of the local further education colleges. It was so much fun getting together with like minded creative people that I went on to do another semester. The tutor of the course Joy, was a lovely creative lady who told me about a Textiles & Surface Design Degree and it was at a Paper Crafts show in Newcastle that I came across a stand with all the course details.
Anyway, back in 2005 I started a BA (Hons) in Textiles & Surface Design. Though the course concentrated more on drawing, sewing and printing across fashion, interiors and the gift industry. I saw more and more links and associations with the paper crafting industry. In 2008 my mother died suddenly and my whole world turned upside down, I was close to quitting everything, including my degree. However, I decided that life was too short and instead of quitting the degree I quit nursing and concentrated my efforts into the degree. It was in my final 2 years that the idea of Uniko was born.
It was during those 2 years that I concentrated my designing towards stamps, patterned papers and developing my business idea. Here are a couple of drawings from those two years which inspired my first 2 clear stamp sets and more recent ones...
So, after all that back in February 2012 on Saturday 11th, Uniko Studio (which it was called then) was open for business.
*Edited to add*
Thanks Sandie, for the reminder to tell you how the name Uniko came about. I am a HUGE fan of Marimekko a Finnish design company and at Uni I was known as 'Marimekko Girl' by a number of my tutors!
One of my all time favourite designs that can be found on various items around the house is by Maija Isola and is called Unikko, seen below.
So partly in homage to my favourite design, memories of going to Finland with my mother and wanting to be 'unique' compared to many of the UK stamp companies/designs that we current when I began the name & company Uniko was born.
I started small launching just 2 clear stamp sets (which are now retired, they may make a reappearance one day as trends change).
After nearly 4 years so much has happened and changed not only with how Uniko has changed, developed and grown with now over 60 products available on the website. But so much has happened to me too, I have got married, had two beautiful babies and moved house AND with all that YOU my friends, loyal customers and blog readers have stuck by me and helped me to keep going and to enjoy bringing you (in small amounts) products to use in your love for paper crafting.
It really does bring me so much joy each time I see a new customer order and a huge grin on my face when I see a card or project around blog land with Uniko products used on it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you that makes this happen.
Now for a little bit of inspiration before I tear up!
As I haven't used either of them for a while, I dusted them off and made a couple of new creations using them...
For this first card I was inspired by a couple of challenges, first up a new to me challenge called Task For Two Tuesday, started by the lovely Birka and Wiebke. Each Tuesday they each post a sketch for you to use and link up your creations. Last weeks sketches can be found HERE and seen below.
I decided my next card needed to be a little more feminine and I 'loved' it up a little using some hearts, and adding them to the centre of the stamped graphic flowers. A couple of the hearts are tiny additions to a couple of the February Release stamps ;)
Again I was inspired by the second Task For Two Tuesday sketch seen HERE and below and also the new challenge over at AAA Cards HERE and seen below.
Now, it wouldn't be a celebration without a prize, would it?! To kick things off how about a £25 eGift certificate to spend over on the Uniko website.
To be in the chance of winning simply add your name to the linky below and I will draw a winner before the release on Thursday 11th February at 8am GMT.
That's all from me today, but I'll be continuing the celebrations tomorrow with more to share. Until then, THANK YOU for everything.