When British company Temple Island Collection asked Whitby-based Jessica Hogarth if she would like to join their elite stable of design collaborators, she was ecstatic. The High Wycombe-based firm is renowned for creating design-led gifts and British-themed souvenirs.
“I’d done some freelance projects for them before and we worked well together but when they approached me to become one of their named artists, I was so thrilled. It has been a career highlight,” says Jess.
One of the first ranges she produced with Temple Island was for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and it is now stocked all over the country, as well as in her own shop in Robin Hood’s Bay.n The tea towel, mug, coaster, keyring and fridge magnet souvenirs are destined to become collector’s items and are as far away from “tacky” as it is possible to get.
“I really enjoyed the collaboration on the designs and we decided to have it royalty rather than London focused, so we have included the crown and orb, corgis, Buckingham Palace gates, the guards and then fireworks to make it look like a celebration,” she says.
Working with Temple Island Collection is the latest dream come true for Jess, who has worked and saved hard and taken chances to help fulfil her ambitions.
After studying printed textile and surface pattern design at Leeds College of Art, she landed a job in a Manchester studio but working there wasn’t all she’d hoped for and so after eight months, she decided to be brave and go it alone.
She says: “My dad had his own motor mechanics garage and my auntie ran the post office and shop in Robin Hood’s Bay where I grew up and I’d always liked the dea of having my own business, I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly.”
She moved back to her parents’ home and launched Jessica Hogarth illustration in April 2012 and created 16 cards for the British Craft Trade Fair inspired by her coastal upbringing. Mugs, prints and tea towels followed.
But it was her Coastal Cottages wallpaper that made her name. “A couple who had seen the design were doing a big renovation in Scotland and asked me if I could use it as wallpaper and I initially said ‘no’ as I had no idea how to do it but they persuaded me and I am very glad they did,” says Jess.
The design won a nationwide wallpaper competition and the ensuing publicity resulted in sales that have been buoyant for the last 10 years and resulted in a blue and yellow colourway to match the original blue and grey one.
Jess’s next goal was buying a home of her own and she fulfilled it in 2017 when she bought a beautiful one-bedroom apartment in Union Mill, Upgang Lane, Whitby. “I was really lucky to be able to live with my parents as that helped me save for a deposit,” says Jess. The front exterior of the building, constructed in 2009, is in a stunning Art Deco style and inside, the layout of the flat was well thought through.
The open-plan living area is spacious and the bedroom, which has a long run of built-in wardrobes, is enormous. Best of all though is the view over the rooftops to Whitby Abbey.
When she and her partner Phil bought a house last year, Jess managed to keep the apartment too, which now earns its keep as a holiday let. “It is such a lovely flat and I worked so hard to get it, I feel so lucky that I was able to keep it,” she says. “The view of the abbey is amazing and so are the sunsets.”
With guests in mind, she redecorated the property. The walls are all white apart from in the bedroom, where one wall is papered in her Coastal Cottages paper. In the kitchen, she had already painted the faux wood cabinets in a stylish pale grey and added metro tiles.
The sofa and table and chairs were from Facebook Marketplace. The bookshelf was from Habitat, years ago, and has been repainted in black. The Poang chair is from Ikea as is the bench in the bedroom, along with various vases and faux plants.
Bargains include the cabinet under the TV, which was from Lidl, and the coffee table and bedroom side tables from B&M. The typography print featuring seaside place names is from the Whitby Bookshop. “I really like Scandi style and contemporary interiors and the apartment suits that,” she says.
“I also asked a friend with a holiday let for advice on what guests want, which was helpful, and I also thought about what I would want if I was on holiday. Phil and I love board games so I included those and my mum, who is a great reader, gave me some books for visitors to read.”
A welcome gift is de rigueur these days so she also includes one of her own design tea towels, a card and biscuits.
Lockdown saw Jess grasp another long-held dream when she and Phil opened their own shop, selling Jessica Hogarth products, along with work by other designers. “I’d always wanted my own shop and when one came up in Robin Hood’s Bay in June 2020, just after the first lockdown, we went for it.
“We took a risk and it’s been hard work but it’s doing well with Phil running it,” says Jess, who has just one more target. Phil and I have worked incredibly hard but now it’s time to have some work-life balance.”
*Jessica Hogarth’s work, including some of the Jubilee collection, is for sale in her Robin Hood’s Bay shop as well as on the shop’s website www.jessicahogarthshop.com or in her Etsy shop. You can find details of Jess’s holiday apartment to let in Whitby on her website too.