Yorkshire designer Julie Dodsworth is about to take America by storm. Sharon Dale reports.
Home fads come and go. Not long ago, everything from cushions to dinner plates were printed with pineapples until they become so ubiquitous we got sick of the sight of them. It was the same with stags, flamingoes, and cacti, all relentlessly copied until shoppers could bear them no longer and manufacturers jumped on the next fashion bandwagon.
It’s why Yorkshire designer Julie Dodsworth is grateful that she was naturally drawn to flowers and foliage.
“They never go out of fashion and I think that’s why I’m still working in design, which can be quite fickle. I paint them because I love them and they are always prompting new ideas.
“I went on an Alpine holiday last year and that inspired my Mountain Meadow and Forget-me-Not prints, which will be out later this year,” she says.
There are many other reasons for her success as one of Britain’s best-loved surface pattern designers, including the originality of her work and the immense amount of effort she puts in to engage with her followers and the manufacturers who use her prints.
Julie Dodsworth branded goods now range from fabrics to china and candles.
Her latest designs are for Briers, which makes garden gloves, footwear and other accessories.
It’s another triumph in a second career which launched just eight years ago after she and her husband, Simon, bought a narrowboat.
Keen to add some canalware, she bought some jugs and buckby cans, and decided to decorate them herself using traditional motifs and her favourite florals. They were so impressive that her daughter, Bethany, insisted she send the designs to manufacturers.
They loved them, though getting into licensing was a challenge made easier by business skills honed in her office plant supply company and a belief that her work would be a commercial success.
She researched manufacturers, some of which had as many as 500 freelance artists on their books, and ignored the knock-backs. Within a year, her persistence had paid off and she had secured 12 major licences.
A trip to America could be another boost. Briers is taking the Julie Dodsworth gardenware range to a prestigious trade show in Las Vegas and Julie is there to promote it.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” she says, with her usual infectious enthusiasm. “Let’s hope they love it.”
*Julie’s work and her online shop can be found at www.juliedodsworth.co.uk and the gardenware is available from www.briersltd.co.uk and Briers’ stockists.