MEET THE MAKER- Martha and Hepsie
Tell us a bit about Martha and Hepsie..
Martha and Hepsie ltd designs are inspired by life, who we are and a little bit of laughter. We are a sister team based in Sheffield and Devon designing and selling our own collection of homeware, stationery and gifts. With a nod to trends, the designs turn heads with cheeky pops of colour and help to bring British made products back into the homes and lives of our style savvy customers.
Can you tell us about your background?
Martha (the northern one!): With a degree in Textile design from Nottingham Trent, Martha moved to London to develop her career in design and production working for designer Lisa Stickley and Gisela Graham. With experience under her belt Martha returned to her northern roots relocating to the steel city of Sheffield to focus on martha and hepsie.
Hepsie (the not so soft southerner!): Gaining experience from placements at Mathew Williamson, Copperwheat Blundell and trends agency The Bureaux during her Fashion and Business Studies degree at Brighton, Hepsie returned to Devon and progressed a career with jewellery brand Kit Heath. Now she is ploughing everything she knows into martha and hepsie.
What inspired you to create "Martha and Hepsie"?
We both were a little frustrated in our 9-5 jobs so whilst Hepsie was on maternity leave in 2011 we registered ‘martha and hepsie'. Initially it was our ‘therapy/hobby', after work between the hours of 5-9 (and when the kids were in bed) we could both work on it having complete autonomy and setting our own briefs which was great.
In 2013 we were both made redundant within 6 months of each other and decided that it was the right time to see if we could make it work. During 2013/14 we focussed on building the foundations of martha and hepsie, by adding to our product portfolio to make sure we had a good offering. We started to attend trade shows, became a partner on “Not On The Highstreet” and attended a course ran by School For Start Ups to ensure we were on the right track. We both worked part time due to little ones still at home and house renovations, but in September 2014 with a habitable home and the School run a daily occurrence we were both able plough full steam ahead with m&h.
Who has most heavily influenced you in the design world?
Aaaah there's so many to choose from! We admire the strength and growth of the big guys such as Orla Kiely, but our true admiration goes out to our peers who started at the same time as us and are going on to do great things; Cecily Vessey for her quirky monochrome architectural illustrations, Kangon Arora for her colourful India inspired patterns and Blank Inside we love the way Liz combines beautiful paintings with her northern wit.
What goes behind all your ideas and creations?
Our designs are inspired by life, who we are and laughter, the majority of our collections are birds at the moment (probably inspired by looking out of the window)! We create our designs visually and descriptively, we make sure that when the customer likes what they see, and when they read about the character we create such our Mischievous Magpie or Bold Blue Tit they fall in love with the personality too!
Can you tell us about your latest collection?
We've recently launched a babywear collection all proudly designed, printed and made in the UK.
Martha had her little boy in January (10 years exactly after Hepsie had her first child – the world works in mysterious ways) and in February our babywear arrived!
We designed the collection just before Martha fell pregnant last year and after months of sourcing UK manufacturers, lots of testing and sampling we're so excited to launch our first range of baby leggings, dribble bibs and baby blankets.
It's really hard to choose a favourite but if we have to it will be the Adorable Animals range as this was one of the first designs we launched and it has grown with us. The unisex neutral colour palette is perfect for any baby boy or girl.
Is this your first time showing at Pulse?
This is the third time we would be showing at Pulse, we love meeting all the new buyers and fellow exhibitors. As we both work alone in different parts of the country it's really nice to spend a few days together too!