Hi Jane, how would you describe your work?
Bringing a moment of calm to someone’s day through words and images.
Could you tell us about your work before Tea with Ruby – what’s your background and what led you here?
My background is totally the other end of the scale to what I do now. I started as a secretary working at British Steel that merged into being an IT support analyst, but in another life I would have attended art college so my love of being creative has always been there.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
Pinterest, interiors books, Inigo estate agents and House & Garden online to name but a few.
What’s the story behind the name Tea with Ruby?
Ruby is my daughter, I started out many moons ago with a china hire business hence the Tea in the name. Obviously, my brand has changed somewhat but I liked the name so it stayed. It’s what people know me as, so why change it.
How did you first discover your love for what you do?
I’ve always loved having piles of interior magazines and books around. When I finished work to have Ruby the passion grew, obviously creating my own home became more of a catalyst and I took a remote interior design course when she started nursery. Things just led from one thing to another without a real plan, but I seem to have ended up where I am now.
Could you describe a typical working day?
I like lists, I always start on a Monday and plan the week ahead, so I do different tasks on different days. It makes the week flow far easier and you tend not to get as sidetracked. I always post at the same time on certain days of the week on social media, and my blog always goes out on a Friday so that I can do ‘life stuff’ ready to relax and be with the family on a weekend.
What’s the ethos behind your work?
My ethos and values are very simple ones, I like to bring an element of calm to what I do, I don’t like to sell my soul and push things that have no relevance to my work or how I like to live. I turn many things down as they don’t resonate with my passion to live in a sustainable way.
I am lucky enough to have worked with some forward-thinking brands and businesses over the years, particularly those with sustainable credentials and those determined to have a positive impact on people and the environment. Being able to use my voice and images through the blog and social media I can create stories that help brands and businesses engage with my small but very discerning audience.
Is there an element of your work that you love the most?
Planning out a concept and seeing it come to fruition. Some days it doesn’t always go to plan but once it’s finished, you look back at the completed project and you feel proud.
What’s been the biggest eye-opener for you in your work?
The biggest eye opener has been that large brands expect small businesses like mine to work for free.
What have been your work highlights so far?
Seeing my name in print in publications and interiors books.
What’s one thing people would be surprised you do in your work?
That I am a one-woman band: PR, photography, styling, editing, writing, promoting, emails, social media – the lot. It’s amazing how much of your day is taken up with admin, the creative process is such a small part of it all.
What does your ideal day off look like?
When I have time to myself I love to read, cook, swim – all simple pleasures that bring much joy.
What does the next year hold for you?
I’m easing myself into the new year without setting too many goals, taking each day as it comes. It’s a big year in our house as we become empty-nesters! So I’m going to be making the most of having Ruby at home until she goes off to university later this year… work may take a bit of a back seat for a while.
Books I love: Any Jane Austen novels, same goes for Agatha Christie. Obviously, I have far too many interiors books – but can one really have too many?
Creative Heroes: Sally Denning (@Blackshorestyle), Hans Blomquist, Twig Hutchinson, Ali Heath, Lynda Gardener and Atlanta Bartlett.
Shops I love: Toast, Baileys Home & Garden, RE Found Objects, Object Story, Objects of Use, and Rowen & Wren.
Inspirational places: Charleston House, the Lake District, Southwold (if I could live there, I would) and The Ashmolean Oxford.