I love Alice Palace, their designs are beautiful and I am lucky enough to own one of their gorgeous prints (which always makes me smile). As one of the first companies to join Ice the Cake I have watched their range grow from cards and stationery to gifts and beyond. Today I would like to congratulate these lovely ladies and wish Alice & Liz a very Happy 9th Birthday. Now to share a bit of the background as to what makes their business so very special…
Who is Alice Palace & where did the name come from?
We are a small independant eco-friendly, family run business, creating unique design led products – greeting cards, wrapping paper, personalised gifts and wedding stationery – which are all illustrated by Alice the founder of the business. All of the artwork is totally original and rather quirky! Alice’s younger sister Liz is the Studio Manager and sees to all the admin side of the business. As a child Alice was called ‘Alice Palace’ and so the name stuck!
How did you start selling your wonderful products?
Alice didn’t really have a plan – everything just kind of evolved along the way. A local art gallery owner suggested that Alice’s illustrations would work well as greeting cards – and so the first range of Alice Palace cards was born! The 8 designs were first sold in a few local shops to test them out, and then a few more designs were published for the very first trade show at Top Drawer (now 9 years ago!).
How have you managed to keep evolving over the past 9 years?
The little details that often pass people by play the biggest influence on Alice’s work, our products are positive and make people smile which we think has definitely helped to keep the business going through some of the hard times! Introducing new designs and products has always been an important part of the business, and for us personalisation creates the majority of our retail orders. The wedding stationery service was a natural step for us – we provide a bespoke service creating a design that tells your story, incorporating important elements of your life together, be that where you met, your pet dog, or the fact you both love cream teas!
What is included in your product range?
Greeting cards, gift wrap, decorative tape, mounted prints, canvases, aprons, cushions, wedding stationery, social stationery, t-shirts, placemats, coasters, mugs, bags (including bottle bags, tote bags, laundry bags, toy sacks, Christmas sacks and party bags).
What is your favourite product/design?
Favourite product is the ‘good together’ cushion, as Lizzy had just got married and this was her gift to her hubby! It was a new design and seemed perfect to personalise it to the new Mr & Mrs McMaster! And favourite design is the new ‘Dream Big’ print, it’s so inspiring and positive!
Who inspires you?
We both have a love for creating gorgeous designs and Alice’s illustrations are inspired by thoughts and feelings, people and everyday life. Alice loves loads of other illustrators, but her most favourite is Sara Fanelli whose work was a big inspiration when she was doing her graphic design degree.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Managing to run the business, whilst working on new designs, and being able to spend quality time being a mum – and making it ALL work (just!)!
What lessons have you learnt?
At first Alice Palace was just for fun and more like a hobby, and although it’s still fun – now it’s a proper grown up business with bills and wages to pay – you do have to remember that it is a business! Also, it’s best to concentrate on what you are good at, and pay others to do the things you’re not so good at (for example, Alice really struggles with accounts, but Liz is really good with them).
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting up?
Go with your instinct, it’s good to take on advice from others, but you have to do what you feel is right. That’s what makes your business stand out!
What does the future hold for Alice Palace?
We’d love to keep coming up with new designs and fun ideas and stay open minded to new opportunities.
Top Business Tip
Start small and then try not to take on too much! It’s increasingly difficult to find the time for design and illustration work, with everything else that comes with running a business.