Balancing Sustainability and Commerciality in Business

A dilemma I struggle with on a daily basis is – how do I run a sustainable business whilst still being commercial? 

When I think about sustainability two questions come up for me. How can I run a business that is conscious in its’ core and benefits our Earth in a positive way? How can I run a business and live sustainably in my life at the same time?

As a creative and someone who regularly asks myself these questions over and over, I often wonder if it’s possible to make a difference in the world whilst making money and running a profitable business?

I regularly find myself thinking, how can I keep my costs down but still be ethical? How can I appeal to bigger retailers whilst staying true to my beliefs by not using plastic covering on my products, for example? It’s a challenge to stay true to my ethics and yet appeal to the bigger institutions so that a profit can be generated. But it is possible!

If I am honest, sometimes it’s frustrating when my efforts to stay ethical are overlooked. For example, when I exhibit at a trade show I get a sinking feeling in my heart when no-one seems to care that all our products are recycled or that the plastic is biodegradable. Inside I’m screaming –  what’s wrong with you this is how we should be doing things!? This is the way forward!!!

But then I need to remind myself that people are only ready for what they are ready for and to be effective we need a balance between opening people’s eyes and hearts and yet still speaking their language so they can engage with the change. Maybe that way, slowly people will come round.

At the same time as using all ethical products and having our range produced in a sustainable manner, I also think about how I can be sustainable within myself whilst conducting the business. Similarly to not being destructive to the Earth, how can I be non-destructive to myself?  In the same way as not polluting the earth with toxic materials and adding more plastics to the world how can I not become polluted myself with degrading thoughts and negativity. How can I run a business that is allowing me to shine and live a healthy happy life without being run down and negative which can easily happen in business? 

What I often forget and what’s important to remember is that I am not alone with these troubles. I am learning that lots of business owners and creatives go through these thought processes regularly. It seems that if I just take a deep breath and do one thing at a time, eventually I will be where I want to be.  And that’s ok, I am only human.  

As long as I ask myself daily questions like – how am I helping the earth? How am I helping the people around me? How am I helping myself?

By bringing these questions into my daily life, I know I am moving in the right direction and that, little by little I will eventually achieve my goal of being fully sustainable inside and out.

Do you struggle with the same dilemma? If so comment below, let’s support each other! 

To view my range of eco-friendly gifts including 100% recycled gift wrap, mugs and greeting cards click here.

Natasha Jade x



Introducing… our new stockists!

As ever we have had a busy start to the year, exhibiting at Top Drawer trade show showcasing new designs and meeting stockists from all over the world.

We are proud to announce that some fantastic new independent retailers have joined our family and would like to take this opportunity to introduce them to our wonderfully supportive community.

Not only do they now stock Natasha’s brightly coloured products they are also located in the most brilliant locations making the perfect outing and the best excuse to get out and about.

So whether you’re in London or out on a day trip, do pop in and support these wonderful shops offering beautifully curated and unique gifts.

Close to home – Harry Brand

Harry Brand is practically a neighbour to us, situated not far from our East London studio in the wonderful Columbia Road, a favourite hangout for all of us on the weekend. One of the few streets in the country composed of sixty independent shops! Go, East London, go! It’s the perfect place to visit small art galleries, grab a cake, buy some vintage clothes and take in the atmosphere. On a Sunday from 8am-3ish, you can catch the historic flower market, the best place in town to soak up real London. With barrow boys chanting “Everythin’ a fiver” ahh, music to our ears!

Harry Brand is situated at 122 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG, in the middle of the south side of the street opposite the primary school. The nearest tube is Hoxton. 

For more information about Columbia Road flower market click here

Open Saturday 12-5pm and Sunday 9-5pm (market day), specialising in beautiful cashmere, Merino, lambs’ wool, recycled wool and pure woollen blankets, throws, picnic rugs and scarfs from the British Isles.

Pick yourself up some of their Harry Brand Harrisa Sauce whilst you’re there, it’s the best! Read more about Harry Brand here

Fancy a day out? – Nantucket

Nantucket is situated in Reigate. Reigate is easy to get to from London with plenty to see in Surrey. Go for a walk in the Surrey Hills and stop for lunch in Reigate, a historic market town located in South East Surrey with a variety of fantastic restaurants. Home to a range of independent shops including antiques, craft, clothing boutiques, furniture and giftware. It’s steeped in history and dates back to the Battle of Hastings.

Father and daughter team – Iain and Joanne – had the vision to bring unique gifts and homeware to the high street. While creating a beautiful environment to shop in, they envisaged products that would be carefully sourced to give their customers something really special.

Nantucket is an island thirty miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. With it’s New England style it seemed the perfect name.

Read more here

How about a trip to a museum? – The Lightbox Gallery and Museum


Winner of the Art Fund Prize, The Lightbox gallery and museum is a charity situated in Woking and is one of the most exciting cultural spaces in the South East. Three stunning galleries host a huge range of exhibitions, changing regularly.

The building is also home to Woking’s Story, an interactive museum of the town’s history. If you are visiting with children you will find plenty to keep them occupied with hands-on activities and interactive displays. You can also enjoy lunch at the canal-side café. Afterwards, you can browse for a special gift or memento in the gift shop.

Visitors with disabilities will find the building is easy to use. It has been designed to be one of the most accessible cultural venues in the South East.

Read more here.

Last but not least! – The River and Rowing Museum


Henley is truly one of my favorite places to visit especially in the spring. It’s very nostalgic for me as I spent a lot of my childhood at Henley College. It has so much to offer including lots of fun events like the Henley festival where I once danced to the bootleg Beatles and Henley Regatta.

The best thing to do is to take a stroll along the stunning banks of River Thames in Henley and visit the award-winning building at the River and Rowing Museum. Explore the galleries and exhibitions, attend one of their events, take a look in the shop, or relax in The Cafe.

The museum has four permanent galleries dedicated to Rowing, Rivers, the work of British Artist John Piper which has been a huge influence on Natasha’s work and the history of Henley on Thames. The Museum is also home to the magical Wind in the Willows exhibition which brings to life the much-loved story with 3D models, lighting, and music.

Open daily from 10am – 5pm, the River & Rowing Museum welcomes visitors of all ages.

Read more about River & Rowing Museum here

As an artist, Natasha Jade is particularly porous to the world when she travels letting it shape and inspire her next creation. I encourage the same from you, shake off the winter and the extreme weather and get out there and explore and absorb the changing season. Treat your inner artist, learn new things, meet new people, shop from locals and enjoy your surroundings.

Happy Spring xxx

Written by Leanna Wigginton – our wonderful Head of Sales and Marketing 

Turning business challenges into blessings

What should I do when I lose my enthusiasm? What should I do when I think about quitting, when I wonder why I started doing what I did in the first place? These are some of the many thoughts that go through the minds of most creative entrepreneurs. The other day I was reading a blog post called 3 Signs That You Should Shut Down Your Business‘ , in which the writer Deborah Mitchell says ‘I haven’t spoken to an entrepreneur yet who has not thought about walking away from a business at one time or another.’  It seems nearly every person who runs their own business has a moment in their careers when they think about giving up, quitting or starting the whole thing again! 

This is quite relieving for me, because I sometimes wonder if I am alone with my constant worries about my business and self-doubt. But now I have come to the conclusion that it’s fairly normal to doubt oneself. To wonder if we have the capability or if we are even on the right track. 

When I get feelings like this, which do happen from time to time, I find it very useful to read blogs of other woman entrepreneurs who have set up their own business. In ‘3 Signs That You Should Shut Down Your Business‘ one of the ladies interviewed said in essence, that it’s important to remember that running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. And when things get tough to take a step back and look after yourself. And that when things don’t happen as quickly as you would like and times are frustrating, it’s important to remember that nothing happens overnight and to reflect on how far you have come.

Sometimes I find it useful to create a list of everything that has happened between this time last year and now and see that I am actually growing a lot. I also find it very useful to write a list every evening of all my achievements that day. Even if they are as small as smiling to my studio mate, or packing up an order well! 

It’s important to remember that no one gets to where they are going easily. I find running a business brings up unexpected things all the time. Emotionally, personally, spiritually and practically.

Emotionally I often wonder if I am good enough and or if what I am doing is total madness. 
Personally I find it hard to do all the work that needs to be done whilst staying true to myself and fitting in time to be with my boyfriend and family.
Spiritually I come up with things all the time that make me want to better myself as a human being.  For example, I ask myself – could I have reacted to that situation better? Was I unreasonable or unfair to my assistants? Am I being equally mindful packing up all my orders compared to writing this blog?
And practically, for example, how do I finish something in a week which normally takes a month?

The situations are endless. But I find if I keep to my meditation, and take a step back now and then, I can keep the balance. Even if that means working from home one day and saving my energy then that’s ok. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we can’t grow strong and stable without learning from our mistakes made along the way. By changing my outlook and seeing that everything that happens helps me grow for the future, I can meet every situation with love and understanding. I can see that each challenge was put here for a reason and by changing my attitude I can find the blessings in every situation.

Natasha Jade x

To learn more about my business where I turn my mixed media artwork into greeting cards, mugs, prints and gift wrap, please visit my shop!

Our Top Drawer SS18 Diary

As ever, we had a great time at Top Drawer SS18, thanks to everyone who visited our stand! We love meeting new faces, catching up with our suppliers and making new connections.

We also love discovering new brands, here are a few of our favourites from the day…

Quail’s Egg


In striking, earthy colours, Quail’s Egg create beautiful ceramic kitchenware as well as stationery in plain and marbled paper which includes notebooks, wastepaper bin, file holders and wrapping paper. You can shop their gorgeous range here.

Noi Stationery 

Noi stationery were noted for their use of colour in the SS18 Paper Awards and we can see why! We love their vibrant, fun gift wrap and greeting card designs. Shop the range here.


It was ARTHOUSE Meath’s philosophy that caught our attention this time. ARTHOUSE Meath is a collective of artists living with complex epilepsy and learning disabilities and we just loved the artwork and designs they created! You can shop their cards, artwork, accessories, confectionary and more here.

Wanderlust Paper Company 

With a name like Wanderlust and a dreamy, romantic approach to design, how could we pass this stand by?  Visit their shop to see more of their beautiful greeting cards.

Wrap contemporary illustrated stationery 

Firstly, can we just say how much we like Wrap’s logo? It’s a joy for the eyes! Anyway, back to stationery, what drew us to Wrap’s stand (aside from the logo) was their well curated selection of contemporary designs. Your one-stop shop if you’re looking for the freshest greeting cards, notebooks and more…

We hope you enjoyed our Top Drawer diary! You can view our range of greeting cards, gift wrap, prints and mugs  on our shop here.

Natasha Jade + Team x

Photo blog: Visual inspiration from texture and nature

I always draw inspiration for my artwork from things around me, such as natural textures, shapes and patterns. Here is a scrapbook of recent imagery that has inspired me. I’ve also included close-ups of my paintings to illustrate the way I approach and build up texture within my work. 

For more examples of my inspiration, and for a glimpse behind the scenes at my studio, please visit my instagram.

Photo credits: Photos by Natasha Jade, Leanna Wigginton and Diana Scrimgeour.

Thought for the new year

Every new year, I find myself reflecting on the year that has passed, looking at how I can change my situation in the year ahead.  For me, this starts with looking at my patterns of behaviour and identifying the things that aren’t serving me anymore.

In 2017, I found myself worrying a lot about all sorts of things surrounding my business and life in general. I think these worries were useful for me because they motivated me to take extra care in everything I did so that I made the best possible decisions at the time. Now, however, as I step into 2018, I feel I can really hold onto and encompass a deeper confidence. A confidence in myself to know that I am doing the right thing. To believe in myself and my abilities as an artist and a businesswoman. To trust my judgment and my gut feeling and allow myself the space to step my life and business up a level in 2018!

Quote found in ‘Inspiration for artists’ by Emily Darcy

How to Turn Artwork into a Product Design

Many people have asked me how I get artwork ready to use as a design for my products. This was not something I knew how to do when I started my business. But through trial and error, and practice and experimentation with different programs I have discovered a few tricks along the way.

Here are some tips which might save you using a graphic designer!

Photography colour

Despite using some really good quality cameras, I’ve found that the colour is most true when I use my iPhone. Of course the quality is better with a good digital camera, so I use those images for print but I edit them in a way so that the colours match the reference picture taken on my iPhone. And voila my design ends up looking like the original artwork!

Taking photos in the light

I know this sounds pretty obvious, but there have been many times when I have been working to a tight deadline, and I have taken a photo in the late afternoon when it’s still light but not at optimum brightness. I now know when it comes to photographing my artwork – no shortcuts should be taken. The photo must be taken in the daylight and in a place where the light is most even.

Getting rid of grey patches

Often when I take a photo of my artwork areas of white appear grey in places. It can be really useful if you have photoshop to use the dodge tool to lighten these areas. I find this makes a huge difference.

Don’t be afraid to zoom in

Through experience – I know that it’s not always necessary or appropriate to use the whole artwork for a greeting card or print. So I now experiment with zooming in. Sometimes simply capturing a section of the artwork works really well for a specific product.

Not all images work for every product

Sometimes my artwork works really well as a greeting card but not so well as other products.  So when I’ve tried to replicate the design as a print or on my gift wrap and  mugs, I’ve been quite suspired when the mugs haven’t been as popular as other designs. I’ve now learnt the lesson that each product should be treated individually and assessed before launch.  I am learning that this is OK and if something doesn’t work, I can try zooming in to create a different image all together!

Autumn Leaves 4 and my gift wrap and greeting card designs

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips! Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or would like to share your designs. Click here if you’d like to see an example of a painting and all the product designs it’s featured on. Good luck!

Natasha Jade x