We all need something to smile about in the current economic climate, and the new tea towels, shopping bags and prints created by Tyne and Wear couple Alison and Laurence Ward are just the ticket.
On a plain white background you can see black line drawings of British cakes and tea time treats: Bakewell Tarts, Bara Brith, Eccles cake, Lardy cake, Fat Rascals and Devon Scones to name a few. The treats are carefully but simply drawn, well-spaced out and labeled, and you can choose between a print for hanging on the wall, or a tea-towel or shopper. It would very probably give you a sense of culinary pride to be seen with such a blatantly foodie bag, people would more than likely stop you in your tracks and ask you where you bought it. The tea-towel would make an ideal gift for any baking lover. Alison and Laurence have certainly hit the zeitgeist: British cookery and baking could not be more popular than it is now, nor featured more prominently in magazines and cookery books as well as television.
If you own a food shop, cafe or restaurant, you could also commission them to design and make whatever design you want.
The company is named after Alison's grandparents, Edith and Bob, who took her on many food-oriented day trips around the Lake District, Lancashire and Yorkshire when she was a child. They used to take a cool box of sandwiches, fairy cakes, rock buns and a thermos of tea. A favourite destination was Skipton's famous pork pie shop.
We sent them some questions to find out a little more about the business, and here is what they said:
Question: How and when did you start Edith and Bob?
Answer: We launched our website in October 2011. We had been researching and drawing the designs for our launch collection since Spring 2011.
Question: Is your range made in Britain or just designed here?
Answer: We are currently in the final stages of choosing a new British-based manufacturer for our 2012 products and we're busy designing our 2012 range which will be launched in
Question: Are you selling just through mail order or also through shops?
Answer: We sell our products through an online shop on our own website. Our products have been featured in delicious magazine and Olive magazine in February 2012 which has generated lots of interest. We also sell through the Culture Label website which was really successful for us in the run up to Christmas. We also offer a selection of our products to wholesale customers so they can be sold by other shops.
Question: Do you have a design background?
Answer: We both trained in Fine Art at Falmouth College of Arts in Cornwall (though not at the same time!) All of the illustrations are done by Laurence, and the research and graphics by Alison.
Question: What do you think the Unique Selling Point of your business is?
Answer: We design our products with food lovers in mind. We currently focus on British food - as well as looking good, our designs are thoroughly researched. For example, our Great British teatime treats design covers cakes, tarts and other teatime treats. We made a long list of all the possible contenders to be included in the design then selected thirty to be included. It wasn't easy to decide which ones to leave out! We have taken the time to draw each of the foods in our designs - I had seen visual surveys of French food before and wondered why this hadn't been done for British food.
Question: Are you finding social media a good way of marketing your brand?
Answer: We hadn't used Twitter before launching our business. We've found it a really useful way of making contact with people and making people aware that we exist. A handful of opportunities have come about through our use of Twitter and we've only been using it for a few months!
Edith and Bob: www.edithandbob.com
Follow them on Twitter: @edithandbob