By Charlotte Mutoro
It started with a love and thirst for beauty and an inherited book of botanical lithographs from the 1900’s.
From there an idea blossomed, which led to my sister and me setting up a company called Atty & Smart.
We began by designing a luxurious scarf. Both of us relish luxury and we were really happy with the result. Then a dose of reality hit. The price point was too high and in all honesty how many ‘Hermes scarves’ will you buy in a lifetime? We agreed that the quality of our square of silk was up to that of the famous brand’s but because Atty & Smart was unknown as yet it was probably not the best place to start. A rethink was required. The rethink was a tea set. Crazy right? It was more than crazy it was pure insanity. Yet we carried on with dogged persistence. Why? Because we loved how our designs looked on the products – just gorgeous!
A lawyer and a herbalist were producing surface design for luxury homeware and stationery which would be British from the drawing board through the manufacturing to the packaging. Why not go to China we were asked repeatedly? It just didn’t feel right. We wanted more control over the whole process and to support national businesse
Love of what we were doing was the only thing that kept us going. Two factories’ in Stoke on Trent, in the heart of the British potteries were reluctantly left behind. One set of samples arrived that questioned our ability to create anything of aesthetic merit.
We fell to our knees time and time again. I can’t lie and say we maintained passion but the beauty of our products pushed us on, and on and on. It kept the inspiration flame alive. We kept in mind the redoubtable spirit of the botanists and illustrators of the 20thcentury, and drew on this, as well as the charm and elegance of their drawings and our vision of combining classical elements of design with the contempary to create unique products.
Why am I writing about this today?
To encourage anyone who has a love or passion for something that they know will bring them joy and contentment to just go ahead.
Yes, you may feel like giving up the process more often than not at the beginning. Yes, you will inevitably have to put in hours of hard work. Is it worth it? Well we have found it is. Definitely.
Then take advantage of all the help offered. It seems that when you are on your path the right help pops up at just the right time. Usually when you’re ready to make a dash for Timbuktu!
Another fabulous thing when you are living a life of your choosing is that your intuition can just hone. Marrying your fifth sense with intellect is a great way to bring out your genius and enable a smoother run.
Atty & Smart is taking off. International travel is now on the cards. It’s exciting! To cap it all we are now designing and manufacturing stunning 100% silk scarves too which are available at our Atty & Smart shop in The High Street, Henfield, West Sussex, UK or online.
Have a go at what fires you up and what makes your life beautiful. You won’t regret having that go. Know the life you desire is yours.
How did we decide on our name? Lucy’s son when he was little couldn’t quite manage ‘aunty’ so he named me Atty and Lucy’s surname is Smart.