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“All of our designs are dedicated to real couples,” Meet Tuppence Collective

We like nothing more than botanical stationary (well, technically botanical anything), but nothing’s caught our eye quite like the cards, wrapping paper and a whole lot more from Tuppence Collective.

Moody, decadent and giving off some serious Wes Anderson vibes, Tuppence Collective have been causing quite a stir in the design world since their launch in 2015.

We spoke with Rebecca Intavarant and Alicia Perry, the best-friend duo behind the brand, to find out their favourite green space in the city, where they get their design inspiration and their advice for other creatives.

How did you get the idea for TC?
“We’ve always liked the idea of being self-employed and we always joked at University that we would collaborate on something together. It was only when we graduated that we were asked to do some weddings invitations for a friend that we realized there was a gap in the market for botanical designs that were gender-neutral. From there, it naturally developed into creating a range of everyday stationery as we were getting enquiries from people that weren’t necessarily getting married but really liked our designs.”

What, who or where are you inspired by?
“All of our designs are centered around botanicals, so we love a little trip to gardens and conservatories such as Kew Gardens and the Barbican Centre to get some first-hand inspiration. We absolutely love the work of William Morris and try to revive an Arts & Crafts style with our own work but with a modern twist. We’re also big film fans and love a bit of good cinematography, so strong colour palettes are always a big influence on our work.”

What do you love about your job?
“We love having the freedom to create artwork and products that we’re proud of. It took us years to perfect the type of stocks and finishes that we use but we feel like we’ve finally found what works for us. Also, working with your best friend every day is a dream – we only occasionally disagree about what albums to listen to whilst we’re working!”

Tuppence Collective

Tell us about some really stand-out moments for the business?
“After our first trade show we were stocked in Fortnum & Mason, which was something we had on our bucket list, so it was an amazing feeling to hit that target within our six months of trading… although getting some samples there in time for their meeting involved a mad dash across the city in an Uber and a two-minute pitch in their hallway!”

How do you keep motivated?
“We know that we’re in such a privileged position to be able to start our own business, so we really don’t want to waste the opportunity. Every penny that’s gone into this business has come out of our own pocket at the cost of not having nice holidays or saving for a mortgage, so that acts as motivation for us to make it all worthwhile. It’s natural to have days where you’re frustrated or want to give up but that’s where having two of us helps as we can support each other and keep each other motivated.”

How do you come up with the designs?
“We find a plant or leaf that we like and look for natural patterns in the way they grow. Sometimes we scan sketches of them into Photoshop and experiment with layouts until a pattern emerges. Once we’re happy with a design we paint a large section of it up in acrylics and scan it in to repeat it. All of our designs are dedicated to real couples who are personal to us which is why they come in two colourways. When we choose colours we make a conscious effort to try and create something that would appeal to both men and women.”

Who are the people you think are doing something amazing in the art & design world right now?
“At the moment we’ve got a massive crush on all things ceramic, especially pieces by Lucy Kirk, Sophie Eveleigh and Jen Collins. Anything by BFGF is on our Christmas list for this year as well as the Hate Mail book by Mr Bingo (who always cracks us up!).”

What do you khoollect?
“We both like to collect things from all the different places we’ve visited from around the world. Rebecca is currently building her empire of creepy fabric dolls and Alicia is amassing a serious collection of bags and satchels. Most people who visit our studio, however, would probably say we collect plants!”

The favourite item in your collection?
“There are two dolls that kick-started Rebecca’s collection; one was a Peruvian doll with tiny wooden pan-pipes and the other was a doll from a street market in Gambia with a decorative dress and headdress. Alicia’s most recent purchase was a handmade basket bag from a pottery shop in Nerja which she’s used every day since!”

Where do you call home?
“Our studio is based in North London but we both live on the border in Enfield and Cheshunt – coincidentally quite close to each other!”

Favourite place for outdoor inspiration there? 
“We love all things botanical but our favourite free places to visit in London are the Barbican Conservatory (on a lazy Sunday) and Crossrail Place Roof Garden at Canary Wharf; we only just discovered Crossrail Place this year through Open Garden Squares weekend and it’s a haven!”

Favourite spots for eating out there?
“In Enfield there’s a beautiful underrated farm shop and tea room called Ferny Hill – they do the best home-baked scones and jam with fresh cream from their cows. There’s also brilliant pie and mash shop in Walthamstow called Manzes, it’s in a listed building from the 20’s so it’s the perfect setting for a proper traditional meal.”

Tuppence Collective

Where do you pick up a bargain?
“Most of our bargains are from local charity shops and car boots. There’s an amazing charity shop down the road where everything is £1 – can’t go wrong and you’re guaranteed to find vintage gem.”

How do you spend a lazy Sunday?
“Usually it’s spent catching up with family, going to the cinema, window shopping or experimenting with a new recipe! This past year we’ve visited Margate a lot on our weekends off as we really love the vibe – it has lots of great vintage shops & restaurants and the beaches are just beautiful.”

What’s one piece of advice you’d tell your younger self?
“Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Like most youths, we spent years trying to please others, even at our own expense. It still takes courage now, but if you learn to say ‘no’ it can be empowering.”

One piece of advice for someone wanting a career change or to go out on their own?
“Embrace mistakes. It’s inevitable that they’re going to happen but if you make sure you learn from them then they won’t have been in vain.”

Like their designs or have another stationary favourite? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Maria Bell

Maria Bell is Khoollect’s Deputy Editor. Talk to me about food and/or photography and IR...

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First and last image from Lydia Harper Photography.