10 minutes with | Sarah Blythe

Now we've got a little something new on Sunday Sunday...! I knew when I launched I wanted to celebrate other women - the girls doing it their way, on their terms, who are making their dreams happen but bring the real talk, too. I took a little trip down to Edenbridge in sunny Kent to catch up with designer (and darling friend) Sarah Blythe, who creates stunning floral/botanical textiles and art. Here's what went down...

Tell us how you got started.

Sarah Blythe is a mother-daughter business where we sell eco-friendly floral textiles, botanical photographic prints and specialise in the unique preservation of wedding bouquets. I'm originally from Canberra, Australia but moved to London in 2015 to study a masters in textile design at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. I have always been obsessed with flowers since I was little and after finishing a photography degree in Australia, I realised I also had a passion for textiles and sustainability. I loved experimenting with hammering flower petals into fabric to create abstract artworks and installations. I wanted to combine this with photography and memories - so came up with the idea of preserving flowers in a unique way.

How do you create your prints?

I use a mix of traditional and contemporary techniques to create my designs. I love to photograph flowers and have a series of limited edition photographic prints of flowers that I have documented, but the most common bespoke design I do is a Wedding Bouquet Smash. For this design I take the wedding bouquet and hammer parts of it into fabric (kind of using the petals as paint) to create an abstract design. I like to photograph this design to preserve the colours the bride had on the day and make it into a digital print to be used as an artwork or printed onto textiles so it can be made into a scarf, cushion, lampshade etc.

What’s your favourite print?

I do have a thing for hydrangeas and pastels... so it would have to currently be the Hydrangea print! But I also love proteas and recently photographed a pin-cushion protea that had this amazing yellow colour and unique shape.

What’s your biggest business highlight so far?

Opening a little shop last year and being awarded the Country Homes & Interiors Small Business Award 2017. Meeting other small business owners along the way is always an ongoing highlight and keeps you motivated.

Pick 3 favourite products.

The large Rose Petals silk scarf - it's a great way to add a pop of colour to any outfit! The Dahlia tote bag - because I like to have a tote bag that has longer straps so you can easily whisk it over your shoulder when you're in a hurry. The Floral Paradise tablecloth - this is probably my favourite item as the design took several months to make and 33 bunches of floral waste! It's a very abstract piece, almost like a painting that has been turned into a digital print.

What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?

My grandmother is an artist and has been a huge influence to my work, as she has painted flowers with me since I was little. Together, we used to collect flowers from hers and mum's garden and then paint them. In a way I'm still doing that today by using other people's flowers and using the petals as the paint instead! Mum and I decided to start working together when I moved to London, as she enjoys sewing and textile crafts. So we brought her sewing skills and my designs together to create Sarah Blythe!

Any advice for starting a business?

I'm grateful that I have amazing friends and family that have encouraged and supported me. There are times where you have to make sacrifices and take risks to make it work... and you do make mistakes along the way but try and learn from them. It's not an easy road starting a business but if you're passionate about something then the hard work is definitely worth it in the end!

What’s next for Sarah Blythe?

We are going to be focusing more on the bouquet preservation service as we received a lot of good feedback at some of the country fairs we did last year. We have some wedding fairs coming up over the next few months so we are busy preparing for those - and of course creating some new floral designs for spring/summer!

The Sunday Sunday questions...

What's your tipple?
Definitely a mojito!

A go to outfit.
Black jeans, t-shirt, a blazer and heels if I'm feeling like dressing it up a little.

Pick an emoji.
🐶 dog of course 😉

Where to next? 
I would love to go to Thailand or Greece for some sunshine ☀️

A date in the diary.
The first day of spring! And getting to marry my best friend later this year!

The best advice you've ever received.
Appreciate the process and celebrate little achievements along the way 🙌🏽

Find me @sarah.blythe

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