Inspired by both of her grandmothers' love of knitting and crochet, Swansea's Angela Warlow spent many a weekend drawing and embroidering, dreaming of one day becoming a fashion designer. Having completed university and travelled around Australia, Angela then spent 14 years working in a high-pressured job - however her heart wasn't in it. Her eyes were opened after a car crash, and she realised the new path she wanted to take. A decision was made, and two weeks after that terrifying moment, tableware and homeware company Bettimay Ltd was registered.
"The next step was working out what the business would look like," Angela explains. "I knew starting out as an online retailer was for me. I sourced suppliers I wanted to work with and had an idea of print and colours I wanted to use. My style was always going to be vintage floral with mix and match colours. I signed up to the software I needed and started teaching myself. Hours were spent on YouTube, but I was determined to design my own product."
Angela had a clear vision in mind, "As a consumer, one of my biggest bugbears was the inability to find a brand where you could completely mix and match and create your own tea set. I found myself bound by buying a set of one colour, or two colours decided by the brand, but this wasn't what I wanted. I find the reason why great tea parties work is the sheer mix and match of colour and style. It was important to me to create this within my brand. Also a lot of ceramics these days are porcelain and for me, there's nothing quite like tea from a china cup!"
In October 2014, Angela started selling online. There are two collections in the Bettimay range - Betti and May. "The name Bettimay, came from the names of my two late grandmothers, simply pushed together a little bit and having a cwtch (welsh for hug), I like to think. They, like me, were both big tea lovers, always from a teapot and, more importantly, with something sweet on the side."
The Betty design originates from her favourite tea tin she used to store her special blend of loose leaves. The tin was black with floral sprays and birds. This design has been updated to give a classic but contemporary look with an injection of sweet shop colours. The design is decorated on fine bone china, with hand-painted gold trim and comes in four colours to mix and match as you wish.
The May design originates from May's love of roses. Angela remembers, "She loved receiving them and had them in her bouquet on her wedding day. The rose design has a contemporary feel, with bold happy colours - the print is all about happiness and fun for everyday life. The May teapot reads 'May you be happy everyday and find life sweet in everyway'. This quote was found on a vintage postcard given to me by a special friend., like an epiphany it was adressed 'Dear May', it was meant to be! It totally sums up May's ethos on life and now the words can be found on cushions along with other uplifting quotes. This range will develop into a baking range, so watch this space."
With her first trade fair, Spring Fair, under her belt, Angela has already had a great response. With a new colourway launching in the May range as well as tea towels, gift items and a Christmas range, we hope Angela has time to sit down with a cuppa and reflect on what an exciting year it's been.
For more information, visit www.bettimay.co.uk