Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - July/August 2022

When did you start up and why? We established Black Hen Designs back in 2010 as we wanted to start a new chapter in our lives and decided to combine our artistic talents. What prompted you to launch the business? After selling a number of our original pieces at retail shows, we began to see an increase in enquiries looking for new works to purchase. We soon established that there was a demand for our creations and so decided to go ahead and launch the business. What challenges have you overcome since the company’s launch? So, how long do you have! When we started our business, our main aim was to produce an affordable but well-made product. Running a small business for the first time meant we had to learn to think fast on our feet as one of our first stockists just happened to have multiple outlets and they wanted us to supply all 12 of them from the outset. No pressure then! This was a steep learning curve for us but ultimately showed us how to organise the business in order to succeed. As a husband-and-wife team we realised we had to play to our strengths and each of us focused on key elements of the business to drive it forward. Tell us about your product offering. We design and create a range of contemporary framed wall art. We describe our work as a ‘playful take on animal behaviour’. With a keen passion for nature and all things rural, the countryside became the inspiration for our art and these are brought to life through the use of vivid colour and quirky design. The ideas for many of the drawings can often come from chance encounters and as there’s usually a story behind each one, a playful and uplifting title is added. Each design is reversed printed on glass, float mounted inside the frame which casts a soft shadow and comes boxed. It’s my love of nature that inspires each and every piece. What is your most popular product? It’s difficult to say as different pictures appeal to different customers. Currently, we have over 55 designs spread over four different frame sizes. Have any styles taken you by surprise with their popularity? With everything that has happened in the last couple of years there seems to be more pet owners than ever before. We found ourselves adding more designs featuring cats and dogs, which have proven very popular, with our own pets even featuring in some of our favourite designs. 76