Meet the maker, Suzie Dicker owner of À L’aise

Welcome to our latest Meet the Maker post with Suzie Dicker owner of luxury stationary company À L’aise. We sat down with Suzie to find out what really makes her creativity flow, where he inspiration comes from and what it's really like to own and run a creative business in today's climate. Not only do we stock Suzie's beautiful cards & prints but we also host Modern Calligraphy and Brush lettering workshops with her from our creative space at the shop. Now grab a cuppa and learn a little more about the lady behind the super successful brand...
Can you offer us a little glimpse into your daily routine?
I work from home and I absolutely love this way of working. I’m very hard on myself and I find being at home means that I get the most work done without distractions.

I start to work at around 8am. I’m not the most organized person, so I usually spend this hour, before everyone else starts working, figuring out what I need to do that day. Every day tends to be different so it could be working on a bespoke calligraphy commission, designing new collections for my stationery range, making inks and prepping for workshops, or having a bit of an admin day… those days don’t come often enough!

My day usually always ends with a trip to the post office to send out online orders. I love this part of my day as it signals the end of the day and closure on work, something that is hard to achieve when you work from home.
What made you start your creative business?
I’ve always known that I wanted to have a business. I remember when I was younger I would always collect up my easter eggs and rather than eat them, I would stuff them all into my bicycle basket and cycle around to my neighbours and sell them. What kind of child does that?

So a desire for cold hard cash and the complete inability to be told what to do made it essential for me to start a business. I knew I wanted to do something creative but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I had always worked in the luxury stationery industry and it was something I knew and understood and had a real passion for. I had the idea for À L’aise in my head for a year or so before it launched. I think it’s hard to take the plunge when starting a business and I was definitely stalling.

And then, one day, at the age of 27 I found myself dumped, without a job, without a flat and all the way into my overdraft. It was now or never, and I certainly had nothing left to loose! I wrote a business plan and went to the bank to set up a business bank account. I inquired about a business loan and showed the chap in the bank my unfinished business plan. 2 days later I received a phone call saying my loan had been accepted and could be in my account the next day. The fear of paying the loan back spurred me on at speed to launch À L’aise.

I remember being terrified that I’d produce all of these products and then no one would want to buy them. Someone quoted at me “If you build it, he will come.” – a classic quote from Field of Dreams starring Kevin Cosner. Anyway, I clung to this and sure enough they did!
Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?
So many! I am heading to do our first trade show in the U.S. in August at NYNow. I am currently designing lots of new products that will be launching at the show. It feels like I’m launching all over again by going to the U.S. I will have to remember that quote “If you build it, he will come.”

Now for a few of our quick fire questions –
Happiness is: surrounded by cats in my pyjamas.
The song to get me on the dance floor is: Psychedelic Furs - Love my Way
I’m most proud of: getting stocked in Liberty.
My dream dinner guests would be (dead or alive) My best friend Zoe, she lives in Australia now and I’d love to have one glass of wine too many with her and eat something really basic like Nando’s.
I’d be lost without: Alex, my boyfriend. He is calm, measured, ordered and generally lovely. He’s the opposite of me.
If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be: It’s all going to work out!
Thank you for these lovely snippets Suzie - it's always so interesting learning a little more about our artisans and your set up is so special. We look forward to welcoming you back to épanoui for our next Brush Lettering workshop! 

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