Vici Blenkharn is the founder of Artcadia, a design and letterpress company based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire which she runs with her husband Adam. Artcadia specialises in bespoke wedding and event invitations as well as originally designed stationery and greetings cards. I am in love with their mesmerising designs and exquisite craftsmanship of their products and it was a great pleasure to have Vici answer some questions for our Journal.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up between 7.00 and 7.30 a.m., drink lots of water and coffee (decaff), check my emails and social media, and then we usually head out for a walk as a family. I’ve realised that walking is really important for my mental health, so it’s become an essential part of my daily routine. As schools are still closed, I’ll home school the kids for the rest of the morning before shifting focus to work in the afternoon. When working in the studio we’ll be printing, proofing for clients, designing, or editing. When I’m coming up with a new design from scratch, I typically do that in the evening when I can be alone. Some nights I’m lucky enough that I can turn my computer off at 7 p.m. and not peek again until the next morning. That is rare though and when it happens, it feels like a real treat.
What is your top working-from-home productivity tip?
Give yourself a healthy morning routine. Shower and dress as though you're going into work. Have breakfast and have a work 'start time'. Don't immediately go to your computer. I find I’m much more productive and focused this way, especially if I can get out for a walk too.
What is your essential stationery item?
My husband Adam once bought me a limited edition Kaweco Art Sport fountain pen in the most beautiful shade of emerald green. It has a lovely broad nib and is very forgiving on the handwriting. I love it and have it on me wherever I go.
Do you have any tips for someone wanting to start their own business?
Don’t get too hung up on comparison. What others are posting on Instagram is usually the result of incredibly hard work. You really have to love the job and I think the reason I’m still here after 10 years is because I have a relentless work ethic. I’ve been discouraged to the point of wanting to quit but have always managed to push through it. Work hard, love the job and if you stop loving it, find a way to love it again.
What is always in your pencil case?
A few broad nib fountain pens (with different ink colours), Blackwings, numerous double ended or multi-function pens and pencils (for space saving), Rama’s gold eye paperclips, a Koh-i-Noor eraser, Korres lip butter and a mini L’Occitane hand cream.
What motivates you each day?
I used to be more motivated by typical business stuff, like making money, expanding the business and gaining recognition within the industry. Now I’m a little older, I’m driven by more wholesome things and like most people, I long to achieve the perfect work-life balance. I am certainly motivated to inspire my children and make them proud of their mum.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Rural France, hazy sunshine, cricket song and holding hands. This is the plan for retirement.
What are you currently reading?
Shamefully, nothing. I have exhausted all available reading material during lockdown, so am currently looking for recommendations. The last book I read was ‘A Life Less Throwaway’ by Tara Button which I was gifted for my birthday. It advocates everything I already felt about throwaway society – buy less, buy better. That rule can definitely be applied to fancy stationery.
Thank you Vici for showing us a little slice of your world. I really loved your honest advice to someone wanting to start their own business and I think your love and dedication really shine through in the stunning Artcadia products.
Please visit Artcadia online to view their beautiful range and buy a unique piece of art for someone special. Their Shrewsbury store is closed at the moment due to the pandemic but once it passes you can visit them in person at: 37 Hills Lane, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK, SY1 1QU.