In our continued quest to share some more 'wee bits of wonderful' with you we are so happy to be able to introduce you to two of our favourite designer maker friends. The wonderful Jame & Catherine who run Bread & Jam and create the happiest and jolliest products we know!
We are Catherine & Jamie Douglas, the couple behind Bread & Jam. We are a small giftware company based on the border between Cumbria and Northumberland in the wild and beautiful North Pennines. We have a range of personalised and non personalised products which have a distinct happy tone and everything we do is intended to leave a smile on the recipients face when they receive our work, spreading happiness one product at a time.
Jamie has a background in design and graduated from De Montfort University after studying furniture design and Catherine is the brains of the company and has a business and banking background, also graduating from De Montfort. We met at uni and settled locally to raise our two girls. Jamie started a commercial interior design agency and has worked with some of the most recognisable brands in the UK and on an international basis.
The agency traded for 8 years until it folded in the economic crash in 2008. It was a very tough time for both of us and our young family but despite the turmoil we still knew we wanted to work for ourselves, it didn’t leave any lasting damage to our determination to make something work for us. It was Catherine’s suggestion that we worked together and within a month of that seed being planted we had formed the company, produced the branding and website and bought our first batch of notebooks which we could apply our designs to. We started out hand printing note cards, notebooks, and pencil cases, we made our own printing blocks and we started screen printing, all from our dining table.
Some of our earlier products were designed to give to one another to cheer each other up, others were to perk up other family members and we had very little money so we ended up making most of the gifts we gave. So you could say the backbone, the essence of the business was about adding some cheer into the lives of those who received our products but this has evolved into all aspects of people’s lives not just unhappy moments. We’re fortunate enough to be involved in the most intimate and heart warming areas of people’s lives. This includes birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, kids leaving home for the first time, proposals of marriage and many more joyous moments, we’re very privileged.
We get our inspiration from lots of sources, it’s all around us, our kids, our friends, our peers and of course there are swathes of blogs and magazines and social media. It doesn’t have to be related to what we do but it does generally have to come from a really positive perspective, motivational or simply a good feeling. Being able to translate these influences into something “Bread & Jam” is the key, we have a tone of voice for the company and this is pretty sacred and protected at all costs.
As the company has grown we have had to reassess how “hands on” we are with the production as we have had to employ people to fulfil orders. We are currently looking at how we can grow further at the same time as keeping the soul of the business intact and making sure we still get our hands dirty, it’s a fine balance and one we constantly wrestle with. We are happy to make the first batches and samples the way we would like them and then pass that knowledge down the line to the people we employ.
We’re currently working on new designs for 2018, focussing mainly on more stationery and a brand new fabric line. We’re also working to explore new untapped areas for us including weddings and more things for kids. We’ve just had our best ever year and we intend to build on this without losing the original ethos and soul we started the company with.