Budeful is the beautiful brainchild of Netty and Nathan, who combined their masterful skills in design and illustration to create a quirky, coastal-inspired brand that gives us an instant dose of holiday happiness. With ethical production practices and a focus on being as eco-friendly as possible, their luxurious, statement pieces will breathe new life into any home.
What made you decide to start Budeful, and what's the inspiration behind it?
Netty: The inspiration for our brand came from walking on the sandy beaches and grassy downs in Bude, North Cornwall.
Nathan: Netty came to me with the original concept for Budeful, then we set about developing the business, message and brand.
Both: We decided to take the plunge and create our own brand, as we both love stylish luxury items with ethical credentials. We felt that there wasn’t really anything out in the marketplace that we truly loved or reflected us as individuals. So, we set about creating something Budeful that we could share with others...
What did you do before creating Budeful?
Netty: My design roots can be traced back to when I achieved my degree in Ceramics and Glass. It was then that a passion for illustration and storytelling emerged. In fact, the Molls can be traced back to this time in my training. My previous experiences also include training as an Art Therapist and also working at a senior level within the music industry, all of this while raising two amazing children.
Nathan: After leaving formal education at 18, I started my design career in lithoprinting. It was during this first role, that I undertook 2 HNDs in Art & Design and Graphical Design at night school. This opened up my world, with my previous roles enhancing my career in illustration; advertising; signage; marketing; exhibitions and packaging.
Both: It is from our joint backgrounds in illustration and design, that lead to us creating Budeful.
Where does your inspiration come from?
We both share a love and passion for the Art Deco period and it’s style. We spent about two years developing the brand and our merchandise, before officially launching it in 2017. Our final logo design came from over 200 preparatory concepts, which then lead to our carefully selected colour palette. We wanted to create imagery that was evocative of warm sunny days spent on the beach, with sunbeams slicing through the clouds. We also share a sense of humour and a love of cheeky vintage postcards, so you will often see a fair bit of that cheekiness injected into all of our ‘all inclusive’ designs. Love really is at the heart of what we do. A love of Art Deco, a love of people and a love of well made, sustainably sourced luxury products.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story on your journey so far?
When we started out, it was for the love of design. We naively thought, let's create a bunch of designs, get them turned into merchandise and then hopefully people will love them enough to buy them. Taking a product to market requires a lot of planning, sleepless nights and management. Our challenge has been balancing the needs of the business, whilst still finding time to have fun with our pens and pencils. The amazing part is that four years later, despite all the challenges of 2020, we are still here! People seem to love what we do enough to buy our products and have it in their homes. Every sale, however big or small in value, genuinely means the world to us. Being in business is one thing, but to have returning customers who still support us four years on, is truly humbling.
One of our funniest stories to date is how the Naked Surfers came about. In 2017, when we were creating all of our fine-bone-china mugs, we had a spare printing slot to fit in one more design. At the time, neither of us knew what to do with it. We recall after few glasses of bubbles, we jokingly said: ‘what about doing a mug with naked surfers on it?’ In a somewhat non-sober state, we sketched up a design, then spent another couple of glasses laughing about what we had done and joking about how big or small we should draw some bits! Once we both looked at what we created the night before, we still giggled, but refined the design even further to the one you see today. The irony of the Naked Surfers Collection, is that it was never meant to have been. It was a pure fluke and in fact we both thought that it would never sell and The Molls Collection would be our best seller… How wrong we were. It seems our customers love our tastefully cheeky nudes and cannot get enough of them!
Our favourite story with this particular collection, is when an elderly gentleman came into our shop and bought one of our Naked Surfer T shirts for his wife. She promptly brought it back the next day and made it quite clear it was not her thing! We did laugh and to date that remains our only returned item.
The biggest lesson we have learned is about being more confident with our brand and indeed all of our collections. Once upon a time, we were a little nervous about how the The Naked Surfers would be received. Now we see it as playing a pivotal role in embracing diversity and inclusiveness.
After all, love is what makes the world go around, but being naked allows others to see the real you. So with that in mind, we have other designs in progress that encompass the full spectrum of diversity in our world, so watch this space.
How would you describe Budeful in three words?
Sustainable affordable luxury.
What is your connection to Cornwall?
Netty: I have ancestors from the area and have lived in Bude since early 2014.
Nathan: His grandfather and father were from Plymouth.
Both: We feel Bude is the place to be. It captures a great sense of joy and happiness, plus it has the added bonus of great surroundings and a dramatic landscape to be inspired by.
Do you have a special spot in Cornwall that inspires you?
Netty: My special spot is the Storm Tower on Compass point. It has literally inspired everything from our company name and logo, right through to being featured in many of our designs.
Nathan: For me, I have a few. From Netty’s top attic window, you can see the sea and Compass Point. On a moody windy day with the wind howling outside, you can see the drama of the landscape, the power of the sea and all from the comfort of a warm room. The other is walking barefoot on the beach. There is nothing quite like the seawater and sand between your toes.
What's next / any exciting plans?
We have more illustrations and design ideas in the pipeline, along with jewellery; organic and vegan foods; our own brand gin; vegan candles and clothing, all coming soon. Our ambition is to continue expanding our brand, so that we are not just a household name, but can donate to the charities and local organisations we care about and have pledged to support. Rather excitingly, we can already be found in several other outlets in the U.K and have plans to expand overseas, so watch this space!
Shop Budeful here.