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December 10 2013 Latest news:
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Chris Titley talks to a designer whose modern prints are causing a stir in the Twittersphere
Something old, something new has proved to be a winning formula for designer Georgia Wilkinson. She always begins by drawing her designs in black and white, pen on paper. Nothing could be any more traditional. But then she transforms them into striking, colourful patterns using the latest Photoshop software.
Georgia takes inspiration from the timeless birdsong around her studio in the North Yorkshire countryside. Then she tweets out her designs to hundreds of online followers via her iPad.
Her business is Jorja Wilkinson Design she felt the different spelling reflected a lot of Scandinavian influence in my design work.
She creates striking modern prints for furnishing and fashion products. Influenced by the bold, clean lines of 1960s wallpapers and ceramics, they are brought up to date with a crisp palette and striking repeats.
Georgias business HQ is unique. When Helperby cricket club raised enough money to build a new pavilion, they sold their original wooden building to her for 100. They loaded it on to the back of a tractor and trailer and moved it to her familys farm at Pilmoor, near Easingwold.
It was built in the Thirties, and it was so well built after moving it on a crane on and off the trailer, every door and window opened. It hadnt moved at all, it was amazing.
Seeing the wildlife close at hand, including nesting barn owls, inspired her first collection, Joy. Weirdly the digital print that sells the best is my magpie. Hes quite eye-catching and bold, and he sells really well.
When she set up the business three years ago, Georgia, 30, found that the isolated rural setting which helped to inspire her creativity also hindered her chance to connect with customers. Until she discovered Twitter.
My advice is try it. It took me a long time to get my head round it. Once I did, one of the main benefits for me in rural North Yorkshire was being able to get in touch with a wider audience.
I will post up two designs and say which do you prefer? And I get some immediate response, which is brilliant, before committing to hundreds of metres of fabric.
As well as providing instant market research, Twitter has helped Georgia solve problems like where to stay in Birmingham. She has run competitions through the social media platform and is connected to interior design journalists.
But, she believes, its important that Twitter is not simply used as a blunt sales tool: Make it human.
Not all my tweets are about my business. Sixty per cent are business, 40 personal. People want to interact with other followers.
If youre just out there flogging every day and saying buy my stuff, buy my stuff you soon put people off and they stop following you.