Last October, Sara Miller received the Most Promising Young Artist Or Designer trophy at The Henries greeting card industry awards, but she certainly showed more than ‘promise’, as last week a host of consumer journalists, retailers and influential bloggers flocked to the launch of the new Sara Miller London collection of tableware from Portmeirion and her work graced a London taxi as part of the marketing activity.
The new collection of tableware from Portmeirion sees Sara’s artwork join other products: cards from The Art File (whose greeting cards are in the finals of The Henries), on wrap from Penny Kennedy (whose giftwrappings are in the finalists of The Henries), Blueprint (whose stationery was in the finals of The Licensing Awards), Canova (home fragranced products) and My Gifts Trade. Next year sees the Sara Miller London brand launch into tins as well as bath and beauty products, with other collaborations in the pipeline.
Fenwicks Bracknell has held a Sara Miller London event in the new store to fanfare the new Portmeirion collection, with a huge window display going into the Fenwick Brent Cross store imminently.
Having started out working for Hallmark, before moving to Woodmansterne prior to launching her brand at PG Live 2015, Sara says greeting cards will always have a special place in her heart.
“I learnt so much through my experience in greeting cards and I am forever grateful for that. The Sara Miller London brand also started with greeting cards, published by The Art File, and we are continuing to build the range more and more each season with a current range of about 110 cards.”
What does it feel like to see your designs on so many different products?
“It’s just amazing to see my designs transcend across a whole range of products. I set off on this crazy journey with a strong vision but never really expected it to take off in the way it has. I am so passionate about what I do and am so proud to have launched in collaboration with Portmeirion. They are such a wonderful company to work with and have already sold the range to their distributors all over the world. I can’t wait to develop the range further.”
What lessons have you learned since you decided to pursue licensing opportunities as a growth path?
“I could probably talk for days about everything I’ve learned so that’s a really hard question to sum up, but I do believe that staying true to yourself is key. Having the belief in what you are doing is essential and not letting other people tell you otherwise. Before I set out on the licensing journey, I met an old boss of mine for some advice, they said to me, ‘You have more chance of being struck by lightning than creating a brand out of surface design, like Orla and Cath have done’. I don’t know why, but it didn’t put me off at all, I just believed in myself and produced a range that I liked and would want to buy. Whilst I’m no Orla Kiely yet, I am certainly pleased I followed my own instinct.”