“My radio alarm goes off at 7am (BBC 6Music), and I stumble out of bed in search of caffeine. It’s espresso for me, and tea for my wife, Sam. I’ll check in on our 2.5 year old daughter and if she’s awake, she’ll come downstairs and ‘help’ me with said task, offering words of wisdom. If not I’ll leave her be, make the drinks and then get showered and dressed.
“I get to work for 8am. My studio is just 3 minutes from home, so I’ll walk or hop on my skateboard if weather permits. The council have just resurfaced all the roads locally, so they’re very skate-friendly. I spent most of my formative years on a skateboard, and this is the only chance I get now. I’m past being able to do any tricks – last time I tried my board ended up under a car and I was mocked by some van men!
“When I get to my studio I choose some music to put on, a decision which can take an age. I then eat breakfast whilst checking emails and looking at the web. Breakfast consists of muesli and more coffee. My Guzzini espresso machine has just packed in, so I’ve got an Aeropress as a replacement, which I swapped for some coffee tea towels. I’ll then sort any urgent orders ready for the courier to pick up at lunchtime.
“Ideally a perfect day would consist of me designing all morning when I’m at my most productive, ignoring calls or emails with the aim of responding to them later in the day. In reality I’m constantly interrupted by the usual day- to-day mundanity of running a business. Packing orders, book-keeping, bill chasing are all the chores that I hope to be able to pass on to someone else soon.
“If I’ve had a day where I’ve made progress on a new design or project, then I’ll feel content. If it’s been a day of frustration with aforementioned business durge, then I’ll need to go for a run. My time actually designing is probably about a quarter of my day if I’m lucky. I often come back to the studio in the evening if I have any pressing design work to do, as there’ll be no interruptions after 7.30pm.
“Lunch involves going home (in 3 mins) to see wife and child, and usually consists of a sandwich and some fruit.On the days that Sam & I work together we occasionally treat ourselves to a pub lunch in one of the local pubs. I’m very lucky to see so much of my daughter while she’s so young. If I was still working for a design agency in town, I would hardly see her at all in the week.
“I work until 6.00 then commute home, getting back around 6.03pm. I then hang out with my daughter, usually having to watch Cbeebies until her bath time. I then get her ready for bed and read her a story. Depending on her form, this may an hour of fun and laughter, or one of tears and tantrums. There’s a reason why they’re called the terrible twos.
“After that I’ll either go for a run, go back to work, or have a beer and eat some food. There was a time when I had musical hobbies, but running a business and having a daughter has sapped away any time for such frivolities! Sam or I might make an effort and cook something interesting, ortherwise we’ll have something simple, like pasta. We’re generally eat pretty healthily..
“If we’re in the midst of a decent TV series, and depending on fatigue levels bed-time can be as late as 11.30 (so rock ‘n roll). One of us will usually venture out one evening in the week, while the other babysits. A night out together is a rare treat.”
Stuart Gardiner Design is a brand & studio creating homeware products from East London. The studio prides itself on keeping production UK-based and commits to minimising environmental impact by using organically produced materials wherever possible.
Stuart graduated from Falmouth College of Arts with a degree in Graphic Information Design, and went on to work as a designer and art director within the music industry. After 10 years as an employee he decided to go it alone and start up his own studio. Inspired by his information design education he applied an ‘infographic’ to a tea towel and the brand was born. The first product launched in 2009 – the ‘Seasonal Guide to British Fruit & Vegetables’ tea towel. A unique style soon emerged celebrating the power of knowledge with the occasional indulgence of humour. The collection continues to grow and stockists now include landmark stores, galleries, boutiques and various independents across the UK.
After 3 years flying solo, Stuart has now been joined by a new Co-Director – Sam Gardiner – formerly Design Manager for home ware at Laura Ashley. Sam just so happens to be Stuart’s wife.
Great British Roast Tea Towel £10 (designed exclusively for Howkapow by Stuart)