Leonie Stephenson ~ Loula Belle At Home

Name: Leonie
Company: Loula Belle At Home
Website: www.loulabelleathome.etsy.com

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Sum up your business in a sentence:
Loula Belle at Home, designer and maker of pretty papercuts and lovely things
for the home.

When did you start your business?
​Loula Belle At Home began in 2011, but to be honest it has gone through metamorphosis, and turned into a beautiful butterfly since then. I initially set out using textiles to create home and gift ware, and then discovered paper-cutting. Although I do still create some products using fabric I have designed, most of my work is now paper based. There really has been no ​looking back, I love it!

What & who inspires you?
I take a great deal of inspiration, and love looking at and exploring the work of other papercutters. I’m still quite new to this (my first cut was made in June 2011) so have a lot to learn! Some of my favourites include the very fabulous Mister Rob, Heather Moore, Supercutetilly, Emily Hogarth and Folk Art Papercuts to name but a few. I am also inspired by the natural world. Everyday things I see, comments that are made and things that I hear and remember.

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What sets you apart from others?
I can cut paper with a scalpel and make it look beautiful! I guess it’s also my style, and my ability to write backwards! I do all of my work on
the reverse, and so all the writing that I include in my work is done back to front (as a mirror image).
​My mum has said that my brain must be wired up wrong!!!

What did you do before setting up your business?
I worked in Further Education, co-ordinating a project for 15 and 16 year olds that didn’t attend school. I loved my job, but finished after I had my eldest. It wasn’t a job that could have been done part-time and I wanted to be with my family as they grew up. I was lucky that redundancies were being made and requested voluntary redundancy, providing me with time for my family and to create.

The best part of your day/ running your own business.
The best thing about running my own business is being able to work when I want to! It’s fabulous to wake up on a glorious morning and go and enjoy the sun…or take some time out to exercise…or go on holiday without asking permission! I do love working though, and after the madness of getting the children out and on their way to school, I love making myself a coffee and going up to my attic studio to work.

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Why did you start your business?
I wanted to work for myself to enable me to be at home when I need to be. I didn’t want to work full-time and not be around for the children, and to be honest , decent part-time jobs are hard to come by. This suits us perfectly…I can take on as much work as I want to, and fit it around the rest of my life.

Your favourite product & why.
​I think my favourite piece of work that I have created is my ‘Woodland Tale’ ​paper-cut. I really love this piece and I do feel a little sad that it sold. I produced some mugs in this design, and I love drinking my brew ​from it in the morning.

Your greatest business tip.
​Someone once said to me, ‘aim high, but take little steps’. Taking little steps is
​hard when you are eager for things to be successful, but you really can’t do
​everything at once, especially when you have a family!

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Your favourite colour.
​I love lots of different colours, but I think turquoise has to be my favoiurite…
beautiful turquoise sea, ah….sorry I drifted off for a moment there, I love the sea!

Star sign.
Sagittarius, but you would have to tell me what this says about me.

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Your biggest weakness.
Food in general I think…I love good food, though maybe this isn’t really a weakness!

Your biggest success.
​My children, they are fabulous…yes they drive me to distraction, but they
​really are wonderful and I am so proud of them.

Funniest moment.
In A&E after my eldest broke her arm. She’d been given drugs (morphine I presume) and was lying on a bed with a very bent arm singing nursery rhymes to me at the top of her voice. So funny, and just what I needed after a traumatic few hours!

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Favourite quote.
Oh dear, I have lots of favourite quotes in my little book. Can I have two?
‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely’.
– Roald Dahl (I love Roald Dahl)

​‘You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream’.
– C. S. Lewis

Favourite motto.
​Keep calm and carry on…what more can you tell yourself during trying times!!!

Favourite artist.
​I really can’t answer this, as there are so many artists that I love.

Favourite season.
Spring because of new life and the promise of summer; summer because of the warm sunshine; autumn for beautiful colours and crunchy leaves; and winter for the snow…Sorry!

Business dream.
To carry on being creative, and develop lots of lovely products for the home using designs from my papercuts. I have lots of ideas…little steps J.

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Favourite flower.
I love roses… the lovely old traditional roses you would find in an English country garden. They are so pretty and smell so beautiful.

What are you listening to right now.
​I tend to work in peace and quiet. My husband runs a sound system and there ​is often music being played in our house. If I do listen to music I enjoy listening to Aloe Black, Amy Winehouse… I’m also looking forward to seeing ​what James Arthur does. I love his voice and style, I just hope he doesn’t ​become too polished and over produced.

Your simple pleasure.
​Sunshine

What’s your brew.
Tea

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Tell us a joke.
I had to ask the children to help me with this one as I am rubbish with jokes. I can’t tell them because I forget them half way through, and to be honest, most don’t make me laugh! This is what we agreed on after sifting through all the toilet jokes.

‘What flies in the are and wobbles’
-‘A jelly-copter’
HAR HAR, BOOM BOOM…do you remember Basil Brush? I loved him as a child…maybe that’s where my love of all things foxy has come from?!!

I’ve admired Leonie’s work for some time, I just love the beautiful edges and the scenes and words she choses and creates. I look forward to seeing all her new work and it always brings a big smile to my face. Thank you so much Leonie for sharing some of yourself with us. What a joy. Xx

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