How Kelsey got her eco-friendly stationery
onto Oliver Bonas’ shelves
UCA graduate Kelsey Layne on how she turned her wellbeing-focused stationery line Note and Shine into a high street success.
23 Nov 2020
UCA Graphic Communications graduate Kelsey Layne is clearly going places, having her work stocked by high street chain Oliver Bonas, with her planners and Self-Love Journal selling online and in its 22 stores.
The luxury, eco-friendly brand was born from Kelsey’s love of planning, stationery, and wellness practices — including journaling, meditation and eating well. We caught up for a chat to hear more about it.
Hi Kelsey, congratulations on having your brand stocked at Oliver Bonas! Can you tell us how you got it started and off the ground?
I began by designing a very small range and then set out to find suppliers in the UK that printed with vegetable inks and eco-friendly materials; one of my main goals was to make my stationery as sustainable as possible. I reached out to potential stockists and press to build brand awareness, and have so far been featured in magazines such as Stylist and 91.
The Oliver Bonas deal came about after I sent connections to a couple of their buyers on Linkedin, and they emailed me asking to know more about my brand, which was super exciting.
So, when you started at UCA Farnham, was a stationery brand the aim?
I actually went into the course with the idea that I would design for magazines, but when we did a module on branding I absolutely fell in love with it. I was particularly interested in food branding, so after university I worked freelance as a designer for a chain of pubs/bars, and created a vegan burger brand, which I set up at Greenwich market.
After a while, I realised that my true passion lay in design rather than food, so I turned my attention toward my other love, which was stationery.
What did you take from your time at UCA?
I absolutely loved my time at UCA. I loved that it not only focused on the design aesthetics of creating a brand, but also the thinking behind it, which has definitely played a part in getting me to where I am with Note and Shine.
So, what’s a typical “day in the office” for you?
I can’t really say that I have a typical day as I love to always be doing something different. But the tasks that I alternate between are researching potential stockists, creating content for social media, working on collaborations, product development and packing and shipping orders.
What would be your advice for new and current Graphic Design students?
Soak up as much knowledge as possible from your tutors — ask plenty of questions, as this will open your eyes to lots of different ideas and may lead you down exciting paths that you had never imagined you would follow.
Or head to the UCA website to find out more about our Graphic Design courses.