What made you set up your own business?
I was standing in the queue for the cashier at Marks & Spencer. My (then) three-year-old daughter said, “But Mummy, how are we going to pay when Daddy’s not here.” It hit me really hard. I had always been financially independent until the point I had been pregnant with her. I knew I had to create something for myself that could grow alongside my children. Something that energised and inspired me. Something I could do from home, so that I could still be the primary caregiver. My former career was no longer viable (too much travel, too many late nights). I looked inwards and realised it was a long-standing secret passion for illustration that must be rekindled and monitized.
What did you do before you became a botannical illustrator?
For ten years, I worked as a publicist at one of the world’s leading brand strategy agencies, with their fashion division. My clients were high fashion menswear and womenswear brands and Haute Couturiers in Paris. I worked hands-on with some of the most beautiful clothing you could ever imagine, in collaboration with press and celebrities to maximise brand exposure in a thoughtful, strategic and impactful way. One of my particular specialisms was creating guestlists for fashion events, which included fashion shows in New York, Milan, Paris and London, as well as store launches, managing paparazzi, and I was honoured to manage the guestlist for the memorial of Lee Alexander McQueen at St Paul’s Cathedral. My studio space is upstairs at home, and also houses the over-spill of the wardrobe from my previous life. My passion for fashion and interiors filters into my illustration work, and I’m so thankful that bringing nature into our homes is finally en vogue.
What inspires you?
I’m greatly inspired by the beauty of nature, by colours and textures, by the simultaneous complexities and simplicity of the natural world. But I am by no means someone who enjoys roughing it in the great outdoors. I am inspired by high fashion, and eagerly anticipate the seasonal runways shows. My passion for trends extends into interior design and decor, and I think that is part of the reason I love to create meaningful artwork for my customers. I think in colour, and curate a home environment that inspires my personal development and creative fulfillment. And of course, I’m also inspired by my husband and two daughters Aurelia and Evanthe, who entertain and exhaust me in equal measure.
What words best describe you?
I am a floral-obsessed-high-heel-wearing-lipstick-fanatic who loves to laugh and chat. I am positive, sarcastic, enthusiastic and a little dramatic. I am a worrier, an overthinker, and I battle anxieties on a daily basis. My friends describe me as ambitious, hard-working and fiercely loyal.
What do you love most about your job?
When I receive testimonials from my bridal clients, I often think “Is this really happening?” They make me laugh and cry, sometimes in sheer disbelief. I think my favourite was “possibly the most amazing gift I’ve ever received.” But I was also touched by a customer who wrote, “You are incredibly talented and skilled and should know that you are using those attributes to bring joy to others.” I love that I have the ability to make other people feel this way, purely using a untrained talent I have only recently rediscovered.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Changing the blade on my cutting knife that I use for mounting artwork. I hate it and sometimes fear I’m going to die. You have to hold the handle in one hand and the blade in the other, then push with the blade facing your wrist. I also despise anything to do with making insurance claims through lost post with Royal Mail. But these minor annoyances are nothing compared to the freedom and fulfillment my business offers me and my family.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
I am currently taking part in a business success course, alongside Maya Kemp and a bunch of other amazing, courageous, talented female entrepreneurs, hosted by coach Faye Cornhill. Windows and doors of opportunity are opening, both in terms of my mindset and the direction of my business. I have some partnerships with bloggers and influencers coming up, which I am excited to reveal. My “wedding season” is naturally behind other suppliers’, as I take on clients after they have declared “I do” – so this will mean I will be drawing intensely through the Autumn. And I’ve also started to be approached by lifestyle brands about creating artwork for them, which is a side of my business I am keen to expand, as it offers variety and endless possibilities. My big goal is to develop a homewares collection, to include my illustrations on ceramics and soft furnishings – all once my children are in school.
Where can we find you?
FB Charlotte Argyrou Illustration