BLE NEW EXHIBITOR SPOTLIGHT: Heidi Sturgess Illustration & Design kicks off a series of features on new exhibitors at this year's Brand Licensing Europe. Having founded her company back in 2001, designer and illustrator Heidi Sturgess is now looking at licensing to expand the business further...
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Heidi Sturgess is an English designer and illustrator. Since starting her fashion accessories and jewellery company in early 2001, Heidi has developed a recognisable signature style. Her quirky accessories have been worn by a host of celebrities and featured in a range of media.

2008 sees the expansion of the company with the introduction of more prints and illustrations to the portfolio. The prints are now available as cards, canvasses, murals, fabric and screens.
The illustrator has also been commissioned to work for a number of high profile clients, including Fortnum and Mason and Dylon.

The company has been looking into licensing the designs and artwork for some time. Founder, Heidi Sturgess says: “The Brand Licensing Show seemed to be the ideal spring board to do this as it is a highly focused show unlike the majority of trade fairs I have done in recent years. I also felt like the time was right for me.”

The company has built up a customer base in the UK and overseas over the past six years. Customers to date consist mainly of independent boutiques, supplied with Heidi Sturgess own label fashion accessories and jewellery, but the company is now looking to build customers for her illustrations.

Sturgess explains: “My true passion is illustration and I am using the show mainly to promote illustration work which has never seen the light of day. If you design a handbag, then the product is the end of the journey: One of the things I love about creating illustrations are the endless possibilities for going beyond the image. Doing a show like this seems to be an essential starting point.”

The firm hopes that exploring licensing will allow the designs and artwork to be pushed into retail in volume, without it needing to seek a large investment.

Alongside expanding the brand and offering creative services to manufacturers and retailers, Sturgess hopes to get some feedback at the show and build up her contacts book.

On show at BLE will be a host of ‘off the peg’ collections of illustration work created specifically for a range of target markets. Products featuring Sturgess’s artwork will also be on show and there may be a sneak preview of the books she has been working on.

Products are designed in pencil, paint, on the computer and in 3D, including paper engineering and products design.

If this show is successful for the company, the firm may look at attending SURTEX or Licensing International next year and hopes to return to BLE in 2009.


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Born and raised in El Salvador, Emma Schonenberg was creative at an early age. She majored in graphic design at university and before receiving her degree, she started pursuing a design career with advertising and apparel companies.

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