IT’s probably no coincidence that when times are tough, we start to look for inspiration wherever we can find it.
Witness the rise of the old war time slogan ‘keep calm and carry on’ which has sprung up all over the place since the economic downturn began.
Friends Joy Blakemore and Rebecca Lamb are no stranger to adversity - but have found their salvation in words.
Joy was made redundant from her job as an interior designer nearly three years ago.
But an earlier trip to Canada, where she had seen inspirational quotes used as wall decorations, brought out her natural creativity and sparked the idea for her own business.
“I did a bit of investigation and bought a vinyl cutting machine, got a website, and was up and running,” said Joy, of Rotherham Road, Clowne.
She went on a year’s sign writing course at Chesterfield College where she won the award for most outstanding student.
She set up Words That Talk, creating decorative words and quotes designed to inspire from her own utility room at home.
Her work also proved an inspiration to next-door neighbour Rebecca Lamb, who began to help out.
“I found it really therapeutic and loved doing it,” said Rebecca, who was working full time for a bank in Derby at the time.
When she too was made redundant last year it seemed the natural choice to take up a full time job as Joy’s sales and marketing manager.
“People have questioned whether it was the right thing to do but I’m really enjoying it and we’ve got loads of ideas for the future.”
“Joy is the creator and is happy behind the scenes, whereas I’ve spent 15 years in sales so I am doing that side of it.”
They have just opened their new retail showroom at the Crossroads Business Park, Creswell Road, Clowne, and have got eight shops selling their products, with more in the pipeline.
Rebecca also does house parties in the evenings and is already booked up until September.
“I went with Joy to do a stall at Harthill Carnival and a lady asked if we did parties and I said no,” said Rebecca.
“But then we got to thinking about it and decided to give it a go.”
“They are really popular and we are now offering people the chance to have a party at our showroom if they don’t want to have one at home.”
Their online sales are also thriving. “Things are going much better than we ever hoped,” said Joy.
As well as their standard range of quotes, they also provide a custom-made service.
Rebecca said her favourite quotation is ‘dance like nobody’s watching and sing like nobody’s listening’.
“It can be taken literally but it can also mean much more about doing what you want to do,” she said.
Joy said her favourite is ‘dare to colour outside the lines’.
“It’s about daring to step outside the boundaries, and daring to do something different,” she said.
Which sounds like a neat way to sum up the business.
n For more information go to www.wordsthattalk.co.uk.