That's Me

Daily country walks with my black lab

Hi, I'm Fiona and I'm a designer.

My studio, Fiona Barker Design, is based in Northamptonshire.

I love products with quotes on them; bright wall art, fun coasters or cute mugs. My childhood bedroom was filled with motivational slogans and colourful artwork.
My favourite subjects at school were Art and Design Technology. This passion for creativity and design has grown throughout my life and, in 2012,
I graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Industrial Design.

After graduating, I worked my way up the corporate ladder, from junior to fashion designer.

Over 5 years, I worked designing fashion accessories that were sold in a wide range of high street shops and then moved on to designing for a luxury pushchair brand, iCandy. I regularly travelled to China, working closely with factories to see my designs being manufactured. I was living my corporate dream, and, from the outside, I was successful and thriving. But I was constantly pressuring myself to work harder and achieve more. I worked long hours at work, which usually continued into the evenings at home. I would turn down invitations to dinner with friends and would end up exhausted by the weekend. This then meant that I missed out on weekend plans as I was just too tired to enjoy it.

The turning point for me came at the beginning of 2017, I realised that I didn’t know how to relax any more.

My work-life balance was so unbalanced that I kept getting ill and my relationships with the people I loved most were being affected. I had always dreamed of one day having my own business but knew that I was nowhere near achieving that dream. The treadmill of life was spinning and I felt that I was struggling to keep up and not actually heading in the right direction. I handed in my notice... it was time to slow down and focus on taking care of myself and working out how I could combine my passion for design and dream business. Drawing everyone told me I was so brave; in reality, I was terrified.

That summer, I went back to the drawing board, literally!

I had no idea what my business was going to be, I just knew I wanted to design every day. I rediscovered my passion for drawing. I would spend hours and hours,
listening to music, just sat with my fine liner pen and sketch book, time would fly past. I created over 600 drawings in 3 months. My lifestyle I spent time seeing family in the New Forest and got a puppy. I’d always wanted a dog, but the long hours and business trips abroad had meant that I never felt that I could commit to owning one.

My passion for long dog walks, being outside in nature and going on adventures to explore new places was restored. This is a major source of my design inspiration.

Like most entrepreneurs, I have moments of self-doubt, overwhelm and fear of “is this one huge mistake?”. Luckily, I don’t need to look very hard to find a motivational statement though. My home is filled with simple, fun and inspiring quotes to keep me on track!

My mission is to inspire, motivate and encourage others with positive quotes every-day, combined with a love of hand drawing leading to beautiful, simple, inspiring illustrations.