Next in our Ten with Tom series, we delve into the organised world of Once Upon a Tuesday to learn how to turn chaos into calm...
Embracing an intentional tomorrow, Once Upon a Tuesday showcase sustainable, joyful, stationary. Encouraging a gently organised lifestyle, Once Upon a Tuesday create purposeful stationary to build a seamless daily routine. With February being the time new year’s resolutions motivation begin to drop, we spoke to founder Michele, about the conscious company, as she shares helpful tips to keep organised throughout 2024…
TR: Tell us about Once Upon a Tuesday and how you started the business?
MF: “Once Upon a Tuesday started by accident. During lockdown, I lost a majority of my client work and for something to do, I was learning how to design. I was looking for a birthday calendar, a type of calendar that every Dutch household has. I couldn’t find one I loved, so, using my newly found skills, I created one myself. I had 10 printed locally and popped them on Etsy. I sold 7 overnight! I started designing more calendars and one was featured in a global newsletter that Christmas, which skyrocketed the sales - which made me realise this business had legs, and when I decided to make it my sole career focus. And it’s my dream job - so no looking back!”
TR: Why, and how, is sustainability so important to you and your growing brand?
MF: “For years, I have been admiring brands like Finisterre and other front-running local brands doing things better. In my personal life, I have committed to being sustainably conscious. I like running a business, but equally I believe consumerism is a great problem in our society, contributing to the huge environmental problems we face - so I want to minimise our impact as much as possible, which is why we’ve chosen to focus on a triple bottom line - people, planet, profit - all equally important.”
TR: Describe your typical working day?
MF: “Chaos to start - three kids, including two pre-teens and a toddler, getting everyone out of the house to their respective hangouts for the day requires a bucket of coffee. Angus and I work together, so we take turns doing the nursery run - so some days, I drop the littlest one to his forest school and then head to our new Studio at Lanteague Studios. After a quick catch up with the warehouse team, I’ll have a catch up with everyone in the studio to see what everyone is working on. I then try and get into a state of flow and work on a bigger project, like the seasonal design plan, for example. On Wednesdays we do a team lunch where everyone brings in something to share - usually salads and sourdough. In the afternoons, I’ll often have zoom calls with brands we’re collaborating with, or coaching sessions. I work on so many different areas of the business, from designing products to choosing the right software solutions to run the warehouse to hiring new team members. I love that its so varied.”
TR: What’s your favourite Tom Raffield design? And why?
MF: “I remember so clearly seeing Tom’s designs many moons ago, when I first moved to Cornwall, and was in awe of the style and story. Impossible to say which is my favourite, but I do LOVE the new Loer Lighting collection. I am moving house soon, and these are on my wishlist!”
MF: “Interior design is my first love - which is where I get much of my inspiration from - I always ask - in what sort of home / workspace will this work? Fashion runways and art are other places we look for inspiration. We often start with colour palettes - as I think colour speaks so strongly to the human brain.”
TR: What tips can you give people wanting to be more organised in 2024?
MF: “My three tips are: a. Start by reading the book Atomic Habits. Transforming into your most organised self comes from tiny, consistent actions. Start by decluttering a single drawer or streamlining a morning routine. Don’t overwhelm yourself. b. Actively use your calendar - Block time in for the things that matter most, whether it's exercise, family time, or tackling a dream project - without booking in your time, we don’t HAVE time to do something, we MAKE time. c. When I work on anything, I always think about how I can help my future self out right now. That means organising files for easy access, labelling everything clearly, and taking those extra five minutes to set things up right. It's an investment in your future self's sanity and efficiency. Oh and, write it all down - your small and large to-do’s, dreams, wishlist - getting it down on paper and spending some time thinking about your goals, prioritising them is magic. “
TR: How important is a thoughtful workspace? (And what is your workspace like?)
MF: “A workspace is one of the most personal environments - you spend so much of your life here. I am very intentional, I need mine to be calm, simple, and joyful - I like to look up from what I have been working on and smile at the space. I have an ADHD brain, so it’s going 8973 miles per hour - constantly buzzing with ideas, jumping from one task to the next, so the environment needs to be calming and supportive, not another source of chaos. I most love wooden surfaces (I would work in room made entirely of wood, if I had my way), and plants are the finishing touch.”
TR: How do you come up with your innovative designs?
MF: “I always design for myself first. For example, I designed the first co-parenting calendar, to use at home with our kids. They like to know which house they are going to be at, so this calendar has filled that need. We recently designed a medication tracker, which I have been wanting to do since I was seriously ill after my son was born a couple of years ago. I have so many more designs I want to create for myself, the team, the kids and even for our customers based on their feedback - the goal is to make stationery that helps people with something in their life."
TR: As designers, we love hearing about other people’s interior style, what makes your house a home?
MF: “My home feels is filled with collected objects and art, gathered over the years, that all have meaning and a story, that bring joy. But its not cluttered - I am a heavy editor of my space, and anything that adds unnecessary clutter is out, I love colour, but need my spaces to be calm and relaxing. I love texture and layers and my friends comment on that when they come into my home. Like you, I love wood and it featured heavily in every space in my home and at the studio - perhaps growing up in the Caribbean has given me the desire for that outdoor feel which I get from wooden objects in a space, and that pop of colour which so heavily features in Caribbean life.”
TR: What’s to come for Once Upon a Tuesday in 2024?
MF: “We have an exciting year ahead - we’re on the verge of becoming BCorp certified, which is a dream come true. We are working on the 4th annual collections, and we are collaborating with some incredible artists, which I feel so privileged to do. We have grown our team quite a lot over the last year - so this year will be about growing us all into a true team that really knows and respects each other - and have a great time together.”