Supplier Spotlight: Jolly Awesome

We’re known amongst South West Londoners for our delicious selection of seasonal and fresh dishes but we like to think we’ve got an eye for style too. If you’ve visited the cafe recently (if not, what are you waiting for?!) then you will have noticed some of the playful artwork we’re displaying – courtesy of art and design studio Jolly Awesome. We caught up with founder Matt to hear more about the brand and why cheese is one of the best ingredients on the planet.

For anyone that doesn’t know, what is Jolly Awesome and what do you make?
Jolly Awesome is a London-based design studio that creates contemporary, funny illustrated greetings cards, stationery and giftware! We sell worldwide to the likes of Social Pantry, Paperchase, Scribbler, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Selfridges and Oliver Bonas to name a few.
A lot of your designs are super playful and tongue-in-cheek, what was your initial inspiration to launch Jolly Awesome?
Before founding Jolly Awesome in Summer 2014, I actually worked for a bank in Digital Marketing for 5 years.
I have always been creative and loved to illustrate throughout my life. I started getting itchy feet after a few years working there, so started illustrating again in my spare time I posted them on Instagram and they got a great reaction, so I came up with the idea of putting them onto greeting cards. A few big retailers picked them up straight away, it snowballed and I quit my job a year later.
My designs are inspired by the things I love – hip hop, pop culture, music, fashion and animals. We also have a little french bulldog called Raffy who features heavily!
I love making people laugh. I usually come up with ideas for designs after a few drinks, I’ll then jot it down in my phone and if I still find it funny a couple days later when I’ve sobered up – I know I’m onto a winner.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced since starting the business?
Finding time – the 3 years have flown by. We are still a 2.5 person team, myself, my wife Katie and Raffy of course. Being a small business, you have to do a bit of everything – we work to the efficiency and turnover of a 30 person equivalent greeting card publisher.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business and what has been your greatest achievement to date?
It feels amazing bringing a product to market, that people actually love and enjoy too – it’s nice to know that other people ‘get’ my jokes and designs. It was brilliant seeing our product on Paperchase’s shelves for the first time. So far we’ve made over 2.5 million sales worldwide.
From one business to another, what advice would you give you other entrepreneurs wanting to start their own company?
Although not necessary, it always helps to have a passion for whatever you’re going into. That extra bit of passion will drive you forward on those many late nights and early mornings during the start up period. It’s really important motivation as well, because you don’t have a boss to discipline you or give you deadlines – it’s all self-imposed.
What is your favourite part of working for yourself?
Having full ownership of something. It’s all on you and you really get out what you put in. 
What does the future have in store for Jolly Awesome?! Have you noticed any really exciting emerging art trends for the next year or so?
To continue to make Jolly Awesome stuff. We have just launched a Hello Kitty x Jolly Awesome stationery collab which is really exciting.
If we came to Jolly Awesome HQ for lunch, what dish (or dishes!) would you serve? Are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
If you guys came around, I would serve Vietnamese spring rolls and pho. My parents are from Vietnam and my Dad is a head chef, so have been very lucky to grow up with excellent food around me – I’ve picked up a few handy recipes. I couldn’t live without cheese – it makes everything better.