West London based Caroline Gardner is best known as one of the UK’s leading and most prolific stationery and gift designers. Her distinctive designs now stretch across a wide variety of product categories, including paper, accessories and lifestyle. Her signature look is an ever evolving modern classic. Products and designs born of traditional production techniques and values, set apart by a distinctive and playful blend of modern hues and scale. A portfolio drawn together by Caroline’s distinctive design handprint of quirky use of colour and placement.
The Caroline Gardner brand began rather unexpectedly in 1993, after a chance meeting between Caroline and a neighbour (she had a flat tyre) who was looking for handmade cards on behalf of a Japanese gallery. Experimenting with wire and card, Caroline successfully met the brief with six unique designs. The cards were such a success, that reorders quickly followed and it was suggested that they shouldn’t simply be a one off. “I enjoyed making the cards so much that I didn’t need much persuading to take them a step further, so I decided to start selling my designs!”. Toiling away in her Shepherd’s Bush loft, Caroline took to the design trade shows in between trips to the local Montessori with her two boys, and she began picking up orders for her hand-made cards.
In 1995, with a move south of the river, Caroline – inundated with orders – decided she needed some help with her card-making, so she set up a home office and hired an office hand. From here she didn’t look back and with her husband Angus working alongside, they laid the foundations for the future of the business.
In 2003 the Company found its new home by the river Thames and the next few years saw steady growth as the Caroline Gardner brand came to settle in most corners of the UK – partnerships with John Lewis and other household names deepened and Caroline’s iconic style seen in the ‘classic cg’ and ‘die-stamped’ card ranges was born. Some of the company’s most recognisable designs, such as ditsy and the timeless hearts, followed quickly on, and were then used to develop the exciting new gift products. It was here that Caroline’s quirky colour palette found its voice.
In 2014 – the Company made its very own leap into the world of retail. Now based in Fulham in West London, with a central London store and selling in over 20 different countries, the brand and its team, is happier and better than ever.
A passion for the simple pleasure derived from using a beautifully designed object, is the driving ethos of her eponymous company, with quality, integrity and good value the core ethics running through all of her products.