Originally from Manchester in the north of England and having never travelled much as a child, at 17 I set off with a back pack slung over my shoulder and headed off for my first lifetime adventure around Europe. And I’ve not stopped travelling since. I love the excitement that travel has to offer; the adventure, the people, the way your mind opens up. This is my happy place and it’s where my inspiration comes from; nature, mountains, walking in the hills, fresh air, sea breezes…. I LOVE it!
I have been creative ever since I can remember, so it was completely natural for me to do a Degree in Art once the time came. I specialised in Textile Design and have not stopped designing in some way or another since. After finishing my degree, my boyfriend (now husband) and I set off around Europe, working in many countries and enjoying the sights, sounds and freedom of living out of a suitcase. It was wonderful. But after a while, we decided to settle down….so we moved to Australia!
Australia was where I set up my first design business, Cheeky Pickle and went back to my roots of stitching into paper. With two little girls, a husband and a dog now nipping at my toes, my business flourished and I was soon selling my wares to shops and customers all over Australia. It was very busy and hectic, but rather exciting at the same time. I also became very passionate about writing at that time and I blogged lots about my business, about working in the creative industry and also about trying to juggle life with a young family and running a home based business. (you can read those informative and funny blogs here)
As I travelled along my creative business path, rather rocky at times, I decided to journal what I had learnt along the way. My creative business e books were born as I was really keen to share my knowledge with like minded people. A few of my e books are still available in my ETSY Store
Because of my passion for writing at that time, I was picked up by American book publishing group, C & T Publishing and was asked to write a book for tween aged children about my specialism, which was stitching into paper. And so I did! My book is called “Stitched Paper Art” – 22 Cheeky Pickle Projects! (Still available on Amazon)
With a booming business, a published book, being featured in many magazines and press articles all over Australia and after participating in a large trade show in Melbourne, I decided quite unexpectedly to head down a different path (as you do!) and do something I had wanted to do for a very, very long time. And that was to learn how to create patterns that I could design, sell or to put onto my own products. It was at this time that Ali Benyon Designs, my new and current business was born.
I learnt as much as I possibly could about pattern design; how to create them, how to sell them and how to get my designs onto products. I worked hard, I stated my business from scratch, dragging a few of my Cheeky Pickle customers with me, I blogged honestly about my journey, I cried about it! In fact I nearly threw the computer out of the window on many occasions, but it has been all worth it. I’ve created many wonderful designs that have been licensed worldwide, I’ve shown my work at prestigious trade shows in the States, I’ve had my work featured on famous pattern blogs and I have finally managed to have my work printed onto products that I now sell!
I’m back in the UK now, living and loving working from my tiny studio in the heart of Cheshire. I’m still a gypsy at heart, but I’m quite happy holidaying in Cornwall these days with my small family and of course Dougal, our Aussie dog.