In Conversation With… The Tea Towel Lady


Let me introduce you to Karen who, with her husband Ben, runs the Original Wedding Tea Towel company.  In the early days of the Virtual Tea Towel Museum, I came across the Original Wedding Tea Towel company on the Internet; I’d never heard about it before and was intrigued.  Yes, it’s right, Karen produces bespoke tea towels for wedding invitations.  I seriously wish that Karen’s business had been around when I got married.  Her wedding invitations are just perfect; they would have been the ideal wedding invitation for me, so good that I could have kept a reminder of a great day.  Let Karen tell you the story:

”Way back in December 2009, we got married.  Ben’s a designer so was under huge pressure (from me!) to come up with a cool idea for our wedding invitations.  After about 20 failed attempts, he finally hit on the idea of doing something people could keep (after all, we thought why spend all that money on something that people are only going to throw away), so that was when we struck on the idea for ‘The Wedding Tea Towel’’.

”Eventually, we created the ‘Whale Design’.  Then came the day of sending them out.  People seemed genuinely blown away and the feedback was amazing and almost all our guests RSVP’d before the day was out.  It became one of the most memorable things about our wedding.  And now, we still see them in our friends’ kitchens.”

”So, we got married and we both wondered if, maybe, the idea was good enough to make a business out of, so that’s exactly what we did!  Out experience in marketing (I was a Senior Project Manager at BBH and Ben runs his own design agency – Citizen Design) means that we know how to make our couples feel at ease, and have the creativity to keep coming up with great new designs.  And who doesn’t love a tea towel?  (Karen clearly understands how I feel!)

”We started off with a small collection of, what we call, our Classic Designs and now, nearly nine years later, there are 27 Classic Designs to choose from.  We seek inspiration from all over and anywhere.  It could be from something we see out and about that we love.  We, of course, follow wedding trends and like to tap into what our couples are looking for.  Most of our couples are super-relaxed and want to wow their guests so we get to have lots of fun with our designs, which is the best part!”

”All our tea towels are 100% cotton and printed in UK on either white or natural material.  We have a range of the print colours to choose from, but we can print in any colour really.  As long as the couple can provide us with a reference, or something to match to, then we can mix it and print it to make sure that their whole day ties together beautifully.  We do get some couples who have had a great idea for their invitations and so we love to work closely with them to create something completely unique for them.  

These designs could be anything from a lovely, scenic beach wedding in an old seaside town in Greece to a crazy festival wedding with a farmyard full of animals.  Every wedding and couple are different.  We often also add bespoke elements to our Classic Designs; so if a couple love one of the artworks on our site but got engaged up a mountain, then that’s great, we’ll add the mountain to our design just for them.  We want every wedding tea towel to match the couple perfectly and so we create each one as carefully as we did our own”.

”Coming up with new Classic Designs to add to our range is always the most challenging, and nerve-wracking, part of what we do, and the anticipation as we present them to our little world always gives us butterflies.  Waiting for those first few comments, and hopefully, of course, orders come in for a new creation is a tense time for Ben and I but I’m pleased to report we’ve not got it wrong yet!”.

”And that’s it.  That’s us and our little business and we absolutely love what we do.  I’m known out and about on the ‘Wedding Scene’ as ‘The Tea Towel Lady’ and there is no other professional name that I’d like to have”.

I wanted to know if Karen had a favourite tea towel design.  “My favourite design is probably the ‘Whale’ because it’s the most special for me as that is where it all began but I am also in love with ‘Wonderland’.  It is hand drawn by Ben so really shows his talent but I also love the typography style ones like ‘Love Story’.  It’s too hard to decide”.  If you asked me about my favourite, which I would choose if I was getting married, it would have to be ‘Scrabble’.  I love the clarity and symmetry but, really, they are all great!

I wondered about the postage, both method and cost.  “For postage we recommend neat brown wrapping paper or lovely postage boxes, each costing one large letter stamp to send”.

Thank you, Karen, for your time.  This is a unique business and what a great way to make your wedding special; no one ever remembers the Wedding Invitation for the most special day of your life, this way they do, something to keep forever to remember your Special Day.

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