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Featured Shop: The Letter Loft

Jun 19, 2017

by Jackie Buddie

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

After 20 years (and perhaps as many false starts), British designer Jodie Bond is the owner of successful home and event decor shop The Letter Loft. However, Jodie’s journey to get here was a long one. “I’d wanted to work for myself, so I tried painting, being a holistic practitioner, even selling cleaning products door-to-door,” she says.

In 2012, after creating the perfect set of mossy “Mr. and Mrs.” table toppers for her wedding, Jodie saw yet another career opportunity: selling moss letters. Six months later a business was born, but it wasn’t without its challenges. Constructing moss letters proved difficult, and a short-lived attempt at outsourcing bulk letter frames to China didn’t sit right with Jodie. Feeling frustrated, she turned to her dad, Robert, a retired electrician living in Spain. “I told him, ‘It’s not working, I think I’m going to have to pull the plug,’” she recalls. “And he said, ‘Well, let me have a go.’

In 2015, Robert officially joined the The Letter Loft team, and today the company has a beautiful new headquarters to its name. But there’s still one thing Jodie doesn’t have: a business card. “I promised myself I wouldn’t print another business card until I was a success,” she says. “In the past, I’d get really excited, print loads of business cards and then before I even had a sale, I’d change my mind.” With the help of her dad—and a beautiful collection of bespoke wire letters and cake toppers—the duo have shaped The Letter Loft into the business of Jodie’s dreams.

Read on to learn how this father-daughter team found their groove making industrial-botanical decor, and shop the collection.

When your father joined The Letter Loft, he lived nearly 1,000 miles away. Logistically, how did you manage?

Until eight months ago, I was running the business 50% from Spain, 50% from England. My dad would make a huge batch of letters and post them to England, and I would finish them off with coloring, mossing, and packaging. But now that my parents moved back to England, we actually just bought a house together—me and my husband, Mum and Dad. Now Dad and I have workshops right next to each other—a his and hers.

Your business is truly a family affair. Was it easy figuring out how to divide the workload?

My auntie Debbie crochets the letter cushions, my mum helps with packaging. But mostly it’s me and Dad. You have to respect the different roles you play. I started the business first and then Dad came on board and we established our roles from the get-go. So I’m the owner, and we consider him a sort of contractor, and that arrangement works really nicely for us.

Photo by Yeshen Venema.

Can you describe your workflow?

Dad makes all our wire products out of stainless steel. For the cake toppers, he’ll write out a word—like you would with a pen, but using a hand-held tool. And for the letters, he bends wire around wooden boards to get the shape he wants. When he turns the wire over to me, it’s bare with welding burn marks, so then I powder coat it and bake it in the oven for about ten minutes. The paint melts onto the wire and leaves a beautiful finish. If I’m doing a moss letter, I’ll stuff the wire frame with dried sphagnum moss, which is long-lasting. At first it’s really big and fluffy, so I press it and mold it into shape, and then I cotton it all tight. Once they’re made they’re really sturdy.

What’s one of the greatest challenges you face as a small business owner?

Comparing yourself to others. Especially in the world of social media, you see all these successful businesses that seem to churn out amazing idea after amazing idea. Everything looks perfect and it seems like everyone’s day is butterflies and rainbows. But it’s important not to judge your shop based on what everybody else is doing. You have to recognize your own skills and strengths, find your niche and evolve within it.

Photo by Yeshen Venema.

What would you say has become the defining feature of your products?

They’re top quality from the inside out. Most moss letters on the market are wood or foam underneath, and a lot of cake toppers and wire letters are either aluminum or copper, which can easily bend. But stainless steel is tough, which makes our letters a nice keepsake. The powder coating is also really durable, unlike spray paint, which chips easily.

How do you put a price on quality?

I had an email from a customer who said, “I want to order this, but you’re 10 pounds more expensive than anyone else.” A year ago, I probably would’ve felt I needed to apologize and desperately try to match prices, but I’ve come to recognize that we’re not like those other people because we don’t have machinery and we’re not mass producing. Everything is handmade by either myself, my auntie, or my dad. And I value our time and my business for that.

Photo by Yeshen Venema.

The handwriting for your cake toppers is so joyful. How did you come up with your style?

In the first year, Dad was obsessed with fonts. If I visited him in Spain he’d point at a sign and say, “Ooh! Look at that A!” He was learning what letters flowed well together and would try to recreate the more old-fashioned fonts. But writing in wire is different than writing in pen; where one letter would join up nicely if you wrote it, in wire it would look awkward. So he gradually just evolved his own style with little loops to hide behind the letter so it flows easier. I also came up with a more modern handwriting that we use for the “Yay” cake topper, for example, which is probably our bestseller.

What’s the best part about working with your dad?

He really is so good at what he does. I try to remember to tell him, “This is amazing what you’re creating.” Every time I have an idea for a product, he always makes it exactly like what’s in my mind. Our creative vision is very similar.

On a personal level, my parents lived abroad for fifteen years, so to actually have him here is really nice. To spend time with your dad every day—not everybody gets that opportunity.

What have you learned about yourselves through your business partnership?

His love of perfection has definitely rubbed off on me. For instance, originally my packaging was fine, but now I add touches like petals, stickers, and a little thank you note. We agree that it isn’t just about the product, it’s about the entire customer experience. And although this is a business and it supports us financially, it’s so much more than that to us. We’re passionate about it, and we do it because we love it.

Follow The Letter Loft on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Photographs by Simon Wild unless otherwise noted.

Shop The Letter Loft

Yay Wire Cake Topper, Copper Cake Topper, Party Decoration, Metallic Cake Topper, Cake Topper, Yay cake topper, cake toppers, best sellers
Yay Wire Cake Topper, Copper Cake Topper, Party Decoration, Metallic Cake Topper, Cake Topper, Yay cake topper, cake toppers, best sellers
TheLetterLoftUK
$28.97 USD
Crochet Pillow, Letter Cushion, Personalised Cushion, Initial cushion, Alphabet Cushion, Knitted Cushion, Gift for her, nursery decor
Crochet Pillow, Letter Cushion, Personalised Cushion, Initial cushion, Alphabet Cushion, Knitted Cushion, Gift for her, nursery decor
TheLetterLoftUK
$59.26 USD
You're going to be a daddy mug, going to be a father, new dad coffee mug, hidden message mug, fathers day mug, pregnancy announcement
You're going to be a daddy mug, going to be a father, new dad coffee mug, hidden message mug, fathers day mug, pregnancy announcement
TheLetterLoftUK
$19.75 USD
letter light wedding, fairy lights bedroom, copper micro led string lights, fairy string lights, shelfie letters, copper home letters
letter light wedding, fairy lights bedroom, copper micro led string lights, fairy string lights, shelfie letters, copper home letters
TheLetterLoftUK
$36.87 USD
Copper place setting, name wedding favours, copper table names, wire table names, wire names, christmas place settings, wedding favours
Copper place setting, name wedding favours, copper table names, wire table names, wire names, christmas place settings, wedding favours
TheLetterLoftUK
$13.17 USD
Key Hanger, couples wedding gift, gift for couples, custom key hooks, key holders, New Home gift, housewarming gift, key hangers
Key Hanger, couples wedding gift, gift for couples, custom key hooks, key holders, New Home gift, housewarming gift, key hangers
TheLetterLoftUK
$63.21 USD
I Love You Mug, Love Gift, Valentines Mug, Valentines Gift, Gift for Wife, Hidden Message Mug, Secret Message Mug, Romantic Mug, Coffee Mug
I Love You Mug, Love Gift, Valentines Mug, Valentines Gift, Gift for Wife, Hidden Message Mug, Secret Message Mug, Romantic Mug, Coffee Mug
TheLetterLoftUK
$21.07 USD
Funny Mugs, Bottom of the Mug Message, Secret Message Mug, Coffee Mug, Unique Coffee Mug, Unique Mugs, Christmas gift, Secret santa mug
Funny Mugs, Bottom of the Mug Message, Secret Message Mug, Coffee Mug, Unique Coffee Mug, Unique Mugs, Christmas gift, Secret santa mug
TheLetterLoftUK
$19.75 USD
Cariad cake topper, welsh cake topper, welsh love cake topper, topper gacen Cymraeg, toppee gacen, copper cake topper, wedding cake, cariad
Cariad cake topper, welsh cake topper, welsh love cake topper, topper gacen Cymraeg, toppee gacen, copper cake topper, wedding cake, cariad
TheLetterLoftUK
$34.24 USD
Copper wire letter, 7th anniversary, gift for husband, wedding anniversary copper, gift for girlfriend, copper decor, copper anniversary
Copper wire letter, 7th anniversary, gift for husband, wedding anniversary copper, gift for girlfriend, copper decor, copper anniversary
TheLetterLoftUK
$28.97 USD
Christmas Cake Topper, Copper Christmas, Gold Chistmas, Christmas decor, Christmas Cake, Christmas table, silver Christmas, its christmas
Christmas Cake Topper, Copper Christmas, Gold Chistmas, Christmas decor, Christmas Cake, Christmas table, silver Christmas, its christmas
TheLetterLoftUK
$31.60 USD
Fifty Cake Topper, 50 cake topper, Fiftieth Birthday, 50th birthday decorations,  party decorations, 50th party, cake toppers,
Fifty Cake Topper, 50 cake topper, Fiftieth Birthday, 50th birthday decorations, party decorations, 50th party, cake toppers,
TheLetterLoftUK
$28.97 USD

42 comments

  • solomia7

    Monika Moroz from NickoArts said 5 days ago

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Congratulations on the feature of your beautiful shop. I wish you much success :)

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 5 days ago

    What a wonderful story! Your shop is beautiful! Congratulations on the feature!

  • littlechook

    littlechook from littlechook said 5 days ago

    Lovely studio space Jodie and awesome to get to work with your Dad. Is it wrong of me to be thinking he's a bit of a silver fox?

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 5 days ago

    Beautiful studio, and wonderful story! Congratulations on the feature:)

  • whichglasses

    Hilly Beavan from WhichGlassesAreWhich said 5 days ago

    Fab story and how lovely to be a real family business. Serious studio envy too!

  • TheLetterLoftUK

    Jodie Bond from TheLetterLoftUK said 5 days ago

    Littlechook - he just called me in to me your comment! Now there's a swing in his step :)

  • TheLetterLoftUK

    Jodie Bond from TheLetterLoftUK said 5 days ago

    *Read

  • rosieplustheboys

    Rosemary Cheetham from rosieplustheboys said 5 days ago

    A really great article - lovely to see your honesty about the long road to success. I've just started working with my Dad too - I addressed his father's day card to the "chief technical officer". It's a special privilege to work with family. Well done - may many more years of success lie ahead

  • TheLizWeston

    Liz Weston from HopeHousePressHQ said 5 days ago

    Thank you Letter Loft, for being so open and sharing about how you've grow and evolved your work. We're looking at how to grow and debating about working with family, so it's good to see others doing it! Do you find summer to be busiest for you? Or Christmas? Can't wait to hear more of what you all go on to do next! Liz Weston - Hope House Press

  • DecoUno

    DeUno from DeUno said 5 days ago

    What a great idea! Love it! Congratukations on the feature!

  • TheLetterLoftUK

    Jodie Bond from TheLetterLoftUK said 5 days ago

    Hey Liz, thank you. It's a bit scary putting yourself out there but I am really proud to be a part of Etsy and getting to share our story here. Summer is our quietest time - our brides have usually done the majority of their planning for summer weddings and people are enjoying time with children and sunshine! (so hot here today). Now we start to plan new ranges, work on the never ending to do list and get ready for September - February when things busy up. Working with family for me is great, but you still need to make sure you have the same vision and mesh well. It wouldn't work for everyone!

  • TheLetterLoftUK

    Jodie Bond from TheLetterLoftUK said 5 days ago

    Hey Rosemary, that's lovely that you work with your Dad too! My card was 'if at first you don't succeed, ask Dad!'. The business was good before he came, now it's great with double trouble :)

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 5 days ago

    Interesting story! Love the moss heart, great feature!

  • GTDesigns

    renee and gerardo from GTDesigns said 5 days ago

    Congrats on super feature!! Love the art - Really love the work space : ))) Very nice!! Best and continued success!!

  • HabitNationUSA

    Rebecca and Daniel from HabitNationUSA said 5 days ago

    What a lovely collaboration between father and daughter. I am in love with your workspace too!

  • foofoogal54

    foofoogal54 from GracefulVtgClothing said 5 days ago

    How adorable and what a nice shop. I give them an A.

  • Gem2thei

    Helen from Gem2theiVintage said 5 days ago

    The mossed letters are so unique and beautiful! Congratulations on this feature!!

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 5 days ago

    Amazing letter signs. Wish you the best here on Etsy, and to your father as well! Congrats!

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 5 days ago

    I love the wire works. Beautiful shop. Congratulations on the feature.

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis said 5 days ago

    Loved reading your story! Gorgeous studio and how cool to be able to work with your dad! Congrats on the feature and best wishes for achieving all your goals and dreams :)

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 5 days ago

    Wonderful article! Congrats!

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurpleJewelry said 5 days ago

    Jodie you are so blessed to be able to work with your father everyday! I lost mine to cancer several years ago and I only wish he could see how well my shop is doing now. Your shop is amazing! Congrats on your feature and may you both be prosperous in all that you do!

  • VadimMoroz

    Vadim Moroz from VadimMorozArt said 5 days ago

    Nice shop! Congratulations on the feature! All the Best!

  • tlpjenpierce1

    Jennifer and Gary Pierce from LoftAtticEarth said 5 days ago

    So happy you have been able to turn your ideas into a successful business. Yay! for you and your awesome family! Love your studio! Best wishes as your business continues to grow.

  • bonesbags

    viena bone from bonesreusablebags said 5 days ago

    It's really heartwarming to see how closely you and your family can work together. And your items are beautiful! The metal letters look so solid. Big thumbs up! Congrats!

  • kgarrett1966

    R.M Garrett from ArtisticAcrylics said 4 days ago

    You and your father make a great team! Your creations are awe inspiring. The detail in the wire work is amazing. I love all the items in your shop, but the cake toppers are my personal favorite. And if that wasn't enough, the prices are amazingly affordable!! Now that's the icing on the cake! Congratulations on your deserved feature, and I wish you both continued success in the future!!

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 4 days ago

    Wow! Awesome products!! Congrats on the feature!

  • ForeverFoxed

    ForeverFoxed from ForeverFoxed said 4 days ago

    An inspirational story and your products are just beautiful :) How lovely that you get to work with your Dad too. PS I have studio envy!

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 4 days ago

    Great story and wonderful shop. Congrats on the feature.

  • evolvewithmary

    evolvewithmary from evolvewithmarycrafts said 4 days ago

    What a unique opportunity to work and be in business with your dad! Lovely feature & thanks for the inside look!

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop said 4 days ago

    I love your shop, especially your mugs are such cool idea! Congrats!

  • MysticalRaindrops

    Jeannie from MysticalRaindrops said 4 days ago

    Sounds so nice to work with family. I love the crocheted & cushion.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 days ago

    Great story. Congrats!

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    TreasuredMemoryLane from TreasuredMemoryLane said 4 days ago

    Beautiful work! Great story and work space. Congratulations on the feature!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 4 days ago

    Great story I really did enjoy reading it. You and your father are both so talented. I love your work and your studio!! Much continued success!!

  • designsbytaylor2u

    Erica from BrazedBrand said 4 days ago

    How AWESOME....you get to work along with your Dad. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • BelkaUA

    Olesya Bagriy from BelkaUA said 3 days ago

    Beautiful shop! Beautiful work! Congratulations on the feature!

  • findaway

    Faye Schindelar from CraftyRavenStudio said 3 days ago

    Thank you so much for such an inspirational story. Congratulations on your feature.

  • ButterflyFeetShop

    Sherri from ButterflyFeetDigital said 2 days ago

    Great story, what a supportive dad! Congrats on your success and the feature!

  • bamboooska

    bamboooska from BambooskaWorld said 2 days ago

    oh these letters, what a great things can one wonderful marriage produce :)

  • farragio

    farragio from farragio said 2 days ago

    This is my favorite Featured Shop article, by far. I can relate to so much of what Jodie's journey has been to find her niche. Congratulations!

  • CharlotteBezzant

    Charlotte Bezzant from CharlotteBezzant said 2 days ago

    Lovely to read. What a gorgeous space you have to work in. x

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