To spread the goodwill this festive season, Papier is very proud to have partnered with the Prince's Trust. As well as donating 5p to the charity for every Christmas card sold, we've also commissioned illustrator Jade Fisher to create a special collection of cards, stationery sets, and notebooks of which we're donating 100% of profits to the Trust.
It's a project that's close to her heart: a long-term Papier collaborator, Cardiff-based Jade started her illustration business with help from the Prince's Trust and continues to work with the charity as a Young Ambassador. We asked a few questions about how the Trust guided her early career and why there's nothing quite like posting Christmas cards.
When did you start illustrating? Well, when I was about 8 I had two illustrations picked for the African animals school calendar (a ring-tailed lemur and a lion cub) so there’s proof I started at a young age! I have always drawn and painted and made things, and as I grew up I never really considered anything other than being some kind of artist.
How did the Prince's Trust help you? I graduated with an illustration degree in 2013 and I fell flat on my face! I had spent three years developing my illustration skills but felt like I’d learned no practical skills for actually starting a business or even getting a job in the art industry, and I felt totally out of my depth.
I went to the Prince’s Trust by chance, my father knew somebody who recommended the Enterprise Programme – which is a 4 day business course that covers the basics, such as writing a business plan, how to market yourself, cashflow and taxes etc. Things turned around for me the minute I walked in the door! Initially, it was the excitement and belief from my mentor Toni that gave me back my spark after feeling a little lost, and then the continued support, business advice and genuine interest and enthusiasm from everyone at the Trust made it feel like I was never going it alone.
I am now a Young Ambassador for the Trust and I hope I will be able to be a part of their team forever. Their support has been invaluable to me over the past three years.
What did they do to support you after you'd completed the programme? They paired me with a business mentor. For me, that was the biggest help I received from the Trust. The business mentors are volunteers who are also self-employed or have experience of running a business. My mentor, Helen, is an absolute perfect match for me; the way she celebrates every little success and practically tackles any challenges was inspirational when I was starting out and I’ve taken on many of her tips for managing day to day.
Originally, we met once every month or two in a coffee shop. It was great to have those regular reviews because time flies and things start to get crazy as you grow a business and it was always a boost to sit down and evaluate each month and realise I’d overcome the problems I’d moaned about at our previous meeting! I think the official mentorship period is about 18 months but we still catch up now. She’s become my friend as well as a mentor. I know she’s only ever an email or call away and that’s a huge support.
"Just take that first step, however big and difficult, and everything else falls into place"
What does your work as a Young Ambassador for the Trust involve? My favourite role as a YA is going back onto the Enterprise Programme as an inspirational speaker, talking to young people about my journey with the Trust. I have also had some wonderful opportunities to represent the Trust and my business at events such as an evening with Kelly Hoppen and a meeting with Prince’s Trust supporter, Nick Wheeler, who actually recommended me to Papier just before I officially launched!
What was your inspiration for the Prince’s Trust Christmas collection? I was considering what Christmas means to me, and what, visually, sparks that lovely festive feeling, and two words kept coming to mind: simple and joyful. I had been looking at vintage Christmas cards and wanted to create something traditional and classic, something that looked like proper Christmas! But I couldn’t resist giving the collection a little modern update too, with my favourite pink and bright red combo.
Do you have a favourite card in the Prince's Trust collection? My favourite is the pink holly design. I’m a big fan of festive tradition but pink and Christmas just go so well together!
Why do you like to send Christmas cards? When I was a child, I used to sit at the table with my mother writing cards for our friends and neighbours, then we’d go for a walk in the dark, see all the Christmas lights and put the cards through people’s letterboxes. It just feels magical. It’s part of the best thing about Christmas for me, which is slowing down the usual chaos and making an extra effort with real people.
Do you write a list of people to send Christmas cards every year? I used to but as I get older, that list gets shorter, and I actually think that’s a nice thing! Nowadays, I write to a handful of people who I don’t get to see much throughout the year and I always like to write one to my best friend and one to my mum where I get all nostalgic about the year that has passed.
What's special about Christmas for you? I love Christmas Eve. We all gather at my parents’ house, the same old friends from our childhood come too, and there’s cooking, and eating, and drinking, and Christmas songs. Last year, my brother played Christmas songs on the ukulele for about a week straight and my dog Buddy destroyed our gingerbread house. It’s just this lovely little bubble where everybody is happy and relaxed and we all appreciate hanging out together. That’s what it’s all about!
What would you say to someone who was in the same position as you before you went to the Prince's Trust? The hardest thing when you’re stuck is taking the first step towards being unstuck. I think most people know deep down what they want and need to do, it’s just scary making the first move towards it. But I would say just take that first step, however big and difficult, and everything else falls into place.
Send season's greetings with our customisable Christmas cards. All of which include a 5p donation to the Prince's Trust.