Supplier Love Series: Francis & Louise

May 19, 2020

This edition of my supplier love blog series introduces you to Kerri O’Brien, a super talented textile designer living and working in East London. Kerri is the founder and Creative Director of Francis and Louise and specialises in creating bespoke accessories for style savvy couples from her unique and colourful hand drawn prints.

Kerri tells us more about her love of flea markets, her inspiration and her journey to starting her own business and why you should do what makes you feel comfortable and feel able to express yourself freely on your wedding day.

Tell me about you! What’s your background, an unusual fact about you & your journey into the wedding industry?

I am a printed textile designer with a love of all things print! I love the rush of rummaging through flea markets and vintage stores to find inspiration for my work. I have worked as a printed textile designer for over 15 years, having produced prints for the high street and high-end brands. When I couldn’t find bowties or bridesmaid dresses for my husband to be and bridesmaids for my wedding, I decided to design my own, and my business was born. I am an eighties girl and walked down the aisle to the synth classic theme tune from the Never Ending Story! 

What do you love about your job? What job title would you give yourself?

I love to create and design new work, taking inspiration from the world around me, be it on a walk in nature, architecture or from vintage textiles. I love to hand draw my work and get a real buzz from taking an idea from concept through to seeing and feeling my prints on a final product. I’m currently a one-woman band, so I’m everything from herbal tea maker, to designer, to logistics manager, to PR and creative director.

Photo by Click and Rec

Could you tell me a bit about your creative process?

My prints always start from my original hand-drawn artworks or drawing directly into photoshop, I then use photoshop to create them into placement or all over prints and colour them up. I get my inspiration for the world around me and never stop thinking about prints, accessories, and dresses. I love to take photos of interesting shapes and patterns in nature to draw from and I have been known to chase someone down the street to grab a photo of a dress I love. Once the print is finalized I have everything digitally printed using high-quality cotton, silk, or wool. Using GOTS certified inks. I then design the accessories and bridal collections with an emphasis on quality, timelessness, comfort, and the way it will make you feel. All our products are made in the UK either in my studio or with small independent companies with highly skilled artisans.

Photo by Robin Studios

What’s different about the service you provide to others in your area?

I produce accessories for men and women from my original, colourful prints. For the style savvy couples looking for something special for their wedding day. I also offer a bespoke design service where I can design a one of a kind custom print, working with couples to produce a print to suit any theme for their wedding. This bespoke service means any of my original prints can be used for bridesmaid skirts, bride’s kimono, flower girl outfits, scarves, headbands, and more. Each collection is handmade and in small quantities driven purely by demand so you really are getting a limited edition every time. We do not over produce and make use every last piece of printed fabric for scrunchies, headbands, toddler bowties and braces.

What is your favourite part of the job & why?

I love meeting so many different couples and hearing about their wedding plans and being part of that journey. Bringing that added extra personal touch to their day with my printed accessories and bridalwear. Listening to their needs and advising on the best print to match whether it be from the collection, a bespoke colour way or an original artwork just for them.

What advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?

Follow your hearts, being true to your tastes and personalities. Don’t feel the need to conform to anyone else’s rules, it’s your wedding day and therefore make it a day for you both, where you feel connected, comfortable and happy to express yourselves. Most of all have fun.

What’s your favourite food (if you can choose)?

My husband is an amazing cook and does a mean Sunday roast with all the trimmings.

What is your favourite cake flavour?

Warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I am mum to two beautiful and inspiring bundles of fun, who have been on my business journey with me. I was 3 months pregnant with my second child when I launched my business. They keep me pretty busy (suck the life out of me sometimes!), when I’m not at work. I also love yoga, to travel and seek out new places across the world, as long as they have a good flea market!

What’s your most memorable adventure? Tell me all about it!

I spent two days and a night kayaking across the mouth of the Daintree River, Cape Tribulation in Queensland Australia, with my husband and two friends. Little did I know the island we camped on was called snapper island because the area we were kayaking through was home to saltwater crocodiles. I spent most of the trip petrified, but thankfully survived to tell the tale.

Video by Click and Rec

If you’re in love with Kerri’s designs as much as I am, you can find out more about her over on her website, connect with her on Instagram or get in touch with her here. 

I’m am personally so inspired by Kerri’s stunning and colourful designs and her story, as I’m sure you will be too.

K x

About the writer and cake enthusiast…

Hi! I’m Katie and I have been fully cake obsessed since, forever…

Malarkey Cakes is built on a mixture of all my passions. My work is inspired by my background in art and design and I’m honoured to make wedding cakes for couples in love in London and the South East.

I’m passionate about blogging to share my knowledge and give guidance on the ins and out of ordering a wedding cake, making the most of it and making sure it gets the attention it deserves. I also share my tips on wedding planning and team up with fellow suppliers I am lucky enough to work with and who I highly recommend.

When I’m not designing, making or eating cake, you’ll find me trying out new food in London’s amazing restaurants, drinking great coffee, taking in stunning architecture, on long walks, smashing a decent weights workout or exploring the world.

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