Jo Lloyd, Owner of Designs from the Heart

Specialising in creating unique keepsakes – including motivational mugs, decorative glassware, personalised prints and greetings cards

I started my own business almost five years ago because I couldn’t afford to go back to my job after having my second son. There’s only 20 months between them and I was dead set on pursuing a line of work that would allow me to spend as much time with them as possible – plus it had to be enjoyable!

My career background is firmly rooted in design – having started as an office junior at a local newspaper down in Gloucestershire to becoming a principal planner for one of the country’s leading media publishing companies. In this role, which I did for about five years, I’d design pages for a number of glossy lifestyle magazines – pulling in all the content and ensuring everything always fell perfectly into place. I loved being creative but, unfortunately, I was made redundant from the position in 2009.

Eager to find something new to do, I moved into production for seven years – initially starting with a medical company which made catheters for hospitals and then landing a role with a business which manufactured electrical components for vehicles. Both jobs involved on-the-job training, so I’ve never been afraid to put myself out there and broaden my skill-set. With the last job I learned to do all sorts – including soldering and testing!

When I went on maternity leave with my youngest – knowing it was time to go self-employed – I built up Designs from the Heart from scratch. I’d always made gifts for people and they’d been really well-received, so when someone said I should do that full time I thought: ‘Yes, this will be ideal as I get to spend time at home with the kids and make a living which works around them…’

I started out making framed prints with button heads, but now I create many different products – all of which are designed to put smiles on people’s faces! Now known as ‘The Craft Lady’ – having relocated to the North (Rode Heath) from Gloucestershire for my husband’s job, who’s been super-supportive throughout my journey – I run classes at the local pub to teach customers how to create their own bespoke glassware and frames.

With business booming, I feel truly blessed.

Designs from the Heart