• Nellie Williams

Wales in their own words : Ceri Gwen

In my blog series Wales : In their own words I am introducing readers to the people behind the businesses I have got to know and love in my travels around Wales. A huge thank you to Ceri of Ceri Gwen who kindly gave up her time to answer my questions.


Name   Ceri Staziker


Business Name: Ceri Gwen (www.cerigwen.co.uk)


What does your business do? It’s a bit eclectic. I’m a freelance graphic designer, but I also design fabric and wallpaper which I sell online through my Spoonflower shop. I also design Welsh-themed prints and gifts which I sell through my Etsy shop. I’m very close now to being able to launch a wholesale option for my prints and gifts. The initial offering will be quite limited, but I hope to expand the range quite quickly over the coming year.


What is your most popular product? Definitely my fabric. There is a huge demand for quirky and unusual designs. They are snapped up by the massive army of home sewists as traditional crafts like sewing and knitting enjoy a resurgance. 


What is your personal favourite? I have a soft spot for my signature ‘Welsh Girls’ designs. I’ve applied them to fabric, dolls, calendars, tea towels, framed prints and even have them on wallpaper in my studio.



Where are you based?  In the Vale of Glamorgan just outside Cardiff. I work from a studio in my garden.


How long have you been in business?  I’ve been a designer for nearly 30 years but my product business is just a few years old.


What are your hours?   I work from home which allows me to be very flexible with my time. I spend a fair amount of time being a taxi driver for my daughter and her after-school activiites, so I often work during the evenings or at weekends to catch up.


What is the easiest/most fun part of your business?    The designing. I absolutely love the posibilities of a blank sheet of paper. Even after all these years I still enjoy the process and never fail to get a thrill out of creating a new design.


What is the hardest part of your business? Admin. Its such a bore no matter how necessary. Luckily my husband trained as an accountant so he comes in very handy at year end!


Where do you live? The Vale of Glamorgan, just outside Cardiff.


How do you relax?   I love sewing and make many of my own clothes. I also love walking and try to get outside most days. Luckily we live in an area where I can be out and across the fields from my doorstep. Other than that, spending time with my family or flopping down in front of Netflix when all the chores of the day are done.

If you weren’t doing this what would you do? I always wanted to be an architect, but back in the day you needed to be good at maths and physics. I wasn’t! 


Is this the career you thought you would have?   Yes I think so. I’ve always been a designer but its been a very varied and interesting career so far. I started out working for Microsoft in Seattle, then worked for a branding agency in London, then for 10 years I co-owned a design consultancy in Cardiff. I left the frantic pace of running a consultancy in order to have a family, and have freelanced ever since. No regrets.


Where did you train/learn? I studied for a degree in Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading.

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in a village just outside Port Talbot.  


Where else have you lived? Seattle and London.

What is your favourite meal? During lockdown I have been craving fish and chips from Beale’s in Porthcawl! Going to be making a beeline for it as soon as we are allowed to.


What is your favourite telly programme? The Great British Sewing Bee


What are you reading at the moment? I’ve just started ‘On Chapel Sands’ by Laura Cumming.


Are you a Welsh speaker? Unfortunately not. I come from a Welsh-speaking family but my father was English, I attended English-medium schools and we spoke English at home. So, even though I have a good understanding of Welsh from growing up among my Welsh-speaking relatives, I have never been fluent myself. Its always been a big regret of mine. I’ve attempted to learn many times as an adult, without much success. My daughter attends a Welsh-medium school so I feel as if I’ve set the record straight in a small way.


Would you ever leave Wales?    I can’t imagine leaving permanently. I’m always drawn home.


What makes Wales so special?   The rich heritage, the language, the beautiful scenery.


Do you do online sales? I don’t have a physical shop so all of my sales are online.


Do you attend events? No I don’t. I’m a bit of an introvert.


Where is your happy place? My studio. I end up wandering across the garden to potter in there even on weekends.


Where is your favourite hidden gem? Poppit Sands near Cardigan. I spent a lot of my childhood in St Dogmaels and bike rides to Poppit Sands were a big part of it. I love the big beach and the views across the bay.


How have you adapted your business during this pandemic? Freelance graphic design work has definitely slowed down during the pandemic, but online sales have been unaffected. In fact fabric sales have increased as the popularity of sewing scrubs and masks has taken off.

Could you recommend one of your favourite websites? Ballet Cymru is an amazing ballet company based in Newport, Gwent. They put on the most wonderfully innovative modern and classical performances. Even if ballet isn’t something you normally go to watch, I guarantee that you will leave with a huge grin on your face. I love their work and their ethos. As well as their touring schedule, they do a lot of brilliant work in the community, and run monthly associate classes for up-and-coming young ballet dancers. The arts have been hit particularly badly during the pandemic, so I would urge you to support Ballet Cymru once we are able to again. Keep an eye on their website for future tour dates.


Anything else you would like to say?  I think you covered everything! Thank you.

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