Buy one get one half price on all prints. No code needed. Cannot be used with any other discounts on prints. FREE UK POSTAGE ON ORDERS OVER £14.
Our business journey

Our business journey

Our business journey

Welcome to our first ever blog post over here on our Abel and the label blog!

To introduce our blog we felt it was only fit it was a post that introduces our journey.

I am Isabelle (I much prefer Izzie) and I founded Abel and the Label - who I now run with my Fiancé Luke.
Me, Luke, Abel and Elsie.

Abel and the label is our third baby, named after our - first baby - Abel. I always knew I wanted to have my own business. As a child, I was always creative although I didn’t really know what I wanted to ‘be when I grew up’ per-say but I knew I loved being creative.

That always stuck with me growing up, I was very academic when I was at school but I didn’t enjoy it. I struggled to make friends and got bullied - a lot, creativity became a way of survival for me.

When I left school I went to college and did Art. To be honest I never really thought about doing art as a career path, I just knew that’s what I was going to do and I didn’t even look at anything else. I went off to college and really started to find myself. I was creative, I was hardworking and I had found something I was passionate about.

Just before I started college I met Luke. I was 15 and Luke was 17. I remember one of my teachers telling me that I needed to be concentrating on my GCSE’s and not a boy but it was different with Luke. We instantly connected, we were inseparable and Luke helped me through a really difficult time that I was going through with my family- he was my rock. We moved in together when we were just 16 & 18!

I finished college with a BTEC equivalent of 4 A* s I loved what I did but during this time my mental health struggles had really heightened. I was in the early days of an eating disorder, newly diagnosed with cyclothymia, and suffered from anxiety and depression. I think finding my passion in art really did keep me going. It allowed me to express all kinds of emotions that I never knew I had and showed me a different way of thinking about the world. I genuinely think doing art at college was one of the biggest things that shaped who I am as a creative. I had two incredible tutors Martin and Andy and they just opened my mind and taught me so much.
At college preparing for an exhibition.
Eventually, I went off to university to follow my then dream of being a fashion designer.

I never felt as though I fit in at university. My anxiety was at its worst, from the second I stepped out of the door to the second I stepped back in the door when I got home the chest pain was immense. I LOVED uni, I loved the work, the challenges and the tutors but again, I really struggled with the social side of things. But I excelled at university. I won a scholarship whilst I was there for underprivileged youth and enjoyed every second of my growth.  In March 2015 my whole world turned upside down when I found out I was pregnant. I was just 19 and Luke had just turned 21.

Never being ones to shy away from a challenge we took it on our stride. I decided to take a gap year from university and my plan was to return.

So I went away and Abel was born in November 2015, on Luke’s Nan’s birthday and our whole world changed. I would be lying if I said the whole experience was a breeze. It was hard. Harder than I could of ever imagined.

During the first year of Abel’s life, I really struggled with depression. I had stopped being creative and being a parent - for me had brought up so much unresolved child hood trauma - that I didn’t even realise was affecting me until I had Abel.

I asked for help and tried many different solutions. Nothing seemed to be a quick fix, then one day Luke surprised me and got me an iPad and Apple Pencil on contract. I started drawing and I never looked back.

When Abel was around 9 months old I fell pregnant again. With our second-born Elsie. During this time I had decided not to return to university. I started drawing in the hope one day I would be confident enough to share it with the world and maybe even make some money from it.

Fast forward to 3 months after Elsie was born and our lives changed dramatically again. Luke left his job due to it having a huge impact on his mental health. He was depressed, exhausted and underappreciated and by this point, we were very quickly realising that we could not put a price on happiness.

This excelled my idea for doing some positive art prints and hoping that I could make enough money one day to live off. I contacted The Princes Trust I was just 21 at this point so eligible for some support from them and I felt this was the right time to focus on turning my passion into something that I could one day support my family with.

Elsie was just 6 weeks old when I first contacted The Princes Tust with my idea (looking back I do not know what I was thinking) but I think I was probably searching for something to give me back an element of my identity again. I didn’t really have a business plan but I had a heap load of passion and a drive because strangely it just felt right. I remember them calling me and I was so caught off guard, I remember just almost going with my gut and blurting out that I wanted to create positive art prints, but having no plan or idea how I was going to do it.
The conversation went on and they agreed that they would be able to offer me some great advice and support.

I had my first meeting and my mentor rose was so supportive and lovely and I remember that it just excited me, it lit the fire in me. I was granted a place on the online business course and I just went from there.

Originally when I started I had this idea in my head that I wanted to create a relatable space for mums to support one another’s mental health. I started an Etsy shop and designed some of my first prints and called my shop ‘Mums Herd’. I was filled with hope and excitement, but 18 months on I hadn’t sold a single print. I think it’s because even though I was passionate about what I was doing it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I just knew it wasn’t that. So I took a few months and decided to rebrand.
My first ever 'office' a tiny desk in our tiny living room, which we saved for months to buy!

I applied for a credit card and got approved for £100. I designed some more prints that were in the direction I wanted to go, decided to buy a domain for £14 to have my own website so I could start building our own little world. I got the new prints printed and got some envelopes, poster tubes, stickers, thank you cards and tissue paper to set me off. All that was left was a new name.

Then one day I was sat watching Abel, he was around 20 months old at the time, and he would carry his beloved Ted around all the time. He would self soothe with the little label on Ted's bottom, where he would rub the label repetitively through his two fingers. I thought about how magical it seemed in that moment that he was just being so mindful, and taking himself to another place. Just then I thought Abel and the label! That’s it. If we can capture that magic and share that with other kids we might just be on to something.

And that’s where it all began! As time went on we have realised our true passion and mission. Our mission has been quickly realised that we are here to help children with their mental health. We want to educate them, and celebrate all the wonderful things in life.

Our business really started to see growth when we joined not on the high street in may of 2020. When the UK was first put into lockdown we saw a huge drop in sales. I remember getting upset with Luke and saying who is going to want to buy art prints during a pandemic?

While it was quiet we used this time to set up our NOTHS storefront. We spent days bribing the kids with Haribos to be in the photos for us. Took photos with what we already had, used natural light when it was just right and my iPhone to photograph them.
When we first set our NOTHS storefront up it took us a couple of weeks to get our first order. A real pivotal point for us was during July 2020 when we started to get hundreds and hundreds of orders every day. During this time Luke and I were sleeping on the sofa in the living room and packing orders on the kitchen bar. We turned the kid's playroom into a makeshift packing room using some wallpaper pasting tables we had borrowed from my mum.
Hayley (Luke's sister) and chief packer amongst the chaos of lockdown orders 2020!
During this time the kids were off nursery and it was a crazy juggle. We were staying up until 3 am to get orders printed and packed then back up at 6 am with the kids! We muddled through and as things eased up and the kids started back at school and nursery we started to look into investing in some new products that would help our customers the most and we got our very own office!
We now have a whole range of positive gifts that we hope to help children and their mental health in day to day life. (Which you can shop here).
We’ve worked hard, persevered and we keep going through the hard times. We see every difficulty as a learning opportunity and we never ever give up. We are proud and passionate and we love what we do.