A huge boost from Theo for Tabitha Mary

Tabitha Mary whose eponymous designs have caught the eye of retail  magnate Theo Paphitis
Tabitha Mary whose eponymous designs have caught the eye of retail magnate Theo Paphitis

When she couldn’t track down a map of the Shipping Forecast as a Christmas gift for her parents, graphic artist Tabitha Mary Cross decided to design her own.

And from those humble beginnings in her bedroom, a burgeoning business has grown.

Her eponymous brand now boasts an impressive collection of more than 70 prints spanning 1930s travel posters to iconic architecture and much more.

And it’s about to get even bigger.

Tabitha Mary, 31, of Sandhills Esate explains: “On Sunday I tweeted amazing retail tycoon Theo Paphitis about my humble enterprise and to my surprise and excitement I was chosen as one of his six weekly Small Business Sunday winners.

“This means that my business was re-tweeted to his 500,000 followers.

“I was totally unaware I’d been picked until my phone started going mad with Twitter notifications . . . and the excitement when I saw what had happened was unreal.

“It’s boosted my confidence and made me think I’m doing the right thing.”

Her popular posters and tea towels will also feature on Theo’s #SBS website.

Her ultimate aim is to move into the wholesale market and she’s recently attended her first trade fair.

She’d like to branch out into American prints and her belated honeymoon in California this week could prove an ideal opportunity.

Tabitha Mary met her global mobility manager husband Paul online. “He’s got a proper job and I’m a great advocate of online dating,” she says.

She’s also mad about foxes – “No real rhyme or reason, maybe I just like the colour orange” – and Paul bought her a felt fox head which is on their bedroom wall because “it looks so cool.”

Tabitha Mary did a degree in mixed media textiles and her first job was designing Christmas crackers. “Drawing holly all year round,” she recalls.

She progressed to homeware and stationery, then devoted herself to posters and tea towels when she and Paul moved to Leighton Buzzard two years ago. “And I’ve never looked back,” she smiles.

> More info at www.tabithamary.co.uk