We talk to Harriet Plumb, founder of the contemporary tableware and textiles brand with a modern take on the art of potato printing.

Meet Harriet Plumb, Marlow-based artist and owner of The Humble Cut, a contemporary tableware and textiles brand with a modern take on the art of potato printing. Most of us think of potato printing as a crafter’s hobby or children’s activity but for Harriet, it’s a serious art medium that holds its own in modern surface design. Harriet uses the simplest of tools at her kitchen table to create a wide variety of patterns that specialists decorate on mugs, tea towels and coasters.


Here, we ask her about her business journey and what she learnt from her biggest mistake.

I came up with the idea when…

my children were pre-schoolers. One rainy day, we all just had a go at potato printing. It was at a time when I was wondering what to do next once the children were both at school. Starting my own brand of home accessories and kitchen textiles using stylish potato printed artwork seemed like a really cool idea and a comfortable fusion of my degree in Textile design and my pre-kids career in retail buying and interior design.

The biggest challenge is...

trying to master diverse roles. One day I am a creative, then a marketeer, a customer services advisor, PR, website builder, accountant, photographer, social media guru, the list goes on. Teaching myself Photoshop, Illustrator, to file Tax Returns and to design my website has been beyond gratifying. It was just the challenge I needed after several years at home, full time with young children.


The average day is…

invariably spent doing something other than my intended To do list for that day! After the school run, a spot of exercise and replying to emails, I'll pack orders, get side tracked by Pinterest or Instagram, work on new designs, update photography, write a Newsletter/ Press release, look up and it's time to collect the children.

The team consists of…

me but my husband has been brilliantly supportive and encouraging. He helps me with all things money and maths. He's my CFO.

My favourite quote is…

"Know your worth." It’s more of a mantra. I wrote it on a post-it note by my desk at the very beginning to remind myself not to undersell what I do. Promoting your business can be uncomfortable when you are a startup and it shouldn't be that way. Our work is often original, distinctive and higher in quality than larger well-known brands, so we really should know our worth!

I am where I am today because…

running The Humble Cut is a pleasure. It feeds my creative interests in colour and pattern, draws on my career knowledge of both retail and interiors and enables me to indulge my passion for all things Home. I have gained new skills and been able to work around the children's schedule, it's been ideal.


I am who I am because of…

my wonderful parents. Their career advice was "do what you enjoy". There was also a lot of emphasis on making home cosy and charming and from a young age they taught me to admire craftsmanship and appreciate beauty in nature and architecture. My husband and children are also fabulous cheerleaders and advisers - my seven-year-old daughter has a good eye for aesthetics and my nine-year-old son urges me to learn from the tech giants he admires.

The best advice I've been given…

don't try to please everyone and find your own tribe. What people want in their home is quite rightly very personal, I adore surface pattern and colour. As a child, watercolour palettes, make-up counters, paint charts and haberdashery shops fascinated me. To me, plains and neutrals have always felt joyless, so I've built my brand around what I love and I'm unapologetic about it.

In five years I’d like to…

still be having as much fun growing The Humble Cut as I am now. I'm excited to introduce new print and pattern in to people's homes.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online is…

how to maintain the optimum amount of stock. It's the worst feeling having sold out of something with orders coming in or trying to find the space to store boxes of bulky stock, especially in the run up to Christmas.

The websites I most frequently use are…

print & pattern, Xero for managing inventory, plus happy distractions in the form of newsletters from Sezane, Anthropologie, & Other Stories and Goop.

My biggest mistake and what it taught me…

I didn't have a clue about creating a website so I employed a company to do it. One year later, they went into receivership and I could no longer access my own website. After all the handholding to get it completed I then had to start it all over again. I used Squarespace the second time around and they've been great, it's so much better to be able to control my own content and make quick revisions. If you get stuck, they send useful links and videos. It all worked out for the best.

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May 2019

By Annabel Jack