Coco & Bloom: how to make vintage work for you

Since when did something old become something new? Since always! Jai Taylor from Coco & Bloom tells us how to find that vintage sweet spot and make it work with your own personal design style.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do

My name is Jai Taylor and I am a qualified journalist and notebook designer. I have a boutique on Etsy called Coco & Bloom which specialises in handmade notebooks designed and created by me.



Why 'Coco & Bloom'?
Coco & Bloom means chocolate and flowers. I chose this name as I felt that people always give chocolates and flowers as gifts, but one of my handmade notebooks would always be the perfect gift.

You are a self confessed stationery lover, when did you decide to start creating your own?
I decided to create my own several years ago. As a Journalist, I was always running out of good notebooks to write in or to inspire me to write. I was getting fed up with the usual boring designs in the shops so I decided to make my own. I am completely self-taught and all my designs are completely original. Plus, there is the added bonus that nearly all of my designs are completely unique and can be personalised.

Your design style is “vintage”, what drew you to this design style and what is your creative process when starting a new project?
I love vintage shabby chic. My whole house is decorated in this style and I love Paris and Parisian themed accessories. I decided that even though all my notebooks would be unique, you would be able to identify with my brand better if it had a certain style.

My creative process when starting a new project is that I will think of a theme or colour scheme or try to design something completely new. I will usually write down a few ideas then I will try to match colours, coordinate buttons etc. to give the notebook its own identity.


Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from everywhere. I find that fashion and nature are very good at guiding me in terms of complementary colours. I can normally draw my ideas from those and build on them through adding extra embellishments and decorations.

My customers also guide me. I love to make custom designs as they make you think outside the box. I live by the sea so my Beach Life Notebook was inspired by where I live. My Love Paris Notebook was inspired by my love of Paris and all things Parisian.

The wedding market is very competitive. What is your advice to those looking to stand out from the crowd?
My advice would be to just be yourself. Design what you love and not what you think people will buy. If you try to copy people’s ideas you will never create your own identity and in return will never feel good enough within the marketplace.


What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
I would say again; design what you love and not what you think will sell. If you are very creative and were just making things that you thought people might buy, then your passion in what you do will soon fizzle out. Take good photos and take the plunge to see if you can make a success of doing something that you love.

What would be your dream job?
My dream job would be to design for Paperchase. I love their quirky stationery and notebooks and to design for them would be amazing.

Where do you see yourself heading next?
I am vegan, so I am working on a few exciting projects within the vegan community and will also be utilising my journalism skills a lot more.


In terms of Coco & Bloom, I am always coming up with fresh ideas and have some exciting designs which will be launched soon. So watch this space!

You can see Jai's gorgeous notebooks on her Etsy store, Coco & Bloom.


Mirlah @ Best Day Ever
19 May 2015 16:15
Lovely post, really enjoy discovering other creative businesses. xox
David Brookes-Lennon
19 May 2015 18:41
22 May 2015 20:20
Really pretty and unusual.
Stuart Glegg
25 May 2015 10:21
Vintage is not a style I really relate to or like working in but when it's done well it can look fantastic.
melanie Green
26 May 2015 10:06
Beautiful work. I agree with you about designing what you love.
Su Mwamba
04 Aug 2015 07:57
As a fellow notebook designer, this was a very interesting interview - thanks. :)
Rachael Lucas
04 Oct 2015 17:39
Lovely notebooks! and great tips for me who is just starting up my own business :)
29 Mar 2017 12:38
great interview and great suggestions :)
Flourish and Luxe
22 Feb 2018 11:40
Such unusual design, awesome!

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