nestling in a house in Heage, a passionate artist is busy bucking the trend of manufactured gift shop goods.
For a year now, Helen Wilde has run her online company from her cottage on Ripley Road, selling quirky handmade craft, fashion and fine art.
Since starting up her website, www.fromthewilde.com Helen’s company now sells the work of a whole bundle of contemporary designers, artists and illustrators from all over the world.
And every product is a handmade labour of love.
All the canvas prints, brooches, necklaces, journals, even children’s toys have done away with the production line conveyor belt, and are lovingly hand crafted using traditional methods.
Helen, who left her hectic job at an art publishing company to start up the business in July last year, said the first 12 months of trading have been a real success.
She said: “It has been fantastic, above expectations - I did have a slight concern that in the economic climate, people would save rather save their pennies.
“But what I found was that people like to buy things that are quality and hand made. I’m a firm believer in good old fashioned customer service too.”
Although Helen, who studied decorative arts at Nottingham Trent university, does not make products herself any more - she now has 97 artists on her books from Derbyshire to Thailand.
From the Wilde has even garnered the praise of the Guardian’s top art critic, Kate Carter in a recent blog. But Helen’s success comes off the back of near tragedy. While maintaining her high pressure job in Nottingham in 2009, the now 30-year-old was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
She said: “I thought I was aways at work and I never see my family, something needs to change. I always wanted a gallery and I thought, ‘I can do this’.”
Helen has since got the all clear from the illness and is thrilled at how the business is going.