This Christmas, on the eve of my wee Scottish design company’s 10th year in business (can’t quite believe it), I am decking out a special Christmas tree in festive red and white.
This has been inspired not by the Coca Cola red and white as worn by Santa but by the iconic red and white packaging of one of Scotland’s most beloved family businesses, Tunnock’s!
Other than being a massive fan of both the Caramel Wafer and the Teacake (and who in their right mind isn’t?), why my Tunnock’s homage?
One day, just after graduating from Glasgow School of Art, I was mindlessly doodling at my kitchen table and before I really knew it, the smoothed out foil wrapper of a quickly demolished Tunnock’s teacake – chocolate flakes and all – became the inspiration for my first Gillian Kyle products: a tote bag and a tea towel featuring my illustrations of the teacake wrapper. Products that I was excitedly screen printing on the same kitchen table a week later.
Mindful of the iconic status of Tunnock’s and because I’m a nice, polite girl, I emailed photos of my freshly dried prototypes to Tunnock’s for their consent to sell by my fledgling company. To my wonderful surprise I was invited to Uddingston to meet Mr Boyd Tunnock himself – CBE, Chairman and Managing Director, and exporter to 40 countries. Very exciting and not a little daunting for a young designer!
He was instantly approving of my Tunnock’s prototype products and very encouraging of my start-up business: he has a reputation for being very supportive of the arts and community projects here in Scotland and so he proved to be. Plus – and totally out of the blue, or should that be the red and white? – he took me on a Willy Wonka style tour of his factory. People wait for months for this. Very cool and beyond inspiring. A day I treasure with fond memories.
My designs and products went from strength to strength and in 2011 I was proudly recognised as an official Tunnock’s license holder.
Tunnock’s have unfailingly continued to be supportive, charming and positive about our partnership. It has been real joy to work with such a fantastic Scottish family business and, let’s face it, massive cultural icon over these past years.
So, my personal preference: Caramel Wafer or Teacake?
As originally reported in an in depth article on Tunnock’s by the Sunday Telegraph, Wrappers Delight, Chris Martin, the Coldplay singer, said, ‘You can’t choose between the Caramel Wafer and the Teacake – they’re like Lennon and McCartney, you can’t separate them.’ Poetically said Chris, my sentiment exactly.
I have recently created a host of new Tunnock’s products and collections so please check out my website for some hassle-free and inspiring Christmas shopping ideas!
Canvases Collection Cushions Collection Tea Towels Collection
Tins Collection Coasters set Wee teacup baby vest
In every Gillian Kyle Collection there are 4 stunning Tunnock’s products for the beautiful price of 3. And you can also enjoy free UK delivery for all orders of £75 or over up until December 24th.
Merry Christmas Mr Tunnock, to your 500+ strong workforce and your global fan base.