The idea for Tom's business came from watching his wife Gemma use a plastic mass- produced calligraphy pen which he felt didn't match the quality of her beautiful work. With his background in furniture and product design which he studied at university and his experience of working in a blacksmith's forge , he decided to make her a better pen that she would love using every day.
The First Pen
Tom made his very first pen from the beautiful, long lasting materials Corian and brass on his father-in-law’s 1960s Original Myford Engineering lathe.
Happily, Gemma loved her new pen and it turned out that others did too!
After six months of working weekends and evenings, still from his father-in-law’s garage, Tom left his full-time job as a graphic designer for tech start-ups and moved with Gemma from London to sunny Dorset where they had a little girl and started Tom's Studio.
It was a rollercoaster of a year to say the least!
Having saved £700 pounds he invested it in materials, equipment and a tiny workshop. Fortunately, by this time Tom had some wonderful customers who supported his work with a huge amount of enthusiasm! (Thank you, you know who you are) Slowly, Tom built his skills and the business by re-investing any profits back into developing and improving his products. Though he admits to obsessing over every little detail, thankfully he had a wonderful product tester in Gemma! The values and inspiration for Tom's Studio are the same now as they were then:
Just as the first pen Tom made for Gemma was to improve upon the one she had, the intention behind any of Tom’s products remains that they must be better than those currently available. He will never settle for an average product.
Tom makes his products for incredibly creative people, so why shouldn’t the tools they use be made with the same flair and ingenuity an artist applies to their own work? This is why Tom is always striving to experiment and master different processes and manufacturing techniques.
Tom believes we have lost the 'soul' of the products we use in the age of
mass production. It's why it’s his mission to bring the creative soul back to the tools we use every day.
Quality & Sustainability:
Tom will only use materials that stand the test of time. A massive opponent
of disposable culture, he designs and makes his products with the intention
that they will be one day be cherished by their current owner’s grandchildren.
From the start to now:
From those humble beginnings Tom is now incredibly proud to have had
his products sold at world class retailers such as Harrods. He was selected
to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and his pens have been used
by some of the best (and loveliest) calligraphers, customers and creative folk from around the world.
In 2020, Tom’s Studio has been joined by his calligrapher wife Gemma who
has built up her own successful business as a wedding stationery
designer. She brings an incredible wealth of creative talent and experience
to the business as well as the excellent managerial skills she gained as an
account manager for prestigious London advertising agencies.
It is Tom & Gemma’s vision to stay small, keep serving a wonderful
community of like-minded creative folk and to do the work they love for people who care.