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Monday, November 5, 2018

Talented Artist - Jo Burrows from Wotmalike - Interview & Giveaway

About Jo Burrows

Wotmalike Ltd was originally founded in November 2009 under the business name GeordieMugs. In January 2014 the business changed becoming Wotmalike Ltd being run by husband and wife team Jo & Nick Burrows.

Jo was brought up in Byker Newcastle where her dolls were the best dressed around as from an early age she had huge creative flair. She trained as a Textile Designer and went on to work for several big high street stores as a designer before working through design agents to sell her work worldwide. Jo has always been very proud of her North East heritage and has used the design name BYKERLASS for many years. 


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I'm Jo Burrows, married to Nick for 16 years we are also business partners. I met Nick in New York where I was after doing some research for the cruise company I was a designer for. Nick was in New York for the same cruise company going to join a ship he was in the pursers department and had been at sea for 12 years. We sailed from New York two days after meeting and were involved in freak storm where the ship was seriously damaged and Nick was badly injured. He left sea shortly after that and we decided life was too short so to be together. A year later we had a son and were married!

2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?

People say where do you get your ideas from?? I have SO MANY ideas I can't contain them. I get really into what I'm working on then as soon as its done I'm over and it and want to move onto the next thing. I'm design everything with a commercial mind set - I'm not only a designer but really interested in business too. I've always been a designer so ideas come easily to me. When I was at art college long time ago I didn't feel I developed my drawing skills I developed how to think like a designer. 

3) Where did you learn how to design?

I did a foundation course at Newcastle School for art and specialised in textile design. I then went onto Huddersfield Uni and did a textile design degree.

4) What does your work place look like?

My workplace is my office at home - notice I didn't say studio as I think it sounds really pretentious! I LOVE working from home - I'm at the front of the house Nick is at the back - we do email each other and have board meetings in the kitchen. My office has an original 1899 fireplace in it - its very cosy and I love it. I think people think we work from home as our business is small - it isn't we just dont go arond shouting about it! We never want to work in offices - we out source a lot of manufacturing and our warehousing so we don't need to have premises. 

5) You also make bookish items, where does your love for books come from?

Nick is a big reader and always has a book on the go - I'm a holiday reader as I don't get much time off work so use my time to research or watch tv. I love Marian Keyes and have read all her books - whenever a new one comes out I have to get it. 

Lately we have developed literary character which we sell worldwide. Turns out I'm good at drawing people (I never knew). So was have Edgar Allen Poe, The Bronte Sisters, Dylan Thomas, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare Jane Austen and the fabulous peoples poet JOHN COOPER CLARKE to name a few in the range.

6) What's it like to run a business with your husband?

Its great - the harder we work the more it benefits our family. I also trust him implicitly which is hard to find in a business partner. Occasionally when we are off work I'll ask him if its ok to ask a work related question as we try to keep the two separate.

7) How do you select the materials you use?

We specialise in printing on wood as we developed the technology a few years ago to print on wood and for it to be water resistant. We buy wood from many sources but try when possible to buy in the UK. All our manufacturing is done is the UK.

Our card for our cards is made in the Lake District and the envelopes from Yorkshire. We have good relationships with all our suppliers.

8) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

A friend asked me to design some cards for her shop as she could only get the same as everyone else. I produced a dialect Geordie range of cards (the shop was near Newcastle). At the time dialect cards didn't exist - I'm proud to say I invented these and many people have copied this idea. The cards were a huge success so much so I was getting phone calls from shops asking if they could have them. The rest they say is history. We now sell cards in six countries with a plan to expand to Australia in 2019.

9) What do you like the most about having your own shop?

We don't - we supply shops

10) What are your plans for the future?

We plan to expand to Australia as we haven't quite cracked that market yet. We also have more fun gift and products in development and would like to eventually have a shop/gallery of our own. I (Jo) would like to spend more time drawing and become known for my illustration style.


Three very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a bookish mug, a couple of signs and a couple of character keyrings from Wotmalike (pictures of the giveaway are examples).

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Love all your items, especially the coffee mugs!

  2. The quality and design look amazing. Unique, fun and lovely colours too.

  3. Boy does this take me back. I'm actually from Greater Manchester originally, had an aunt from Newcastle too. Marvellous :-)

  4. love your shop, what amazing items! thanks for this post xx

  5. beautiful shop. I saw interesting items.

  6. Love these items so beautifully.

  7. Oh my gosh I adore the Jane Austen piece. So cool

  8. such unique items

  9. So many great choices, very unique pieces.

  10. Jo, your products are creative and fun!

  11. Unique items...I like the rustic wooden signs.

  12. when my Grandad died I started to see robin's everywhere. He loved watching birds so I started thinking it was him visiting. As I was browsing the wooden signs I found one that said "When robins appear loved ones are near". I wish I could afford to buy it as it has really had an affect on me A happy one.

  13. Unique items, catchy titles :)

  14. Such cute, unique items! Perfect for gifts. Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. I adore the sign 'Robins appear when loved ones are near' and have literally just been to the website and bought one for my gran for Christmas

  16. I like all of the creative key chains and signs. I like book swag.

  17. I love all your items especially Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.

  18. So many beautiful prints and cards in the shop! I had a wonderful time exploring the website :)

  19. I'm in awe with the phone cases and keychains with Shakespeare portrait!! Amazing idea!

  20. I do like all these wonderful products. I would be happy to have one of the fantastic mugs!
    twinkle at optonline dot net

  21. Such a wonderful range of interesting items

  22. You have some seriously fantastic stuff! Thank you for being generous!

  23. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  24. Your stuff is amazing! I especially love the funny dark coasters - I could find a member of my family to suit most of them! :D

  25. Your work is beautiful and funny, loove it!

  26. I love the coffee got some cool stuff.