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My name is Sophie, and I’m one of Search Press’s Marketing Assistants and the newest member of the team! Starting a new job is nerve wracking and fraught with new challenges, starting a new job in an industry you have no experience of, perhaps more so. Starting a new job, in an unfamiliar industry during an unprecedented global health pandemic? Oh no it was a breeze.

Of course, it has been difficult navigating all the unknowns thrown my way by circumstance, but Search Press and its employees have helped me weather it all.

My background is in Psychology, having not-so-recently earned a degree in the subject and after a smelly stint working for the local authority (I was in the household refuse office…), it was time to look for something new and exciting. I was drawn to Search Press as I spend a lot of my free time writing or scrapbooking and find both very therapeutic. I find it incredibly interesting how engaging with art and craft can boost mood and lower anxiety. Art, craft, and creativity in general have always interested me from a psychological perspective so I was intrigued to see how I could use that interest in a job in publishing.

I was incredibly nervous before my interview, but Lin and David put me at ease straight away. It helped that they asked me for my thoughts on how I would market Modern Gingerbread by Sandra Monger, a gorgeous book, publishing later this year and full to the brim with sugar and spice! I’m perhaps over fond of gingerbread, which I’m sure they gathered as I described in detail my disappointment in a certain coffee shop’s gingerbread latte.

Upon being offered the job I wondered what exactly made them choose me, a somewhat overzealous 24-year-old, with a wealth of inconsequentially strong opinions about gingerbread, for the role.

On my first day of work it became clear that my own idiosyncrasies would fit right in with the colourful family of staff that populates the office. Lin and I share a love of Hello Kitty and I began to love working on marketing material such as adverts and social media posts for books in the kawaii series such as Kawaii: How to Draw Really Cute Fantasy Creatures. All the drawings are so colourful and bright!

Then it was announced, on March 23rd that the country was to go into lockdown due to Covid-19. Many have found working from home challenging and for others it’s nothing new. For me it was a bit of a mixed bag.

Being away from a dedicated work environment left me floundering a little. I never worked in my own room, wanting to maintain a clear divide between work and home life but the spare room and the dining room were not ideal home offices. Despite this, being only one room away from the kitchen had its advantages, and I subsisted mostly on strong coffee and plate after plate of cheese on toast.

The Search Press Foyer

Connecting to my work computer remotely or to our servers proved to have its challenges. I also just missed being surrounded by books, flicking through advances and being greeted by my pride and joy, the Search Press foyer. One of my responsibilities is to keep the showroom up to date and tidy and I spend many hours populating it with our books– Creative Calligraphy, Thread Doodling and The Addictive Sketcher are among my favourites displayed there.


On one particularly sunny day, rife with technical glitches I had to take some time out. I spent 30 minutes or so on my front doorstep soaking up the sunshine. I’ll admit there were a few tears. For much of my life I have suffered with anxiety and the whirlwind of events had finally caught up with me. Little will prepare even the most mentally fortified of us for a global health crisis and many of us around the world have felt similarly.


Reassurance came in the form of my unendingly helpful colleagues and my strange little cat Lilo. Weekly Teams meetings were a wonderful way to assuage my worries. I immensely enjoyed the 10 minutes at the beginning of every call where the 6 of us would take turns to mutter the customary ‘can you all see me?’ The discovery of the selection of backgrounds was an exciting day for all of us.

With everyone encouraged to stay home it prompted us to think creatively about alternatives to events such as the Patchings Art Festival. This is a wonderful annual event that takes place in Nottingham but had to be cancelled for obvious reasons. My colleagues Monica and Mary, along with the team at Patchings, pioneered an online art festival full to the brim with live Facebook demonstrations. Brilliant artists such as Matthew Palmer and Alison C. Board did demos and we published a wealth of blog posts, competitions, and giveaways over the course of four days. It also became increasingly important to keep an eye on our social media platforms and encourage all those that were picking up forgotten hobbies and new crafts during lockdown.

Since lockdown is now easing and we are able to work safely in our office once more, about the only thing I miss about working from home is the furry presence of Lilo on the chair beside mine, or her tail in my face as she traipses across my keyboard during a meeting.

The office is not without its animal visitors however! The Search Press garden is home to critters of all kinds!

There is one visitor I like the most, a fluffy, stray cat I have nicknamed Wobbly due to his propensity for rolling off tables and ‘throwing a wobbly’ when you abstain from giving him any of your sandwich. A majestic creature with, I’m convinced, only half a brain cell to his name. Some in the office aren’t so keen as he is prone to deploying ‘The Tummy Trap’, the picture of innocence as he exposes his fluffy belly but as soon as you reach out to touch, you’ll be lucky to escape with all your fingers.

Wobbly takes a tumble!

I count myself incredibly lucky to have the experience I have had starting at Search Press, even though it has been far from easy in these extraordinary times. I am fortunate to have kept my job when so many have lost livelihoods and income and I’m lucky to have such kind and supportive colleagues who, even now, as the world attempts to return to some semblance of normality, I can rely on to be concerned for my well-being not only as part of the business but as an individual.

I’m looking forward to what my future with Search Press might bring!

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