The ‘Meant to Be’ Moment

Photo by Rhiannon Bevan Photography

Photo by Rhiannon Bevan Photography

In July 2018 , it will be a year since I walked into Chatham Dockyard,

A year since I first met David, and


A year incidentally, where my business idea started.

So I thought it might be good to document the journey of the past 12 months, not only for future reference but also if anyone was at all interested.

*Some sunny day in July 2017*

For no reason at all, I decided to go out for a drive with a few designs I had gathered in a folder and headed to a local visitor site.

Heading in, I was approached by a kind gentleman asking if I wanted any help.

I fumbled, my nerves got the better of me and I made a complete fool of myself.

To his credit - he was very lovely.

Making my way back to the car completely embarrassed with myself, I turned around and headed home.

I saw the sign for Chatham Dockyard and decided to pull in there and park up.

When I went into the visitor centre, I was greeted by another lovely gentleman.

This time I was a little more relaxed (couldn’t get any worse than last time!)

I started my little speech with ‘I’m Esther and would you like some designs done for the Dockyard in your gift shop?’

The reply wasn’t a complete dismissal, instead it was ‘lets go and sit down.’

We sat down and I opened my portfolio, ‘I was wondering if you would like any designs done specifically for the Dockyard.’

I couldn’t gage whether he was interested or bemused by this stranger sitting in front of him.

I had no idea what to do.

Asking how he got the current designs for the gift shop, his response was ‘A supplier.’

AKA a company with credentials.

He said ‘its quite hard to get your foot in the door in this industry with limited background and experience or without an organisation backing you.’

That was it, my chances were over.

‘However if you wanted to come up with maybe three designs and products you think would work, and we can go from there.’

Completely unexpected, but I took it.

He gave me his card;

‘David Johnson Retail Manager’, and said to email him when I was ready.

He asked my name

Esther ‘Johnson’ holding up his business card

He smiled and said ‘There you go, already got your foot in the door!’


Fast forward a few weeks to the morning of the presentation.

I got out my three mood boards

He didn’t give much away in terms of expression so I broke the silence with ‘so, what d’ya think?’

Preparing myself for the let down

He said something on the lines of ‘I like them’


To be honest the next part of the conversation is a bit fuzzy. I think I was just in a daze that someone, other than my mum, liked my designs!

He had just as much right to tell me, ‘not really for us but thank you’ and sent me on my merry way.

Then I wouldn’t be where I am today or preparing for the Kent County Show!

Instead he introduced me to a colleague who was passing by and relayed the information of each board to her. It was such a surreal moment.

If it wasn’t for that moment in July, I would never have got the opportunity to have designs sold in a gift shop, nor even considered a career in illustration and design.

The people I have met and the experiences I have had from this chance encounter have provided me with a purpose and a career.

Thank you David, I owe you one!

Passing By FINAL.jpg
The Long Walk FINAL.jpg
By the Docks FINAL.jpg