How a love letter sparked a business idea for York mum of three

NATALIA Willmott still gets a thrill at the memory of a love letter from her past.

While a student, her boyfriend left her a note in her pigeonhole which read: “You have the keys to my heart, here are the keys to my flat.”

She has treasured the note to this day – particularly because that boyfriend is now her husband, Greg.

But more than that – it gave her a business idea.

She wanted others to have that same special experience of discovering a written note from a loved one, so has launched My Billet Doux, a range of luxurious silk "love" cushions, which come with a notebook and a pen kept in a secret back pocket – all featuring antique or vintage ribbons.

They make an ideal wedding or engagement gift, says Natalia. She adds: “You can write a note, draw something, or paste a picture and keep it tucked away in the cushion to be discovered.”

And for Valentine's day, she has launched a new cushion to help pop the question.

It's a ring cushion which comes with two letterpress cards and a pen – all handmade in York.

Natalia said she came up with the idea so the proposer could "pop down on one knee and wait for the ring to be discovered inside the cushion – and write a love note to accompany the proposal to be cherished for years to come."

The silk cushion comes with an antique French ribbon, embroidered with the question "Will you marry me?". The lining is in white silk with matching zip at the back.

Natalia said: "As a bonus this cushion is made in the Pantone colour of the year - coral!"

York Press:

ROMANTIC NOTE: York designer Natalia Willmott has come up with a novel way to pop the question with this ring "love cushion"

The mum-of-three is based in York, but hails from Paris. She is also an art and antiques seller and interior designer.

My Billet Doux is her latest business venture.

She says: “I wanted to create something new, unique and luxurious which captures the essence of romance. I really think everybody needs a bit of romance in their lives and for it to reappear every now and again.

“My Billet Doux complements our fast-paced digital world by bringing us back to ‘Earth’ and making us think and write something meaningful to the ones we love. With it you realise you don’t always have to be on the treadmill of life.”

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