What was I going to write for my very first blog piece? What do I want to tell you about? The obvious subject is that I want to let everyone know that at last - after a dream that finally crystallised into a plan about a year ago - I have now launched a real, actual
website and I have bought real, actual products to supply this business. But this is more about "hey, another new website launch", it's about why and how and what's different, and what's good about his one. There is another side to the business too, that's all about bringing the products to you - to the consumer. And how this can become more that just a local plan.
I started all this because for many years in corporate sales & marketing roles I was feeling creatively adrift. Apart from renovating & decorating homes, selling & moving on then starting all over again, I was frustrated at a lack of doing anything artistic.
I had done a lot of design in my student days, studied fashion & art history and had worked as a spell as a make-up artist before finding myself in the world of sales (initially perfume & cosmetics, then luxury goods) so whilst being immersed in a world of beautiful, desirable things I wasn't making them, nor did I have any influence over what I could or couldn't sell, how it was presented and marketed (brand guidelines!) or much else really.
What I did learn though, was how a brand, a collection or a product, has its own story to tell, and how advertising/ presentation will 'sell' that item to its intended customer. How it is so important to give a clear message as to what is available, what it's features and benefits are, what it will cost and what missing part it can bring to your life! - I also got to like really nice things!
After taking a ceramics course in my spare time, my interest in this area grew. I had a great teacher Sue Cloud (I love that name, and often wished I was named something similar like Star, Leaf, Bird, Rain!!) and she really opened my eyes to the vast world that comes under that banner. Like many, she was inspired by nature, and is particularly famous for her stoneware poppy seed heads.
Driving across the South Downs to my classes I relished the natural world on our doorstep and soaked up the colours and connection of the landscape.
I wanted to work in this field but how? I wasn't skilled enough to make and sell my own work and so I thought of representing a collective of local artists. I then discovered many Scandinavian ceramicists whose work I loved, along with a number from Japan, and
then of course found the wealth of design from all across Britain. As many creative people work together I quickly found textile artists, glass workers and those who create in wood, metal or other natural materials.
The one thing that always caught my eye and was a big draw for me were pieces that had a real connection with nature. This might be the obvious imagery of a bird, or may be far more subtle by way of soft, chalky colours which remind me of a pale washed-out wintery
landscape, or gentle undulating shapes that reflect the contours of the land. In art, there are so many of these inspirations and I feel that there is a real, clearly apparent move towards people wanting to be surrounded by the natural world and the countryside, even as more and more we become urban dwellers (or probably, because of that). A modern, hard minimalist house will reflect the owner's roots (or just their sense of humour) by throwing a felted cushion with the image of a pheasant onto the leather Eames chair and fit a stag's head to the polished concrete wall.
The rise of Farmer's Markets, craft fairs and rural getaways are all part of this need for some 'back to basics' and natural honesty in our lives and a connection both with our heritage and with our planet. Home crafted country chic has never been more popular (except when
it was not actually a 'style' of fashion & design, merely just 'how it was').
I continue to discover beautiful and unusual objects, with which I would love to surround myself and want to tell of my finds to anyone who is interested! The website will grow with the portfolio developing in the existing categories and the introduction of new product areas.
Follow the next post to find out how I will expand on the business model, and how this could be of real interest to other like-minded individuals.