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Interviews

  • This week for our #fabfivequestionsfriday we chat to Martine - Founder of model photography brand ViaMartine. Based in The Netherlands, Martine creates and produces beautiful Model photography prints which are available for sale online. There is also an option to upload and print your own instagram photos onto various print formats via her website. Your own personal or inspirational moments can therefore become beautiful pictures you can collect in a book, use for interior styling or even send as a postcard. I have been using Martine's Model photography prints for a few years now, both at home and in my shoots - I find the images really striking and the prints of a lovely quality.

     

    Via Martine

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BLOG?

    My inspiration to start my own blog were all the beauiful blogs I was reading at that time. To start my own business was the next step. After taking pictures with my mobile and the comments I got on Instagram, I became curious how this would look on paper.

    So I started to make a concept with nice products. Such as polaroids, cards, posters etc. Later on I also started to make Model prints. With my own photos printed on hiqh quality posters, forex and cards, Via Martine now has retailers worldwide.

     

    WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING TIME IN YOUR BUSINESS SO FAR?

    Trying to combine my family, my job in our other company and my own business with Instagramprints and Modelphotograpy prints.

    It’s been busy and it still is, but we try to keep it simple at home. The most important thing is that I have enough support from my husband and kids. My daughter is a very big help with her creative mind, she understands my ideas.

     

    WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT OR STUDIO SPACE LOOK LIKE?

    Well, that will be enough space with large tables and with the best people to work with.

     

    CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN INTERIOR STYLE IN ONE SENTENCE?

    My interior style is calm, basic and simple.

     

    HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO KEEP YOUR BUSINESS RUNNING SMOOTHLY?

    My motivation is not so difficult. I am always busy, thinking and trying to do the best I can.

     

    > You can follow Martine over on Instagram at @viamartine or visit her website at www.viamartine.nl

    Via Martine

    Via Martine

    Via Martine

    Via Martine 

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  • This week for our #fabfivequestionsfriday we chat to British Designer Alex Swain - Founder and Designer of furniture and interiors brand ByAlex. Based on the North Downs in Surrey, Alex designs and creates pure and minimal products for the home and workplace. Alex combines form and function with clean aesthetics, to create designs made to last and that are available at affordable prices. We regularly use Alex's furniture in our Florrie + Bill photoshoots and in our own home. 

     

    Alex Swain - ByAlex

     

    HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO KEEP YOUR BUSINESS RUNNING SMOOTHLY?

     

    My general motivation levels fluctuate. Running your own business and building a brand is hard work and emotional at times, ha! I stay focused by believing the designs I make have a strong reason for being - my furniture is well made and sold at affordable prices compared to the bigger brands (many manufacture in China). Self believe doesn’t come easy though, and doubting yourself has a positive affect, as it pushes you harder! I find regular exercise is the best way to switch off from work and brings a fresh, energised perspective to life and this iron’s out the awkward periods. And the longer you stay in business, the more you understand about what it needs now and in the future… the best advice I’ve ever had, is ‘just keep going Alex’.

     

    WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT OR STUDIO SPACE LOOK LIKE?

     

    I adore natural light and find my mood and productivity levels are affected by the environment I work in. My current studio is on the North Downs in Surrey and resembles a barn, with windows on two aspects. There is a large open space for desks in the middle and we can comfortably seat four, all working on our large Kingshaw Tables that we made in Scotland… perks of the job! I’ve always been interested in books and reference material, since running a brand consultancy in Clerkenwell for years. Surrounding your workplace with interesting visual stuff is important to me and I have eclectic objects like records, metal letters and artwork on a high shelf. I do dream of building my own studio in the garden though which would be an A frame chalet style space… it’s all about the A!

     

    WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BLOGGERS AND WHY DO YOU FOLLOW THEM?


    I’m quite new to the blogging world and there are so many out there but I have some favourites who consistently inspire me: Helen Powell, Hannah Tricket, Gabriella Palumbo, Tiffany Grant-Riley and Mike Ahern… they all share my passion for a more restrained approach to design, softer colours, a touch of old style glamour and more expressive products - designs with a strong character. I’m not looking for the ‘new’ every time, just the better.

     

    WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT AND WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU?


    Talking directly with customers is a great way to learn what they like in design. When we worked with John Lewis it was very hard to connect with the end customers, so I spent a few Saturday afternoons in the Oxford Street store meeting customers and talking to them. It was very rewarding and many of them were young families who were looking for something a bit different, furniture to invest in for their children to grow up with. I was proud to have furniture included in the John Lewis collection but knowing your designs end up in homes across the country means much more to me. The best accolade I’ve ever had was by the Guardian newspaper who called the A Stool a ‘Contemporary Classic’, that felt great as there are so many stools on the market. 

     

    DID YOU EVER HAVE A NICKNAME AT SCHOOL AND DO PEOPLE STILL USE IT?

    I had a few nicknames at school but they are too rude to repeat! I met my wife in 2009, Alexandra, so there have been many laughs about Alex & Alex Swain and this has lead to new nick names like 'Double A' and ‘AA’… so I really am brand A in all senses just don’t call me Al, sorry Paul Simon it just doesn’t feel right to me.

     

    > You can follow Alex over on Instagram at @byalexdesign or visit his website at www.byalex.co.uk

     

    ByAlex - White A Stool

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    ByAlex Geo Coat Rack
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    ByAlex - Wood Pencil Case
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    ByAlex - Playwell Storage Boxes

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  • This week for our #fabfivequestionsfriday we chat to Olivia Aspinall - Founder of bespoke interior surfaces brand Olivia Aspinall Studio. Olivia offers fresh and exciting surface finishes for the interior design industry, and I love everything she produces. She's also local to us in Nottingham too! Read on to find out more... 

     

    Olivia Aspinall

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?


    I fell into my business slightly by accident. I studied Textile Design at university and specialised in printed textiles. For my degree show I created a series of hand printed wallpapers and a few experimental hard surfaces to accompany these. People picked up on the hard surfaces and seemed to love them, so from this reaction and also interior designers and architects wanting to specifying them for projects I had to quickly work out how to produce these surfaces for industry.


    WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE THINGS YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? 


    1) I love the freedom that comes with working for myself. 2) I love the variety of people I get to meet and work with. 3) Every project I work on is different and that makes every week challenging and exciting!

    WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL STUDIO SPACE LOOK LIKE?


    My ideal studio space would simply be somewhere large with lots of light. I am in the process of looking for a new studio and I need somewhere large enough to work on multiple projects at the same time and also somewhere with great light for colour matching. 

     

    WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BLOGGERS AND WHY DO YOU FOLLOW THEM?


    The only blog I really follow religiously is Sight Unseen. It's just full of beautiful products, new talent and colour. 

     

    WHAT IS A SKILL YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN?

    I really want to learn woodturning. I have a lathe that I bought sat in my studio, I just need to go take a class to get myself started!


    > You can follow Olivia over on Instagram at @olivia_aspinall or visit her website at www.olivia-aspinall.com

    Oliva Aspinall

    Olivia Aspinall

    Olivia Aspinall

    Olivia Aspinall

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  • This week for our #fabfivequestionsfriday we chat to Harriet Popham - Founder of interior textiles and illustration brand Harriet Popham. Harriet is an illustrative print designer who specialises in unique interior textiles, and I am fascinated by all her intricate hand drawn designs which includes a fun mix of architecture, animals and embroidery! 

    Harriet Popham

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?


    I realised fairly quickly after graduating that I needed to be doing work that I was passionate about, that I could freely pour hours of my own time into and truly call my own so I decided to start designing my own interior textiles, canvasses, and prints. 


    WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE THINGS YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? 


    1) Creative Freedom: When working on my own collections I don't work to trends, or anyone else’s time frames. I come up with an idea and am free to invest my time in the research and the large body of drawings I like to create in order to build a lively, visually rich and engaging design. 



    2) Variety: From illustrating colouring books for Harper Collins, personal embroidery commissions to creating large scale artwork for exhibitions week to week I am working on really different projects which keeps things interesting. 



    3) Lifestyle:  I’m so grateful that I am managing to make a living through illustration and design. I love working from home in Somerset. I feel very lucky that if I’m not on a tight deadline and the sun is shining I can go for a stroll on a midweek afternoon and be flexible with my working hours. 

    WHAT IS A SKILL YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN?


    I should really learn to make my own cushions. I can draw a picture on a sewing machine but sewing seams in a straight line is beyond me! 

     

    WHAT WAS YOUR LAST ONLINE PURCHASE AND WHERE WAS IT FROM?


    My last online purchase was a large 2017 wall planner from etsy, despite the fact it is now June… I’m determined this one will be the one that makes me organised!

     

    WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT AND WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU?


    My proudest achievement so far is probably the installation of a design that Sheffield Museum commissioned me to create for their Millennium Gallery walkway. 

I spent 7 weeks drawing and piecing together a 40sq metre design inspired by items within the Gallery’s John Ruskin collection. Ruskin's enthusiasm for architecture and nature studies is reflected in the intricate illustrations of Sheffield’s buildings presented inside bird silhouettes. The birds sit between leaves from Sheffield’s Winter Gardens illustrated in Brusho pigment, acrylic paint, block colour and fine line drawings. 

    

I arrived at the museum on the day of installation and found the vinyl team unrolling these giant panels of my design to lay on the floors and walls. It was so exciting. It meant a huge amount to me that the museum had invested their time and funds into using my work in such a large and public way. 

I reworked these designs and they are now used as lively and vibrant prints for interior textiles. 



    The Sheffield Evening fabric has been used in the recent Harriet Popham X Florrie and Bill Collaboration. 

     
    > You can follow Harriet over on Instagram at @harrietpopham or visit her website at www.harrietpopham.com

     

    Harriet Popham Cushions

    Harriet Popham Chair

    Harriet Popham Embroidery

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  • This week for our #fabfivequestionsfriday we chat to Jane Day - Stylist, Writer and Blogger at Tea With Ruby. I've admired Jane's Instagram feed and blog for some time now so it was great to find out more about the self confessed 'Interior Demon + Image Devourer'!

     

    Jane Day - Teawithruby.co.uk

     

    WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE THINGS YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

     

    Firstly I work from home at my kitchen table which is brilliant.  Secondly it's flexible, not only do I not have to commute but the hours are on my terms, I can fit my daily life around building my brand. Thirdly the excitement of not knowing who I'm going to be working with next, I get to work with so many talented interesting independent businesses that all have similar ethics and drive that I do, you just can't beat it, I'm a lucky girl.


    WHAT WAS YOUR LAST ONLINE PURCHASE AND WHERE WAS IT FROM? 


    I have just invested in handmade cupboard doors, tops and sides to fit an Ikea Besta sideboard carcass. I can't tell you how excited I am. It's going to look amazing, no handles just sleek and contemporary. It's being made from Scandinavian Ply and painted in a very pale cool grey but when the doors are open the ply will be in its raw tactile state. They are made by a new business here in the UK called Custom Fronts that I'm over the moon to be supporting and showcasing their attention to detail and aesthetics.  

    WHAT MAGAZINES DO YOU LOVE TO READ AND WHY? 


    I'm an interiors girl, even with Pinterest on the scene I enjoy nothing more than the new addition of Elle Decoration landing on my doormat.  Everything stops while I peruse the pages of this inspiring publication. I'm also slightly addicted to their bookazine issues Elle Decoration Country and the similar Modern Rustic by Country Living, I go back to these and read them over and over.


    CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN INTERIOR STYLE IN JUST ONE SENTENCE? 


    Ever changing and homely.

     

    WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LIKE LISTENING TO AND WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST?


    I've always been into music and seen many a band in my time. Luckily my husband is a big music aficionado too as well as Ruby my daughter, she seems to have inherited the family gene, her first gig was Florence and the Machine, not bad when you are 10! I digress, what I listen to depends on my mood. If I need calm you'll probably find me listening to classical music such as the Bach Violin concertos or a superb album called One by Be which is derived from the vibrational communication of bees it's stunning, then there's Sigur Ros whom I adore. Other bands that are on my current play list are the likes of Wolf Alice, Austra, Goldfrapp, Bastille, David Bowie, The Cure - the list is never ending and diverse. My favourite band that are a stalwart of mine are Elbow - I'm just in love with Guy Garvey, we are going to see them play live in a forest in June which I just can't wait for!

      
    > You can follow Jane over on Instagram at @teawithruby or visit her website at www.teawithruby.co.uk

     

    Teawithruby.co.uk

    Teawithruby.co.uk

    Teawithruby.co.uk

    Teawithruby.co.uk

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  • This week for our #fabfivequestionsfriday we caught up with Ally Power, Founder of interior design firm Ally Interiors. As an interior designer, Ally, of course has a stunning home (pictures below) and also owns one of our restored vintage chairs and a selection of our Studio Collection cushions!

    Ally Power

     

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?


    After having my daughter Myla, I decided to pursue my big ‘what if’ in life and set up as an interior designer. So I went back to college, did just that and Ally Interiors was born.


    WHAT WAS YOUR LAST ONLINE PURCHASE AND WHERE WAS IT FROM? 


    Sorrento Marinella black and white tiles from Fired Earth. Sadly, they are not for my own home -  but I am so excited to see them in my clients’ new bathroom. I love the mix of modern and traditional, and who doesn’t love a black and white combo?  

    WHAT IS A SKILL YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN? 


    I’ve just signed up to a terrarium making class. I’m a massive indoor plant fan, but lets just say, I don’t have the best reputation for keeping them alive. So I want to learn how to make beautiful, low maintenance terrariums that will withstand the test of time – whether it’s for me or a client.


    CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN INTERIOR STYLE IN JUST ONE SENTENCE? 


    I keep one foot grounded in the past and one stepping forward to the future, drawing from both modern and vintage styles

     

    WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO EXPRESS CREATIVITY?


    Creating unique and inspiring spaces. I love finding the detail that makes a room speak. And I believe in surrounding yourself with expressions of who you are to create a place you’re proud to call home.

      
    > You can follow Ally over on Instagram at @ally.interiors or visit her website at www.allyinteriors.com

    Ally Interiors Ally InteriorsAlly InteriorsAlly Interiors

     

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