INSPIRE ME – with welovekaoru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a firm believer that a cup of tea tastes so much nicer in a cup and saucer – and perfect if it’s vintage inspired, beautiful, fine bone china. Like all of these pretty welovekaoru pieces, right before your eyes :)

Kaoru Parry established welovekaoru after graduating from Central St Martins College in London. She owns Shoreditch collective boutique  Luna and Curious “offering a cornucopia of finely rendered objects and clothing” as well as stocking her own full collection of tableware.

The ethos of welovekaoru is to preserve the traditional values of real craftsmanship and work closely with small independent family run potteries to produce their pieces exclusively in the United Kingdom.

I had a little chat with Kaoru recently….

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   What did you study at Central St Martins and would you recommend college if you want to become a designer ?

I studied BA Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. The course has great contacts with the industry and puts a lot of energy into preparing you for the real world. It also houses a great team of technicians and facilities to assist in the practical aspects of design and manufacture. Now that you have to pay so much for further education, I would make sure that the course is definitely right for you. Even look to other European countries as their fees are often lower.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs ?

Anything old inspire my designs. I like the way beautifully crafted objects were often made to an industrial scale yet each one by hand and by highly skilled artisans.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   I first spotted your teacups in Liberty London – did it take long before you were asked to stock in lots of prestigious stores ?

I was discovered by Liberty at my first trade show in 2009. They have been stocking my designs since.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Would you say your work is influenced by Japan ….. having been born there ? 

Sometimes. The Take range ( green bamboo design ) was a direct influence from a beautiful antique kimono. But it’s probably more our company philosophy that’s been influenced most by Japan. Our values of excellent craftsmanship and quality.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                      Can you talk me through your process from your initial ideas to production ?

Lots of research and development followed by sketches and maquettes. I have great relationships with the small family run potteries in Stoke where we develop new products together. It may take years to finally get a new product into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       Do you have a signature design ?

Not really but my ABC tea cups and mugs continue to be one of my best sellers.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Can you offer some advice for anyone reading this wanting to start a new brand ?

Work hard, do your research, understand business especially pricing, production and marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                            What are your welovekaoru’s plans for 2013 and beyond ?

I’m really excited about 2013 as I’m going to launch a new range of products that are not strictly tableware. I’m also looking forward to interesting collaborations and projects.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                         Thanks Kaoru ! Really elegant pieces, don’t you think ?..You can follow Kaoru’s store Luna and Curious on Twitter – @lunaandcurious or become a fan on Facebook.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway.. win a Janome Mega Tote Bag – it’s perfect for all of your sewing accessories !

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INSPIRE ME – with Jennie Maizels

Today I have an ‘Inspire Me’ interview for you with a very talented woman.

Jennie Maizels is a well established illustrator who has had sixteen children’s books published to date. You’d think this would have her kept fully occupied considering each book can take a year to complete, yet, Jennie also has a line of furnishing fabrics with Linwood, stationery ranges and also a great collection of embroidered iron on fabric plasters ( I can personally vouch for these as a really big hit with the kids ! :) )

Did you come from an artistic background ?

Yes I did, my parents met at Chelsea school of art, my mother is an illustrator and photographer and my father is a fine artist. Together they run the art magazine ‘Raw Vision‘ an international journal about Outsider Art.

I was bought up without a TV and my parents spent alot of time drawing and painting with me, it was a very creative childhood !

What did you study at St Martin’s College ? 

My degree was in Graphic design but you were given options after the first year and I chose to specialise in Illustration.

I think St Martins has changed alot, I was there nearly 20 years ago and as far as I can remember there really wasn’t much teaching. We were left pretty much to our own devices. Although at the time frustrating, I think as an illustrator being left to ‘fend for oneself’ and not be too influenced or guided makes it is easier to develop your own personal style and in a very unselfconscious way.

Who and what inspired you to become an illustrator ?

As I was growing up I never thought I would be anything else to be honest. It may well have been ‘Hobson’s choice’ as I wasn’t particularly academic and there were no other subjects at school I felt so passionately about.

I loved watching my mother draw with her coloured pencils. I was fascinated by their colours and how pointy she kept them.

My Grandparents lived in Geneva and always gave me tins of perfect Caran D’ache pencils which I would literally wear out.

For my 16th birthday my parents gave me a beautiful huge box of Prismacolor pencils. Over 200 colours. I opened it on Christmas morning and after staring at them for over an hour, I started copying a William Morris design and didn’t stop until Boxing Day night.

I can honestly say that my obsession with coloured pencils lead me ( no pun intended ! ) to become an illustrator. I knew they had to become the tools of my trade.

As far as inspirations from other artists, apart from my parents, I have always adored Fornasetti, I love how he covers literally everything with his illustrations, from plates and fabrics to furniture. I found this incredibly inspirational, it made me think that the work of illustrators shouldn’t be confined to flat surfaces and could be used on all manner of objects which are usually just adorned with print and pattern.

You have worked on sixteen children’s 3D ( pop up ) books over your career so far. The illustrations are really detailed – how long does each page take ?

A particularly complicated page of a pop-up book can take me up to 3 months. The final spread of The Global Garden Book comprises of a big bunch of symbolic or ‘useful’ flowers and is stupidly detailed. My studio was full of glorious bunches of extraordinary blooms, however, 6 weeks into the artwork and the flowers were all droopy and revolting, my children wouldn’t enter the room on account of the horrid smell !

In my recent Pop-Up London book, there is a small flap ( which many may miss ) revealing a cross section of Piccadilly underground section. It took me a whole weekend to draw and the image in the book is the same size as the artwork ( really really small )

Some single pages can total as much as 20 pages of artwork as there may be wheels, layers, flaps and big pop ups with the reverse artwork for the 3-D pieces too. A book will take on average a whole year to complete.

I love your line of furnishing fabrics for Linwood – are the prints taken from your book images at all ?

The wonderful thing about my fabric deigns for Linwood was that I had completely free range. I came to them with ‘mood boards’ expecting to go away and rework and elaborate, but instead they just said “yup” to each design and I started artwork straight away.

The images themselves were a mix of my most successful Clothes Plasters designs and a completely fresh think about what I thought would make great kids fabric. The Keep Out, Control Freak and Dream Room designs were originally designed as wallpaper, which I really hope one day to be able to do for them. They were all completed with the same coloured pencils though…

Will you be producing more fabric prints in the future ?

I would love to. I would really like to design a range of slightly more ‘grown up’ fabrics, something I have discussed with Linwood, but it’s up to them, I have a sketchbook full of fabric ideas ready and waiting !

Can they be purchased on your website ?

Yes all the fabrics, cushions, Clothes Plasters and stationery can be bought from the shop on our website www.jenniemaizels.com it’s free post and we even gift wrap them for you !

Your wonderful boys and girls fabric plasters make perfect stocking fillers – how did you come up with the idea for them ? 

I have two ( now not so ) little girls who are real Tomboys. I was always so upset when their pretty tights and dresses got holes in them. I am no sewer and even if the holes were darned the fabric hung oddly, especially their stripy tights ! So I tried to buy some small attractive motifs to cover the holes. I discovered there really wasn’t anything out there apart from nasty brands or plain patches.

It took us over a year to find a supplier who could replicate my artwork, we were so delighted when we saw how beautifully embroidered they were and what perfect colours they had chosen.

We now have themed sets as well as single patches and I am working on new designs as I speak.

 

JMWith your vast experience – could you offer any advice to illustrators/designers ?

Gosh ! What advice would I give ? Definitely never ever give up, if I had a pound for every ‘nearly life changing’, exciting project that fell through… So important to learn to pick yourself up and keep going. Be doggedly determined too, I remember doing massive mail-outs after graduating and spending hours making follow up calls and then traipsing round London for weeks with my portfolio.

Make your ‘voice’ heard above the rest, send out samples not just emails and target your publisher/art director thoroughly, researching the types of illustrations usually commissioned and make sure your style is compatible.

One sound piece of advice if you are keen to show your work to a children’s book publisher, do not think that you need a story. Editors have hundreds of writers waiting for suitable artists and they may think that you are wedded to the writer of the story or to your own text, let your illustration speak for itself….

2013 is on it’s way… what’s coming up for you ?

We are launching two new sets of Clothes Plasters, more stationery and even a range of mugs. I am also just about to start on another major pop-up book with Walker Books to be published in September 2014, so I’d better go and sharpen some more pencils…

Thanks so much to Jennie.  Some brilliant advice for new illustrators.

I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed for ‘grown up’ fabric prints with Linwood soon ! Do you love her designs too ?

You can find out more about Jennie at her website – www.jenniemaizels.com. Become a facebook fan or follow her on Twitter – @jenniemaizels.

All images copyright Jennie Maizels 2012.

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Fabric Yard giveaway ! Win 10 fat quarters and a pack of self cover buttons..CLOSED

 

Hot on the heels of my first tutorial post yesterday on how to make a gathered skirt in which I used some really unique Alexander Henry buddha fabric, I am starting a new giveaway here today….

The winner will not only receive this fabric bundle courtesy of www.fabricyard.co.uk consisting of ten fat quarters ( equivalent of two and a half metres ) with a mix of quilting and home decor weight – there is also a pack of self cover buttons included.

I have bought some really gorgeous fabric from Alice at Fabric Yard recently, designers such as Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman and some cute Japanese imports at good prices – I particularly love the fact that delivery within the UK is only £1 however much you order :)

Fabric Yard also sell bag handles and self cover metal buttons.

 To enter this Giveaway you need to do just a few things:

1. Make sure you are following both @FabricYard and @lucylovesyablog on Twitter and are fans on facebook:

Fabric Yard

LucyLovesYa

2. Tweet or facebook this quote:

I’ve entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win a @FabricYard fabric bundle & self cover buttons! www.lucylovesya.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
3. Leave me a comment under this post letting me know you have done so and to validate your entry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
All done – thanks for entering !
                                                                                                                                              This will run for one week and a winner will be picked at random on Monday 29th October at 7pm.
T’s & C’s
Postage supplied by Fabric Yard
No cash alternative offered
This is open to both UK and overseas entries
                                                                                                                                        Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

My good books…


photo3I have been a little out of action this week, due to a very odd virus indeed – ( me not my blog )…. so, have been busy working my way through some of my favourite design and fashion books.

As much as I love the internet, there is something especially warming about losing yourself in lots of inspiring pages. To know also that they can be passed on to generations to come is really satisfying. I’d happily hang out in a book store all day if I could, perusing and and reading.

There are so many design titles out there, it’s hard to know without reading first which are going to fulfill you. If you have any particular ones that you could recommend to me, please do !….

Here are my current top few…..

The Dressmakers Technique Bible by Lorna Knight is a brilliant little book to keep at your side for reference. This was actually my bedtime read for a while ( I know, I need to get out more.. :) ).

The V & A Golden Age of Couture by Claire Wilcox has some breathtaking images inside as well “celebrating a decade in fashion history”. It’s perfect if you’re interested in the illustrations and workmanship behind a selection of all time famous couture styles.

I get a huge amount of inspiration from Japan. This Japanese Street Style book by Pat Lyttle is full of colour and kitsch fashion style photo’s of cutting edge looks. It’s fascinating if you love anything Harajuku or love the magazine FRUITS. It also looks at their history and how their fashion culture now takes much inspiration from british designers such as Alexander McQueen.

Forties Fashion by Jonathan Walford is a book stacked with 250 images from the 40s era, focusing on the ‘make do and mend’ approach to clothing due to rationing as well as how the second world war shaped this decades fashion. Lots of pics from styles across the globe. A really good read.

I can’t live without Winifred Aldrich’s ‘metric pattern cutting for women’s wear’ – if you are thinking of doing any designing – get this book !

Vivienne Westwood is my favourite designer. She’s smart, talented beyond belief and has the most incredible understanding of fashion when it comes to flattering the human form. So, this V & A book, again by Claire Wilcox is right up my street. It’s about her time in fashion and lots of photo shoots and catwalk pics.

Do you have any books you’d like to recommend ? Please leave a comment or tweet – @lucylovesyablog if you do as I would love to hear from you….

Oh, and don’t forget my giveaway ( below ) – it ends on Wednesday at 7pm !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Celebrity Photographer – Steve Neaves

steve neaves photographerIt’s not everyday that you get to interview a long standing friend, but today I am, for ‘Inspire Me’.

Steve Neaves, a London based professional photographer, has worked with a truly diverse collection of people. Phenomenally talented ( rather modest ) and with an amazing eye for detail, his career in media spans two decades.

Recent well known clients include Ray Winstone, The Killers and Jonathan Ross.

I am really excited to be sharing some of Steve’s images with you today.

ray winstone image What inspired you to become a photographer ? 

Basically it was an accident, I was Art directing a magazine and we ran out of budget one month, so the editor suggested I shot a few features. People liked the work and I got commissioned to shoot a big campaign.

So I resigned – two days later the campaign was cancelled and I had no job !

the saturdays celebrities Have you always worked in the world of media ?

I started off as an engineer in my dads business – didn’t enjoy that so went into graphic design, which was exciting as Desktop publishing had just taken off.

keith lemon image

How did you develop your unique style ? 

It just evolved over time – I like unusual images, I always get asked to set fire to stuff, which is great as I like to set fire to stuff !

professor green imageYou have worked with lots of well known actors, musicians and models to date –  just recently, Ray Winstone, The Killers and Tinie Tempah. Are they ever involved in the creative process ?

Most of them just dont have the time, although you certainly find out when they dont like something, and its always on the shoot when its usually too late to do anything about it.

steve neaves images

From the initial photo shoot, how do you reach your finished image ?

I try to do most of it ‘in camera’ as opposed to photoshop – I love photoshop, but if you rely on it then things look very ‘photoshopped’. For instance my shot of Jonathan Ross with the car above his head we did for real.

We got it suspended from the ceiling on cables by two fearless professional rock climbers. It was insane !!

Your partner Zoe McConnell is also a photographer – do you ever get to work together on projects ?

We have often thought of it too as our styles are very different and would compliment each other – we just havent had the opportunity really.

What is the best thing about working as a freelancer ?

Not having to go to an office everyday….

…and the biggest challenge ?

Everyone says being self employed is great as you are the boss, well in my line of work every client is a boss, so you end up with lots and lots of bosses !!

steve neaves images

What is happening in the near future for you ?

I have a few things in the pipeline – which due to client confidentiality I cant talk about right now. But should be good.

I love Steve’s unique photography style and use of colour. Cool, huh ?

If you’d like to know more about his work or check out more images – here is the website www.steveneavesphotography.com and you can also follow on Twitter – @steveneaves72 :)

All images copyright of Steve Neaves photography 2012.

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Fabric Rehab fat quarter bundle winner…

Time to announce who has won this wonderful 12 fat quarter bundle courtesy of Fabric Rehab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winner is Susanna Prouse – I will be in touch and your fabric bundle will be on its way soon. Thanks so much to Fabric Rehab for sponsoring this and to all of you who took the time to enter.

There will be more giveaways here on my blog really very soon so keep a look out.

I have spent a good while perusing the Fabric Rehab shop today and want to show off a few of my absolute favourite prints on their site at the moment…

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also have some gorgeous Christmas prints ( these are just three of many )…

 

 

 

 

 

There are literally hundreds that I could’ve posted, including some very eye catching colours in plain fabric too but I guess you can hop on over to their site if you fancy, to have a butchers… www.fabricrehab.co.uk

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INSPIRE ME – with Wilbur & Gussie

If ever there’s a brand that warrants plenty of female attention …. it is Wilbur & Gussie. Design duo, Brett Tyne and Lucy Lyons, combine stunning vibrant fabrics and prints with vintage inspired brooches to create beautiful, elegant clutch bags – and also accessories.

You may have spotted their pieces being worn recently by Kate and Pippa Middleton, Tulisa, Alesha Dixon, Mollie King and in dozens of publications including Grazia, Marie Claire, The Guardian… and worn by Pippa Middleton,

What I really love about Wilbur & Gussie is that they create such chic, timeless handbags that last a lifetime, and yet you don’t have to pay the earth to own one.

I’ve been a fan of Brett and Lucy’s brand for some time now, so am very pleased to be sharing todays Wilbur & Gussie ‘Inspire Me’ interview with you…

How did you two meet ?

We met at  school and have remained close friends over the years.

Did you both train in design ?  

Neither one of us has actually had any formal training but we are both creative people.   We have always had a mutual interest in art, design and fashion, namely accessories.

How do you make a business work as a duo ?  

We have different styles but we like one another’s taste in everything.  Although we are instinctively drawn to different materials, we agree on every collection. Patience and compromise are important. We don’t always see eye to eye but this can be seen as a positive to a working relationship  as we are constantly challenging one another.

Your bags are clearly inspired by vintage – do you have a favourite era and why ?   

We tend to be drawn to the late 1920’s – early 40’s. The 1930’s was the decade of the clutch.  Women’s accessories were incredibly elegant and beautifully crafted. Bags were worn, not carried, and this is something we love. We believe evening bags should be show-stoppingly beautiful, just like a piece of  jewellery.

I love that you have named each character after your childhood pets and also notice that you support The Tusk Charity – Are you both animal lovers ?  

Yes, we are both huge animal lovers. We chose to support Tusk Trust because elephants feature so strongly in our collections.

Personally, I could study your clutch bags all day, they are so gorgeous – how did you come up with such a winning combination formula ? :)…  

We saw a niche in the market for affordable clutch bags that won’t break the bank. The fabrics are inspired by our love of prints, and the jewelled brooches are from our love of vintage jewellery.

Is there a particular material that you like to work with the most ?

We are currently working with velvet and loving it! We started off using only 100% silks but have diversified over the years.

Do you have a current best seller ?  

Our signature “Charlie” bag is always a best seller and is what we launched the brand with. The ‘Edith’ is the slightly larger version and is rapidly catching up with the Charlie

  

What have been your biggest highs so far for Wilbur Gussie ? 

We get a high every season when the new collection comes in from the factory. Taking on new wholesale customers is always a big excitement, and every online order we receive is a little thrill. It is very rewarding to know that people want to buy the bags.

You have some lovely belts and cuffs on your site – are you moving into designing lots of accessories too ?  

We are currently concentrating on developing a leather range  for next season, but accessories is next in line !

Could you offer a few words of advice and some inspiration for any new designers reading this ?  

Believe in your product, work hard and get as much advice from people in business as possible.

What is happening for Wilbur & Gussie in the near future?

We are  continuing to develop our evening bag line and preparing to launch our first day bag collection next year. We’re working on expanding the brand internationally and hopefully our own shop is in the not too distant future !

Thanks very much to Brett and Lucy for sharing their inspirations. Do you love their designs too ?

You can become a fan of Wilbur & Gussie on Facebook or follow them on Twitter – and they also have a blog.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

All images copyright Wilbur & Gussie 2012.

Retro… and good to go….

Well, it may have taken a little while to get around to making this Retro Butterick 1953 dress – I was sent some patterns over by the lovely people at Sew Direct and this is the second pattern I have used.

 

Loving the way it has turned out :)

What I didn’t realise until I studied the the the package properly, is that you have four different ways of wearing this ( see below ) with the completed dress. You can also use a different fabric for the Upper back Bodice ( if you go for the option B ! ) so it’s incredibly versatile.

The only area that I had to work on a couple of times ( with my trusty friend, the un-picker ! ) was attaching the upper bodice piece to the midriff ones – this is because it shapes in a V, and I wanted to make it exact, obviously, and haven’t sewed this kind of shape for a month or two ! It all came good in the end :)

I went for cotton, black and pink polka dot as I had just the right amount in the cupboard and well, it just works with most vintage patterns, don’t ya think ? The bodice is lined but the skirt isn’t – You could always add a lining or this is a superb excuse to purchase or make yourself a swing petticoat :)

Which is your favourite style and what fabric would you go for ? Leave me a comment or send us a tweet… would love to hear your thoughts :)

Oh, and by the way – my Giveaway in collaboration with luxury homeware and gift online company – Amara to win a blue Pip Studio floral, vintage style cake stand worth £35.99 ends on Tuesday… so get entering, if you haven’t already…. it’s as pretty as a picture, folks :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Feel free to use my images – just please ping a link back to me here at LucyLovesYa :)

INSPIRE ME – with ZPM.. and WIN a Weekender wash bag ! CLOSED

Today is ‘Inspire Me’ day, all about Zoe Phayre – Mudge, the creator and designer behind the wonderfully stylish, fun and eye catching ZPM British branded bags, amongst lots of other pieces. Made from a huge selection of cool oil print fabric prints …. and the great thing about ZPM is that you can find something to suit anyone in your life if you visit their online shop !

Having been a fan of Zoe’s ZPM brand for rather a long time now, I first spotted some gorgeously kitsch floral printed ZPM bath accessories in a shop, my eyes instantly lit up with delight – and I have to say, years on, the pieces I bought then still look as good as ever and have travelled far and wide with me !

You may well also, be aware of the Trolley – Dolly.. an innovative design, created by ZPM, where you can shop plastic bag free – with 21 bags compacted into just one outer bag – and not just eco friendly but good looking too ;)………

To add even more fun to the proceedings ( and celebrate me reaching 10,000 followers on Twitter this week ) – you are in with a chance of winning this cute as a button ‘Weekender’ bag in Songbird fabric ( below ) from the ZPM range – I can highly recommend it as I have one myself and you can fit soooo much in it !

Find out what you need to do to enter the Giveaway at the end of this interview…

Who and what inspired you to become a designer ?

Just something in you I think – growing up you are either into computers or into dogs or love fireworks or something.. I just loved making things but more than that I  loved doing “running a business” . My mum and dad ran a fruit and veg business and they gave me old stuff when they moved office once and I got 3 old phones and lots of stationery.. I loved all those paper clips and folders and I loved making things…  I basically don’t think anything has changed !!!!!!!!   The washbags happended as I found an amazing fabric that just inspired the product range but funnily enough I still have a set of washbags I made at my primary school when I was about nine. Amusingly the fabric is tiny white dots on a pale blue background and that was 1979 !!! so I think it might have been going to do this from birth !

How did ZPM come about? What were your first products ?

I was living between two houses pretending that I was not moving into my soon to be husband’s flat……and pretending to go home each day to the flat I shared with my brother. I was not enjoying working for the company I was with at the time… felt like  change and new beginnings. I started to develop an idea for a bag that would “sort your life” and solve a problem… I messed about with lots of things – loads of false starts… one factory gave me the best bit of advice ever which was on presenting my idea he said ” I can’t make that for what you want to sell it for!”  It’s been crucial and is crucial that you know what you are trying to do and if the market can take it !

Do you spend a lot of time developing each of your ideas and designs ?

With ZPM we act more like a fashion house that does not design all of its own prints… we buy in a lot but picking the right one is key. I spent ages initially on our shapes but I have alot which I designed a long time ago now. When you get something right people actually like to come back to the same thing – it works and they have stood the test of time  – The Weekender bag has been ripped off endlessly since its first inception, but people still come back to ours as its British made and lasts and the copies generally miss something !

How do you choose your fabrics ?

Instinct. and the buzz as I call it.. sometimes when I look at a print you just “know” its going to work. I have to be wary of being in a “sweetshop” sometimes and getting carried away… I am not great at this as you can see on our site… we have over 50 different prints at any one time !

Your products are really well made, is this something that is important to you ?

It’s crucial. I would be a lot richer if they were not.!!! but we have been making all the washbag range in the UK since we started in 1994 and someone turned up with one the other day over 15 years old.  We even mend where we can ! The prints are so lovely and around for such a short time that sometimes people just don’t want to let go of a bag. Especially if it has some real significance in your life, maybe it was the bag you went round the world with your boyfriend with or your honeymoon bag or the 40th Birthday present from your best friend… that sort of stuff makes an object something other than just an object… and if it falls apart instantly there is no benefit to anyone.

    

Is it fair to say you seem very hands on with your company ? 

Probably too hands on at the moment. We have shrunk a bit in size since we moved to Dorset. My stepdad has alzheimers, so my mum who had been working with me and my biggest help for 11 years needed to retire, I have 3 kids and they needed a new school and the whole thing worked as a move.  Since then I have been a lot more hands on.  I think growing a business is letting go of the minutiae of control and letting the people around you take things on. Its not always going to be done “your way” but it also may not be the wrong way.

    

What is the recipe to running a successful business ?

My favourite expression that our manchester factory owner gave me when I first started working with him was

“Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, Cashflow is Reality”

Success means a lot of different things to different people… there are the big bucks boys – its all about the money money…. I think they are only half right.

The money is crucial.. you don’t do it for fun, if you had a private income you would surely be in a job that was more charity orientated ?!  but the success can come in different packages !

I have a couple of Trolley-Dolly testimonials that I keep on my desk – I have a note which says “read daily” stuck on them… If your thing is to set out to make something that solves a problem and makes people happy to boot and they buy one and come back to you and say “wow, that really did all of that for me and I love it !” then that’s a successful business.

Describe a day in the life at work for you….

It’s a bit of a mixed bag every day. Almost impossible to do a typical one.. but I thought you might like today…Sorting of my gang of small people ie the 3 kids takes up a bit of time first thing most days….. then I am in the office by about 8.35 am, my commute is 30 seconds to a barn in a field and I am accompanied often by Cedric the cat !

Emails, sorting any post or urgent issues.

Today I had a long skype call to one of the factories we use to make Trolley-Dolly. I had some new sampling in to check through.  Meanwhile I have had a load of Microscooter products to sort out. I design for a number of other people, basically I like to design things and if a company wants a bag that fits on a scooter then so be it. We have had a really positive relationship with this firm.. they make THE best scooters for kids and adults…and we make a lot of their accessories for them. I design the prints for these and the product – it’s a top to toe design service we offer and I have to say I love it !  Sometimes working to a brief however loose can be really invigorating for a company, gives new perspective and indirectly allows you to reach another audience.

What have been the biggest milestones for ZPM ?

Oh supplying people like harvey nichols and Liberty… Day 1 of my first ever trade show my mum and I were sititng in the dark as I didn’t realise you needed lights at these things and Liberty buyer walked on and ordered it. I took the order to the shop in a cab myself !

Standing next to someone actually buying a bag once was a big moment.. when you box it  up and send things to stores you don’t get that personal reaction. Its why I love the web and now facebook for testimonials and thoughts people have. The buyers know there store and the look they want… but there are less of them than the public and all their thoughts… you get so much more through that about what people want…

Having someone you are sitting next to at a wedding go.. so what do you do…. and you go “Oh I have this little bag company… which they have never heard of… and then they go off to the loo and come back and go…..oh oh god you are those great printed bags !!!!” those are nice milestones !

Getting your first staff to help…

    

What is your current best selling product ?

 We have three so I can’t pick between them…

The flower shower caps.. are mad, gorgeous and really work so they tick a lot of zpm boxes….

The weekenders. These just really do the job, and they come in so many lovely prints and they will last and last……

The Trolley-dolly.. newest in but wow is she movin !!! How to do green in a stylish way….. and this bag works and works and works ! its no wonder she is in the top three.

    

Tell me about your Trolley – Dolly – I love the look of it ! What inspired this ?

Ooooh I love this …   I could wax on for a while about this but a video might be simpler – list attached for you to choose from !!!!

Basically I was unpacking one night and that inspirational woman who made Modbury ‘Go Bag Free’ had been in the news… I was chucking all the placky bags on the floor as I unpacked. When I turned around there was a huge pile.  I looked at them and thought , I make bags for god’s sake I must be able to do something that solves this.  Other people were doing single bags and I just thought  – how am I going to get my shopping home with some logo’d jute number ? .  It took a year to get to the right size and the right number of bags for a realistic family sized shop. I have 3 kids and an au pair so it’s a fairly large shop each week.   I wanted something compact, washable, that looked nice and on a really efficient day I could take by itself rather than taking the bags and a handbag….. In terms of “look” I have tried to achieve  a wink to the 50s housewife style handbag  in shape and some wearable patterns that are either fun or something you would not be embarrassed to be seen with !!!.  We tend to go for spots and things which you will notice sitting in the kitchen…. and remember to take with you……….the shopping list window is the BEST part, you cannot go without  the list… keep your list in the front and between that and the token we provide with each bag it should help you remember the bags 9/10 times !

    

Can you offer a few words of advice for someone starting a new venture ?

PERSEVERE !!! PERSEVERE ! PERSEVERE……… Oh did I mention you really have to stick at it and keep at it day in, day out…

I have a fridge magnet saying by Winston Churchill which says never, never, never, never give up !

What’s in the pipeline for ZPM ?

More telly ! We sell via QVC and we are heading overseas with this.. Australia next month and then Germany.  I love doing it, we sell out in minutes but it’s great being able to talk to lots of people at the same time !  Loads more new styles of Trolley-Dolly will be on our site from September – there is even a Cheetah one coming !

Lovely new range of prints for This Winter. A new bag that solves travelling, camping and sorting your baby…… Something for festivals next year….

    

Big thanks and thumbs up to Zoe ! A very clever woman and lovely with it :). I literally can’t wait for the Cheetah print Trolley – Dolly ! 

Sign up to the ZPM newsletter to hear about competitions and new goodies. You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter – go on.. you won’t regret it :)

Now, all you have to do to enter this Super Giveaway to win the ZPM Songbird Weekender in white worth £36, is Tweet this post ( button below ) stating:

I have just entered the @lucylovesyablog Giveaway to win a @TROLLEYDOLLYZPM weekender wash bag !

Please, also leave me a comment below this post to let me know that you have done this ( don’t want to miss any entries ! ) – and so that a winner can be picked by randow draw on Tuesday 2nd September at 7pm.

T’s and C’s:

This Giveaway is open to entrants internationally.

The winner will be picked by random draw and announced on Tuesday 4th September 2012 at 7pm.

No purchase necessary.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

All images copyright ZPM 2012.

Planet Kitsch

planet fabric sewing lucy loves ya prints anglomania

As promised earlier this week, here’s a pic of the skirt that I made a few days ago – it’s a very simple A line shape, made from my skirt block so it fits like a glove ! Highly recommend making a block up if you haven’t already.

But really, it’s the fabric that I wanted to show off. It is just so gorgeous – by Timeless treasures and from the fabric store Fancy Moon. What I especially love is the vibrancy in the pattern and it’s really good quality.

The elevated three strap PVC heels are Vivienne Westwood Anglomania / Mellissa and are sooo comfy.. and bubble gum scented :) My sunnies are by Miu Miu..

If you have made something from a retro / kitsch fabric recently or have created a vintage inspired piece – It’d be great to see it – and share it with everyone here on my blog ? Send an image over with your name and a link and I will post a little montage soon ! Yey !

Feel free to use my images, just please ping a link back to LucyLovesYa :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx