Tell us a little about your background, what path led you to starting I Love Linen?
I think all my various jobs have served me well to starting my store and design studio. Originally I worked in PR and Marketing for lots of different clients in creative pursuits and so was often around retail and fashion and art clients, and I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. In fact for my entire life my parents only ever worked for themselves, and most recently have run retail businesses for years, so I think there has always been an unconscious notion that one day I would also do my own thing. My family have a few linen shops of their own and I was potentially open to the idea day working with them, but when I decided to, it meant focusing on a different audience with an interest in pattern and prints and design - essentially bringing part of me into the business. It's been helpful to leverage off the contacts that my parents business afforded me, as that can be the hardest part in finding companies that you want to work with, but I've also found a whole new list of makers and artisans from Peru, Turkey, India and Morocco!
You recently launched a fun and colourful range called The Bedroom Society, can you give us a little insight into your creative process when creating new designs?
Designing this capsule collection for my new brand was very personal actually, and it definitely goes back to the time I spent living in Tokyo in my 20's. That place is awash with polka dots, stripes and all manner of cute iconography. So I started with the things I love and took it from there. It was quite a quick process of asking myself 'what would I want in my bedroom?', then I started sketching up the prints that I wanted to make. I work in a pretty rudimentary way I guess; I will draw the print by hand and even do a giant version of it and lay it on a pillow case to see what it looks like on the actual finished item! I have all these old drawings of giant pineapples and watermelons lying around. I also wanted to create a range that could be mixed and matched and it's been so great seeing that a lot of customers buy two sets of these pillow cases, hopefully for that purpose!
Where or who do you draw inspiration from?
From travelling mainly - I travel overseas a lot and take notes about little details of things I like. As for people, well my friends do inspire me lots and lots, there's lots of designers among them and I am always asking their opinion on things.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
As any independent business owner would know, it involves pretty much everything. Managing orders and talking to my suppliers, editing the design of my store or making tweaks to how it works, talking to customers online if they have questions about my range, working on new designs and collating lots of references for new prints, popping out a few blasts on IG (I am an addict!), and probably spending too much time on Pinterest haha. But I always start the day with my coffee and my to do list that I re-write each day so that I can literally strike my achievements off and feel like I got stuff done.
How would you describe your style aesthetic?
A bit preppy and a bit colourful, I would say I have a balance between restraint and playfulness, in that I like good simple classic elements like quilt covers in a nice plain pure French linen, and then adding pops of colour with cushions and pillow cases. As for my personal style if you asked my friends then they'd say 'polka dots, peter pan collars, stripes, loafers and a good classic hand bag' (right now I am sporting my Tan and Leopard Benah handbag, before that it was my Mulberry but I pretty much destroyed it from overuse).
Tell us your 3 favourite online shopping destinations for interiors.
Well obviously I'm well looked after when it comes to bedding and soft furnishings haha! My most recent online purchases were a wall hanging from Chief and Kewpie Pie (found via IG she makes lovely weavings), copious amounts of Interiors/Design/Art books from The Book Depository, and actually I love Etsy and I bought a lot of prints for my studio/office there.
Can you list for us 3 resources across any media that you turn to regularly for creative inspiration?
1. Pinterest is a treasure trove for me for finding shot references and just general styling goodness.
2. trendland.com - is an amazing site that curates a vast array of architecture, creative campaigns, fashion etc - you can get lost in it for hours. I love checking it out to see really amazing creative direction from other brands.
3. Instagram. I have found so many amazing and talented designers and business people and met a whole lot of new and lovely customers too! It's the best!
Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
Lots of my friends really! I love the work of Craig and Karl and they have done some really great brand collaborations, maybe one day when I am famous enough they'll make bed linen with me haha. I've already name dropped her once but Brenda Briand from Benah delivers amazing product and incredible creative every season care of her talented husband. And I have been watching the lovely Elise Pioche aka Maison Balzac grow her empire. I'm inspired to keep working hard as I am surrounded by other kind and smart and talented people.
What is your favourite book of all time?
God that's impossible, I have hundreds and hundreds of them! Actually this is pretty embarrassing but the one series of books that I was obsessed with as a child was by Enid Blyton called 'Mallory Towers' and 'the Twins of St Claire' about these quaint, architecturally pleasing boarding schools where they all had midnight feasts and it was quintessential British and charming, I think that's where my love of preppiness began. I know that's so not cool to reveal but I read a new book every few weeks, there's not exactly one that I keep on coming back to.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
Seeing all of my customers post their images on IG with my bed linen. It's great seeing my design babies out there!
What would be your biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to start their own online business?
Be prepared to wear many hats, as when you're in growth mode you will be so busy! Also make sure that you have a reliable company to deliver your items (boring but true.
What are your wildest dream for I Love Linen?
To have a full range of printed bed linen and stitched quilts ready for sale, which is only a few months off so it's not hopefully a wild dream!!
Lauren Roe - I Love Linen