Of trunks and tucks
When I took up blogging as a creative outlet I realised that on the way I would meet some really inspiring people. While the blog is written by a woman and, yes, interiors are followed by mostly women, I have never sought to have an only-female audience nor only write about women designers and artists (so do check out my previous posts about Daniel Heath whose glorious illustrations have made it on wallpaper, here).
But it just gives me such a great pleasure to read stories where mother and daughter(s) have gone into business together and here is just one story and company that I want to introduce you to, if you are not already familiar with them.
Meet mother and daughter Stella and Celia Thursfield. As business partners they launched The English Trunk Company in 2014 through a mutual love of quality interiors. By reinventing what has traditionally been associated with school and travel - the tuck box and trunk - they are offering two items that can be used for storage as well as decorative purposes.
I am wondering - what would you keep in your trunk (or tuck). Ideas on a postcard to Seasons in Colour HQ please!
Handmade in Britain
The Tucks and Trunks are hand-made in Cambridgeshire using traditional methods of construction that have been in practice for the past 70 years.
The fabrics are manufactured in the UK sourced from mills throughout the country, and Stella and Celia promise there is one to suit every room. The Red Star, Grey Star and Sage & Blue Check are manufactured in Yorkshire. The mill, which has been in existence for 175 years, supplied the cloth used for all First World War British military uniforms. Their Grey Gingham and Oatmeal Check are both manufactured in Lancashire.
I had an opportunity to see these tucks and trunks up close during the Handmade in Britain exhibition in Chelsea's Old Town Hall on King's road. The trunks are very roomy and both them and the tucks feel extremely luxurious to the touch. These would be pefect for safe keeping linen or clothes but I am personally thinking of using one such tuck to store christening clothes when I become a godmother for the second time this summer.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Celia and find out more about how they make this partnership work.
Hi Celia, could you describe the moment you decided that you wanted to become business partners with your mom. Was it an easy decision?
Yes, we have always been close and share similar tastes. When we came up with idea, it was a completely natural decision to do it together. We occasionally disagree on small things but we very quickly get over it!
Do you have backgrounds that helped you go into the interiors business?
Mum has always been in interior design. Her eye for colour and style is like nothing else. She also believes that you do not have to spend a fortune to achieve a certain look (something she has passed onto me). Keeping an eye on TK Maxx (they do fabulous homeware), charity shops and, of course, IKEA is far more fulfilling and rewarding than spending buckets of money. Having been brought up in this environment, it was only natural for me to have an interest.
Do you always agree when choosing suppliers, fabrics or even on the styling at photo shoots?
Yes we do! As I mentioned above we have very similar taste and when styling the shoot and choosing our selection of British made fabrics, it was all pretty straight forward. We knew we wanted to keep it relatively traditional but with a bit of a twist.
Trade shows offer great exposure but they are also very hard work. Do you attend trade shows together or take it in turns? And how much time do you spend 'on the road'?
We are a fairly new business and want to grow as organically as possible. We have not done many shows, but when we do we do it together. We are both passionate about the product and love seeing the feedback from people. It is a great feeling.
What is your best advice to other moms and daughters who want to go at it together?
Obviously it is not for everyone! We are tremendously lucky that we get on so well. I think patience is key and to respect each other’s ideas. Ultimately, you know that they you are not going anywhere and you will support each other no matter what.
Interior trends for 2016: your forecast?
Trunks! With our house now full to brim with them, some filled with shoes, paper work, others as coffee tables and at the end of beds, we honestly don’t know what we did before them! You cannot beat traditional touches in the home, even if your floorboards and walls are white and furniture is at a minimum. See our shoot for evidence of that!
All photos: Mark Bolton Photography
Follow The English Trunk Company on Instagram here.