The Wicklewood Blog

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  • 08 Mar 2020
  • DESIGN INSPIRATION

Wicklewomen

Wicklewomen

In light of it being International Women’s Day this Sunday, we thought who better to jump on the sofa with and fire questions at than each other? Two women. Best friends. Business Partners. Working-mums. Below, we chat frankly about our biggest challenges launching Wicklewood, the skills needed to start a business with your best chum and which house we’d steal the keys to tomorrow if we got the chance.

R: What did you want to be when you were a child? An interior designer?

C: No, I actually wanted to be a pilot, because my hero was Amelia Earhart.

C: How do you think social media has influenced the design world?

R: Nowadays assertion of individuality is more important than ever because our lives are on display through social media. We want to keep up with the Jones’ but be a bit cooler than them too. So, as participants in the social media world, we constantly seek out new brands and unique product that will enhance our homes (and in turn our Instagram feeds) in order to stand out from the crowd. Plus, social media has democratized design and given us direct access to interior designers, tastemakers and global trends. Furthermore, with the proliferation of online shopping destinations, we can shop these trends and decorate our homes with one-of-a-kind pieces from around the world without ever leaving our sofa.

 

Caroline Downing Nadel and Rosie Axford Founders of Wicklewood talk about launching their business on International Women's Day

 

The @WicklewoodLondon Instagram feed and the infamous green-striped room that everyone came to Instagram, designed by Rococo Interiors, for Wicklewood's inaugural pop up shop

R: What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome when setting up Wicklewood?

C: Working with people around the world is incredibly rewarding but challenging at times. Because some of our products are crafted by artisans in parts of the world, like Guatemala or India, that are often affected by adverse weather patterns, this can cause delays which can affect our lead times, something we have had to learn to plan for. And, being a small independent business with high ethical standards means products are handmade and not mass-produced. The artisans that we work with are compensated for their unique skill, which makes it harder to compete with high street brand prices. And so, from the start we have had to build a brand that attracts people who are interested in the craft and the story behind the piece and understand the value of our products.

C: What three skills do you have to have in order to launch a business with your best friend?

R: I need more than three! But I’d say the skills I’ve needed in order to launch a start-up are adaptability – you have to be able to change plans at the flick of a switch and roll with it, not look back and question your decisions. Perseverance – things can either take a long time to evolve or can happen very quickly. You have to persevere and believe that everything genuinely happens for a reason. Optimism – you need endless optimism. You have to see each day as a new adventure and view changes as opportunities.

 Caroline Downing Nadel talks to Rosie Axford about launching Wicklewood Interiors Brand on the Wicklewood blog

 

Caroline in Guatemala meeting the women who would later become Wicklewood's artisan partners and weave all our Jaspe fabrics on hand-held and foot looms. Rosie & Caroline on a trip together in 2013.

R: Where would you like Wicklewood to be in 10 years’ time?

C: My dream is to build our network of global artisans, or better yet launch a women’s cooperative, making sure that their skills are kept alive by creating a demand for their work by introducing it to the world via the Wicklewood platform.

C: What are your biggest lessons learnt so far in your Wicklewood journey?

R: Diversification – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This lesson can be applied to multiple aspects of the business – whether it is the products we have chosen to make, the artisans we have selected to work with or the team that you surround yourself with every day.

 

The team of women Wicklewood brought together for The Wicklewood Design Collective pop up shop - Sophie Conran, Gloria Gonzalez and Rococo Davis

 

The team of women Wicklewood brought together for The Wicklewood Design Collective pop up shop - Sophie Conran, Gloria Gonzalez and Rococo Davis

 

R: What are you proud of or happy about right now in the world of interiors?

C: I love to see and hear that people’s interest in where products come from has increased. First fashion was in the spotlight for the lack of ethical trading across the mass-produced products and now its time people start thinking about where their interiors come from too. Our products are ethically produced globally, from Guatemala, to India, to Italy and back to the U.K. We work with a women’s cooperative in Guatemala, who weave ikats on backstrap looms, craftspeople in India, who hand block print our quilts and hand weave our rugs and women in the U.K., who turn our fabrics into beautiful cushions.

R: Ok this weekend you can have the keys to any house in the world. Where would you go?

C: Casa Palopo near Lake Atitalán in Guatemala. It was originally a private home until it was renovated into a boutique hotel by a guest who checked in and never left. It is loaded with antiques, brightly painted walls, exquisite furnishings, artefacts and art. It is the closest thing to heaven on earth for me.

C: How do you relax? And, can you teach me?

R: As you know I love to travel and explore the world. There is something so exciting about discovering a city or town and finding its hidden gems and then passing your secrets on to others to appreciate and experience too. From skiing in the Alps to hiking through the Big Sur to wine tasting in California, I’m most relaxed and happy when with my husband and my daughter, glass of wine in hand, ticking off another place or activity on our bucket list. Or when I’m just with you of course!

Caroline and her mother Liz, Co-Founder of Blithfield, at Casa Palopo and Rosie getting design inspiration overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

 

Caroline and her mother Liz, Co-Founder of Blithfield, at Casa Palopo and Rosie getting design inspiration overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico


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