I hope you had a lovely weekend. Today I’m delighted to feature the amazingly talented designer, Vicky Trainor who runs the company The Vintage Drawer.
Compiling this blog post proved to be such a challenge as she’s created SO many beautiful designs that I found it really hard deciding which ones to feature!
Over now to Vicky…
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I’m based in the North East of England, right on the coast in a town called Redcar.
My business started to grow quite organically when my first daughter was born in 2004. It was important for me, in the beginning, to fit a business idea around my family and try not to have it the other way around, although sometimes this happens.
So year by year it’s slowly grown. I’ve been in full control of the amount of orders I take in the diary. I’ve been able to market the business carefully and now feel confident with its direction.
Since last September, both of my girls, Ava & Mia, are now at school full-time. This has been the first year that I’ve been able to focus on my business as a full-time operation and it’s all very exciting!!
Could you tell us more about The Vintage Drawer and how it came about?
The Vintage Drawer was launched in January 2011. At the time, I only had the printed stationery collection.
For the new season I didn’t want to work in print again and wanted to work differently, something that was more styled and unique in its origin.
My degree is in Textile Design (Embroidery) so I wanted to work more with fabrics. I’m a hoarder of all treasures and have boxes and baskets full of linens, printed vintage fabrics, haberdashery finds, ribbons…allsorts!
I also had amongst this my old sewing case that I made when I was 6 or 7 years old. This initiated the idea as to the possibilities of working with linen booklets as an option for an invitation.
So, I made a few samples to work out how long they took and how much they would cost for me to make, and then the whole of the collection just grew and grew.
I now work with old 40s and 50s linens that have been damaged and I mend any of the embroidery and re-cycle them into pretty stationery-based pieces and gifts.
Now not only do I produce invitations and reception products but also ‘love brooches’, pin cushions, sewing cases, bookmarks, door signs and one-off bespoke pieces.
I’m also about to start producing a collection for the home such as prints, cushions and kitchen cloths, and I am sure this will develop into lots more items.
Where do you get your inspiration for your floral-inspired designs?
All of my collections are inspired by many eras. I love drawing and photography and this is always my starting point.
I’ll buy flowers and arrange them in little compositions and draw back from them in varied media.
Sometimes I’ll photograph them and develop and draw back into the photographs too. It always depends on the look I’m trying to achieve.
My new collection to be launched in March is all hand-rendered marks, very fifties and inspired by the paintings of Vernon Ward.
My inspirations change on a daily/weekly basis. An illustrator, a vintage dress, a Sunday stroll, a trip to the theatre, antique fairs, old photograph albums, holidays in my caravan…
It’s a continuing addictive process of taking photographs and drawing. I’m obsessed with filing and scrapbooking and buy far too many lifestyle books and magazines. I drive everyone mad as I never want to throw anything away. I’m a hoarder of treasures.
I also love exploring the gardens of National Trust houses. (We own a touring caravan and each holiday is based around visiting National Trust properties…heaven!) I also love searching the gardens of family and friends.
I recently researched the floral displays in varied Victorian paintings for a photo shoot called ‘Rigwood Manor’ and worked closely with the florist Helen from Bels Flowers.
It was inspirational watching her be creative and bring all the ideas and styling and research to life. We are both so passionate about florals but from two varied approaches. An absolute delight and she also cemented, even more, my obsession with becoming a florist!
What’s your most popular item in The Vintage Collection?
To be honest, there isn’t one product ahead of another in popularity. One month I could have a lot of orders for the invitations, next time the place cards.
My little online shop does tend to sell more brooches and bookmarks but that’s because my shop audience aren’t all getting married and are purely buying for gifts.
I also tend to make in batches, such as a whole week working solely on lavender-filled pin cushions or pretty reception signs.
What are your plans for 2012?
Lots of plans so far. I’m currently designing a collection of greetings cards for a company called Paperlink.
I’ve just finished a photo shoot that I’ve researched and organised with photographer Becky Mitchell and used The Vintage Drawer as part of the styling.
I’m planning to be involved in a fabulous vintage wedding fair here in the north east, get back out on the road with the ‘florals’ to bespoke national fairs, to develop my products into homewares, to draw and paint more often (would secretly love to have an exhibition somewhere), to launch two new collections, to develop the content of my blog and to strengthen The Vintage Drawer’s presence nationally and internationally.
Do you have a favourite flower?
Very simply, the rose. Highly scented in posies with herbs, such as lavender and flowering lemon thyme.
But I also love the varied tones of colour within roses. Their palette and delicacy changes as they travel through their life circle from tight bud to collapsing petals.
I hope seeing Vicky’s designs has brightened up your day. More of her wonderful creations can be seen at her Etsy shop.
Oh, and she’s on Pinterest too…
(Images : Vicky Trainor)