Naomi is the founder of Seed Home Designs, a company she launched two years ago after she spent most of the summer painting the entire interior of her family home with the help of a few very kind friends. As well as giving her home a much needed refresh it also helped her realise her love for homemaking, and the value of creating a place of rest both physically and spiritually.
Here, she tells us more about her journey with the brand…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
A few summers ago our family moved to a new home. I was so excited by the prospect of a blank canvas and artistic license to make it just the way I wanted. I thoroughly enjoyed all the hard work of planning, decorating, and furnishing (and really valued having some friends ready and willing with a paint brush and roller!). As well as giving our home its much-needed refresh I realised the importance of the home in creating a space of rest both physically and spiritually for me and my family.
I’ve always loved surface pattern, and it was around that time that I got back into sketchbooking again, relaxing by drawing in my new garden and documenting my love of flora and nature. I decided to take things further and apply my new designs to fabric, and eventually found a company in Kent who industrially print using eco-friendly pigment based printing inks onto high quality fabrics. When my first custom print samples came through I was so thrilled by the quality that I spent most of a year on a course learning upholstery so that I could apply my fabrics to one-off pieces of furniture. Inspired by that progress I continued to develop my pattern collections, and started offering other home accessories including lampshades and cushions.
What’s your background?
I grew up in a very creative environment. My parents were folk singers and my mum often took over the kitchen to oil paint. My grandparents use to come over every Thursday to teach me painting and drawing. My grandad ran his own very successful business as a draughtsman during World War Two so he was an amazing tutor to have.
Eventually I decided to explore my own passion for creativity through a degree in Multi-Media Textiles at Loughborough School of Art and Design. University was a great experience and I learnt a great deal, then after graduating I worked at a fashion design studio in Nottingham as a textile designer.
The following few years were a mixture of freelance and agent work, primarily in textiles and fashion. I was fortunate enough to have my work represented and sold at major trade shows in London, Paris and New York during this period. I also kept my options open through freelancing for fine art, greetings and giftware agents.
I have always had a love for nature and pattern, so this has organically been the starting point for my designing to date. With my youngest daughter starting school a couple of years ago I was ready to get my own brand out there to make a name for myself!
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
As a small business I have had the opportunity to connect and work with lots of other talented individuals. My hope for Seed Home Designs has always been rooted in wanting to open opportunities for other creative practitioners to support themselves by doing what they love. I now collaborate with a small team of local people who help to make Seed Home Designs happen. These include my seamstress Karen who makes all of my sewn products, Ruth Taylor who worked with me to take lovely photography this feature (to check out other projects she’s worked on her website is: ruthtaylorphotography.co.uk/) and my printers in Kent who produce amazing quality work for me. I also have plans to work with another experienced local upholsterer to enable Seed Home Designs to deliver larger upholstery orders.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
I would say getting the right balance between my work and home life. Setting up a new creative business takes lots of hard work, and so also requires lots of support and understanding from loved ones. My family sometimes have to cope with upholstery projects all over the house, late nights for my husband working on my website with me, and burnt fish fingers from unsuccessfully trying to multitask dinner with work tasks!
My family are a massive key to my success. They help me keep perspective, but also keep loving me even with a sometimes messy (but creative!) home. Having said all that I am learning to get a better balance with it all, and it helps to remember that I’m running my business primarily because I love what I do!
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I help to lead a very creative Pioneer Church with some other inspiring leaders, and that role has definitely helped to push me out of my comfort zone. I have learnt to be more secure in who I am, face some fears and dig deep in my faith, and that growth in confidence has in turn impacted lots of other areas of my life for good.
2018 is almost here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I hope to work in collaboration with a few established and well-known businesses in order to release larger runs of my fabrics designs or develop homeware ranges with.
That said, I still very much enjoy working with individual clients, so I do also plan to continue to create bespoke and unique pieces for interiors, be it a fabric design, a one-off upholstered piece, or a range of furnishings.
Now the new year has kicked in I also have plans to expand my fabric designs into larger collections, and hope to release a limited edition collection of wall prints.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
My highlight was when I began learning upholstery. When I was feeling a little pressured with the business side of things, simply being with a load of people who are doing what they do purely for the love of it took the pressure off having to get everything right first time. I’ve learnt lots through my mistakes although my very skilled and talented upholstery teacher said I’m a natural, which was a massive compliment coming from her!
Selling my first chair through Ferrers Gallery in Staunton Harold a few days after it arrived was also amazing. The lady who bought it was over the moon about owning it, and that’s exactly what I want people to feel about buying any work from me, that the pieces are something unique that can be treasured.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
I’ve enjoyed time away in all three of these cities, but I have to confess I am a country girl at heart!
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Clinique Even Better Makeup, Estee Lauder Smoothing Creme Concealer and No7 Stay Perfect Mascara-no panda eyes later in the day wearing that one!
Being true to yourself, feeling comfortable in your own skin and feeling good about the way you look. Simple is sometimes more.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
It has to be statement shoe! I have a weak spot for shoes…I need to have a clear out.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
Funny enough, I feel most at home in my well worn, ripped jeans.
Best place for a coffee?
A local organic farm – Oakley Grange – is the best place to relax towards the end of a busy week. They have a lovely spot on the edge of a village near by, surrounded by fields and all the natural world that goes with that. And the coffee’s excellent as well!
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” My mum made me learn it off by heart when I was little and it has definitely been the baseline for most things I’ve pursued or set my mind to in life. I owe her a lot!
Homemade bread…Yum! My husband bakes amazing bread, and it doesn’t last long in our home!
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My husband and me dream of going to Bora Bora – a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. It’s surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef. One day we’ll treat ourselves!
Find out more…
You can visit my website www.seedhomedesigns.com to find more about my work or contact me. All of my fabrics, chairs and home accessories are available to buy through my site. You can also find me on social media, but I particularly love to blog on Instagram. To keep up to date with all that I’m doing you can find me @seedhomedesigns.