So excited to share this post with you – the first go to your room interview! One of the main reasons for setting up this blog was to highlight interiors brands run by parents. It seems obvious to me that no one quite understands a parent’s needs as much as another parent, and so it’s no surprise that lots of the design brands I’ve come across are run by families (not just mums!).
So, first up in a series of interviews with these inspiring folk (I’m not calling them mumpreneurs, am firmly on the fence about that label…) is the lovely Grace Tindall from Scandibørn. Grace lives in Sheffield with husband James and toddler son Harry, and she launched Scandibørn late last year, which is SO hard to believe, because they are just getting it right on so many fronts – from the products they stock, to the branding and ethos behind the company… inspiring indeed!
Hello Grace! We love Scandibørn – how did the idea for it come about?
It was definitely a combination of factors that came together at the right time to give us the final push to just get on and do it.
Maternity leave gave me some much needed headspace to think about my career, the life we wanted to build post kids and it also allowed me to formulate the business plan that I had thought so much about when I was pregnant. Simultaneously my husband, James got made redundant and we decided (against the advice of pretty much everyone!) to invest the very small pay out, take a leap of faith and go for it.
We love the whole ethos that surrounds Scandinavian living and interiors, it places value on buying products that will last years and fulfil different needs as our lives change. We’d spent a long time getting our home just perfect and having children seemed to open the door into a whole range of eyesores that I didn’t want lying round our living room (don’t get me wrong Harry still has a whole lot of plastic toys, they are just stowed away in stylish storage bags!).
We felt there was a gap in the market for people like us who wanted to be able to create beautiful, playful and stylish spaces for their children that fitted with their contemporary homes.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you did before?
Previously I was a management consultant for a big US-based IT firm. Obviously this is a totally unrelated industry so I suppose it took me a bit longer to work out the dos and don’ts of retail. In the same vein that’s given us advantages too – I had to go with my instinct and I used the skills I’d already gained – project management, contract management, delivery to tight timelines and importantly never accepting ‘no’ as the final answer!
What have you enjoyed the most since starting the company?
It has to be choosing the products and styling the site. There is nothing better for me than discovering a new brand or wonderful new collection that ticks all our boxes.
How do you choose which pieces to stock?
The first thing I wrote in my notebook when I started to build the idea of Scandibørn was ‘who are we?’ I often go back to that page and take a look at those key words when I’m undecided about a product or brand. Everything we sell has to knit together with that clean, Scandi aesthetic that we adore.
We’ve had a clear focus and ethos from the beginning, we think very carefully about every product we bring into our store – we always ask two questions 1) would we buy it? 2) does it fit the Scandi brief? If either of those are ‘no’ it’s not coming in. We want people to feel inspired when shopping with us and that starts with knowing who we are and staying true to that.
What’s the most challenging aspect of combining motherhood with work, and how do you overcome it?
It’s definitely a tough one, but I haven’t spoken to any parent that finds it easy. James generally does the nursery pick up so I can work a bit longer then I take time with Harry until bed time. Post 7.30pm I unwind either with a run (if I’m feeling energetic) or with a glass of red wine…
We have a no work rule post 8.30pm that we really try to stick to, we also make sure we always take one day off at the weekend and do something altogether as a family.
What are your favourite pieces?
That’s a hard one! I do have particular soft spots for several of our Danish brands, Cam Cam Copenhagen was the first brand we signed up – their style is classic Scandinavian with a Japanese influence which makes them and their prints stand out from the crowd. Liewood Design is another favourite, they are a relatively new brand who are all about simplicity with a playful twist – they are launching a wooden Playgym this spring which is nothing short of amazing and something we’ve been crying out for in the UK for a while.
Can you describe your own home?
We live in a 1930s semi and we’ve spent years doing it up… we’ve almost finished! It’s definitely a mix of styles –of course we have a lot of Scandi elements – light wood, clean lines, string shelving, pastel tones. That’s combined with a love of retro furniture and pops of colour in the right places – we recently bought a Ligne Roset Togo Sofa in bright orange which looks perfect in our bay windowed lounge.
What’s your hope for the company’s future?
Sometimes I would adore to have our own storefront, the creative in me would love to have the chance to style a physical store.
However what I love about online is that there are no limitations, so I’ve been able to create our perfect aesthetic, ensuring our site reflects our brand to the tee and shows off our beautiful products in the best possible way. Customers also get to see our products in different settings and I think can better imagine them within their own homes.
Currently, the SS17 range is our immediate focus but we also have some very exciting developments we’re working on now and although we can’t share too much yet it’s going to really help Scandibørn to continue to grow!
When you’re not running the business, how do you like to spend your time?
I’m in a house full of boys so generally first point of call is to get outside and blow off steam/energy! We’re lucky enough to live a stone’s throw from some gorgeous woods and a couple of miles from the beautiful Peak District so we have plenty of lovely walks at our disposal as well as some nice pubs for Sunday lunch!
A big thank you to Grace for her time – check out Scandibørn here>