Finding new, affordable and innovative items to brighten up your apartment is not as simple as you might think, but we believe we’ve found a local gem in the middle of West London. Meet Sophie, a Hungarian-born artist who creates unique handmade prints with real leaves, in her own basement.
Not only are her pieces locally made in the heart of London’s Shepherds Bush, Sophie swears by only using natural and organic products. Besides composing wall prints and canvases, she also creates gorgeous tote bags and purses. Since we couldn’t wait to order our own piece to hang above our beds, we resolved to spend a full day with the artist and photograph the process of her work. Keep reading to discover some inside information about her work:
A: Hi Sophie, we are so excited to have come across your unique designs on Instagram and love the soft and organic look of the prints. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start this business?
S: Thank you, Aurore! My journey started in 2014 when I made my first leather clutch for myself because I thought the high street brands were way overpriced. I am a self-taught seamstress, although I have a BA in Arts & Design, that’s where I got my love for printing. I started this business because I wanted to stay busy and creative after finishing university. The stars aligned for me in 2016 when I had the pleasure of meeting some amazing female entrepreneurs who inspired and encouraged me to keep going. This encounter made me realise that my hobby could actually become more of a business. It was the rules of attraction, I got some freelance projects that boosted me to carry on and invest more energy into the brand.
A: Creating the prints is quite intricate, can you walk us through the step by step process?
S: My studio is in the corner of my living room. I do the entire design process, from individually hand-printing the linings, pattern cutting and sewing. Each print design is unique due to the hand-printing process. I started printing with leaves one Autumn, when I was trying to figure out a signature lining design for the bags. One morning, I noticed all the fallen leaves on the pavement, I thought, this is it! This amazing gift of nature is preserved in an everyday item. The printing process is called release print, I individually ink up the leaves, place them between two pieces of fabric, make sure it makes full contact and release. The method is fairly simple, the intricacy comes from the individuality of each leaf and the fact that it is near impossible to get the same imprint twice from the same leaf.
A: There’s no denying you have a good eye for decorating a home and making it as snug and organic like your prints, who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to home decor and what’s your favourite item in your home? When it comes to furniture, which piece is worth investing in?
S: Most of the pieces of furniture I have at home, I found on the street, got given by friends or bought second-hand and restored myself. I like furniture with a past, they carry a story I can add to. Although I have a thing for side tables and have about eight of them, my favourite piece is probably my second-hand fabric sofa, I fell in love with it in a charity shop, because of the upholstery fabric. It’s white with a beautiful dark green vine and leaf pattern. The label of manufacturing states that it was made in 1987, meaning we are the same age, it was meant to be! I get inspired by home decor accounts on Instagram, especially bloggers who share pictures of their own homes. I absolutely fell in love with this one particular account; @judith’s_place, her home is my dream. The only thing really worth investing in is a good mattress, the most expensive single item I have ever purchased.
A: At the moment, you launched three styles of bags, are you planning on expanding the accessories side of your business or would you rather focus on keeping your collection unique and limited?
S: I believe that the greatness of any product is in the detail. I tend to make the same design again and again until the stitching is perfect, the zip sits flawlessly, the printing aligns on the lining etc. I make the same products over and over again to make sure I can produce a high quality every time. I am a one girl band, so this takes time, one product at a time. I am very happy with a small batch production, it has a sense of personal touch and care, that I pride myself in. Next, I am launching large canvas shopper totes with leather handles, perfect to carry home gorgeous plants from the Colombia Road flower market!
A: And finally, what is your valuable piece of advice for starting your own business in the artistic/creative world?
S: Don’t give up! Do something creative every day to keep the flame alive and try not to compare your work with others, find inspiration in them, a misplaced focus can have a negative impact. Own your individuality and work hard. Pay attention to your customer’s individual needs, they are the ones who matter the most!
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Go-to brunch spot in London: I don’t really do brunch, but I make a mean chorizo and egg bake.
Coffee or tea: Coffee!
Best holiday destination: Lisbon
Favourite material to work with: Soft, luscious leather.
Favourite artist: Louise Bourgeois and Wes Anderson.
What’s next on your bucket list: I’d love to go to Morocco.
Images: Sophie Hollo