When I met Steve he was planning to leave a job in the city that he had been in since he left school. I was doing part-time cash in hand jobs. Steve had commuted for 19 years, leaving the house at dawn and coming home after dinner. We both knew what our interests were and eventually this led to us starting up our business together.
We did this so that we could work doing something we loved. We always said if we could do what we wanted to do and make enough money to live off we would be happy.
As I have said in the past we have made considered decisions- we live in a small flat in central Brighton with one child and several pets. We are not attracted to having a large mortgage or fancy car. If we have any extra money we like to go see cities in other countries. We buy lots of books but mainly from charity shops.
The madness of Black Friday has made me want to write this as I want to clear up and clarify the difference between what we do and what the retailer does.
As a designer we do not make much money. Retailers/stylists and other people associated with designers make money out of designers but we know that and we are doing this for other reasons.
-We wanted to make things that reflect our ideas not to create a ‘lifestyle.’
-We do not advocate lifestyle blogs- these can make people feel inadequate about their lives and encourage a sterile and unrealistic expectation of what a home and living should be. Its okay to leave phone chargers out and have cat hair and crumbs because that shows you are alive and have other priorities.
-Our prices are what they are because all our work is made to order by our hands in our workshop.
-Most of what we earn goes back in business but we don’t mind because we like our job.
-We make things that we hope you will keep forever.
-We think buying things should be considered.
-A lot of retail is detached from what we do as their aim is to sell as many things as they can and this often means encouraging you to buy what you don’t need.
-We do have own some worthless nonsense but we tend to buy these are from charity shops. (such as souvenirs of places we haven’t been. My daughter and I play a game called Saving Things- the sad rubbish ornament no one wants anymore)
-Spending money is a modern justification of why we are living. It has become the main leisure activity.
-Reading books or seeing things is enriching.
-We don’t like trends or fashion as this gives a lifespan to objects.
-We don’t like ‘themes’ for your home- just buy what you like it doesn’t have to match the colour of your cat.
-Our work is about longevity and craftsmanship- trends devalue this ethos.
So work less, spend less; spend time with good people who get what you do. Cook nice food and listen to records and get drunk. Because we are only here for 5 minutes and you don’t want to spend it worrying about what the neighbours think of you.