Homegirl London pays homage to Warbeck & Cox. Country loving Caroline Cox set up her new design company to bring stylish, good quality and most importantly – fun to your home. Lucky Caroline is based in her countryside barn studio where she’s as busy as a bee drawing inspiration from her surroundings. Her designs include beetles, moths and grasshoppers alongside pepper mills, irons, keys and glasses. This subject matter adorns tea towels, aprons, napkins, lampshades and many more home accessories. Caroline follows her passion for the countryside through to supporting nearby businesses and the environment; hiring locally where possible and working with sustainable and eco-friendly materials. I caught up with Caroline to ask her a few questions …
Q: Where did your love of textiles come from?
A: Oh that began many, many moons ago when I played with my Granny’s button collection threading them onto long lengths of ribbon. I was completely hooked and from there I very quickly started knitting, stitching and gathering ideas.
Q: What made you decide to set up a business? Who or what is Warbeck?
A: To be honest, I have been talking of doing this since I was 15 and having renovated my flat I knew it was time to bite the bullet. So I jacked in my job, rented out my newly done flat and moved home. That was the easy bit … coming up with a name was a bit harder. Originally, I wanted to be called radish or turnip or some inanimate object but everything was taken when I looked on Google. I felt that I couldn’t really start properly without a name and it was not until I was sitting with a girlfriend having a glass of wine that she suggested I use the name of my road. After all, my funny little flat was where all the creativity started. I didn’t think it would stick but I went with it and very quickly began to love it!
Q: Tell me more about the joys of living in the countryside.
A: The joys? Well, there are many … having my own chickens and a newly laid egg for my breakfast each morning, growing my own veggies, fresh air, space and going for long walks with my lovely hound. It’s not all paradise though … we have no heating so I wear a ski suit (I am not joking) from about November to April and being on an old farm there’s an awful lot of mud! But I did grow up in the countryside so it didn’t come as a complete surprise!
Q: How does your creative process work?
A: I never leave the house without a sketchbook in my handbag (though I have been known to resort to the back of a cheque book). I might notice the pattern on a drain cover, leaves or a lantern I’ll scribble it down. However, the very beginning started 10 years ago when I found myself with task of entertaining a young cousin and was told to take him to Tring Zoological Museum (now part of the Natural History Museum). It was a firm favourite when I was young but I was not convinced that well over a decade later I would feel quite the same way but how wrong I was. On opening that first drawer and rediscovering the rows and rows of little creatures pinned and labelled so neatly, I was hooked. So hooked in fact that I had to shoot off to the gift shop and buy a sketchpad and get scribbling!
Q: Tell me more about your ethos – to bring stylish, good quality and fun to your home.
A: I have always been interested in interiors and home wares and I really wanted to produce my own range that was unusual. I don’t take myself that seriously either, so whatever I did was always going to be slightly quirky and different. From the beginning, it was really important that I produce things that were fit for purpose (I still do not know why people design a tea towel that leaves fluff and won’t dry anything) and I also wanted to really try and do my bit for the environment. Everything is made in England as well, that’s key. I think we all need to support local businesses. I think we all need to do our bit, and I often find that small independent businesses just need to be given a chance!
Q: What is your bestselling design?
A: Gosh that’s tricky … my designs seem to sell in fits and starts but it is probably the beetles. People seem to really love them.
Q: What’s coming up for the remainder of 2012?
A: Kitty our Christmas fairy is helping to build up our stock to get us ready for the Christmas onslaught, with Christmas fairs keeping us busy. 2013 will be bringing new products and culinary designs, so keep your eyes peeled!
Below is a selection of products which you can buy from www.warbeckandcox.co.uk. To give you an idea on price points; Tea Towels £8.50, Napkins x 4 £20 and Notecards x 6 £4.50. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Warbeck and Cox, special thanks to Caroline Cox.