Profiles: BeauVamp

alicemoylanbeauvampHomegirl London pays homage to BeauVamp.  The lady vamping up lamps is Alice Moylan.  She restores lampstands, adds vintage fabric and gives them a wow factor with her unique finishing touches to create a handcrafted treasure.  Alice combines classic with contemporary styles by respecting traditional crafts and taking inspiration from the catwalk.  After turning her hobby into a business in 2006, she hasn’t looked back.  She now has a lush line of lamps and offers a bespoke service.  I caught up with Alice to find out more …

Q: Tell me about your design background.

A: Well, I actually started upcycling second-hand furniture using paint and decoupage as a bit of a hobby, but when I got hooked on it, I realised that it may be possible to turn it into a business.  I then spent 3 years learning all sorts of renovation techniques on local furniture and upholstery course in Derbyshire, which really progressed from there.  My favourite project turned out to be salvaging an old lampshade and stand; the rest, as they say, is history.  I decided then and there that lampshades were going to be my thing!  I completely loved the transformation and being used to just working with wood; this project also allowed me to experiment with all kinds of fabrics, bringing something old back into the present but with a funky twist.

Q: Why set up your business?

A: Having my hobby to start with helped me decide to give it a go and set up a business doing what I love.  It’s working so far; I’m my own boss, I get to be creative every day and I can work from home, making the work/life balance much easier.

Q: Describe your design style.

A: An eclectic mix of colours with a vintage edge.  Anything goes.

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

A: All sorts of places.  I like to keep my eye on the catwalk trends and love hunting down rare fabrics available in antique shops, fairs and markets.  I like mixing and clashing fabrics from different eras and deconstructing patterns to form new ones.

Q: What’s your fascination with lamps?

A: I love something with a bit of history, whether it is a vintage standard lamp, piece of furniture or an old-style ‘granny’ shade.  I love to take something old and put a new stamp on it with a contemporary design.  There are so many different ways of dressing up a lampshade, the possibilities are endless, and I wish I had more time to explore all my ideas.  Lighting is also a great focal point in a room, so it can be used to add a real statement.

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: Most of my lampshades are limited editions with some one-off pieces.  I also try and bring out 3-4 collections a year, my recent ones have been Wonderland, Heritage and my most recent Pastel Patchworks.

Beauvamp limited edition lamps

BeauVamp Limited Edition and One-Off Designs

BeauVamp Alice in Wonderland Collection

BeauVamp Wonderland Collection

BeauVamp Heritage Collection

 BeauVamp Heritage Collection

BeauVamp Pastels Patchwork Collection

 BeauVamp Pastel Patchworks Collection

Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.

A: I find that over half of my work is commission-based.  I have stacks of vintage and designer fabrics that I have collected over the years and usually have something to suit most people.  If not, then I can source something that’s just right.  Most of my commission and bespoke ordering is done online, and a series of photographs are sent to the client detailing each stage of the design and making the process.  Samples are also sent in the post, and design can take between 2-4 weeks, depending on exactly what the client wants.

BeauVamp Fabric

BeauVamp Fabric Archive

Q: Which designer do you admire and why?

A: I’m inspired by the works and designs of the late Alexander McQueen; he really captured his imagination in his shows which were always a work of art.  I also really like Vivienne Westwood’s quirky tartan designs, and I hope to be experimenting further with tartan in my next set of lampshades.

Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

A: To be free to experiment and control what you do.  It’s also great when you get nice feedback from clients.

Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up their own business?

A: Make sure you know who your target market is and find the correct price categories.  Check out your competitors and try to have a unique selling point.

Q: What’s coming up for the rest of 2013?

A: An exciting collaboration and some new stockists, so watch this space.

If you love BeauVamp as much as I do, then check out the website at Beau Vamp.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of BeauVamp, and special thanks to Alice Moylan.