Tori Murphy

Profiles: Tori Murphy

Tori MurphyHomegirl London pays homage to Tori Murphy.  She’s a designer fuelled by a love of interiors, pattern, texture and colour.  Her simple designs pay attention to quality materials like the 100% Merino Lambswool which is woven in Lancashire, washed in the Yorkshire Dales and then crafted in to something beautiful.

Tori makes cushions, throws, footstools and fabrics.  Her striking bold patterns are produced in blacks, greys and neutrals.  She’s been on quite a journey before launching her own woven textile collection in 2012 – studying, interning and working – which has resulted in a creative career doing something she loves.  I caught up with Tori to find out more …

Q: Tell me about your design background.

A: I did my art foundation at Kingston University and went on to St Martins to study painting.  I left after the first year to take the job as a booker for New Faces at IMG girls division in London.  This led to working for an EMAP magazine as assistant to the fashion editor but I wasn’t creatively satisfied.  I returned to finish my fine art degree at Kingston and with the fashion experience I had gained, the connection between drawing, painting and fabric was cemented.

During the summers of my BA, I interned for The Saatchi Gallery, Julien Macdonald and Alice Temperley.  It was a 3 month placement at Suzy Hoodless (former interiors editor at Wallpaper) that was the final piece of the puzzle.  I went on to study an MA in textiles for interiors at the Royal College of Art and then to work for a textile house in Milan.  I returned to the UK, relocated to Nottingham and have been there since.  Of course, there have been other jobs; pub jobs, office jobs, shop jobs – to keep things ticking over and they have all been important in helping me get to this point.

Q: Why set up your business?

A: Because I wanted to build a career and life based on my own creativity.

 Tori Murphy

Tori Murphy Products

Q: Where are you based and why?

A: My studio is in Sherwood in Nottingham and it’s only a 1 minute walk from my house.  I like being close to home and the community we have around us is something I’ve been looking for, for a long time. The factories we use are in Lancashire and Yorkshire and all of the products are made a few miles away in Hucknall and Long Eaton so we are well positioned to visit easily.  London is less than 2 hours away on the train and I always look forward to those journeys and the transition between cities.

Q: How many people work at your company?

A: It’s mainly just me but I have Jack who is my sounding board, photographer and website builder.  Gaia helps with pattern cutting, sample machining and mail orders.  Joby, who as well as being my boyfriend, helps with pretty much everything.  We then outsource all of the manufacturing as locally as we can.

Q: Describe your design style.

A: Simple design with attention to materials used and craftsmanship.

 Tori Murphy

Tori Murphy Products

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

A: Raw and natural materials always amaze me.  I think if you use beautiful materials, then their beauty and imperfections tend to do a lot of the design process for you and speak for themselves.   Flowers are a constant source of inspiration.  Their colours and hardiness impress me every day.  I love looking at other people’s interiors too as I think it gives a real insight in to people’s personalities.

 Tori Murphy

Tori Murphy Products

Q: What’s your fascination with interiors?

A: My interest in interiors started at school.  I was at boarding school in Derbyshire from 8 years to the age of 18 and trying to create my own personal and private space was very important to me.  I did this by having the things around me that made me happy.  Pillows and blankets from home, pictures of the things I liked stuck to the wall, essentially interior design at a very basic stage!  This has stayed with me and developed gradually over time.

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: The current collections are Broadway, Chevy, Elca and Murphy (shown below).  We will be launching our next collection in September, which will be our third.  The aim is for each piece to fit with any other pieces from previous collections.  We are not trying to do anything ground-breaking – just simple, beautiful homeware that complements an existing interior.

Broadway Design by Tori Murphy

Broadway Collection

 Chevy, Tori Murphy

Chevy Collection

Elca Collection

Elca Collection

 Murphy Collection

Murphy Collection

 Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.

A: We offer a bespoke colourway service, where clients can choose their own colours for the fabric.  There is a cost involved in doing this so at this stage we are only able to work with orders over a certain size.

Q: Which designer do you admire and why?

A: There are a few.  I love Suzy Hoodless interiors for her use of colours.  Bethan Gray has such a wonderful understanding of materials and Terence Conran for his ability to be so successful commercially.

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

A: Even with the dramatic ups and downs running your own business creates, I feel like I’m leading the life I want and I can even bring my dog to work!

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

A: DO IT but be prepared to work your back side off.

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

A: We have products in new stockists over the next few months, including; Toast in the UK and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.  We have a new PR company on-board which is great.  We are in talks with a high street retailer, the online shop is taking off and we’re collaborating with Holly’s House which will launch at Tent in September.  More London trade shows, new products to design and a whole new collection to launch in September.

In terms of prices; 40cm cushions are £65, 60cm cushions are £95, throws are £250 and foot stools are £275.  You can buy from Tori Murphy.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Tori Murphy, special thanks to Tori.