Shop spotlight on Swoon Editions (they are now called just Swoon). This store sells desirable furniture online, which is lovingly handcrafted by artisan makers from around the world. Their offering will make you feel giddy from pleasure rather than weak at the knees because of the prices. Two former newspaper colleagues spotted a gap in the market and decided to turn their whims into a reality by offering affordable limited-edition furniture. You’ll find a heady mix of sofas, armchairs, console tables, sideboards, side tables, home office desks and plenty more. You’ll enjoy browsing the plethora of styles which range from contemporary to classic, mid-century modern, industrial, country and shabby chic. I caught up with the owners to find out more about Swoon Editions.
Meet the Swoon Owners
This business was founded by Debbie Williamson (MD) and Brian Harrison (CEO) who worked together at The Daily Telegraph. Both Brian and Debbie wanted to find a way to own beautifully crafted furniture without having to pay over-inflated retail prices. They tell me, “there was a gap in the market, with existing business models waiting to be disrupted and so Swoon Editions was born.”
Brian Harrison and Debbie Williamson
Their concept is simple but very effective, they explain, “we have a community of ‘Insiders’ (fans of the brand who sign up to receive the daily email and exclusive offers) who primarily influence what we sell. We then make Editions in a limited quantity so we can gauge its popularity. If our Insiders like it, we make more. That way we only put in production what we know people want, which means we can reduce waste and keep costs low. We collaborate with expert craftspeople from countries such as China, India, Vietnam and the UK to make the products. These makers have been vetted for good workplace and environmental standards and practices.”
To begin with, the company was called Decoholic. They decided to rebrand when they were on the cusp of significant growth and became Swoon Editions. They explain, “we wanted to get across a word that captured that feeling when you find that perfect piece of furniture for your home. It’s more than just liking something, or thinking that will do. It’s about falling in love with furniture; hence the word Swoon. The Edition part links to the fact that we launch limited edition pieces and not mass-produced lines of products. Our focus is on covetable designs that are only available in a select number.”
They explain their rationale for becoming an online retailer. “It means that we can reduce prices substantially to provide sizeable discounts on what you might pay in a high-end retailer for similar pieces. With no retail space to pay for and no holding warehouse, the Editions go direct from the workshop to your home, resulting in a lean and highly effective business model. Our focus remains online, although we are exploring pop-up shops as an option.”
The business started in March 2012, and today nearly forty people are working in the company. They tell me, “getting to shape the way your business works is a pleasure. There are certain things that you always wish you could have in a business, and when you’re the owners, you can implement those things that you wished you had when you were an employee. Culture is critical to us and so safeguarding camaraderie and providing a ‘family-like’ feel is paramount to our ethos.”
Online you’ll find furniture for the living room, dining room, bedroom, hallway, study, nursery and even your garden. Rather than selling designer brands, they tell me, “at the moment all our pieces come from artisan makers, crafted in workshops from around the world, often using traditional and time-honoured techniques.”
To give you an idea of what’s on offer; Debbie and Brian have selected five products for you to swoon over. The Mimi Sofa is a roomy three-seater with bags of mid-century modern style. With angled tapered legs in solid oak and an aerodynamic body full of rounded edges, it has a space-age feel about it. Upholstered in a powder blue with button back detailing, it certainly is a show-stopping centrepiece for your living room. This has been made by a Danish company who have a workshop based in Vietnam.
I love this storage chest of drawers which is called Rubicks. It’s been crafted from reclaimed elm wood and is quite quirky with different sized drawers adorned with an assortment of brass effect handles. This is a very versatile piece which could work anywhere in your home – hallway, bedroom, living room or dining room. The artisan maker is based near Shanghai in China and produces furniture for exclusive interiors brand throughout the world.
Rubicks Chest of Drawers
This three-piece coffee table and side table set are called Smith. The industrial style features lacquered steel frames with a distressed effect. Topped with solid mango wood, they have a worn look which adds to their charm. This set can be split up and spread around your home if required, and when not in use, you can slide them together. This particular piece has been handcrafted in India by two brothers who have been working in the family-run business for some forty years now.
Smith Coffee Table Set
The Juliette Bench can be used as a chair or window seat. It’s a rework of a classic eighteenth-century Gustavian bench. The legs have been made from solid oak with stunning hand carved delicate flower detailing for added interest. The oatmeal upholstery adds comfort and rustic charm. This piece would be ideal for the hallway, living room or bedroom. The maker is based close to Shanghai.
Cute and compact, the Aimee bedside table has understated elegance to suit both ‘his’ and ‘her’ sides of the bed. It has a hint of French style that comes through in the cabriole legs, which is then balanced out by its lime-washed effect finish, lending it country rusticity. Handmade in a workshop located in Rajasthan, India, the owner has been crafting furniture for over forty years with a focus on French style reproduction.
Aimee Bedside Table
Buy Swoon Furniture
If you’re after an investment piece of furniture which is well made by an artisan all you have to do is click Swoon. Make sure you sign up to become one of the ‘Insiders’ which gives you priority access to Editions and exclusive offers. They have a dedicated in-house customer care team who will look after you. To provide you with an idea about price points – side tables begin from £49, armchairs vary from around £299-399, coffee tables are around £99-199, and chests of drawers are £269-399. Shipping prices vary depending on where you’re located in the UK. They don’t currently ship overseas. Happy shopping and I hope you find something gorgeous to swoon over!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Swoon Editions.Thanks: Brian Harrison, Debbie Williamson and Marianne Fernandes.