I have a passion for fabric – especially linen – so I was keen to know more about Louise Schofield, founder of Olive + Daisy (listed in the FBWL directory here). Her beautiful collection includes soft, tumbled linens made in Scotland and printed in Lancashire as well as handmade cushions, bags, candles and more.
I asked Louise to share a few of her simple pleasures, local finds and inspirations. Turns out Louise’s loves include walking in the Lincolnshire Wolds with her dogs, watching Peaky Blinders and her beloved late grandfather’s flat cap. Definitely a woman after my own heart.
Please describe what you do and your journey there
I’m a designer maker and launched Olive+Daisy in 2015. After returning from living abroad I was determined not to simply go back to working in a job that I didn’t enjoy so summoned up the courage to leave all the safety nets behind and become self employed. I started designing and making soft furnishings for other fabric designers; while loving the production process I knew this business was always going to be limited. So, with the considerable help and encouragement of industry friends, we launched our very own designs. Since then I haven’t looked back, expanding the range to include: florals, paisleys and much more as well as continuing to make our wide range of homewares and gifts.
Please tell us a little about what you make
I’ve just launched our latest fabric design, ‘Ophelia’(above) an intricate floral with a soft and feminine feel, perfect for full billowing curtains and feather filled cushions. Ophelia has taken several months to perfect but I’m thrilled with the result. We’ve used a tumbled linen that’s woven in Kirkcaldy and the design is digitally printed in Lancashire for us, as working with and supporting other British businesses is something I believe very strongly in and am very proud of.
I’ve continued to expand our very popular range of bags and pouches too, launching our new Basket Bag (below) and Luxury Roll Top wash bag (above) this year.
Favourite way to start the day?
I’m up at 5.30am and go straight to Ostler’s Woods (former home of the ‘Dambusters’ 617 Squadron) with my three labs for a long walk, it really sets me up for the day ahead, helps me clear my head, provides inspirations and allows me to start planning the day to come.
Please describe your workplace
I’m very lucky to have my workshop located just across a courtyard from my home. Located in a converted stable it has a large cutting table at one end, my 1970’s industrial sewing machine and an industrial overlocker to one side.
Shelving on all walls houses everything from rolls of fabric and wallpapers to candles. It’s only a small workshop, especially with three Labradors lounging on the floor but it works well and has all I need to hand make each item.
I start work at 8.30am, typically by reviewing the diary, emails and orders placed overnight, this then allows me to begin planning the day ahead. Every day is different and what I love most about my job is the unfailing diversity, from crafting new designs , sewing orders, processing fabric orders and maintaining the website, it’s a bit of a juggling act!
What keeps you going through the day?
The dogs, who are always keeping a sleepy eye on work and audiobooks in the background – even on the most stressful of days I can get lost in a story.
Top tips for enabling creativity?
Keeping your eyes wide open, inspiration can come from the strangest of places and at any time. I jot things down in notebooks, pin up images I love, take photos of shapes and colours I’m drawn to. It’s amazing how these things can spark new design ideas when you least expected it.
Your simple pleasures?
A walk with my dogs, the fresh air, open country side and their pure unadulterated enjoyment never ceases to be infectious.
Your approach to setting and achieving your goals?
I have clear long term goals for the business, working on my own sometimes this can seem like climbing a mountain; therefore I like to break things down and celebrate every achievement, no matter how small.
What do you like best about your neighbourhood?
I love the open countryside, I live just on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, that feeling of space and escapism right on the doorstep is just amazing.
Best place to watch the world go by?
Our local village has a lovely high street full of independent stores, a particular favourite is The Book Fayre, a lovely book shop with a fab coffee shop and scrummy cakes! In the summer I take the dogs, sitting outside enjoying the sunshine.
I love to support other small, independent, British businesses and so I always try to find those small shops, stalls or websites that are off the beaten track from the mainstream retailers.
Most treasured possession ?
My most treasured possession has to be my late grandfather’s flat cap, which has pride of place in my hallway on it own coat hook. I totally idolised him! He wore his old flat cap rain or shine and it will always be a special tangible reminder of him.
Flamborough Head– it’s a bit of a drive but well worth it, walking the cliff path is just great.
What are you passionate about right now?
I’m very passionate about what I do and while being self-employed has its fair share of sleepless nights and never ending ups and downs it allows me to do what I love.
Best local place for rummaging vintage finds?
I really enjoy a trip to Newark Antiques Fair, it’s held every couple of months and is a treasure trove for all things vintage and antique. I particularly love looking at all the antique fabrics on offer.
Can you sum up your ethos?
My ethos is that items are so much more special when each piece is handmade and therefore unique. Inevitably, this means they have to be that little bit more expensive but they’re of better quality and much more special for it.
Favourite British design icon?
What are you most proud of?
I recently moved into my home, a converted barn/stable block. I converted it myself with the help of my father. We did all the work ourselves, learning all sorts of skills along the way- it’s made a very special home that I just adore living in. I feel very very lucky!
Who are your favourite UK makers and why?
I’ve just discovered ‘The Carrier Company’, offering vintage workwear inspired clothing, all of which is hand made by artisans in Norfolk. I’m currently eyeing up a pair of their dungarees which would be perfect in the workshop.
How important is making in the UK to you and why?
Hugely important, we have such a wealth of talent in this country and I’m honoured to be part of that. Through starting this business I have met so many fantastic businesses who really excel in what they do and inspire me to do the same. We are so proud of our ‘Handmade in England’ status which never fails to provide motivation.
Best place to unwind/escape to?
I love Northumberland. I went on a camping trip with the dogs a couple of years ago and had such a great time. Can’t wait to go back and explore further.
Best piece of advice you could share?
Don’t give up!
What are you listening to/reading/watching right now?
Reading Phillipa Gregory ‘Three Queens’ and watching Peaky Blinders.
I’m listening to the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, I never get bored of them
Secret to being happy?
Self acceptance, standing tall and saying ‘this is me’, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. You have to do what you truly love. There will always be excuses why you can’t do these things. But it takes courage and determination to go for it. One thing is certain, you’ll never regret it.
Your goals for the future?
To keep growing the business. While I would like to see it grow to a size where it is reliably self-sustaining, I never want it to get too big that I’m forced away from the front lines of design and creativity. I’m happy to stay small!
Olive + Daisy is listed in the From Britain with Love directory here >>
Carrier Company is listed in the From Britain with Love directory here >>
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