|fiona pringle founder of hook & eye|
Now winter is finally upon us, I find one of the best ways to warm up is to head to the beach (albeit wrapped up in a jumper and scarf). During the warmest part of the day I can almost trick myself into thinking it is summer, particularly when I start dreaming of a day bed topped with pom-pom fringed cushions from hook & eye. Created by former fashion/graphic designer turned homewares designer, Fiona Pringle, inspiration for hook & eye's debut range has come from Fiona's love of the sea, travel and home. And with a desire to create beautiful artisan pieces which are unique and soulful and will be treasured long into the future, I think Fiona's array of cushions, artwork and tableware do exactly that - to me they perfectly capture a wonderful laid back, holiday feel. Perhaps it is the rattan pod chair as well...If you're dreaming of summer or simply want to beat early onset winter blues, I strongly suggest a visit to hook & eye and the beach!
How would you describe yourself in five words?
All depends on the day.
What was your childhood dream?
To be a ‘famous’ artist. I always knew I wanted to be a ‘designer’ of some sort, even before I really knew what it meant. That was when I wasn't dreaming of owning a milkbar with my sister so we could help ourselves to the lollies all day, or becoming a dolphin trainer at Seaworld.
What led you down your current path?
A break in my career to have kids after nine years in fashion design and eight years in graphic design gave me the space I needed to be creative on my terms. I felt like I was stuck in a revolving door in the fashion industry before I left to have kids, so I wasn’t overly keen to jump back in. It was also going to be a case of going back full-time or not at all and I want to see the kids being kids before they quickly grow up.
What do you love most about what you do?
Finally I’m designing for me, exploring my talent and using it to benefit my family and me ... not for someone else’s gain. Flexible hours and being my own boss, even though at times that can prove challenging as much as liberating, as I can be a bit all or nothing. Mainly I love the feeling of FINALLY ‘doing’ instead of always whining about wanting to ‘do’ something!
Where do feel most inspired?
I'm most inspired when I'm travelling, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. Failing that, which I am of late, it’d be when hanging outdoors in the sunshine with my husband and kids. Without time constraints.
I’d also love to say ‘in my light-filled studio overlooking the ocean’, however the reality is I have a spare room in what is a pretty cold house at the moment. In saying that, I am very grateful to have the space at home where I have a lovely view across a bushy gully and over the hill to the beach. If I turn the stereo off I can listen to the kookaburras, magpies and distant laughter of kids at the nearby school. That’s inspiring me right now.
Who do you admire?
Lucy Feagins for taking me on a daily journey of inspiration through the Design Files. I also admire her for all she has done and achieved with her business so far. I also admire Clare Bowditch for everything she has done with her life and her career, but especially her new Big Hearted Business venture. Attending her inaugural BHB conference was hands down the best $$ I have spent since starting hook&eye. I also admire Garance Dore, Jamie Oliver, Rachel Power, Jessica Bettany, Beci Orpin and Megan Morton. I love what they do and the fact that they are all making a success of doing what they LOVE. Last, but definitely not least, I admire my husband for being such an amazingly calm and balanced soul. I would be quite lost without him.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Everyday challenges involved in trying to wear all the hats in a business, when all I want to do and love to do is design and create pretty things. I’m learning so much, but I feel frustrated as I am trying to build a strong business foundation, however this means only a small amount of time right now is being spent on the design side. Not having a money tree out the back also offers some ‘challenges’ ... for want of a better word.
What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
I wouldn’t call it a ‘pinch yourself’ moment, but Frankie Magazine contacting me to be featured in their June edition is pretty cool, especially at this early stage in the business. It’s just cool to know that they like what I’m doing. The great responses I have been getting from some pretty cool stores wanting to stock my wares has also been pretty amazing. I wasn't expecting it all to happen so quickly. But I'm certainly not complaining.
What are your top creative resources?
1. Design Files – SO much awesome talent in this country!
2. Internet – SOOO much inspiration out there, wish I had more time to look.
3. Interior books and mags
4. Fashion mags
What is your idea of happiness?
At the moment it’s opening a nice bottle of champagne on a Friday or Saturday night while a meal is being cooked for me. There's a big open fire crackling, the kids are tucked up in bed, the house is reasonably clean and there are even a coupla episodes of Breaking Bad lined up. Man, am i getting old!?
I'm working away on some new products to expand my range, as well as some beautiful new designs that I hope will be welcomed into people's homes soon. I'm also looking forward to the August Life InStyle and a couple of pre-Christmas markets. Lots of work to be done!
When the weekend rolls around what do you love to do:
Read – A Divided Heart by Rachel Power.
Watch- Working our way through Breaking Bad series five.
Cook- Anything from Jamie Oliver’s 15/30min meals (strictly for weekends though as they take us more like 45/90mins).
Create- Pom-poms of late, for my ‘Pushka’ cushion. Something with the kids from the Craft box.
Listen to- Triple R (a great Melbourne community radio station) is a constant at home and in the car. Also loving The National's new album, and the Tallest Man on Earth (Khristian Matsson ). I may have a little crush on him.
Dream about- Having one more day in the weekend to just chill.
Look forward to- Family holiday (in a tropical climate-yay) later in the year. It has been far too long! Looking forward to summer as always.