So, to start off the interview series in 2015, I want to introduce to you Such & Such - an online store founded by brother and sister, Ali and Nikki, that aims to sell nothing but products with great design. From an indoor swing (seriously cool) to a USB Jar this is the place for unique and original gifts, and the best thing about them?? Every single product is hand crafted and would make any living space or work environment look that little bit more snazzy, ohhh yeaaaah. One of my favourite things is how simple yet awe-inspiring the products at Such & Such are while Ali and Nikki also share stories about the designs and anything else they find inspiring. To find out more, I decided to ask them a couple of questions about how they set up this unique and refreshing space on the internet and any plans they have for the future.
Hello! Could you tell us a bit about yourselves?
We are brother and sister, Ali and Nikki. We grew up in the Peak District and now Nikki lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, Jake and two girls, Bessie (aged 3) and Anna (aged 10 months), whilst I live in London with my wife, Gee.
Before we started Such & Such, Nikki was an artist and studied fine art at University before working in a number of galleries in London whilst continuing to paint. She then went on to study Interior Design at KLC School of Design and worked for a short time as a lighting designer before moving to Vietnam for a number of years.
I studied Geography at university and then became a lawyer and spent a few years at a City law firm and a couple of years working in-house for a large finance company before we started Such & Such.
How and why did you decide to start Such & Such?
We started discussing the idea that would become Such & Such whilst I was out visiting Nikki in Vietnam. We went to some old furniture warehouses and a couple of design stores and started to chat about some of the great things we saw and how good it would be if we could bring them back home. We knew that there were a lot of great designers and makers out there but that it wasn’t always easy to find them or to buy their work. Over the next couple of years the idea developed as we started to look for potential products. We found time and time again that we loved to know how a product was made and to hear the stories behind a product or learn all about a designer or maker. We continually felt that we connected with a product and the designer more when we understood the provenance and the time, skill and care that had gone into making the products.
What are your favourite items currently in stock?
Nikki – my product is the storage bags. I love the way they look and that they can be used for loads of different things, I use mine for kids toys, magazines and they are great for logs too. I also think the fact that the felt is squeezed from recycled plastic bottles is brilliant.
How do you pick the designers you work with? What do you look for?
Working with the right designers and selecting the right products is extremely important to what we are trying to do and create. We spend a lot of time looking for new designers that are passionate about original design and that are making things with care and skill. We seek out products that catch our eye and then try to learn about how it was made and find out about the story behind the product and/or designer. By researching the designers/makers and products, and hearing the story behind them, we usually learn whether or not the designer and the process by which the product is made fits with our ethos.
Where do you look for inspiration?
We are slightly addicted to design blogs and magazines and so probably spend a bit too much time reading those with the excuse of trying to spot trends in materials and . We also attend a lot of the design events to look for designers and products.
Thank you! What can we expect in the future from Such & Such?
We did our first pop-up this year and really enjoyed it so we are planning on doing one again next year, possibly for a couple of months. We also released the first product designed in-house at Such & Such, the Reclaimed Wood Dining Table, which was designed by Nikki. We are really keen to create more of our own designs going forward. Plus, we have a list of exciting new products and designers/makers that we want to work with.
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