We are very pleased to introduce you to Lauren from iSpy, designer and maker of our new range of cushions and teatowels. Colourful, bright, modern and stylish, these have added a brilliant splash of colour across the store and the quality is simply outstanding. We asked Lauren to take part in our Feature on Creative Series… read on to find out how iSpy began, what inspires Lauren and even her top movie!
1// How did your business begin? When / where / how did it all start?
I trained as a graphic designer. After 10 years spent pursuing our careers in Joburg, my husband and I decided to downscale and move to Knysna. I became a semi-full-time Mom, but couldn’t resist sneaking onto my laptop to play around with designs, just for fun. Eventually, I decided I should probably do something with some of the more successful designs, and what could be better than marrying my love for design with my love for interiors? And voila! Before I knew it, iSpy had taken on a life of it’s own!
2// Why do you do what you do?
Because I simply LOVE it. I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and tackle something iSpy, whether it’s scribbling out a new design, sewing up a quick product idea or packing up my latest order. I get to play all day! I also love that I’m providing work to people in Knysna who wouldn’t otherwise have it. It feels good to know I’m supporting my community in a small way.
3// When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?!
I’m not sure what career I envisaged for myself, but I can definitely recall wanting to be a ball-busting corporate killer, stomping through the office bossing people around, while sporting those awesome power suits with massive shoulder pads which were so popular in the ’80’s. And let’s not forget the big hair! (Giving my age away here). My current reality couldn’t be further removed from this mental image =)
4// What inspires you when designing new products?
I’m a Scandi design junkie. I love the way Scandinavian design is simple, elegant, clever and often quirky. It makes me smile. Being South African, it’s inevitable that Africa will creep in to my designs, usually as an interpretation of my immediate surroundings. I like to think I strike a happy balance between a Scandi and African design aesthetic.
5// What are your hopes and dreams for your products?
I’d love to see iSpy in beautiful spaces all around the world!
6// What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far in your business journey?
You are never going to please everyone, so it’s important to listen to that inner voice. Create something you love, rather than trying to get into people’s heads and imagine what it is they will want. If you love it, your ‘tribe’ will love it (that’s Knysna hippy talk for you 😉
7// Why should our customers buy your products?
I hope they’d buy an iSpy product because it speaks to them and makes their heart race a little faster. There’s nothing like that kick you get when you stumble upon something you just have to have. I hope I spark that in people.
8// What’s your favourite product from your line?
That changes all the time. Right now it’s the “Jellybeans” and “Jellybean Jungle” designs in my new range.
9// About you? What’s your – Top Song? Top Food? Top beverage? Top Place? Top movie?
Top song – I don’t get to have a top song anymore. I have tech savvy pre-school kids who hijack my iPhone at every opportunity. Their favourite song is Hozier’s “Take me to church”. That’s all I’m allowed to listen to.
Top beverage – I’m a Mom who counts down to wine o’clock, so wine it must be (La Motte if I’m treating myself).
Top place – home on a Saturday morning, bumming around in my PJ’s, watering my garden and talking to my tomato plant.
Top movie – can’t say I have one at the mo, but am loving the series “Girls”. Can’t wait for Thursdays!
10// And lastly imagine you are heading out for dinner with a bunch of creative geniuses – who would be sitting around the table with you?
To be honest, I’d rather spend time with friends and family. I’m surrounded by a fabulous group of creative, inspiring friends in Knysna, many of whom are creative entrepreneurs in their own right. Can’t think of anyone better!