Feature on Creative – Heather from Skinny La Minx

Skinny La Minx

1// How did your business begin? When / where / how did it all start? 
After 10 years of illustration work, I needed a change, so in 2006 I took a half-day job as a comics scriptwriter, and spent the rest of my day messing around in my studio on Long Street. I started blogging about my work, and opened an online shop on Etsy. People around the world started reading my blog and buying my things, and I got some wholesale orders to the USA, and suddenly I found that I was a designer with a design business. By 2010, my business had grown a lot, and I was very relieved when Pearl Thompson joined the business, taking over the operational side of things. Now we have a lovely shop in Bree Street and a super-fab team helping run the show.

2// Why do you do what you do? 
I’ve always liked making things and I’ve always loved beautiful textiles. I think I’m still excited by the idea that a little sketch or paper cutout of mine can get reproduced onto fabrics and sent into homes and stores all over the world!

3// When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?! 
I went through a prolonged stage – thanks to a TV show called Quincy – of wanting to be a forensic pathologist. Kids can be odd.

4// What inspires you when designing new products? 
My inspiration comes from ordinary, everyday things like plants, fences, teacups, staircases and vibracrete walls. I usually have a notebook with me, where I make sketches, and I take a lot of photographs of textures, details, juxtapositions and compositions that seem to give me ideas.

5// What are your hopes and dreams for your products? 
To create and produce top quality, internationally sought-after design and products, and to have a good time doing it.

6// What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far in your business journey? 
When starting out, I think it is a very good idea to keep a job that brings in money that you can use to fund your studio habit without putting pressure on yourself to make things that are economically successful, as this is a killer to creative thought. Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is that you’re only as good as your systems and the people you work with. I’ve been hugely lucky to have an amazing systems thinker as a business partner, and a brilliant, motivated team on our side too.

7// Why should our customers buy your products? 
My designs are individual, simple, clear and accessible, and seem to appeal to people all over the world who share my interest in the shapes, colours and styles inspired by mid-20th Century design.

8// What’s your favourite product from your line?
I can’t pick favourites! They’re all my darlings.

9// About you? What’s your – Top Song? Top Food? Top beverage? Top Place? Top movie? 
Top song – currently, it’s ‘Broken Heart’ by Dr Dog
Top food – After a trip to Japan last year, I’m a sucker for Japanese food, and can always be lured with the promise of onigiri.
Top beverage – I like to drink one cup of coffee in the morning, and then pots and pots of tea all day long. Top Place – Tokyo (and New York, and Paris, and…. Of course, Cape Town)
Top Movie – I loved Ice Storm, mostly for the gorgeous architecture, and more recently, Her, for the exquisite styling.

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? 
I’d have Jonathan Adler and his husband Simon Doonan, Stig Lindberg, Grace Coddington, Terence Conran, and then I’d have my husband Paul Edmunds too, as he’s much better at making conversation than I am.

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