Textured Lives works with texture in interiors to really bring your home to life
Sometimes, just sometimes, you come across a brand whose values and ethos align perfectly with your own. And that is exactly what happened when I discovered a new homeware brand by Jo McEwan. Textured Lives really resonated with me because, as you know, I absolutely love the use of texture in interiors, and particularly if that texture comes from natural elements.
Textured Lives is about products that tell a story, which in turn becomes your story. And as soon as I came across Jo and Textured Lives, I wanted to hear more about her story so I could share it with you.
Can you please tell us a little bit about your background?
After graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1990, I worked hard to build a successful career in the textile industry, designing wallpaper, fabric and bedding for the world market place. My first job was designing for a design house on the outskirts of Paris and here I learnt very quickly how to design something that could actually sell.
Those first few years coming out of art school are crucial to whether you are actually going to make it in your chosen field. I returned to design for Crowson Fabrics which was the leading fabric manufacturer of the time so I was very fortunate to get that experience.
In 2000, I became the Design Director of the largest and most successful curtain manufacturer and retailer in the UK. We had around 180 concession stores within the high street so my designs were pretty much in most retail groups, from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams to Bentals, Fenwicks and more.
When did you first become interested in design and why textiles in particular?
Even at school I was interested in most things to do with design, fashion, interiors, fabrics, architecture and cool products. It was probably after doing a general art course that I decided to specialise in textiles.
At first, I was just interested in the actual pattern that went on the fabric but over the years I became equally interested in how the fabric was made and what fibres it was made from.
What made you decide to set up your own company?
In my last role as a director for a large company, I wore a lot of different hats. I gained experience in manufacturing, both overseas and in our own manufacturing unit, retail design, finance, purchasing and operations with the store groups, so design was only one element.
With all of that experience over 30 years in the industry, I felt it was the right time to start my own company. I wanted to create my own look and feel and try to build on the values and strong ethos I have for how companies can exist without being huge retail stores. I feel that customers do want more individuality, they just need to be able to find us.
Textured Lives is the name of your new homeware brand. Can you tell us why you decided on that name?
I thought it says quite a lot really and hopefully connects myself to the customers. It has been a long journey for me to launch this brand and that hasn’t just happened. I’ve been through a lot of personal and professional challenges to get here.
I am trying to get the message out that the customers too can buy a piece from Textured Lives and it can become part of their textured life that they are creating at home. We’re all creating our own journey, aren’t we? It obviously has all the textured connotations of textiles too which is my main inspiration for the products, so it all links.
Who is your ideal client? Who is Textured Lives aimed at?
Someone who is interested in design and likes to find smaller new brands, something different from the high street. Someone who likes soft, earthy colour palettes and products with texture, bringing the connection of the outdoors into our homes.
Textured Lives focuses on longevity and timeless and sustainable pieces. Can you tell us about your philosophy?
Our philosophy is focused on our products telling your story. I think over the years, our industry has become increasingly trend-led and almost fast fashion. We are really only just learning about the impact it has had on our environment but we won’t be able to change it overnight.
By saying it’s ok to keep a rug or a much-loved throw for many years, we can add certain pieces to what you’ve already got to make it your textured life rather than suddenly thinking everything has got to change.
You have described Textured Lives as a lifestyle experience. Can you explain this?
It’s about helping the customer to create their own look and style at home; whatever makes them feel happy and safe in their homes. Not because it’s a particular trend at the time. My designs and products have all been created to bring an oasis and calm lifestyle to our home. We all need it.
The collection features your own range of personally designed fabrics and textiles. Where did you get the inspiration for these designs?
From nature and the outside. I do it without realising. I spend most of my time outside when I’m not working. I enjoy running, walking with my whippet in the countryside, gardening and yoga in the garden (when the weather allows).
The collection is an extension of my home and it has hugely impacted how I design. Pattern and textures within my fabrics all have that connection with nature and it makes me feel good having those textures and influences in my home.
How do you think the pandemic has changed the way that we view our homes and how we feel about them?
I’d like to think that we’ve all reconnected with our homes and realised that they are our sanctuary but I think some of us are lucky and have gardens and space at home. But the reality for a lot of people is perhaps the exact opposite. For many people, their homes have become pressure cans.
For those people, what advice would you give for making their home into a calming oasis?
It’s all about that connection with the countryside, our gardens and bringing those influences inside. The benefits of connecting with nature are huge. It makes you feel at peace.
I always start with adding some texture in interiors. First off, try adding some plants. Palms are great, easy to keep and they introduce the garden straight away. Then add some textured cushions or fabrics that feature imagery of nature, whether that is done purely with texture or floral, organic designs.
Simple things like vases with texture and natural woven baskets make a huge difference. We sell a range of candles that have real flowers, moss, and berries in them and they smell like the outdoors.
Colours are hugely influential on how we feel too, so introduce soft earthy tones to help with destressing and hopefully, you’ll be creating that calm oasis we all need.
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jo. How do you feel about using texture in interiors to bring a space to life and help your home to tell your story? I absolutely adore this idea and philosophy and I am so glad that Jo took the leap with her business.