It’s been a while since I shared a fantastic wallpaper with you guys so today you are in for a bit of a treat. I was introduced to this particular company by renowned interior stylist Pippa Jameson who thought I might like their new wallpaper range for children. Needless to say she was spot on. Wild Hearts Wonder is a children’s lifestyle brand that features hand-painted print ‘stories’ across interiors,clothing and accessories, that was founded by sisters Mairead and Emily. Having done I bit of research into the company, I really liked what they stand for and I think we share similar values and attitudes.
When it comes to my kids, I personally try to steer them away from the mass market products that most kids are seduced by. I don’t encourage a love of Disney princesses for example or any kind of children’s TV characters for that fact (Peppa Pig anyone?). Instead I try to look for things that are a bit out of the ordinary, more educational and that encourage them to use their imagination and build their own character. It’s so easy to simply jump on the bandwagon and accept what is marketed to children, but I prefer to gently encourage my girls to seek out things that are more meaningful and beneficial. (Remember this Magical Children’s Bedding that made me cry?)
And this is what struck me about this beautiful wallpaper range for children. It is very creative and the detail is just stunning. It also allows children to use the wallpaper as inspiration for storytelling, which is such a valuable skill. So I decided that I wanted to know more about Wild Hearts Wonder, and their beautiful wallpapers as well as the inspiration behind the company and their design philosophy. You can read the interview with co-founder Mairead below.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I (Mairead) had worked in financial HR for 10 years before embarking on a career change, and I re-trained to become an interior designer as the kids came along. I have four children (aged two, four, six, and nine) and I’d always loved interiors and relished the challenge to renovate old wrecks throughout the years. So the career move felt very natural and worked well around the children. It’s a running joke that the children grew up on various building sites, often being rocked to sleep by a builder whilst I was up a ladder changing a layout!
Emily was a fashion buyer for Topshop, and a Buying Manager for French Connection, before she left to go on maternity leave. She has two children age two and three. Emily has always been a wonderful artist, since giving up her buying role, she’s been able to pick up the paint brushes again which has been a catalyst for the concept of Wild Hearts Wonder.
We are one of four, and we grew up by Epping Forest which has played a big part in our lives and a big inspiration for our ideas.
How did you first discover your love of design? What is your earliest memory of design?
I have always loved interior design for as long as I can remember. Emily and I shared a room when we were little, we had the most wonderful wallpaper that had children playing all over it. We used to name all of the children after our friends and still to this day, I think this is where my love of wall coverings has come from. In my little five year old eyes, the walls came alive in my imagination. As a teenager I’d drive my parents mad by constantly re-arranging my bedroom furniture and re-decorating my bedroom. Emily on the other hand was often found rummaging in the bins around the house looking for items to ‘make things out of’. She’s always had a talent for drawing, it was always her pictures that made the fridge.
Who or what have been your main design influences?
Our design influences have changed over time, I’ve always loved maximalist prints, Christopher Farr and Ellie Cashman have the most beautiful prints. I enjoy upholstery and love to mix new modern prints on old pieces of furniture, it brings them back to life with a modern edge. We also love the photography work by David La Chapelle and Tim Walker, their whimsical nature emulates our brand.
Our main design inspiration for the Wild Hearts Wonder prints comes from nature. We were so lucky to have grown up with a beautiful wilderness on our doorstep, There are so many fond memories of forest walks that have been brought to life within the prints.
Can you tell us about Wild Hearts Wonder?
Wild Hearts Wonder is a children’s lifestyle brand that features hand-painted print ‘stories’ across interiors,clothing and accessories. Our print stories have been created to ignite children’s imaginations, encourage a love of nature, and inspire creativity. We wanted to give children the environment where they can free play and incorporate the characters from the prints into their own play stories.
Why did you decide to set up a clothing and interiors brand for children?
We’ve always wanted to work together somehow, and have concocted many ideas along the way which have always involved a design element. After searching for beautiful, playful and modern interiors for our own children, we realised there was huge potential for something different.
Emily started creating the prints about 18 months before we launched as she wanted to do something creative alongside being a parent, and I was keen to work on a new project focusing on children’s decor, so the timing was just right, and once we had the idea there was no stopping us.
Can you tell us about how and where your products are designed and made?
Our wallpapers, fabrics and cushions are digitally printed and made in London. Emily creates the designs using hand-painted illustrations, our Mum is an artist, so she’s had some good training. Our clothing is made in Portugal. We weren’t really interested in looking elsewhere, as Portugal is renowned for its quality in fabrics and manufacturing.
What is your favourite product from the collection and why?
I think it has to be the Woodland Rave wallpaper. It was the first print we created, and it has our ethos embedded within it’s theme. Our British heritage, unique artwork, a modern twist, and with just the right amount of silliness. It’s also been really popular on social media as we think it’s quite different to what’s out there.
Where do you look for inspiration when designing new products?
Everywhere. Vogue, nature, our 80s childhood! Reading amazing children’s novels such as Roald Dahl gets the creativity going. We aim to keep the products modern but practical as we want our clothing worn well, and passed on.
With print ideas, we try to come at an idea from a child’s perspective to ensure it is fun and appealing to children, but also keeping in mind that the adults have to like the print too. We try to create a little nostalgia for the adults, as everyone had something special from their childhood that they remember, a special piece of clothing, or quirky wallpaper in their bedroom. We want Wild Hearts Wonder to have a special place for both children and adults.
What are your top tips for creating interiors for children that ignite their imaginations?
We love stylish calm and serene interiors, but with children’s bedrooms it’s different. They want and need engaging pieces to harness their creativity and imagination. Invest in a statement wall, even if it’s just for a few years, they will get so much joy out of it. Fill their rooms with treasures, trinkets, maps, anything unusual, and they will create a wonderful world of their own.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you can tell us about?
We would love to gain some presence within some boutiques and high-end department stores so that customers can touch and feel our fine grade wallpapers and premium clothing. We are working on a new collection of prints for next year. We just want to continue to grow and gain exposure so that we can dedicate ourselves to the brand for the longer term. At the moment, it’s hard work, but we love working together and the initial reactions to the brand have been incredible. One little girl said that the Flying Bunnies and Rainbows wallpaper in her bedroom was keeping the nightmares away – if that isn’t motivation to carry on I’m not sure what is!
So what do you guys think of these wallpapers? Would you choose them for a child’s bedroom? I certainly would!