CREATIVE Q&A: LAURA OLIVIA | Founder of Laura Olivia Textile Design Studio
Laura studied at Nottingham Trent University and after graduating, she first made a name for herself as an interior decorator working on high end residential projects.
In 2010 the Laura Olivia print design studio was born & after exhibiting at the New Designers ‘One Year on’ event Laura received her big break in to the industry in the form of a large commission by retail giant Wilkinson. She went on to design what became one of their best selling stationery ranges of over 50 products. One project led to another & she soon became known for her commercial hand, vibrant watercolour designs & in depth knowledge of the market.
Fast forward six years & Laura’s studio has a growing design team having sold hundreds of designs across the globe. She continues to work with bedding mills, fabric houses, suppliers, retailers and small start up businesses in the home decor, fashion & stationery markets. Clients include Christy Towels, Harlequin, Holden Decor, Wilkinson, Malini, Bianca Turner, Dunelm, Tesco, Iambynature, Indyavogue, Atmosphere Candles, Mori Tessuti, Ellison First-Asia, S-Blinds & many more.
Describe your creative style in 3 words.
Vibrant, tropical, boutique.
What made you decide to set up your business?
I actually lost a very good friend to cancer, she was a textile design graduate who never got the chance to pursue her dreams, it spurred me on to just start designing even if it was as a self employed designer (I never intended to start my own business!). She inspired me to be brave & quit my full time job, I have never looked back!
What are you most proud of so far in your career, any highlights you’d like to share?
There have been lots of highlights, I really have loved having my own rug collection as that was always on my bucket list of products, and selling nearly a whole collection of designs (of my own work rather than that of my freelance team) to a really lovely furnishing fabrics company was great. There are also certain companies that I really admire that I have always wanted to sell designs to, a few of theses include Harlequin & Christy (bedding) which have now both purchased designs from my collection so that was fantastic.
Which artist or designer inspires you?
At the moment I'm being really inspired by the design scene in Australia. I came across an artist last week called www.jhildebrandt.com.au/ who does amazing tropical scenes, it left me feeling so inspired. I also like the work of Leah Bartholomew, totally different to mine but so unique.
Favourite tool you use in your creative practice?
Photoshop, also I couldn't live without Pinterest as I use it to organise my inspiration, mostly on private boards behind the scenes.
What top tip would you give to anyone who would like to turn their creative passion into their career?
I think at some point when you have had that experimental phase as a designer or artist, you need to really decide what market and what style you are going to go for and own it, don't be a jack of all trades and master of none. Since I specialised in interiors everything has worked so much better than when I was trying to do everything in the early days, and I've still attracted clients from other industries. Also think carefully about how you are going to sell your work, do lots of research & find courses/workshops about what is involved in running your own business. I also have a business mentor which has been invaluable, I would certainly recommend seeing what is available in your area.
What are you reading now?
How to talk so little kids will listen (I have a 2 year old who is very strong minded sometimes!!)
What music are you listening to at work/in your studio?
I usually just stick Capital on to be honest, I don't really have time to think about it!
First app you open on your phone in the morning?
Instagram, I love having a quick flick in the morning to see what other designers/artists have created over the world whilst I have been asleep!
Favourite flower or plant?
I love tropical plants & succulents, Echeveria are of my favourites, also passion flowers & palms such as Calathea.
Are you named after anyone?
Tea or Coffee?
Summer or Winter?
Summer every time!
Red or Green?
Green, red is the only colour I am not keen on!