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Journal

Homegrown | You’re Welcome Homewares

Homegrown is a series highlighting some of our local and loved creative businesses in the community who have been designing and crafting on the local and international stage.
 
Today we hear from a relatively new kid on the block, Amy Howell’s homewares brand, You’re Welcome. Noticing a gap in the market for skilled professionals in the design and craftsmanship of custom made cushions and squab seating, You’re Welcome is in demand with fresh, modern pieces.

JDT

Tell us about You’re Welcome’s evolution story?

AH

I started in fashion design and patternmaking but eventually merged these skills into interiors. My business initially began as a homeware brand, based around the design of cushions, beanbags, totes and even t-shirts, specifically for retail.
 
In the last few years I moved away from the focus on retail to use my technical skills, hand in hand with my design knowledge, which I had discovered was becoming more in demand due to a dwindling number of professionals offering these skills commercially in New Zealand. And it feels really good to keep these practices alive.
 
I now focus on working alongside interior designers and architects to fulfill the production of cushions, bolsters and squab seating on a custom made basis as well as working with the design and fulfillment for private clients also.

JDT

What is your vision and driving passion? 

AH

The vision for the brand has always been about delivering clean, fresh, modern and fun design. I’m very visual and hands on with everything I do whether that involves design, sourcing materials or making; getting the desired look/feel and fit right really makes me happy.
 
I work hard at staying true to these values, while not becoming constrained by any one mood or idea, it makes sense that this will naturally evolve over time and by continually translating those ideas and values across every aspect of the business. 

JDT

What is your design process, what is special about it?

AH

It happens pretty organically, and never from any one place. It could be by noticing the funny shape or colour of a building on my way home or the texture of a wall, or the construction details on a homemade sleeping bag in a thrift store. It really comes from everywhere and anywhere. These cretive prompts then inform colour palettes, textures and feel in materials, through to the finished shape and form of the objects required.

JDT

Where do you get your inspiration from, past, current, future?

AH

I would say a modern reimagining of the past, I get some of my inspiration from old design books (50s through 80s are the best!), across interiors, building/renovation, and furniture making even old crafting/sewing or knitting publications.  Not exclusively, it completely depends on the brief or mood of the job at hand.

JDT

How do you evaluate the role of craft within your business?

AH

My business has a large focus on custom made pieces so craftsmanship is very important to me, this runs through everything I do, integrity of design, the right patternmaking, the best materials for the job through to the fit, look and feel of the final product. 
 
Because I’m a designer/maker and owner/operator I personally produce every item from start to finish, so there’s no room for anything to be overlooked, it also helps that I’m a perfectionist!

JDT

What are the key aspects of design you are balancing?

AH

The items I make you sit on, rest against, lay your head on, or sometimes hug! So these pieces have got to be comfortable at their core with the best structural materials, filling/padding etc through to how it interacts with your body and mind.   Is it soft, smooth or fluffy, is it durable enough to live up to a busy family or public usage?  And more importantly, do the colours or patterns make you happy. 

JDT

How do you grow knowledge within your business?

AH

I’m a one woman show at present, so I like to rest, daydream browse Instagram and research whenever I can, keeping the mind fresh and inspired. Experimenting with construction techniques on new ideas for weird and wonderful shapes, there’s a lot of trial and error, but that’s where you really learn. YouTube also has some great technical tutorials if you do a bit of digging. 

JDT

What are some of your favourite JD fabrics? 

AH

Where do I start, what I really value in the fabrics I choose from James Dunlop are their ability to stand up to a good thrashing, whether they are going to be used in the home (Hello children) or in busy public spaces like cafes or restaurants susceptible to all sorts of abuse.   Are they going to be used outside? For a window seat in the blazing sun?  There is literally something to cover all these bases, with stain, water and fade resistant qualities, but what gets me every time is that these fabrics are not dull at all, they are beautiful, modern, with linen or velvet looks but made from high performing fibres and in the best colour ways.
A fabric I used recently for a seating application was a FibreGuard quality in the most beautiful pink.

Photos - Alana Broadhead-Fryer
www.sundayhomestore.co.nz

www.yourewelcomedesign.com

Within the Mokum studio we develop original designs which sit within thematic collections. From beginning to end, the development process is completely custom, and in this article we outline the steps involved in designing an upholstery pattern.