I was having a peacock week last week. First it was the theme of a few random flea market finds and then this image leapt out at me on Instagram.
Peacocks are natures' most notorious show offs, which makes them the perfect emblem for Coventry based designer and maker Jo Goodman to woo us with, in this, the first interview for my new Candy Floss feature. Here I aim to bring you the insider goss (Candy Floss = Goss in my own personal rhyming slang btw) from some of the most exciting designers, makers and brands that are currently catching my eye.
I'm a sucker for vintage fabrics, but whenever I've tried to incorporate them into soft furnishings, it's all gone a bit Cath Kidston - not necessarily a bad thing, but not nearly as edgy as I'd like. Jo manages to strike an altogether more modern chord with MayRose Vintage. Her unique collection of handmade cushions and lampshades marry Gothic, Victorian and Retro influences to ensure a seriously cool departure from traditional shabby chic.
Like Cath Kidston however, there's a strong identity to Jo's brand and it's one she is passionate about developing. To this aim she trawls the internet and second hand markets for the perfect fabrics to convey the MayRose Vintage message - a look she describes as "dark style with a hint of kitsch and a splash of opulence.
Working from home part-time means Jo can surround herself with her most treasured items and feel totally engrossed in her work. This may be a one off commission or a new sample design to try out on her avid Instagram followers.
There is a downside to working from home however and that's the issue of storage. "Lampshades are not the easiest to store!`" says Jo, "I tend to make a sample & then make them to order."
Six months ago Jo took the plunge and reduced her hours at work so that she could concentrate more on her business. It was a daunting prospect, but one that thankfully has paid off in a relatively short space of time. Customers from as far afield as Australia have been in contact and it's the buzz of positive feedback that keeps Jo going when the going gets tough.
"I love that my products appeal to a particular kind of buyer - people who are looking for individuality and want to make a statement in their home but also have a genuine appreciation of homemade goods, and share my love of interior design" said Jo.
To say that Jo has a vision is a bit of an understatement. She is due to get married in September and plans to do all the flowers & decorations herself so that the whole event has the Mayrose Vintage stamp on it.
It's this passionate identity that makes Jo's designs stand out in an incredibly tough marketplace and for me, gives MayRose Vintage a kind of sophistocated sass you'd expect from established high end brands such as House Of Hackney.
But the big difference is the price point. Cushions start from as little as £20 and lampshades at around £35. Jo is a self confessed cushion obsessive (she likes to see at least 5 or 6 on a bed) and at these prices, fellow cushion lovers can afford to become collectors.
"Cushions are the easiest way to re-dress a room," Jo points out. And I don't know about you, but I can certainly feel a Spring re-dress coming on.
So apart from gaining a husband, two children and a new cockapoo puppy this year (Polly Jean is named after PJ Harvey which makes her cute and cool and therefore totally on-brand) what does the future hold for MayRose Vintage?
Expansion of course! "Etsy is great for attracting overseas buyers, but little known in the UK," said Jo. "I'd like to expand my range and sell in independent interiors shops which would provide greater opportunities to meet my customers - their feedback is crucial in helping me develop the brand."
Only four years ago, Jo was making vintage assemlage jewellery as a hobby and having lost heart with it, tried out a few cushion covers for a change. Today she is carving out a name for herself in the world of interior design and looking to spread her wings - and her peacock feathers - in the industry she loves.
Want to be featured on Candy Floss and spread the goss on your brand? I'm all eyes and ears (and ok a bit sweaty palms) so please do get in touch by clicking on one of the social icons down the side and shooting me a message.
Have a great week all.