Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Interview | Neal Whittington, Present & Correct

Stationary ogling seems to be a quality past time, and if your in need of new stationary for the office, then look no further than Present & Correct.

Present & Correct opened their virtual doors in 2008. The online store is a place for their own designs, things they love by other designers from around the world and vintage items which they have discovered around Europe, and beyond. 
It's a showcase for the things they have enjoyed since school. A long-term obsession with stationary has culminated in a constantly evolving store. Selling wonderful, quality, quirky and colourful paper and office objects which are inspired by homework, the Post Office and school.

The founders of P&C have a great love and obsession for this field and hope to spark a distant memory and make you smile, whilst looking at the mundane in a new, and fonder, light.

We managed to pull Neal Whittington founder of P&C, away from what must be a really busy schedule, (running the online store, working in the brick & motor store, packing, posting and not forgetting; the buying trips) to get more of an insight into the business and his personal fascination with all things stationary.

An Interview With Neal Whittington

Who are you and what is your role in the company?
I'm Neal Whittington, my role is everything! Designer, photographer, postman, tea maker, shopkeeper.  

When was Present & Correct founded, and by whom?
It began with my final major project at art college, that was when I registered the name. It has been in its current guise for five years though, when I left my design job and started to make stationery and sell it through the site. It started with a poster and grew from there. I have always collected old things for myself and thought it would be interesting to throw that vintage side into the mix too. 

What is the first thing you do when you get to work? 
Make a cup of tea and check my emails & various social media! i also usually have a bit of a tidy up on entering the shop and walking to the counter.

What is a typical day like at Present & Correct?
Since getting the shop my routine has become far more set, as it is dictated by the opening hours. I get coffee then am in the shop by around 8:45 then I wrap orders and get them shipped off, then make sure the shop looks nice before opening at 12. The afternoon is spent at the counter working on new products or putting a wholesale order together. As well as tending to Pinterest, Twitter etc. 

When did you open your brick and motor store, and what was the reason for doing so?
I always wanted a shop but financially felt it wouldn't happen, as the rents in London are so high. I was looking for an office/studio which I could open up once a month, but no landlords were up for that idea. 
Then this shop space came up on a little street tucked out of the way, and the rent was so good and not much more than the studio spaces I had been looking at. It was a no brainer and I just went for it. It was really exciting and almost a surprise that it happened and in an area that I really like.

When did you first become obsessed with stationary and office supplies, and what sparked this obsession?
It has always been my thing, i had toys but I was far more interested in art supplies, craft sets & stationery. My first job was in WHSmith, all my holiday money when I was little would go on writing sets. I even worked in a pen factory!  I think as well that being a graphic designer and liking stationery comes hand in hand. The desire for interesting Print finishes, paper stocks, binding methods etc are intrinsic to both.

You go on buying trips four times a year. Could you tell us a bit about these trips?
They're pretty fun and can be a little bit hardcore in terms of walking. We have regular trips to Germany, France, Belgium & Spain and then we throw in the odd one further afield, or tie it on to a holiday. We are always looking though, whether on a work trip or holiday. Its impossible not to. 

The trips generally centre around markets we know or have researched. Some are weekly some are once a year. There is a lot of luck involved, a lot of rummaging and hoping something good will be found. Budapest was very disappointing yet Tallinn was a revelation!  Its never not exciting. We are so fortunate in Europe that we can go overseas so cheaply and see different languages and styles within a fairly short distance. Also we have been lucky in making contacts with other collectors and also owners of shops who have old things they don't want. Its kind of become a little black book grown over the past 5 years. 

Finally what does the future hold for P&C?
The shop will be open more i.e. every weekend, and we will continue to make and find nice things. At the top of the list is a newspaper showcasing found ephemera, artists we like etc. It would be great to do one or two a year. I'm working on a collaboration with a great magazine too which I am pleased about. 

I guess more of the same, P&C is tiny it would be lovely to see it grow a little more but not to the point where it changes. I would also really like to do some kind of mobile shop. It's on the list of dream projects. The main thing I hope for is that people keep enjoying it, its nice to hear from appreciate readers & customers.


Thanks Neal, for taking the time out to help us get a better understanding of what Present & Correct is all about and what goes on there. The plans for the future sound great and we'll be keeping a close eye on things. Present & Correct is a really cool and quirky rarity that we would love to see stick around, and grow, without it changing and becoming too mainstream. Keep up the good work and good look for the future.ACM

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Brutus | "Denim Is Back" AW'13

After the hugely successful revival of their iconic ‘Trimfit’ shirts, this AW'13, Brutus follow by re-launching the very thing that rose the brand to fame 40 years ago; Denim. Staying true to their roots, Brutus deliver an impressive new denim collection alongside 20 new tartan checked shirts, inspired by their 1970’s archive pieces. 

Credits: Shot by Jamie Morgan
                Styled by Barry Kamen
                Hair by Kota Suizu
                Directed by LAW Model: Jevan at Select


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Monsieur London | Pop Up Shop Boxpark Shoreditch

Monsieur London is proud to announce the launch of its new Pop Up Shop, which will be located at BOXPARK from 1st September 2013. For six weeks, they will be showcasing their high quality men’s accessories in this trendy Shoreditch location; including ties, bow ties, felt hats, pocket squares, leather gloves, cuff-links, flat caps and scarves. The team see this as a wonderful opportunity to meet the brand’s customers, as well as to reach out to and learn from the UK’s leading trendsetters.

About Monsieur London

Born in the back-shop of a Colombian leather craftsman between skins, colourful threads and old tools, matured on the Pan-American Highway to the persistent sounds of night buses hitting the Andes’ bad asphalt roads, then perfected on a pub’s damp table in Savile Row, “Monsieur London” is the result of travel. It led its two creators from Anchorage to Ushuaia, on a 19,000 mile-long journey. 

They ended up in London, to settle the project born of their experiences, their dreams, the people they met and the decision to lead a lifestyle according to higher standards and expectations. More demanding but also more liberating and gratifying. Slowing the course of time and focusing on details. Straightening one’s tie, smelling a good Scotch, and sitting with a book. Consuming less, but better. Knowing the value of things, and cherishing them. Taking the trouble to be simple. Just another definition of elegance.

Crafted by some of the best workers in their speciality, our products come from regional traditions known for their great artisan heritage. Our suppliers work with us to create outstanding products. Crafted with their sense of traditional know-how and our passion for style, our accessories reflect the technical excellence of their makers. Monsieur London’s products have been available for purchase online since October 2012, and the site has been very successful. Their first temporary shop was set up in London in April this year, whilst two more were organised for June. Their first Paris Pop Up Shop is set to open in the Autumn.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Interview | Morgan Cummins, Houndworthy

Houndworthy provides discerning like-minded individuals with the finest selection of quality dog goods ever assembled. More than just an accessories company, Houndworthy is also a collection of thoughts feelings, images and ideas about how life with dogs is inherently rewarding. 

Their products are selected carefully and everything they stock is something they either use regularly or can recommend unreservedly. These are genuinely worthwhile goods, and Houndworthy is their way of sharing them with those who will appreciate them most.

We caught up with Morgan Cummins co-founder of Houndworthy to get a bit more of an insight into the brand.

An Interview With Morgan Cummins

Who are you and what is your role in the company?
My name is Morgan Cummins and I'm the Creative Director and co-founder of Houndworthy.

When was Houndworthy founded and by whom?
Houndworthy was launched in June 2013 by myself and co-founder Jo Holdaway.

What was the reason for starting Houndworthy?
We came to the realisation that there wasn't really anyone looking at the dog owning lifestyle in a way that genuinely reflected what it is like to be part of this great fraternity of dog-lovers. When you live with a dog, you truly are part of a lifestyle that experiences the world differently than those without a dog; you spend a lot more time outdoors, you tend to be incredibly social, and you're constantly engaging with not only everything around you, but also with the crazy little maniac running around at your ankles (sometimes its a big maniac). 

We concluded that having a dog was every bit as much a lifestyle choice as surfing, or camping, or running, or any of the usual lifestyle pursuits. In fact, more often than not, you probably get involved in all of the above, thanks in part to your dog. The dog shopping experience on the other hand, was nowhere near as enjoyable or rewarding, so we decided we were going to change that. We developed the HW idea as somewhat of a reaction to all the twee, girlie stuff that seems to be how the vast majority of dog retailers (and manufacturers) communicate. Visually, verbally, tonally: everything seemed either very childish or very unsophisticated, permanently stuck on repeat using cute terms like pooch, woof, pups, doggies, etc. which kind of felt like it alienates guys. Over half the people I ever encounter walking their dogs are guys, yet I know for a fact that 99% of online dog stores would instantly make a guy think "what the hell am I doing on this lame site!!!???". We figured we could fix that. Make a shopping experience that didn't reduce things down to kid-replacement levels, and where guys and girls, young and old, could appreciate the cooler aspect of owning a dog.

We believe dogs are incredibly worthwhile creatures, great friends, and awesome companions. You choose your dog and they choose you. So why aren't the goods that you use with them treated with as much respect? Houndworthy is our way of filtering out the crap and providing other dog owners with a collection of great canine gear that not only looks great, but also is outstanding in terms of quality and design.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work?
Double Espresso Macchiato, usually with a dash of cream and one brown sugar. Jo invariably draws the morning shift for dog walking and the boys always get a good run-out with her first thing each and every day. While she's out trying to knock the wind out of our two terrier-poodle crosses, I get stuck into the multitude of things that need to be done in order to keep a business like ours firing on all cylinders. Email, social media feeds, PR meetings, supplier/partner phone calls, cleaning my teeth, you name it, I'm doing it. And often in no particular order.

Could you tell us what a typical day at Houndworthy HQ is like?
Orders from the previous day are sorted, packed and sent out first thing in the morning. We maintain our own social media feeds so these are essentially "always on" and have to be tended to throughout the day (and night). But we both enjoy this aspect of running an online business, and because Houndworthy really is much more to us than just a store, we both really like investing time and effort into getting to know who our fans are and why they enjoy engaging with our brand. 

Jo does the majority of our photography and it is a never-ending requirement for a visually-driven brand like ours. In between all this design and brand-building effort, we also keep very open lines of communication with our suppliers who are all over the planet. We spend a lot of time on Facetime and Skype!

How do you go about sourcing and selecting the quality goods you stock?
We try and trust our instincts. So many companies say they "scour the planet for the very best blah blah blah" but we know that it isn't really about searching relentlessly. It's about finding simple, well conceived products that can stand on their own merit once you give them a platform from which they can be admired. Houndworthy is our platform, it's our way of showing others the goods that we think are cool, we think will do a job, and are stylish choices that will live up to expectation. It's not always about being the most expensive or the most "luxury" thing available. Our goods are things we simply believe are good.

Tell us a bit about why you stock goods for dog owners as well as their four legged friends?
Life with dogs means you do loads of stuff together. You're outdoors together. You walk together. You play together, you go on road trips, you travel, you do so much stuff together. You head into town together, you meet friends together. Over time, you start to realise there are things you tend to always  have on you when you're with your dog. We figured our store wouldn't be complete if we didn't provide some of the things we think make life with a dog easier or more enjoyable. Excellent people goods that go well with our fine collection of hound goods.

Is there plans to open up a brick and mortar store?
Houndworthy has the potential to be many things in many places and that may include retail locations when the time is right. We have our eye on the long game with this business and anything is possible. Dogs are the most pervasive companion animal in human history, and they are everywhere we are. Houndworthy can be too.

What does the future hold for Houndworthy?
We are building the world's most recognisable dog brand. That is our goal. If you ask anybody to name a famous dog brand, or any brand to do with owning a dog, they can't. At best they might start naming dog food brands. For us that's lame. We are going to establish Houndworthy as a globally recognised company that celebrates all that is great about owning a dog. And we'll do it with a level of style, authenticity and honesty that we don't believe exists in the market right now. We're going to change dog retail for the better!


Thanks Morgan, for taking the time out to help us better understand the inner nature of things at Houndworthy. We wish you all the best for the future.ACM

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Houndworthy | Purveyor Of Quality Dog Goods

British brand 'Houndworthy' is not you average dog store, they provide discerning like-minded individuals with carefully selected quality goods that they believe are worthy of consideration, and which they use themselves on a regular basis, or can recommend unreservedly. From treats to toys, to collars and leads, to beds and stylish accessories, these products will no doubt be a hit with you and your pooch.

It's not all about our four legged friends though. Houndworthy also look after the dog owners too, by stocking a range of carefully selected goods such as: bags, blankets, publications and whistles. These products are practical, hard-wearing and well designed, to aid you on those days out with your dog.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Northern Goods Co. | Paracord Key Clip

Northern Goods Co. was founded in 2012, in the North West of England by Mat and Hollie of the fashion, design and lifestyle blog 'Buckets & Spades'. All products are designed and hand-crafted in their own workshop, using materials sourced from the UK and U.S.A.

They have came out of the gates looking strong with their first product, the "Paracord Key Clip". A paracord key fob handmade using 550 Military Grade paracord, imported from the US. The clip features a flat 30mm nickel split ring to hold your keys, or whatever else you might like to throw on there. There's also a trigger snap attached, so you can easy clip the key fob to your trousers belt loop.

There is two different style key fobs, one being the "Shorty" and the other being known as the "Key Clip". The "Shorty" is thinner than the "Key Clip" and also features a different trigger snap. There's a total of seven colours to choose from, Camo, Blue, Kelly Green, Safety Orange, Purple, Red and yellow. These are all available to buy now from their Etsy store.


Friday, 2 August 2013

Interview | Ej Osborne, Hatchet & Bear

Hatchet & Bear products are a collection of hand-crafted utensils, bowls and objects for everyday use around the home, as well as being designed to assist you on all of your adventures into the wilderness, whether they be woodland wanderings, sea-faring voyages or mountain climbs. These wonderful and practical, hand-crafted products are made in the UK by Ej Osborne, and are made to order, using simple tools and traditional methods. 

As ever we were keen to delve deeper and find out a little bit more about the materials and processes used to create such wonderful hand-crafted products, as well as getting to know a little bit more about Ej and Hatchet & Bear as a company.

An Interview With Ej Osbourne

Who are you and what is your role in the company?
My Name is Ej Osborne - I am a Product Designer, Bowl Turner and Spoon Carver. I also do absolutely everything else at Hatchet&Bear.

When was Hatchet & Bear founded, and by whom?
Hatchet&Bear was founded at the start of 2013 by myself.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work?
I'll have a coffee and look at my list of things to do. Sometimes I'll spend a few minutes rearranging things on the list, depending on how I tired/energetic feel - it's physically demanding work, chopping up big trees in preparation for making bowls and spoons. 

It's likely I'll have another coffee. Then, spend half and hour to an hour doing web stuff: No 1. will be making sure my website is still in one piece. Social media is next - My Blog, Instagram and Twitter are very important - to me personally and in business, so I spend some time with them.

What is a typical day like at H&B?
At the moment, it's very busy. There are orders to start/complete every day. Small batches of products are arranged neatly in every available space and the floor is usually covered with fallen wood shavings from the lathe. I sweep often. If I didn't sweep, the shavings would be about 3ft deep by the evening. 

The evening is about preparing orders for dispatch. Wrapping, labelling, another coffee and rubbing my dusty eyes. I try to go to bed before midnight.

Where did the inspiration come from to create these unique, quality hand-crafted products?
I have always been a maker of things. Before, when I studied Product Design, a large part of it was about computers, CNC machines and Injection moulded plastics for huge batch production. It just made me feel ill. I felt like - this is where we'd arrived at; companies and consumers, churning out and demanding a disgusting amount of soulless and polluting crap. Don't get me wrong, I love technology - but we've been careless, frivolous and un-wise with it. 

Hatchet&Bear products aim to rewind all that - to a time where manufacturing was called making and it wasn't such a burden on the planet. Locally and responsibly sourced materials from managed coppicing woodland and collaborations with other small British companies. Also, I like hanging out in the woods.

What are the tools of your trade?
A pencil, a tape measure, a hand saw, An axe, a straight knife, a crooked knife, several sharpening stones with varying grits, a chopping block, a lathe and a broom.
Could you tell us a bit about the materials, and processes used, to create your products?
I'm very lucky because I'm surrounded by a wonderful selection of hardwood's that do an amazing job of being very beautiful and extremely hard-wearing once made into bowls and utensils. Birch, Walnut, Wild Cherry, Ash and Beech are all available throughout the year. 

It's a seasonal affair - the woodland needs to be managed, the trees get coppiced or felled. I take large parts of the tree and spend time looking at them, shaping them into products that I think they're best suited for. I work with the wood, not against it. It is an holistic approach and it means I can produce products that are exceptionally strong - using the natural grain directions, bends and curves to an advantage.

Is there plans to open a brick and mortar store?
Not at the moment. Although things are getting cramped in here.

Finally what does the future hold for H&B?
I like to keep it real. More of the above, but staying small. I won't go large. I've had offers and I've knocked them back. 

I do know that I'll be running some one and two day courses next spring/summer - where people can come along and learn how to make their own utensils, spoons and bowls. It will be empowering and the end of the day we will all sit down and eat a delicious dinner with the spoons and bowls we have all made.


Thanks Ej, for taking the time out from what seems like really hard work, to sit down and chat to us. Keep up the good work and good luck for the future.ACM