Being able to create bespoke fabrics for our projects is often desirable. Edinburgh Weavers is able to assist us in achieving this! Jo Wrigley tells us more in this month’s Q+A.
How would you sum up your company in three words?
Friendly, versatile and pro-active!
How long has the company been established and how long have you been working for them?
Edinburgh Weavers was formed in 1928 so we’re celebrating our 90th birthday this year. I’ve worked for EW since April 2015 so a mere toddler in comparison.
What is your role at the company?
My title is Contract Sales Manager but everyone here is so much more than their title. I am involved from initial meetings with the interior designers to select the correct fabric and advising on curtain construction, to climbing steps and hanging them! We firmly believe in providing the best and most complete experience so will do everything possible to ensure the client is happy.
What is the best part of the job?
This is really hard!
I love meeting people – everyone! Anyone who knows me knows I can talk the hind legs off a donkey and I love learning how people have got to where they are in their lives.
I love helping interior designers bring their ideas to life by creating individual patterns or textures for specific projects, learning more about the client and the building we’re tackling, and I’m fascinated by seeing a building transition from either a building site or exhausted interior to a beautiful, refreshed and exciting place.
Do you have a best-selling product?
I always sell more bespoke fabric than standard, stocked fabric which is really satisfying because I’ve helped create something unique for the designer, scheme and client – we all own a bit of the design and the design owns a little bit of us too.
Where have you been most proud of seeing your brand in-situ?
De Vere’s Wotton House near Dorking was the first hotel where I’d completed every single room – I had a tear in my eye when I said “goodbye”. I even hand sewed hems on an 8m wide pair of curtains on site to ensure the General Manager was entirely happy.
But I’m impatient – I can’t wait to see The Andaz at Liverpool Street and Cunard’s Queen Victoria completed!
What has the most influence over your product design?
Interior designers have the most influence and we react positively. We need to ensure the product they want is suitable for the application they want to use it in but it’s extremely satisfying seeing an interior designer’s imagination become reality.
Do you have a favourite new product this year?
Having 90 years catalogue of design available, you’d think it would be difficult to come up with something new but my clients always surprise me. We’ve recently recoloured a design of ours called “Magnolia” to suit the reception area’s scheme at De Vere’s Latimer House and printed it onto a different FR basecloth. I love it so much I’m having more made for my own sitting room.
How do you promote your brand to make sure it stays in the mind of your buyers/consumers?
Recently, we invested in online presence. Our website has had and will continue to have little facelifts and we’re really increasing our exposure on social media and networking sites.
Are there brands in the industry that you admire, what makes them great?
What I have found interesting and admirable is seeing how the major hotel brands have expanded their offerings to suit their clients. Hilton used to be Hilton and that was it, now they have a myriad of products such as Hampton By Hilton, Garden Inn, Doubletree, Canopy etc, and many others have followed suit like Accor and Marriott.
The design calendar seems to grow every year. Do you have a favourite interiors/design exhibition?
I love Clerkenwell Design Week – for years I’ve been on the business end of things, manning showrooms but this year I’ve been able to attend as a guest and thoroughly enjoyed being absorbed into it all. It’s like the design community throws open its doors and shouts “look at me!” It’s also great to catch up with people you may have lost touch with over the years as we’ve all moved around.
How much travel is involved with your job, do you have a favourite country to visit? Why do you enjoy it?
Although I’ve worked on a couple of international projects, I’ve not had to get my passport out yet! I’m currently working on projects in the Dominican Republic and Berlin and I wouldn’t say “no” to a site visit to either!
How do you see your company evolving over the next few years? Do you have any plans you can share with us?
Last year, we developed our Camden range of fabrics suitable for healthcare facilities. As each part of the business develops, other parts dip in and take what’s relevant to them too so I see a bit of cross-over occurring.
Your fabrics can be found in the best hotels around the world, do you have any new hotel projects you’re excited about?
This year will see the completion of the refurbishment of the guest rooms at The Andaz on Liverpool Street, London. Refurbishment of older buildings comes with their own unique challenges so it’ll be great to see that completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
I’m also looking forward to working on the conversion of St Martins Bank in Liverpool to a five star hotel for Principal Group, who have been a great client to work with.
With such a long history, how have you evolved over the years to keep your company so relevant?
We’ve certainly embraced all new technology available to us as far as print and weaving techniques are concerned. This allows us to create and adapt designs to individual personalities, budgets, requirements and styles.
Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Jo! It’s been great learning more about Edinburgh Weavers.
For more information on Edinburgh Weavers visit their website www.edinburghweavers.com