Getting to know Annette Nix and how she became one of London’s most established bespoke rug designers:
Annette Nix is a designer of some of the world’s finest bespoke contemporary rugs. Passionate about creating beautiful pieces but not afraid to combine unusual materials, Annette produces some of the most visually exciting rugs and luxurious carpets. From pared-down gorgeous textures to doing more intricate Persian-type designs, Annette is amazing at interpreting other people’s ideas. In the 1990s she was part of Cool Britannia which allowed her to travel the world with her rugs and she has worked with some incredible interior designers.
And we were lucky enough to have Annette join us at our Brunch webinar and tell us all about her passion, her career and her product.
Getting to know Annette and her business….
How did Annette Nix come about and how long ago? How did you get started?
I studied Textile Design at Central St. Martins many moons ago where I learned the art of knitting, weaving and printing, and I discovered a tufting gun as a really good way of translating my ideas. Immediately after I left, I sold the first rug I ever made at my degree show – it was a male nude. It was fun and alternative and garnered a lot of publicity. I thought it seemed like quite a good idea for a business – and that was 35 years ago. I haven’t looked back.
Initially, I worked out of a studio in Spitalfields, where I produced all the rugs. I began incorporating metal into my rugs which was highly unusual and visually exciting given the stark contrast in materials. I then began to insert lots of different elements into my rugs, including pebbles, cacti, and even water and fish.
Where is your company based?
I am now based in Belsize Park, London.
How many staff?
1 – me. However, I work with many manufacturers world-wide including India, Thailand, China, Portugal and here in the UK.
What is your most significant achievement? Or project of note?
I have been fortunate to work on some wonderful projects, producing rugs for high-end homes, hotels and private yachts.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations or influences within your own business?
I love the pared down beauty and simplicity of anything Studio Ilse produces.
With all your knowledge about rug design what top 3 tips would you offer for a Designer just starting out in the Interior Design industry, who knows absolutely nothing about wool, silk or other rug-making materials and is keen to design something bespoke for the first time?
1. Contact a reputable designer or manufacturer and don’t necessarily go for the least expensive option as rugs should last a lifetime.
2. Use natural yarns such as silk, wool or linen which are less environmentally damaging.
3. Throw samples on the floor and look at them from afar rather than just handling them. (It’s more realistic – very few people handle carpets).
Who is your main customer type and which service do you sell the most of?
I design and manufacture all bespoke rugs or wall-to-wall for high end residential interior designers – that’s my main customer.
What is still your biggest challenge within your own business?
At the moment, due to Covid, it has difficult to build relationships with interior designers that I am unable to meet.
Having established relationships with factories around the world, how have you chosen or vetted your suppliers?
Over the years I have visited every manufacturer I work with and viewed each aspect of the process. I check they can interpret my instructions adequately for my very demanding end users. I want to work with decent people who will not exploit their workforce and so I also visited the weavers in each country to make sure they are well paid and looked after and that no child labour used.
What was your lightbulb moment? OR What has been your most successful milestone to date?
I made lots of very avant-garde and innovative pieces in the 90s that I am very proud of, as I stepped outside of the usual boundaries of what a rug can be.
Do you work globally? If so, how do you achieve this?
I do work globally, both on the manufacturing side and the delivery of the final product. My rugs are bought all over the world. It is increasingly possible thanks to email, visits (when we could travel!) and lots of communication.
Have you been able to continue providing your rug design services through the Covid pandemic?
Yes. I have been very fortunate and have continued to work on several projects during Covid, although shipping has been difficult at times.
Now that the world has gone even more digital than before, how have you had to adapt to working in this online world?
I have spent time launching my new website Annette Nix and trying to increase my presence on Instagram. I will be emailing my clients with inspirational images of samples and recently completed projects, if I am able to photograph them!
Did you enjoy your guest speaker appearance at Metier Rendezvous back in 2020? What did you bring away with you from that?
I did, thank you. It was good to meet a group of interior designers and it really made me review and rethink my marketing.
What are the key benefits for Interior Designers to be working with Annette Nix?
I am a very experienced rug designer and manufacturer: as I actually made rugs myself, I know my subject very well. Previous clients have said one of the reasons they like working with me is that they only have to work with 1 person as I cover everything from design, to making, to shipping and delivery.
What is next for you / your business?
To just keep going!
Getting to know the personality behind the brand…we know some of the background to how Annette became a designer of some of the world’s finest rugs, but perhaps a peek at what inspires her…
Where do you live and why?
I live in Belsize Park as I love the location, being so close to parks and only 20 mins into the West End. Best of both worlds.
Tell us about your own home… What type of property do you live in? And what is it like?
It’s a Georgian property of elegant proportions: characteristic high ceilings with cornicing and large sash windows looking out over trees. My personal style is both colourful and eclectic. Full of paintings, photos, artwork and sculptures.
What is your favourite possession?
My portrait of my daughter and the portrait of my grandmother.
Have you ever brought anything back from travels abroad for your home?
I always do. Gathered artefacts from different countries and cultures contribute to my eclectic interior style.
Can you describe where you grew up?
I was brought up in the Oxfordshire countryside, living in the middle of beech woods.
Did your parents influence your interior style?
Yes, my mother was Dutch and we had a lot of Scandinavian furniture, and furniture bought from Heals and Harrods in the 1950s.
If you didn’t live where you do and could be anywhere else, where would that be?
In a house on Malibu beach.
If we didn’t know what you do for a living, would it be obvious if we came to your house?
Yes, you can tell I am creative person, who loves colour and who likes the unusual.
Where do you get interior inspiration?
From my many travels, from books and also from IG
Finish this sentence…I’ve just discovered…
…Simple things in life make me happy !
What has been your biggest home extravagance?
Lastly, if you had a blank cheque, what would you be splashing out on for your own home?
I would go on several holidays …ideally, both a USA road trip and Sardinia. I don’t wish to acquire anything else!
Our thanks go to Annette for taking the time to be with us at our Brunch – it was a fascinating insight into a renowned rug designer and the process behind her beautiful products. Annette currently specialises in hand-tufted, hand-knotted or flat-weave rugs made by skilled craftsmen. If you are looking for a custom, hand-made, high-end rug or carpet, then please get in touch with Annette at her website to discuss your requirements.