Chatting with Annie Phillips
I’ve gotten to know the lovely Annie Phillips over the past few years and the first thing she might tell you about herself is that she is an artist and product designer. Her range of products is wide and varied beyond imagination. However, when we invited Annie to be a Guest Speaker at our May Brunch Event, we specifically wanted to get to know all about her rugs. Annie stepped up to the mark and provided her guidance on how to go about designing a bespoke rug.
How did “Annie Phillips”, the brand, come about and how long ago?
My brand Annie Philps, initially came about over 15 years ago now. I am initially an artist with over 300 artworks. But I soon realised that my artworks could be digitally printed onto an array of surfaces from canvas, to glass, to voiles and foils. The next stage was to adapt them and get them woven into wall hangings and then later, rugs.
Who forms part of your team?
I have a wonderful printer / photographer who helps me get certain design ideas into digital format. They also help with printing my work for me on an array of surfaces. I have a fab freelance assistant who can turn artworks into layered files for me. As a result, the colours can all be changed to create wall hangings in any shade a client wants. Last but not least, I have the most wonderful weavers in Nepal / India who weave the rugs for me.
What do you think the history books will say about the bespoke rug design service that you have created and provided?
I believe that comments would be that we provide a diverse and flexible service aimed at providing rugs that ‘fit in’ with a clients brief. However, we are still able to offer ‘show stoppers’ if requested for both the walls and floors.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations or influences?
Very difficult question to answer as my influences vary from scheme to scheme. If I am to be creating a wall hanging that didn’t need to fit into a brief I would say that 20th century painters such as Matisse, Kandinsky are up there for me, due to the way that they play with colour, shape and form.
Would you have done anything differently if you knew 10 years ago, what you know now?
I don’t feel as if I would have done much differently but what I have learned over the last 10 years is that flexibility is key, my word should be my bond, and never say ‘yes’ to something that you are unsure that you can deliver!
How has the community of Interior Designers influenced you within your own home?
I adore bright strong colours! However, I feel that having seen so many gorgeous schemes over the years, I have learned to play more with pastels/tones of colours in my own home. I’m really enjoying the fact that the rooms are now more restful, and although still colourful.
Did you enjoy your guest speaker appearance at Metier Rendezvous recently? What did you bring away with you from that?
I absolutely loved it! I came away realising that although I generally do not like speaking to lots of people and get a little tongue-tied that if the audience is kind and welcoming and I am talking about my passion, that my awkwardness disappears and I really begin to enjoy sharing my work with interested others.
Who is your main customer type and which product do you sell the most of?
Top end designers/architects are my main clients and generally, I do more residential projects than commercial. Rugs are sold more than Wall Hangings.
Has this changed since the company started out?
When my business first started I was selling more artworks than rugs.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Can you give us an example of a recent project where you received a brief from a designer, collaborated with them and achieved a successful result?
I worked with a designer that wanted a rug created that not only fitted in with the colours in her scheme but also contained elements of the artworks around the room. Together we brainstormed several ideas, chose the right colours, and the result worked beautifully in the scheme.
What is still the biggest challenge within your own business?
What do you find are your client’s (interior designers) biggest stumbling blocks? And what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
I think preparing a few ideas for my designers, where the rugs are different to each other, but still fit in with the scheme, helps open my designer’s minds to new possibilities.
What is next for you and your business?
More of the same please 😉 !!!
Thanks so much to Annie for her time and her expertise!
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