As a wildlife and nature lover, I’ve always absolutely adored Juliet Travers work and cannot speak more highly of her designs. They are simply stunning – in fact, my Mum actually had some beautiful curtains made from her fabric last year and everyone always comments on them! The company is also fabulously British with the wallpapers and fabrics made in England. Since we last spoke to Juliet about her Safari collection, she’s launched her latest Albion collection that’s inspired by British wildlife, so she’s the perfect guest to have on the blog for our ‘Best of British’ collection. Over to Juliet. (Tip: scroll to the bottom for a code to get 25% off her Safari cushions – great Christmas gifts!).
The Albion collection is printed using the same gravure printing technique that I used to print my Safari range. It is essentially an etching onto a copper cylinder. Each design is broken down into layers of tone and colour and each layer is engraved onto separate cylinders. As the paper passes through each cylinder, the layers gradually build and the detail deepens throughout the process so quite literally, by the end, my original drawings are transferred into a wallpaper design!
All our designs are hand drawn by myself, it’s what I love most about what I do. Starting with an original sketch or idea and developing it into a repeat design for the use of wallpaper, fabric and cushions is such a fun and fulfilling challenge. I love seeing how a simple drawing can develop into a design and looking back after the end product is made, to the visual journey that a particular design has been on always fascinates me. Quite often I have an idea of the end design before I even start to draw but a couple of designs have led off on a tangent and the final outcome is very different to what I originally had in mind!
The idea behind the whole company is to focus each collection on different parts of the world. I want to continue using the animal theme because its imagery that people of all ages can relate too and quite often it brings back lovely memories for customers. The Safari range in particular has brought in quite a few customers who either have family or have travelled to Africa and order our fabrics and/or wallpapers as a memory for their UK home.
I launched with the Safari range because I carried out extensive market research before launching and African animals had not really hit the industry yet so it was the perfect niche for me to start with. My husband also grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe and as a result I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to various African countries and spend time with the incredibly beautiful and diverse wildlife the continent has to offer.
So, for my second range, I wanted my own personal connection to the designs and as I am British, I thought the most obvious was a UK collection! I didn’t just want to produce what’s already been done though as there is already a huge amount of British themed prints out there so I used the Safari imagery as a catalyst to focus on wildlife that both tourists and British people love. I live near Hyde Park in London and it’s the squirrels, swans, song birds and British flowers that always catch people’s attention the most. My family home is in southwest Scotland and again, one of the favourite animals up there is of course the highland cow, so soon enough, I had a new collection!
The key was to focus on signature animals and depict their typical characteristics in each design. It was also fun to merge a few design ideas together. For example, our new Highland Fling designs (cows) is a mix of drawing technique from The Waterhole (elephants) and design structure as our Dazzle (zebra) designs in our Safari range. The humorous character of the cows is very similar to the zebras and the subtle use of colour and delicate drawing and detail in the cows is a very close match to the elephants. As a result, two design ideas have now fused together and so far so good, the Highland Fling design is one of my best sellers.
British wildlife is so iconic and just like most other British people, I’m proud of what our country has to offer. We have such diverse wildlife sitting right on our doorstep and being a farmers daughter, I know its so important that people visit the countryside and realise how special it is and how important it is to protect what we have.
It is also really important to me to support British industries. In today’s world, a lot of companies produce their products in Asia or even Europe but actually, we have our own manufacturers here and if we don’t support them, they will disappear. Right from the start, I definitely wanted to create a brand that is designed and printed in England. It also means I have been present during the entire production process to check on quality myself and even though I may have paid a little extra I’ve now got a fantastic product made at the highest quality and our customers recognise that too.
Our wallpapers are probably the most popular at this stage but our fabrics only launched at the end of last year and we have noticed a significant increase in sales in 2015 so I’m excited to see what the future holds for our fabrics. We will also be launching our Albion wallpaper design as matching fabrics in the next 18 months too so it will be nice to see how a second fabric collection might effect our impact on the industry.
In terms of design, our best sellers are probably our Free Fall, Nakuru and Dazzle designs in our Safari range and then our Highland Fling and Nutcracker designs in the Albion range. I think these designs are easy for people to work with and live with and are also very different to anything else on the market. The use of colour is interesting and customers also love the metallic pigments in these designs. But having said that, we have several customers who are looking for something more subtle and that’s when The Waterhole, The Tribe and Camouflage papers have been selling best. It purely depends on taste and preference but what is nice is that we hopefully have the whole spectrum of products available for our customers to choose from.
Our new Albion wallpapers are sadly not probably suitable as a Christmas present as it’s quite a big commitment and very much a personal preference but our Safari cushions make the perfect gift and we are currently running a Christmas offer giving customers 25% off meaning you can purchase two covers for just £90. All you need to do is choose the covers of your choice and enter an online discount code jt25xmas and they are yours! The offer ends on 18th December.
I already have so many ideas for future collections so you will have to wait and see what area of the world I use next but realistically, with a baby due on new years eve in 5 weeks time, I may delay the Albion fabrics until 2017 as I will have enough to keep me busy next year already but watch this space…… a new fabric range will be coming soon!
You can read more about Juliet’s Safari collection here