Run us through a normal day at Double Merrick
The first thing has to be coffee. After that its fulfilling orders, customer emails, and wholesale enquiries. They are the main day to day priorities. My schedule has to be pretty flexible as we have two young children. So thereafter I divide things into weekly goals, so I can pick and choose depending on what I have the time to do, or if I have a specific idea I want to work on.
Artist, Dr Who lover and englishman abroad!
Who or what gave you inspiration in changing career and setting up your own business?
Necessity. I had been working successfully as an illustrator until the recession in 2008, but work slowed right down. Round where we live, there aren’t lots of jobs so it meant I had to take what I knew and do something different with it, either that or get very good at herding cattle. Prints seemed the natural way to go and it has really grown from there.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
The only thing I have ever wanted to be was Dr Who. Having an eccentric wardrobe, a comely assistant, and a Tardis always seem liked heaven to the young me. In fact one of my proudest moments was when I discovered that one of my brother’s friends had nicknamed me ’The Timelord’.
What challenges do you face in running a new design business?
I think like any type of business; staying the course, growing at a sustainable rate - the usual stuff. Specifically a design business though? Keeping your work fresh, sustaining your passion through all the ups and downs can be a challenge.
What advice would you give someone wanting a change in career & about working for themselves?
Think long and hard. Lots of people love the idea of running their own business, but are completely unprepared for the realities. If you like job security - don’t bother. If paid holidays are important to you - don’t bother. But if you like autonomy and excitement however, you’ve come to the right place.
What design trends are you seeing at the moment & which excite you?
To be honest, I am the worst person to ask about design trends. I never have a clue what is going on.
How do you get family involved in your work?
Well, my daughter Flora came up with the name & I always run new designs past my wife Alice, as she has a great eye and pulls no punches.
What are the best & worst things about your job?
The best things: Building something from nothing with your own hands, getting small bits of recognition along the way. Going to endless 'vide greniers' (French for car boot sale) and realising that it is legitimate ‘research’. ‘Having’ to put aside time to design stuff.
5 quick fire questions...
Last homeware item you bought?
A small blue and white dish from a 'vide grenier' (French for car boot sale) at the weekend.
Lie-in or up at dawn?
Up with the birds. The hellcats that are my daughters won’t let me have it any other way.
Dessert Island disk?
Oh, this is so difficult. It changes all the time. But on a sunny morning like today, there is only one choice - Chet Baker singing ‘Daybreak’.
Dessert Island luxury?
Solar powered laptop with Photoshop. That way I could keep designing and keep myself amused for a very long time.
If you could only save 1 item from your home, what would it be?
Our plastic lobster, Badboy.