StyleTails speaks to Vicky White, Founder of new interiors label Plum & Ashby with her feisty Fox Terrier, Bertie.
If you want to set up the least conducive environment for an interview, just put two young terrier puppies together in a small space and watch the mayhem unfold. This was the somewhat hilarious scene when George and I went to visit Vicky White, Founder of Plum & Ashby and her cheeky Fox Terrier, Bertie at their London showroom.
A lover of interiors and all things vintage, Vicky who was previously the Marketing Director at British brand Jaeger, launched Plum & Ashby after embarking on the mammoth task of renovating and redecorating a 200 year old Bedfordshire cottage. Unable to find just the mix of old and new that would work in the space, the idea for the brand was born.
The first collection which launched in February this year has a distinctly ‘general store’ feel to it. Taking its inspiration from vintage objects and updating them with a modern twist, the range of soft furnishings, tableware, leather goods, dog beds and apothecary products, look just as good in a country cottage as they do in a chic city apartment.
How did the idea for Plum & Ashby first come about?
I’ve always loved interiors and when my partner and I bought an old cottage in Bedfordshire to renovate, I started the hunt for just the right pieces to fill it. I had a style in mind – something that would look great in a country home, but wasn’t too old fashioned or fuddy duddy. I couldn’t find it anywhere and I figured that if it was something I wanted, other people must be looking for it too, so the idea for Plum & Ashby was born.
What led you to leave your role at Jaeger and go into business for yourself?
I had been at Jaeger since I graduated and I really loved my time there but I was restless to take the leap and go into business for myself. Around the time I was thinking of leaving, I chatted with my now business partner because I was looking for some general advice on how to take the leap. When I told him the idea for Plum & Ashby, he really understood the vision and was also looking to invest in some small companies at the time, so it all started from there.
How would you describe the Plum & Ashby look?
I would say it’s a mix of old and new, bringing together new pieces that have a slightly worn look, with actual vintage objects that we pick up along the way. I think it also bridges the gap between country and city – I have a number of the pieces in my flat in London and they look just as at home as in the country. The palette is mostly muted tones with some pops of colour which keep it quite classic and also mean that it won’t date.
Is your cottage full of Plum & Ashby?
Yes! And when I can’t find something else I’m looking for, for the house, I’ll conveniently make it the the next item we add to the collection.
What do you love about vintage objects?
I love objects that tell a story, so we’ll often include some vintage pieces in the range or use them as inspiration for certain pieces. For example we took an old Victorian tile pattern, re-worked it and had the graphic printed onto cushions.
Where do you love to shop for vintage?
I find some great stuff at the antiques fair in Newark. I’ve got to know a couple of the dealers and they know my taste so that helps me source stuff I really like.
We love the Bertie on Wheels! Did you always plan for him to be the muse of the brand?
We had planned a few doggy inspired pieces in the collection initially, but we didn’t want it to be a known as ‘doggy’ brand. It just so happened that all the dog pieces were the first to sell out, so he’s become a bit of a hit!
The Bertie dog bed featured in your first collection. Are you planning more doggy products?
Yes, we are sampling at the moment and we’re are hoping to get some bits in before Christmas. We have been working on cotton webbing collars and leads, leather poop bags and also tartan accessories. We’ve just found a supplier to make our crockery as well which will be hand-thrown in the Cotswolds, so we are going to talk to them about dog bowls.
What made you choose a Fox Terrier?
My Dad had bred Welsh and Airdale Terriers when I was a kid, so it was definitely always going to be a terrier for me. I love Airdales but they’re just too big for my lifestyle, and I had this Fox Terrier on wheels like the Bertie one when I was younger and for some reason it had always stayed with me. They’re such great dogs – I love how they trot and they have such a cheeky little character and lots of personality, although it can be tiresome at times!
QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS – BERTIE
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, adventurous, handsome
Finish this sentence. “I’m in heaven when……………….”
I’m eating a bone on mum’s bed.
Who’s your ultimate style icon?
I really like will.i.am, he always leads the way and creates his own style – I do the same by wearing one of my many bow ties – my collection keeps on growing!
What are you afraid of?
Can you let us in on some of your favourite dog-friendly places?
My favourite night out is the Crown and Two Chairmen on Dean Street. They are always so friendly and I get lots of attention from other drinkers. My favourite place to run around is Tiverton Green, close to Queens Park.
What Bertie inspired pieces would you like to see in the collection?
I’ve already been a huge inspiration – I’ve been put onto cushions, beds, aprons and on wheels.
What’s your worst habit?
Eating tissues and chasing pigeons.
It must be hard work being a muse. How do you like to unwind?
I find some belly tickles help, also chewing the head off my toy monkey.
The Plum & Ashby collection starts at £9.50 for mugs, up to £95 for the Alpaca Throws – shop online at www.plumandashby.co.uk
*Images courtesy of Little Portrait Company
** Bertie wears Thornby Tweed Bow Tie by LoveMyDog