Homeware designer Sophie Allport
We were delighted to catch up with British homeware designer Sophie Allport to find out more about what inspired her collections and see her top tips when it comes to furnishing a holiday home. Established in 2007, Sophie’s diverse range of products are stocked internationally and all over the UK, including Cornwall, but Sophie runs her business with her brother Jem from their head office in Bourne, Lincolnshire.
What did you do before launching the Sophie Allport homewares brand in 2007?
I was working in London as a freelance illustrator for many years before launching the brand. I was designing a range of different things from wine labels to illustrating books and magazines. I really enjoyed it, but I always wanted to have my own business, and so did my brother Jem, we decided to join forces, which was when Sophie Allport Ltd was born.
What was the pinnacle moment in those early days?
It was when I was asked to be a demonstrator at a fair, where I painted flowers for a show, there were customers who were wanting to buy my unfinished artwork… so, I thought while I was there, I should really have something to sell. I designed a few cards, which were a huge success, and it went from there.
When did you discover your passion for design?
Since I can remember, I have always loved to draw and paint, and it has kind of grown from there onwards. Growing up I was always encouraged to follow my passion, so I went on to study Graphic Art and Design, where I specialised in illustration at Leeds Metropolitan University, which I loved.
What inspires your creations and collections?
The countryside is a prominent influence of mine, I just love the amount of wildlife and nature that you see, from deer and foxes, to the different colours that each season brings. The UK is such a special place and I think it often gets overlooked, from the dramatic coastline that Cornwall brings to the flat landscapes around Norfolk. My three boys, of course, inspire my designs too; they were obsessed with insects when they were younger, which is what inspired my first Busy Bee design.
What has been your favourite collection to develop? And which seems to be the most popular?
Our Bees collection has always been very popular; it’s a very light-hearted design and it makes people smile. My favourite design changes all the time, it’s usually my most recent design, and at the moment we are working hard on our Spring/Summer 2020 designs, which are very secretive at the moment. I do love our new Foxes Collection, it’s full of autumnal colours, with forest greens and seasonal oranges.
Are there any fond places in the UK that inspire your collections that you love to escape to?
Of course, Lincolnshire is very special to me as it’s my home, and it has inspired most of my countryside designs. My 'What a Catch' design reminds me of being by the sea, Cornwall was actually the first place my husband and I visited when we first got together, way before we were married. He is a West Country boy and wanted to show me the different parts of Cornwall he used to visit as a child. Port Isaac is beautiful, and as an artist, I fell in love with it immediately. There is something so lovely about being by the coast, I just love the fresh breeze, the smell of the sea, the big skies and the vast open beaches, which are perfect for long family walks.
What advice can you share with holiday homeowners when furnishing a home-from-home?
I think it’s important to remember that people go on holiday to relax and make some wonderful memories, which is why I would recommend filling your home with things people love and things that make people smile. Of course, everyone has different tastes, which is why I’d choose themes which complement and relate to the house itself. A holiday home with a sea view would look lovely with a coastal theme, whereas a holiday home situated in the countryside would be complemented by something more animal or wildlife-related, like our Foxes or Peacock collections. Consider what would make their trip more useful, like adding cosy touches including throws and hot water bottles during the autumn and winter and picnic blankets and beach towels during spring and summer.
To browse Sophie’s beautiful collections, from kitchenware and table settings to knitwear and soft furnishings, visit her website.