April and the Bear Blog

Getting to Know You – Vicki Murdoch from Silken Favours.

We caught up with the super talented Vicki Murdoch from Silken Favours to chat about her incredible brand. We are SUPER excited to stock her stunning silk cushions in store and online. We have been big fans of her work for a long time. We got the lowdown on what a typical day for VIcki is, the best advice she has received, what her career highlight so far is and lots more! Grab a cuppa, get comfy and get inspired!

Can you tell us about your beautiful brand and how it all

I’m an illustrator at heart; I studied textiles and have had a long lasting passion
for collecting silk scarves and hanging out in nature. I wanted to combine all of
these loves into something I could hopefully live off, where I got to spend most of
my time drawing and creating prints that would bring joy and love to peoples
lives. I soon discovered that there is a lot of other work involved in running a
company, and its definitely not just drawing kittens in the sun.
The ethos has always been to print and manufacture my products here in Britain
and keep the company sustainable and small, I run the company mainly by
myself, sometimes with the help of either a part time assistant or intern, I’ve
learnt everything on the job, having no idea of how to run a company, what a PO
was or how to organise production or even begin to send a press email. So its all
been a lovely organic process with lots of mistakes along the way, but the
essence of my company has always been my passion to design patterns that are
forever pieces and bring some fun into peoples lives with my silky bits.

What has been your career highlight so far?

When I got to design and install my own window display at Liberty London where I first launched the brand.

What has been the best advice piece of advice you have been given since starting your business?

Never stop learning, but stop worrying.

Can you give our readers an idea of what a typical day would entail for you?

Typical day would be, my daughter waking us up whenever she wants, then always porridge as a family and getting Joni ready for either hanging out with us or nursery, if it’s nursery then I’m off to the studio by around 10, I work alone or sometimes have an assistant or intern. My studio is industrial, big and light, this does make it too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, but spring and autumn are just great. I do all my own distribution for my wholesale and website orders, so I need a big space to pack in. Once I’m at the studio there is always lots of admin to do for my accounts, production, press etc. that can take up a lot of the day. Drawing or designing isn’t a big part of my typical day, those are usually certain parts of the year when I’m creating a collection, but I do try to do a little something to keep me feeling creative. I love packing my customers orders, I take my time with this and like to have handwritten thank you cards and add in wee gifts as I really believe keeping it personal and special is so important in a small company, and I love imagining people receiving their gifts and smiling. I now finish at 5 as I have to get back to collect Joni. We all then hang out for dinner, bath and bed, and then I sometimes have to do a little work before my bed. I used to work really late into the wee small hours of the morning but my priorities have changed since becoming a mum and now I’m in bed by 10.30 as I’m pooped. 

Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to designing and planning your pieces? 

Nature is my biggest inspiration. All my illustrations and prints are based on it. It’s what I like to surround myself with and what I’ve always loved to draw, even since I was little. When it comes to planning my designs for each collection or project, I like to gather all my drawings into one place and start to play with the composition; I have a formula for some prints, which normally involves symmetry. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to anyone looking to set up a business themselves?

You need to truly love and believe in what you are doing . If that isn’t there to start with, then you won’t have your heart in it, and you really need that passion to spend all your hours living and breathing the brand to make it grow.

What does the future hold for Silken Favours – have you plans to launch more products?

I have some lovely collaborations bubbling around at the moment and a really fun one coming out this Christmas. It’s great working with other brands and having new briefs or new products to work on. I think I might stick to the products I make at the moment, as I don’t have any time to work on any new ones. But, if a lovely big company like say, ‘Wedgwood’ wanted me to make some China cups and saucers with them, then please do get in touch as I really really want make some. 


Latest Netflix obsession… Russian doll 

Favourite place you have visited so far... Glastonbury 

Guilty pleasure... crap TV

Favourite book... The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Favourite thing to do in London... Draw in the sun with coffee and cake after a swim at the lido. 

Most treasured possession… engagement ring from my love made by a best friend.

Pop into our store in Rathmines or go online at www.aprilandthebear.com to see more of Vicki’s beautiful silk cushion collection!

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