Today we’re talking to Helen Baker, textile designer of contemporary fabrics and home furnishings for stylish interiors. Helen shares her journey, her biggest inspiration and why everyone loves to be beside the seaside.
#1. So, what’s your favourite word?
#2. What gets you up in the morning?
I look forward to breakfast – it’s my number one thought in the morning! That and caffeine.
#3. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?
I think it’s great for having a platform to share what you do, both visually and text-based, but I sometimes have to take it with a pinch of salt. Certain interior design shots can be very tweaked and artificial. I prefer the authentic route.
#4. Us too. Kindles or books?
Both- kindles for fiction, books for design.
#5. Roger that. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?
I think it’s trying to keep up with the big companies with their design teams and big budgets. They release their collections a year in advance and I haven’t got the womanpower to turn things around that quickly. I do what I can with the resources I have.
#6. Small is beautiful as they say. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a teacher, which I was for the best part of 10 years. Actually, I was always creative as a child, rearranging my bedroom on a weekly basis. I loved the creative side of teaching, seeing how children were so uninhibited when expressing themselves.
#7. What led you to your current career?
I left teaching and wanted a lifestyle where work fitted and balanced with home life. I realised the best way to do that was to create my own business. When we moved counties and into a new house, I took on the renovation and struggled to find soft furnishings to suit our (male-heavy) family. Lots of the fabrics were too floral and feminine. I decided to do an online courses to see how fabric was designed. I put in lots of hours! The outcome is gender-neutral, family-friendly fabric designs.
#8. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?
The best thing about design is its creative problem-solving.
#9. Now can you make it rhyme?
Creativity leads to positivity.
#10. What advice would you give to your younger self?
That you don’t know what you’re capable of until you have a go at something. I practised and had the right level motivation, and with that, most things are possible.
#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
All my family have been very supportive of my creative journey and I couldn’t have done this without their support.
#12. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
I recently put on a launch event at The Makery in Bath. I was really nervous about giving a talk but I really enjoyed explaining the process of getting to where I am and the inspiration behind the designs. People were so interested. It was a real highlight for me!
#13. If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
My design heroes who have constantly been an inspiration to me through reading their books and admiring their work. Specifically, people who design for everyday living.
#14. Can you give us a timesaver of the day?
I don’t mix my creative design time and my business time so I can fully immerse myself without having to constantly switch hats.
#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?
Customers are becoming even more eco-friendly and aware of the provenance of what they’re buying. They really respect the environment. My customers have fed back how much they appreciate this aspect of my work, including the use of eco-friendly inks.
#16. Where were you 24 months ago?
Moving counties and houses. I’d never drawn on the computer so my journey with digital design was just starting.
#17. What’s an interesting fact about your company?
That my collection is based on my life growing up in Cornwall. It seems everyone has a connection with the coast/living by the sea- it conjures up positive memories and emotions. My designs seem to spark that in other people.
#18. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Orla Kiely – she is a design queen in my eyes.
#19. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?
#20. Would you mind taking a selfie for us?
Here you go.
#21. What’s your favourite Twitter handle or social media campaign?
Made by Helga, really creative, quirky and fun. Never fails to make me smile.
#22. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?
Design the life you want.
#23. What’s been the best part of your day?
Preparing sample packs to send to companies who have made requests. I love that task!
#24. Finally, anything to plug?
Please check out my new collection of soft furnishing and fabric by the metre.