Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, sat down for a question and answer interview with Lorraine Aaron, Director and Co-Founder of Curious Egg. They discuss the inspiration behind this unique brand- Curious Egg, and what it is that makes it the brand that it is today. Learn about current trends and about the change in the market over time. Find out what to focus on when designing the interior of your home with art and accessories.
Question 1) You’ve developed a fantastic business with Curious Egg. Can you provide us with an overview of the business for our followers at Kuldea?
Curious Egg is a unique online interiors boutique and art space selling beautifully made artist-designed products, original contemporary artworks and limited edition prints as well as small-batch eco-friendly products that enhance wellbeing and the living environment. I also provide an interior design service with an ‘Art First’ approach which places art at the very centre of the process of transforming a home.
My husband Roddy and I set up the company at the very end of 2015. His background is in e-commerce and my own is in visual art – sculpture. We are based in Scotland but sell all around the world.
Our customer is someone who loves to find unique and beautiful things that add intrigue and layers to their home. They’re adventurous in style and want to show their individuality in the décor of their home – we aim to help them do to just that, and we love what we do!
Question 2) You have so many beautiful designs and products at Curious Egg. Can you share with me the inspiration for the business and how you’ve built it to what it is today?
We had the vision to build a company that was different to anything we’d come across, one that would bring together contemporary art, interiors and wellbeing, all under one roof. I feel strongly that these three things are interconnected and can really add to our lives in a positive way.
My background in making artworks for public spaces, -working with architects and designers, made me think about how art can change our experience of everyday living. This should apply to our own homes, not just public buildings or city spaces.
We’ve both been lucky enough to travel extensively. On our travels, we’d often discover really unusual products by independent makers, often well off the main tourist routes. We decided to set up an online shop where we could sell some of the pieces we had found and curate a collection of affordable yet unusual and inspiring pieces for the home.
The online shopping experience is important to us. We wanted to create an exciting place where the customer service would be human, friendly and genuine. A place where we could share the stories behind our carefully chosen products. We build relationships with our customers, so that that they can always trust that they’d find something beautifully made and unique when they shop with us.
We even have a virtual gin bar where they can stop and stock up on a small handpicked range of the very best Scottish Gins available – these are the things that make people smile as they shop, so why not!
The Art Room is probably the most important space on our website! This is where people can browse artworks by up and coming and more established artists, within the comfort of their own home. The chat function lets them ask any question and the artists’ profiles help them to learn more about these creative people and the ideas behind their work and process.
We wanted the online Art Room at Curious Egg to be a welcoming and inclusive space – very different to the stuffy white cube gallery space we so often see, that seems to exclude the average shopper. We feel strongly that everyone should have access to good quality affordable art and be able to find and expand their tastes as they build confidence.
Buying art should be as natural as buying any other essential item for your home, and that’s what Curious Egg is about – demystifying the contemporary art buying experience and enhancing your living environment with art and art-inspired
Question 3) Art can be timeless and for home interiors, it can be the centrepiece to develop a home theme around. Can you share with me your views on timeless art pieces in the interior design space?
I think if you’re buying art, buy something that connects with you on some level. A personal connection is in itself timeless and whether it conjures up a memory of a place you’ve visited or an emotion, then that won’t ever go away. It will always be relevant and meaningful to you.
It’s when we buy a poster or other mass-produced artwork, just because everyone else has it and it’s on-trend. We all know what happens to trends – as long as you know that, then there’s no harm in buying the odd popular print! Just remember, that it may become something you cringe at in future if it doesn’t suit your tastes or limits your style in a room.
Question 4) Having been in the industry for a long time could you give us your opinion on the changes you’ve seen in the home interiors market over the years. Are there any major changes that you’ve really noticed?
I came to the interiors world as a visual artist, that gave me a valuable perspective, different from design or solely interiors background. My experience as a discerning shopper also helped me understand our customer and what they’re looking for.
Unique, hard to find and bespoke products have definitely become more sought after as the online shopping arena expands. Identity and individuality are becoming precious and our homes have become a canvas to show off the unique aspects of our
Textures, layers and evidence of the ‘handcrafted’ even in the most minimalist home has become a sign of great style. No naff-knitted tea cosies here – these are highly skilled makers who produce beautiful pieces with honest, durable and unexpected materials that will stand the test of time. Irregular surface textures that contrast with other surfaces and show the hand of the maker are also becoming highly sought after.
Question 5) You’ve got a lot of experience in advising people on interiors, art and accessories for the home. What advice do you have for people designing and furnishing their homes?
Every room in the home should be considered in terms of how you want to feel when you’re in it. This then can help you decide on colours, artworks, textures and general ambience. It also helps to avoid a big mish-mash of styles that confuse the eye.
A serene bathroom will have a very different feel to a lively hub such as the kitchen. By working out the energy you want a room to have and how you want to experience the room, then this will help you choose pieces carefully.
Editing is important, but sometimes people can get too practical about spaces and the cleaning aspects. If you remove too much, the space can become soulless, too tidy and your guests will feel on edge. Remove the clutter, but keep the layers and texture – let your stories shine through the artworks and objects you have on display. A few well-chosen pieces can save you a fortune on decorating and change the mood of a room instantly.
From high impact statement artworks to small groupings of framed family photos and memorabilia placed together on a tray on a coffee table – it all adds interest and unexpected detail.
Last but not least, it’s the lighting. Lighting will always make or break the room. Dimmable lights are a must and always have various lighting options in each room (main, table lamps, wall lights, candlelight) to allow you to change the mood and consider the materials and shape of each so that it brings something to the room. Lighting is an art form too!
Question 6) I’m interested to know what your favourite artwork pieces and home products are being sold by Curious Egg and why?
This is always a difficult question because, of course, I love everything! I have a few favourites of some recent items that we’ve added to our collection, such as the gorgeous hand-printed cushions by Stoff Studios. They’re developed from hand-drawn marks and experiments, a lovely raw textured appearance. Such great quality (!) and they make real feature pieces for a sofa or a chair in cool sophisticated hues.
Our range of Tatine candles will always be a favourite not least because we were the first company ever to bring them to the UK from a small workshop in Chicago. They’re made with natural wax and hand-blended pure essential oils to give the most unique crafted scents I’ve ever experienced.
We have just expanded the collection to include the new ‘Disciples of Nature’ beeswax faceted taper candles which will be available on the website soon ..they are so special!
It’s hard to choose from the artworks in our Art Room as I work with each artist closely so it’s very hard to have favourite pieces. The gorgeous layered works of Karenina Fabrizzi will always be a favourite of mine as she was one of the first artists we ever took on for the Art Room. Her ‘Pink Ensemble’ has been really popular as a limited edition print – it’s so striking with hypnotic bright pink tattoo-like flowers against a cool sombre grey textured background and signature mysterious female figure. It’s the ultimate statement piece and works in so many settings.
I do also have a love for the exquisite little printed works of Alice Hughes, those pieces are very difficult to show online but up close you can see they are like little stage sets and actually three dimensional in places where they are hand cut and collaged. They have an extraordinary Modernist feel which works so well with current décor and soft colour blocks. All of our artists have something special to offer though and their profile pages tell more about their work.
Explore Curious Egg on Kuldea. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to work with the talented people that are behind and make Curious Egg the fantastic brand that it is today. We hope you enjoyed this interview! Find more inspiration and top tips for creating your dream home on Kuldea!