From black sheep cocktail trays to bird feeder mobiles via horse candleholders, Drift Living is all about high quality, fun, feel good design. Bringing us 'a hint of Scandinavia' via Berwick Upon Tweed, we spoke to co-owner Anna Burdin to find out what inspires her.
Can you tell me a little about your background(s) and what inspired you to launch your business?
After 10 years of running the accounts department of the family software business the right time arrived for a change of direction, so we took a risk and moved to beautiful Berwick upon Tweed on the Scottish border. We knew we wanted to stay self-employed and after a bit of a coincidence we bought an established home and giftware boutique in the town. That was 8 years ago and we've been running our shop, Danish Design, and our website Drift Living ever since. I really love the business side of things but also being creative so, although it's really hard work, doing this ticks all my boxes.
Drift Living describes itself as "A Hint of Scandinavia" and began life as Danish Design. What is it that you think is special about Scandinavian design in general and Danish design in particular?
We've travelled to Scandinavia lots of times through work and on holidays and it's always fantastic to see how in style terms "anything goes". So long as it's really good quality, colourful, quirky, design-led and traditional products all sit side by side. This experience has taught us to be relaxed about design and that all design can be great so long as the quality is there. A lot of the Danish designers that we dealt with 8 years ago are still supplying us now, and in many cases the products and designs are the same too. The Danes just love quality, whatever the style, and this is what our customers tell us that they love about the stuff that we sell.
As well as the online business, you own a shop in Berwick Upon Tweed. What's the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you about Drift Living?
That our service and product range is hard to find else where. Having a high street shop brings you face to face with your customers in a way that a purely online business can't and we learn a lot from them. We love the fact that we provide both types of shopping carts and service.
I'm looking for a) a housewarming gift for a friend – budget £20; b) a birthday present for my mum – budget £50 and c) a treat for myself – budget £30. What would be your top three picks from the site?
Mum – Set of 3 Greengate Tins £33 - practical and pretty – just what most mums want!
Me – Porcelain Bowls by Menu. £24.95. It's the packaging, the colours and the feel of the bowls when you hold them that appeals to me. Great for cereals or soup and can even be taken straight from the freezer and put into the oven.
If you had to recommend one brand stocked by Drift Living to our readers which would it be and why?
Bengt and Lotta. We think they've cracked it with their design approach. They don't keep on producing the same designs year after year; they do a candleholder for a year or two then drop the design and release a new one. I have a lovely horse candleholder that I'm so glad I bought a few years ago. Because it's now no longer available, and I love it so much, I feel like I've spent my money on something of value. It's all just typical of the Scandinavian approach, spend a little bit more now on something of quality and it'll still be a favourite long after you forgotten how much you spent.
Which items are your best sellers?
All of the Flensted Mobiles. They are unusual but amazing gifts, the packaging is lovely and they are really light to post. The price point is appealing as they start at £10 and there are over 100 to choose from on the site. Be warned though; they're addictive and once you have one you'll want them all!
What next for Drift Living?
Drift Living has a core of Scandinavian products and we add to this every month. We currently have around 500 products on the site and aim to double that by the end of the year. This year will also see a new category on the site - "British Design" - to fit alongside the Danish and Swedish categories. Looking to next year, we are really excited about launching our own range of textiles for the home, along with our very first mail order catalogue for Christmas 2012.
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