Lasso the moon prides itself on showcasing collections "all made with heart and soul by UK designer makers". From handmade cashmere purses to Spam tea towels and knitted egg cosies, it's gift heaven - and you're bound to discover someone or something you've never seen before. We spoke to founder Laura Dunkley to find out more:
Can you tell me a little about your background and what inspired you to launch lasso the moon?
I spent 15 years as a writer and editor on a range of national women's magazines (including Woman, Best, Woman's Realm and Woman's Journal), including a 2-year editorship at the M&S magazine. It was whilst I was taking a break to raise my two small children that the idea for lasso the moon first entered my head. I was indulging my passion for vintage fabrics and furniture by selling pieces via The Packhouse in Farnham as well as at fairs and shows and this is how I came into contact with many talented designer/makers who all seemed to share a similar dilemma - namely how to sell their goods effectively online, but to be showcased only alongside select other UK designer/makers and not alongside mass-produced stuff. Nothing that existed seemed to tick all the boxes, so I decided to create something that that would.
You're passionate about promoting the work of new designers – where do you find new talent and why is that so important to you?
We are contacted by around 10-15 designers a week and take time to research each and every one of them to make sure they would be right for our particular customers and do well with us before recruiting them. We probably offer memberships to around 40% of the designers that approach us. We also visit lots of design and trade shows and fairs as well as researching online. There seems to be a massive potential market of talented designer/makers out there, all looking to promote their work effectively and in a way that promotes the provenance and integrity of what they do. We will never promote anything other than bona fide collections made with heart and soul by hand-picked UK designer makers. It's important to me because not only is this what sets us apart from other websites within the market, but I also believe very passionately that the contemporary UK craft market and small creative businesses are an increasingly valuable and important part of our present and future economic landscape.
What would you say makes lasso the moon different from all the other lifestyle boutiques out there?
We are very select about who we invite to join us and we use top quality magazine photographers to ensure that the website is visually very strong. We also use editorial techniques to tell the story behind the merchandise, as this is what makes everything we sell really rather special.
I'm looking for a present for my mum's birthday – what would be your top three picks from the site and why?
1. Mummy cushion, £70, by Angel Linens. Handcrafted in vintage French linen with appliqué letter 'MUMMY' motif in soft red vintage floral fabrics. I think it would be received with more than a tear or two by any mummy and cherished forever.
2 Fabulous wall sign, £125, by Signs for Homes. Made in highest quality heavy steel, this retro-style typography sign really does look fab on a simple painted wall and the message behind it is sure to go down well with any mother.
3 Work/shopper bag, £95 by Caroline Jacques. Handcrafted in softest pure lambswool and lined in gorgeous Swedish linen, these bags really are something special. Perfect for holding the million and one things any mother is required to have with her at all times! I have one myself and am always being asked where I got it.
What would you say are the big interiors trends for spring/summer 2011?
Botanical prints and yellows have been a key trend recently, as have Japanese prints. With the royal wedding looming, we're also seeing a growth in interest in designs with a regal theme, particularly given a kitsch or pop art twist.
Which items are your best sellers?
Cath Deeson's seaside based prints always go down well, as do ted and agnes' quirky vintage fabric bags, Gillian Kyle's iconic designs on bags, teeshirts and tea towels and Caroline Green's exquisite ceramics.
What next for lasso the moon?
We are adding more new and exciting designers to the site all the time. There's no better feeling than knowing you're helping exciting and talented designer makers make a decent living from doing what they love.
To see more of what lasso the moon has to offer, go to www.lassothemoon.co.uk