According to Anne Tiainen-Harris, founder of Cloudberry Living: "If you love your home, our boutique is for you." Intrigued, we spoke to Anne to find out more:
Anne, could you please tell us how you came to create Cloudberry Living?
My passion for the Scandinavian style is deeply engrained and derives from my childhood memories of happy mealtimes and fresh, warm and stylish home in my native Finland. I always carried that passion in my heart whilst working in PR and advertising agencies in several European countries and was waiting for the right moment to make a living from my passion. Finally, 5 years ago, I left my job in a London advertising agency to start Cloudberry Living when I realised how popular Scandinavian design had become in the UK.
Cloudberry is a rare yet delicious golden-yellow berry that grows in the northern parts of Scandinavia. Cloudberries are hand-picked gems, highly valued delicacies and very Scandinavian - just like our products.
If you had to sum up what Cloudberry Living has to offer in just one sentence, what would it be?
Cloudberry Living offers you a range of unique, high-quality designer gifts and stylish, contemporary home accessories from Scandinavia via our user-friendly and secure website.
Which other homeware shops and sites do you admire?
I admire Skandium for the way they promote Scandinavian design in their stunning London stores. Nest.co.uk is a great destination for modern European design and Kartell has the coolest furniture selection. Graham & Green has a wonderful website: their collection is beautifully presented and full of exciting and inspiring products.
Do you travel a lot to source new brands/products for the shop?
Not really as it's always been quite clear to me which brands we should stock at Cloudberry Living. I grew up in Finland in a home full of Scandinavian design icons such as Iittala glassware, Arabia Moomin Mugs, Louis Poulsen lamps and Brio toys. Those same timeless design brands create the cornerstone of our selection. We don't however only stock the most established and best known Scandinavian brands but also some new fresh products from upcoming Scandinavian designers and brands. Those brands we've discovered at trade fairs or on our trips to Scandinavia.
What homeware trends are you seeing for spring/summer 2011?
1. Natural look and natural materials, eco-friendly products.
2. Strong vibrant colours (blue, orange, yellow) especially with strong graphic patterns.
3. 1980s pastel colours.
4. Functional, high-quality products: in this economical climate consumers seek to invest in something long-lasting with a function or alternatively decorate their homes with recycled or vintage products such as old rocking chairs, granny-made hand-woven rugs, etc.
I have a budget of £50 for each and want to buy great gifts for: i) my sister's birthday; ii) a friend who's getting married; and iii) a friend's new baby. What would you recommend from the site?
If your sister is anything like mine, she'll love the Raven from Iceland, a sculptural accessory for hanging and displaying your most beautiful dress on the bedroom wall.
Iittala's Taika tableware collection – especially the espresso cups and serving bowls - is our most popular wedding gift range.
For a new baby, I'd recommend the adorable Octopus or Owl music mobile from Ferm LIVING playing Brahms' Lullaby.
If you could have only one item from the shop for your own home, which would it be and why?
My home has gradually turned into a Cloudberry showroom as I obviously love everything we stock! We have for instance Louis Poulsen lamps, Pappelina rugs, Ferm LIVING wallpaper, Iittala glassware and ceramics and I've just ordered Myricadesign headboard and Eva Solo stainless steel barbecue for our new house.
My most treasured item however is the Arne Jacobsen City Hall wall clock. It totally embodies the timelessness, simplicity and beauty of a Scandinavian design item – and also tells you the time!
What next for Cloudberry Living?
Our mid-term plan is to launch more great Scandinavian products to Cloudberry Living. There are still several brands that we would like to see as part of Cloudberry. This year we've launched Eva Solo kitchen and garden accessories, Normann Copenhagen lighting and home accessories and luxurious MyricaDesign headboards.
Long-term we are considering of opening a show-room somewhere in the Thames Valley area.
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