Thursday, 21 May 2015

INTERVIEW | ANNA JONES OF TWENTYONE FIFTEEN








After living in London for 10 years, where she worked in the fashion industry Anna Jones was ready for a change of scene and career when she returned to Australia. But she didn’t head back to Melbourne, where she studied at RMIT, or to country Victoria where she grew up. Instead she unpacked her bags in Sydney, alongside her husband, who works in television. They settled in Bondi Beach and after becoming a mother to two boys Anna decided she wanted a creative role that allowed her spend time with her children but also make something with her hands. She started Twentyone Fifteen, a children’s decor business, initially making personalised kids cushions and bunting. Now she is becoming known for her wire decor pieces, which she sculpts and wraps with Liberty print fabrics, vintage denim or fleece. They are designed to hang in children’s bedrooms and be just as appropriate for a toddler as a teenager.

What was behind the decision to start Twentyone Fifteen? I wanted to start a small business that I could manage around looking after my two boys. I wanted to be doing something creative but didn't want to be stuck at a sewing machine or a computer. By creating my own decor pieces it has given me the freedom to work around my children’s routines as well as hopefully offering something different and fresh to the children’s decor market. 

What had you been doing previously? I studied fashion marketing at RMIT and after graduating I moved overseas to travel and work. I lived in London for 10 years firstly working in communication/PR and trend forecasting before a dream job in a sourcing and account management role for luxury fashion retailers Lane Crawford, Pedder Group and Holt Renfrew. After moving to Sydney I managed and bought for a mid-century furniture store before starting my family and Twentyone Fifteen. 

What is important to you when designing children's decor? For me it’s important that my pieces appeal to both the children and the parents. I like the designs to be simple, timeless but also have a handmade and tactile quality.

How do you try to differentiate your products from others on the market? I try and stay true to myself and both my own personal taste and design instincts, and by working this way hopefully I will be offering something unique.  

What has been completely unexpected since starting your business? How many lovely people I have connected with and how much support and encouragement I have received.

What is something that people often don't realise about your wares? I think people don’t often realise the process behind each piece and that they are all completely handmade and unique. For example, to make the denim pieces I mould the wire, then source vintage denim, wash, dry, cut, wrap and to finish trim the excess thread. They really are a little labour of love.

Where do you look to for design inspiration? I’m always trying to keep up with my favourite blogs, and Instagram/Pinterest accounts, so these sources keep me both inspired and distracted!  

What do consider when decorating kids rooms? I think it’s important to invest in good timeless pieces - my love of Scadinavian design always draws me to white for walls and furniture. I like the idea of adding colour and texture through children’s own artwork, prints and handmade crafts such as blankets and my own decor pieces, of course! 

What role do you want your products to play in a childhood? I would love my work to be keepsakes for children to have in their room for many years from newborn through to pre-teen years. 

What was the last great children's book that you read? I’m a big fan of the children's author Julia Donaldson. My currently favourite is Monkey Puzzle, but she has so many brilliant books - I never tire of reading The Gruffalo, Room on a Broom, A Squish and A Squeeze, Tiddler, What The Ladybird Heard, they are all classics in my opinion.  

images courtesy of twentyone fifteen

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