Today begins a journey for me, creating my very first blog post, and Im quite excited… Im sitting at the kitchen table on a rather ‘Paris Grey’ Saturday morning here in N.Ireland. I have just finished a late breakfast of homemade pancakes with my two daughters, its their very favourite breakfast, and apparently I’m ‘The Master’ of pancakes in this house.
I suppose I should begin with a short history of me, and my business Dandelion Lane Interiors. For me the journey began at a similar age my eldest is now. At 6 years old my daddy had his own Kitchen Manufacturing business. I spent many happy hours in his factory watching him work, and whiling away the hours sweeping up sawdust from the factory floor. Sometimes after school I would do homework in the design room with Anna, the kitchen designer. Constantly unaware I was absorbing, like a sponge everything going on around me. At weekends dad and mum would take us to National trust properties and auction rooms, indulging dads passion for period furniture and Interiors. I remember being totally engrossed as we took house tour, after house tour, listening to the history of each property and those that lived there in the past.
I recall a specific school trip to Scotland when I was 11. We took the boat, as a day trip and went to visit an old castle. On the tour the guide asked if anyone knew what a fire screen was used for. My hand went straight up, and to everyones surprise this 11 year old had the explanation to a ‘T’. “The Victorians used them” I said “to prevent their makeup from melting, they created them to show off their talents for embroidery” I felt kind of proud, and a little bit nerdy all at the same time. But that is me, someone who from a young age loved and appreciated “old stuff”
I studied industrial design (Furniture/Interior/Product) at the University of Ulster in Belfast, and graduated with 1st class honours in 2006. I loved every minute of my time at Art College, it was creative, inspiring and everything I imagined college life would be. I was a mature student, so I suppose I threw myself into it all the more because I was 100% sure of my career choice at that stage. After leaving University I received 1 of 10 place at The National College of Art & Design Dublin to study for a Masters in Design History and material culture. I was aiming for a career as a museum curator or curator of a National trust property. But, I decided to defer my place, and married my lovely husband instead. I was 30 when I graduated from University, and to be honest the biological clock was ticking lol. Its a decision I don’t regret, but one I often wonder may have led me. I may pursue this in the future if the notion so takes me 😉
So…. in December 2006 I married Rodger, and we now have 2 exceptionally beautiful, fun loving little girls. I was a stay at home mummy with Naomi, but by the time Ella came along I was ready to embark into the working world again.
In Dec 2010 I saw Annie Sloan on Kirsties homemade home, a light bulb instantly went on in my head! I had designed a little stool and dad had made it for me. I though, how wonderful would this Chalk Paint™ be! NO sanding, NO priming, just PAINT!!! Every girls dream, right?!? So I instantly googled where my nearest stockist was, and nothing, nobody in N.Ireland stocked this paint! I quickly went online to Annies website and it was costing more back then to send the paint than it was to buy it! I penned an email to Annie about becoming a stockist, and after no response i phoned a week later. Annie answered the phone herself and we chatted for a good hour. I found we had quite a bit in common, and I would say we clicked staright away. She really is a downright lovely lady with a heart to match. She accepted me as a stockist, and she also asked me to become her distributor for the area. I was THRILLED and promptly said yes, and well the rest is history!
Time between was spent developing ideas for the shop. In Uni we had been taught the importance of branding and brand identity, so I set to work developing a brand. I asked Naomi (then 3) what was her favorite flower? She replied “Dandelions mummy, because they are yellow and yellow is a happy colour” I LOVED it. Later that day I was driving up my dads lane, it was strewn with those little yellow weeds, and it just hit me! Dandelion Lane! The brand was born…
The pioneering moment that brought Chalk Paint™ to N. Ireland had finally arrived!!! The shop opened in August 2011 when Ella was only a baby. Those early days she came to work with me, it was fun having her there. The shop has developed rapidly over the past few years, and looking back I sometimes cant quite believe the journey so far! The photo below was taken in early September 2011, a few weeks after we opened.
Well, thats it from me today, my blog will comprise of daily ramblings about Dandelion Lane, and also my inspirations within History of design, Chalk Paint™ and interiors.
Thanks for listening, come back soon….