How did you become interested in textiles?

I grew up in a busy household full of makers; my father designed and built yachts as well as our family home, while my mother was constantly crafting, teaching her 6 daughters how to sew, knit, paint and cook. This creative environment helped me appreciate the importance of design, texture, colour and process. In my teens, I began painting handmade clothes and selling them at our local markets, which became a thriving business. Since then, I have always been involved in the textile industry in some fashion, it’s natural to me, a bit like breathing.

 

What made you and husband Bill start Wallace Cotton?

Bill and I began making printed bedlinen and cushions for friends and family, then as popularity grew, we designed and supplied ranges to retailers around Australasia. In 2006, we launched our first Wallace Cotton mail order catalogue and website, and have subsequently opened 9 stores in villages around NZ. Ours is a family business, with sisters, neices and daughters all working as part of an incredibly passionate team.

 

How do you find good suppliers?

We select our partners very carefully for both their ethical standards and exceptional craftsmanship, and choose to work with highly skilled specialists in some of the oldest textile cities around the world. Our suppliers are all very passionate about Wallace Cotton and understand our style and quality standards. They realise our focus is on quality rather than quantity – less is more – and work with us to create limited quantites of our beautiful designs.

 

What inspires you each season?

In the Antipodes we have 4 seasons, sometimes all in one day, so our bedlinen collections are mostly timeless and can be adapted by adding or removing layers. We make each collection interactive with colour, prints and texture and most work back with previous collections. Each design has to pass the “gorgeous” test (is it gorgeous enough?) before going into production.

 

How should your customers choose bedlinen?

From your first flat to a family home, we love to surround ourselves with comfortable and beautiful things – little luxuries that improve our lives. We have always tried to keep our bedlinen collections affordable and make them last, so you can keep adding piece by piece over the years. As a customer, you need to consider how you sleep and what conditions are optimal for quality sleep for you: do you get hot or cold during the night, does silky or crisp and cool suit your skin best, do you relax more around light or dark colours…?

Then you can decide whether your bedlinen makes a design statement in colour or pattern, or becomes the white or neutral in the room.

 

What is your favourite item in your linen cupboard?

I have just moved house with an enormous new linen cupboard which is already bursting of course, however it gave me a chance to go through some old favourites from our past collections. I think our hand stitched velvet quilts and cushions are my most favourite pieces. Each season we select new velvet colours which become the colour backbone of the season as such, and everyone gets really excited. My other favourite is Vintage Rose, a floral design we did many years ago, which was found inside an antique travellers trunk. I loved it so much, it was printed onto my little Figaro car.