For today’s Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx, I am sharing my interview with Emma Henderson of Showpony. Emma launched Showpony in 2006 with the aim of creating fun and engaging printed accessories and home accessories. The theme of trompe l’oeil, or to ‘trick the eye’, runs through much of Emma’s designs, from hidden bugs within the folds of her cushions or using vintage images on modern shapes. Emma is also committed to sustainable design and uses fair-trade producers and organically produced cotton wherever possible.
Read more about Emma and Showpony below!
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
Hi, I’m Emma Henderson and my company is called Showpony. I design and make screen printed textile products such as bags, cushions and tea towel. Doing this has meant that I could start with very small productions and see how they sell before making more. Thankfully, they seem to sell well and I’ve been able to introduce new designs and product ranges.
2. Do you have a mentor? If not, who would your dream mentor be?
I don’t have an official mentor, but I always find myself asking tons of questions whenever I meet people I admire. Clare Nicolson has given me loads of advice as has Katty Barac from One foot taller and Wai-Lian from soop. As far as a dream mentor would be, can I have Robin and Lucienne Day -please?
3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?
I’m inspired by humour, by the unexpected, challenging perceptions and story telling through design – I love the products and philosophy at droog.
4. Is your home messy or organized? Which one do you think is ideal and why?
My home is unfortunately messy; although, I am very much of the opinion that organised is best. As you can imagine, this leads to problems. My mum tried her best with me, she really did, and I do mostly have places where things are supposed to go…it’s just remembering where that is and putting things back there once I’m done with them. I sometimes wonder if I’d achieve more, if I didn’t spend so long looking for things.
5. What three things can’t you live without?
A decent breakfast, broadband and long walks with my husband and the dog
6. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
I might live in the centre of Glasgow, but I shop online loads, I love Etsy and have recently discovered pret a portobello. I love the Internet for this access to designers and labels you otherwise wouldn’t have a hope of buying.
7. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
I think about this a lot and often come up with the same answer for both depending on how I’m feeling. I love that I work on my own and can take control of every aspect of the business, but other days I might hate that I have to do everything myself, like when I’m doing the accounts or struggling with website issues. Some days, I love that I can come up with a design, make it and put it in the shop without consulting anyone – other times I’d love to have someone to bounce ideas back and forwards with. Also, being your own boss is great, but how come I never have any time off?
8. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
Being indie to me means doing it yourself and selling your own ideas without the financial backing of large corporations and lots of people around to share the pressure.
9. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
I love listening again to radio shows or podcasts that I might miss while not in the studio. Firm favourites are Adam and Jo. I also love Stephen Merchant and John Richardson. I’m still trying to come to terms with the loss of Russel Brand’s Radio 2 show.
I don’t read much, but like flicking through Vogue, Selvedge, Elle Decor and countless celebrity slag mags
10. What’s one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were a kid?
Don’t eat so many sweets, your parents tried to limit them for good reason. Also, don’t always do what’s expected, question things and try and work out what you want to do, and If you are going to make mistakes at least try and learn from them.
11. What’s new? Any new plans or products that you want to share?
The commemorative tea towel – designed as a tongue in cheek favour for our wedding – went over so well I’m working out how to offer them as a bespoke favour for others.