An interview with Quince
Launched in 2011 by interiors magpie Sophie McEwan, Quince is a family run online store based in Perth. Here you will find handpicked creations from UK Craft and Independent Makers, as well as a selection of curated designs from well known brands. We sat down with Sophie from Quince to hear a little about how she got started in the industry and the ups and downs of running your own company.
How long have you had your company for?
Quince started in April 2013 whilst I was pregnant with our first child. Not brilliant timing but the added pressure of having to get things up and running before baby day worked well for me and gave me the drive I needed to get things off the ground.
What did you do before?
As well as running Quince we also have our Woodburning Stove and Range Cooker showroom based in Perth. HeatWorks started in 2009 and it was all thanks to this that I was able to branch out and pursue my passion for interiors and design through Quince.
Did you always want to work in Interiors?
To be honest I never really knew what I wanted to do. The one thing I did know, was that I had a passion for all things interiors and design, with a special love for hand crafted creations. If I managed to do something in this industry then I knew that I would be happy.
What was the inspiration for your company?
My in-laws, Jill and John. As self-made entrepreneurs in the gift industry, with over 40 years of experience and advice Jill and John really inspired me to follow my dreams and make Quince a reality.
How did you design your branding?
I briefly studied Graphic Design and my passion for Typography has always run hand in hand with my love for interiors. I drew on my own experience and skills to create our branding and created our Quince logo with the help of super talented illustrator Ryn Frank. I hope to have a rebrand this year when I find the time as I enjoy change and would like to freshen the site up a little!
How did you get started?
Starting Quince involved a fair amount of number crunching plus lots of fun searching trade fairs and online marketplaces for unique brands and independent designers to stock. Whilst forming our product base, we worked with a web designer to create our online store. This is the part I loved most; seeing our store come to life.
Biggest challenge setting up your company?
Time. As we already had HeatWorks to manage and progress, plus a new baby, Quince initially had to come second/third. Finding time to follow ideas through to fruition and push Quince on really was tricky. It involved a lot of extra hours sitting at the kitchen table, but it did give me something to do on all those new baby sleepless nights!
Favourite thing about your job?
Finding new designers and working with them to create amazing collaborations. We’re currently working with Scottish designer Fun Makes Good to create a bespoke range of their fantastic tweed footstools and cushions.
Advice to people starting up in your industry?
Start small, build gradually and network. Running a business can be a lonely thing at times thanks to the long days and nights at your desk. I would say that it’s essential to squeeze in a little time for networking groups. There are so many brilliant options out there, from business owners breakfast clubs to female entrepreneur clubs with online forums to local business start-up groups. I don’t think we would be where we are today without networking. It is amazing to meet fellow business owners and to have the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other plus, share hints and tips on running a small business.
Thoughts on Scottish interiors?
The Scottish interiors scene is ever flourishing, I’m always amazed by the vast array of designers just on our doorstep. We have more and more independent stores popping up offering curated collections from across the globe as well as showcasing some of the unique designers that Scotland has to offer.
Dreams for the future?
We are hoping to do a mini rebrand this year plus make the move to supporting mainly independent designers at Quince. Last year we started to transition our range from having mainly well-known brands to being more indie design orientated. Hopefully we can complete this transition before the end of the year.
Seeing repeat customers coming back - this really makes me smile. I love that we have made an impression on this person and that they choose to come back time and time again for gifts and homewares. It really is lovely.
Favourite trend for SS19?
I’m loving the current trend for bringing the outdoors in and blurring the lines between. I particularly love rich olive tones of green combined with natural textures, like sisal and rattan. It’s also brilliant that sustainability seems to be a real trend for 2019. People are now beginning to request more clarity on how things are made, who they are made by and their eco credentials.