Thursday 15 September 2011

Interview With Relics' Director Kate

One of the areas that we most pride
ourselves in at Relics is our customer service.

We hope, through this blog, that those of you who live further away will be able to get to know the faces behind the Relics' shop and website. With that in mind, we thought we'd share this interview with our director, Kate.

Can you tell us a little about the background that led you to Relics?

I've always been interested in colour and paints. I was an art teacher for many years and then, after I had my children, I switched to supply teaching at a primary school in Oxfordshire. It was here that I met Annie Sloan.

I hit on the idea that I wanted to paint things - furniture and walls - not just canvasses. Annie wanted more information about art-teaching and I lacked knowledge in her area of expertise, decorative painting, so we were a great team. I helped Annie on her books and ran paint courses with her. It was a great apprenticeship

It was in the mid 1990s, that we first became involved with Relics, when we started running paint courses in the back part of the shop, teaching all those effects that were terribly popular then: ragging, marbling, trompe l'oeil and, my favourite, furniture painting.

The courses stopped in the late 90's as demand dropped and I continued to build up my decorative painting business from my workshop in Witney, travelling to paint in clients' homes and spending Saturdays working for Relics in the shop.

That gradually increased to full time work for Relics as I enjoyed the feeling of new life it gave me, and, in 2004, I became a director.

What is your taste in decor?

Well, I've recently moved to my first owned property and I'm having great fun making it mine. Let me say first that I'm not a fan of limited colour schemes. I like comfortable rooms that look as though they've evolved but that have a thread replaying in connecting rooms. I love neutrals such as Earthborn's White and Just White Claypaints and Farrow and Ball's Lamp Room Gray, and then adding some splashes of colour. Little Greene's Heat is a great paint for that. I love it when colours bounce off each other, causing a fizz.

Earthborn Just White

What do you love most about working in Relics?

I think it's that the customers are so interesting and interested. They come in with a particular set of questions, and I love trying to solve them: for example, "How will this handle look with oak?" or "Which off-white do I need to go with this?" It's being able to listen to each customer and solve their particular needs that I love. Being there for people to bounce their ideas off me. Hopefully it helps my customers - and as a bonus inspires me with new ideas too!

I love the variety of products we have - eccentric and fascinating. I love watching people's pleasure in the shop.

What is your role in Relics?

I help make sure the shop is running smoothly, ordering from stockists, thinking about the layout and window displays, and, of course, chatting with customers and serving behind the counter.

What is your favourite product in Relics?

I'd have to choose the paint. People are looking for ways to bring new design ideas into their homes and paint provides the simplest way yo transform a room. Looking at magazines helps to gather ideas and to find out what colours you like to see together and the style of rooms which appeal to you but the only real way to learn about paint and colour is to experiment with sample pots and see the effects of different types of light and how it looks with your furnishings.

To share more of Kate's vast experience, simply come in to Relics, or contact us directly (details here).

Inspired by the gorgeous weather we had yesterday, next week, we'll be looking at how to enjoy cosying up your outdoor entertaining for autumn.

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