One more year I wanted to get into the homes of three wonderful women and that they tell us a little more about their family and their way of life and thus be able to offer you some inspiration and a moment of reading for this Christmas.
I met Sally a while ago, she wrote me and told me that the magazine Real Homes had published in a beautiful report of her house and my dolls came out in it! Imagine the illusion! When I saw the photos, I not only fell in love with her house but I also fell in love with her brand, Konoc. Also, this fall in London I had the pleasure of meeting Sally in person during the “Junior Magazine Awards” ceremony and she is a lovely person. That is why I wanted to meet her and know her a little more with this interview.
So I leave you with Sally and I hope you are inspired by her wonderful family!
Hi, Sally! First of all, thank you so much for letting us to get into your house and for this little interview. There are a lot of fans of Konoc but for those who don´t know you, please, introduce your family (how many kids you have, how old are they, where do you live…).
My name is Sally Tooth and I’m the creative director of KONOC, a British leather accessories brand. My partner is Jay and we have two kids Rocco, who is 6 and Maddi, 4.
What did you do for a living before creating Konoc? Why did you decide to create your own brand?
Me and Jay met in Thailand about 10 years ago, while I was living in Koh Samui (one of the islands in the south of Thailand). I lived there for 8 years in total and was working out there as an independent hair and make up artist for international weddings. We experimented with hand sewing leather, Jay taught me, from his little experience and we very much ‘learnt along the way’ while selling our wares at the local night markets, but at that time, it was very much just a hobby for both of us. When we moved to England 4 years ago, I was heavily pregnant with Maddi (our second child) and the thought of working back here made me feel extremely nervous as having lived and worked in Thailand ever since travelling there straight after uni, I knew your typical 9-5 job was just not for me and with no real experience I wouldn’t have even known where to start. So I knew working for myself was something I wanted to pursue, but I wasn’t entirely sure in what direction to take it! We launched Konoc in 2016 with the idea that I could slowly build the brand up in and around raising the kids. It was definitely a slow start, as I’m sure many other #smallbiz owners can relate to. It’s really tough at the beginning, especially when you are doing everything yourself. Not only was I self taught on the creative side, but learning how to “run a business” didn’t come ‘easily’ and I’m definitely still learning today! I think having your own brand, is a constant learning curve and for me, the Konoc ‘brand model’ today is very different to what I envisaged it to be 5 years ago. I think the brand naturally involved over time and in some ways I let it guide me, rather than me forcing in a certain direction.
Where do you look for inspiration for your brand? Who is in charge of the creative process? And who is dedicated to the manual process?
I think our core style, has come from our love for the hand stitched products we first started out doing in Thailand. Moving forward I knew we couldn’t continue doing this and grow the brand with just me making as we were not in a position to take on staff at this point, so I leant to use an industrial sewing machine, that allowed me to speed up the process, and still use the big, visible stitching with thick thread, which then mimicked the style of our very first creations. We are about simple designs, beautiful leathers and unique ‘keepsake’ pieces in a mix of classic and contemporary colours! We like to think there is truly something for everyone within our collection and hope each piece is given and received with love. Inspiration comes from all around I guess, we keep a range of capsule colours and designs in all the classics and add in ‘on trend’ elements each season. This is one of the joys of running your own business and doing EVERYTHING yourself. It allows complete control and the turn around of “new ideas” to be often instant! An idea one day, can be online and selling the next! I am in charge of the creative process as well as the manual, physical making of all the products! I’m also the sales team, Pr manager, distribution, website designer, complaints department and studio cleaner! I am slowly learning “I actually can’t do it all” at least well! So I am starting to outsource areas I either don’t enjoy or am really bad at!
How do you combine motherhood with your facet as an entrepreneur?
A massive learning curve at the beginning, was learning to switch off! To be honest I still struggle with it now! Your small biz, becomes like another child you need to look after, nurture and worry about day in and day out to help it grow! But I am better at separating my time now and I do try and make weekends all about the family! Especially now they are both at school, I feel like that time is so precious!! The only time I can’t do that is the craziness, which is the run up to Christmas!
Your house is wonderful, tell us about how is it, where is it and what do you like the most of living in there.
Rocco spent his first year on the beaches of Thailand with us which was magical, but we were ready to start our new chapter and moved back to England just before Maddi was born in 2015. As a soon to be family of 4, we bought a little ‘doer upper’ Victorian semi detached town house in Farnham, Surrey, close to my parents and where I grew up. It felt like the natural place to set up home. It was a big project, with a double story extension and reconfigurations to the stairs and layout. But over time it’s became our little fun haven of colour & design and we’ve had so much fun doing it! We’ve been playful and bold when it’s come to wallpapers, paint and art, even in the smallest of rooms, like the downstairs toilet. My favourite rooms in the house are the kids bedroom’s and our little playroom, as I love designing kids spaces that work for both the children and grown up in the house!
You live in London so if it’s raining and you have to stay at home, what’s your favorite activity to do with the family?
The kids love being creative, just like their Mummy and Daddy I guess! They love a bit of junk modelling, with cardboard boxes and tape. They both have great imaginations too, they’re games often involve being some kind of animal! Ha!
Tell us about your children’s room? What do you like the most in them? What are your must-haves in a kids’ room?
I think it’s really important to create individual spaces for the kids that are a reflection of their personalities. Rocco is animal mad, so it made total sense for his room to be inspired by this, we have used the most amazing wallpaper by bien fait Paris, which is a simple black and white jungle mural on the main wall, lots of animal prints from all my favourite small brand illustrators and an amazing mini Rodini leopard print duvet to create a fun, playful room to set his imagination free and a space I also love! Maddis room is smaller, but still packed full of personality. Jay build her a house frame bed, the walls are full of prints, home pressed flowers, hanging and plants. My style is often eclectic, mixing old vintage pieces with new and I love a shelvie, filled with books, plants, dolls and artwork.
What’s your children’s favorite storybook? And yours?
Rocco loves factual books, anything to do with animals or dinosaurs. I’ve learnt so much too since reading all these books, he has to help me with some of the pronunciations of the dinosaurs names though!! The Maja Säfström illustrated books are also good and Rocco (6yrs) can now read some of them himself. Maddi loves all the ‘Little people big dreams’ books and is slowly collecting them all! And they both love the “I want my hat back” series by Jon Klassen, which I also love!! So beautifully illustrated and great little story.
What are their favorite toys?
My kids both love all the Schleich animal! And I do things it’s so nice to see them create little games together with all the different series, Maddi loves lining them all up too! We got a Wobbel board a couple of years ago and I would honestly say they use it every day is different way, another great use of their imagination, the possibilities are endless! The way to play track works so well with it the wobbel board, and you should definitely try the track in the bath too, so much fun! I would say one of the best things we ever got the kids was the kids Ikea play kitchen. Hours of fun, for all ages and our Konoc ‘hack handle’ make their kitchen look even better than ours.
What are your favorite brands for kids (clothes/ toys)?
Eddie & Bee – Best legging.
A tribe well dressed – Amazing initial jumpers and tees.
Bandit Circus – Best kids back packs.
The bright company – Fav pjs!
We would love if you make us a Christmas list!
Wander&Rrah – “Spread your wings” and “Peachy baby” prints for Maddi’s room.
Lauvely – Space boy Pedro for Maddi.
Max me me do it – “In to the wild” sweater for Rocco.
Mara Studio UK – Hexagon initial necklace for me.
Mutha.hood – “Strong girls club” jumper for me and Maddi.
Small print books – Book subscription for Rocco.
Vans – Black and white for Jay.
Lella – RAVE ING jumper in black for Jay (to match the one Rocco already has).
Oh my cakery – A big box of their millionaire shortbread to share on Christmas morning because they look epic!
Space masks – for me and Jay to relax with on Christmas Eve.
Lava lamp – for both kids are they are obsessed with them.
And to end, what do you like the most of Lauvely? Who’s your favorite Lauvely Friend? What would you like to find in the next collection of Lauvely?
I absolutely LOVE Lauvely, I was so happy to discover beautifully made dolls that the kids adored and that I did TOO, which is not always an easy task for sure!! I love the original, unique designs of each character, I love that they will be treasured as well as played with by both my kids. I love that they look amazing out on display when they are not being used, unlike half of the kids toys, that I’d rather hide inside their toy boxes! I love that these will be kept by me to give to my kids children! We have two in our house so far, Gelsomina and Isadora but I can see us slowly collecting more and more as each collection comes out! Next on my list is PEDRO as he is just too cool!
And to end this lauvely interview we bring you a Christmas wishlist inspired in Sally and her family! Thank you so much Sally!
1. “Peach Baby” print by Wander&Rrah. 2. Space boy Pedro by Lauvely. 3. “In to the wild” sweter by Max me me do it 4. Personalized coin purse by Konoc 5. Illustrated book “Amazing facts about baby animals” by Maja Säfström 6. Christmas Edition sleepsuit by The Bright Company.
All the pics in this post belongs to Sally from Konoc. You can follow her on her IG account: @we_are_konoc
I hope you have enjoyed and have being inspired!