Stephanie Taylor and Ayesha McCormack introduce us to their new online Home
Stephanie Taylor and Ayshea McCormack are the founders of The Small Home – a new lifestyle website that sells a highly personal edit of artisan products influenced and inspired by their own tastes, travels and experience. They welcome us into their new virtual space to tell us more about the inspiration behind it…
What motivated you to set up The Small Home?
Ayshea: I always knew when working long hours in a demanding buying office that a time would come when I would create a more meaningful business of my own. My children were my catalyst. Going back to 60-hour weeks, producing generic, throw-away fashion no longer motivated me – and I wanted to build a business with integrity and ethics, centered on beautiful products made by real people.
Steph: I think as a consumer it was the frustration at the lack of interesting and varied product and, as a retailer, a need to try a new strategy. We’re inspired by places such as Oregon, Austin… and to some extent Hackney. We also found that there’s a disconnect with makers and manufacturing and a need for old fashioned relationships and values. That’s why we work with brands such as Forest & Found and Hampson Woods, who both recycle and upcycle discarded trees and wood and make them into something ‘beautifully imperfect’, packed with character, and inherently sustainable.
Can you briefly explain who you both are...
Steph: I am a buyer, designer and visual merchandiser. I am also an antiquarian, crate digger, homebody and a mum. I grew up living in Manchester, Cornwall, Henley, and Leeds… then Central London, working for ten years. I've now settled in Twickenham with my family. I had to give up work when pregnant with James, and this time gave me the opportunity to realise the concept of ‘The Small Home’.
Ayshea: I am a creative buyer whose greatest passion is travelling, tirelessly seeking beauty in places, objects and people. I’m also a frustrated artist, and after a career in the soulless business of fast fashion yearned for the simple satisfaction of creating something beautiful.
How did you select the makers you wanted to sell products from?
Ayshea: We bought what we loved from interesting people that we wanted to support – many of whom have just left art school and are just setting out. Making a career in craft is not easy and we are keen to support fresh talent.
Steph: We haven't selected anything that we wouldn't love to own ourselves. It’s also about the relationships we have with our suppliers and their own individual passion for what they do. So for example – each Sue Ure ceramic takes eight weeks to make, and we appreciate and respect the time it takes to create something truly unique and special. Every piece has an interesting human story behind it, and that makes it all the more interesting as a result.
What’s your favourite item from the launch collection?
Ayshea: This is easy for me. I started to literally hyperventilate when I opened the parcel containing a Still indigo nordic knit jumper because I love it so much!
I’ve known Sophie from Still (the knitwear supplier) for over ten years. She ran the most incredible shop on Lancaster Road in Notting Hill, West London which stocked the most beautiful edit of vintage classics that sat alongside some of her own pieces made by her trusted tiny sources in India and Nepal. She is a true artist, with no regard for commercial gains, but motivated by authenticity, traditional techniques, natural yarns and processes and most of all the trusted makers that she discovered on her journeys.
Steph: I love all the pieces in the collection for different reasons… but if I had to pick one, I would perhaps pick the pencil case. I like the consideration, effort and details of the design of this ordinary and everyday object. The vegetable-tanned leather, the hand-turned ends… the rustic, raw steel tacks that pin the leather to the wood and the simple leather cord tie to close. It takes something ordinary and makes it special, and that only gets better over time.
Photographs George Selwyn-Brace