Interview: Passion for Handmade Designs in a Commercial World with Sam Hughes
Sam Hughes has been making and selling handmade lamps and lampshades for several years. Sam is a trained textile designer at Central St. Martins school of Art, London and has worked as a print designer for a wide variety of companies in the fashion and interiors businesses in London and New York. He started the lamp making business out of a desire to make design as well (we find out he is also a trained counselor! ). Since he launched Sam Hughes Lighting, the firm has grown steadily and become a busy business with a base of customers who look for individual and beautiful items for their homes. e decided to challenge Sam for an interview and find out how his business is going.
- Freshome: What triggered the idea of designing a range of lamps and lampshades ?
- Sam Hughes: I was inspired by my collection of vintage fabrics and noticed that there was a gap in the market for more interesting and patterned lighting. I wanted to make something original and retro inspired to compliment modern interiors.
- Freshome: What materials do you use for creating these designs?
- Sam Hughes: I draw by hand with pen, paint and ink and experiment with shapes and images. I then scan images into my computer and rework them on screen to develop repeat patterns and colourways that will work as shades. They are then digitally printed onto high quality cotton and I make the fabric pieces into shades. I also hand make the bases (with the help of a wood turner!) and wire the lamps. I feel very proud that I entirely make the product myself.
- Freshome: Where do you find your inspiration?
- Sam Hughes: I find my inspiration from vintage surface pattern. I collect textiles, ceramics and crockery from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I also look at illustration from those decades.
- Freshome: How long ago did you start your business?
- Sam Hughes: I started my business in 2005, at first using my vintage textile collection to make all the shades. In the last year I have designed my own fabrics for the shades and now sell those alongside the vintage pieces.
- Freshome: What are the reaction you usually get from your target/ buyers?
- Sam Hughes: People seem to love them! Quite often customers come back to me for a second or third lamp once they have bought one. Everyone comments on how original they are and how much they love the colours, designs and quality.
- Freshome: What are your plans for the future?
- Sam Hughes: I would like to continue to expand the business and hope at some point to develop some designs with a major retailer.
- Freshome: Are you interested in other work field (except design) ?
- Sam Hughes: I am also a trained counselor!
- Freshome: Tell us something unusual that happened since you started your business.
- Sam Hughes: Nothing crazy, but I have been truly delighted by how much value people place in hand made products and carefully crafted, thoughtful design.
- Freshome: In case there is anything else you would like the world to know about you or your ideas, here is your chance to share.
- Sam Hughes: I pride myself on producing original, interesting and beautiful hand made products in a commercial world that is more and more dominated by mass production and mass selling. People really respond to good design, personal service and they love the idea of buying something that is truly a one off or part of a limited edition.