Ian Holbrook is the owner of Premier Lampshades, a handmade manufacturer and repair business. A family business since the 1930’s, Ian values tradition and quality above all else. Ian is strongly against mass produced, identikit lampshades, only offering a bespoke design-your-own service on premierlampshades.co.uk. He also runs Premier Lighting, a constantly expanding range of home, outdoor and decorative lighting solutions. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Ian Holbrook.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
Modern, upmarket and design-led. We’re inspired by ever-changing trends and by the bespoke lampshades our customers design themselves. That said, we’re also very traditional – producing only high-quality, functional lampshades that last rather than fast fashionable fixes.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
We start by thinking about our customer’s needs. Then we design lampshades that are fresh, interesting and as unique as our customers are. Finally, we use traditional techniques to produce quality fabric lampshades by hand.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
My mother and stepfather, because they carried on my grandmother’s passion for lampshades and introduced me to the craft. What started as a hobby in the 1930’s became a family business that is still going strong today. I started my career in paper manufacturing and it was very, very boring but I helped out with the family business on my days off. My step dad taught me everything and was highly influential in my decision to take over the business when he and my mother retired.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
My biggest encouragement is our customers. Their feedback is proof that I’m in the right business, and it always brightens my day to receive it. I’m also inspired by the long history of lampshade making.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
When the British manufacturing industry fell into decline and companies closed, we changed our business model. The internet allowed us to sell direct to the public and out of that we created an exciting shopping experience. Determination and really hard graft kept us afloat. My advice is to be flexible: learn to adapt and evolve with the industry.