Interview: Pretty Dandy

Hello Magpies. As you may know, I love anything that supports independent businesses and original, innovative art, craft and design. Today I’d like to introduce you to Pretty Dandy, an online shops that sells a mix of vintage and contemporary interior goodness. I became overcome with excitement upon discovering that Pretty Dandy will be hosting it’s first ever flea market in Nottingham – a compact, cool and creative (if a little rainy) city in the East Midlands – and the place where I spent my student years (I think it has just about recovered). The Flea will host stalls by local, independent makers who produce an eclectic plethora of loveliness (try saying that out loud). I caught up with Becky Morris Knight, the owner of Pretty Dandy, to find out more.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do at Pretty Dandy.
I run Pretty Dandy, which includes everything from working with the designer & developer last year to build the website, putting together all the product ranges, photographs and descriptions, marketing the site, meeting lovely artists, makers, bloggers etc and chatting to people on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a challenge to find the time to do everything right, but it’s a lot of fun too.

How do you go about sourcing the products that you sell at Pretty Dandy? Tell us about a couple of your favourite finds.
I find new products through a range of different means. I visit trade shows (such as Top Drawer, 100% Design, Tent etc) to source new design products, I visit craft fairs and look online for handmade items and I visit auctions and markets to source vintage goods. Finding a new designer or chancing upon a vintage gem is one of the most exciting parts of my job – it’s such a thrill to feel like you’ve discovered something beautiful just waiting to be shared with the world.

My favourite finds could fill a whole page so I’ll try to be brief! One of my favourite pieces of new design on the site is the Origami Hunter lamps, which I first spotted online then tracked down over several weeks to a fab little design studio in Chile. I placed the order to ship some over and discovered that they were being launched at Tent London 2011 just a few weeks later! It was wonderful to be able to go and meet the team behind these innovative designs.

Another favourite find of mine are the tea towels printed with vintage Scandinavian designs. I love that these humble, hardworking products are so beautiful, and that the designs used have been in production ever since they were originally launched in the 50’s.

How would you describe your personal interior design style and how does this reflect in your work at Pretty Dandy?
I think if you look at Pretty Dandy you’ll get quite a strong sense of my interior style as my rule for the shop is: if I like it and I would buy it for my own home, then it’s in! I love homes where the inhabitants have been creative with the décor and where it really shows who they are – not just what’s fashionable at the time, or what conforms to design ‘rules’. For me that means lots of colour, bold prints on wallpaper and fabric; a sense of humour and wit about everyday objects; a great deal of art; plus personal mementoes and photographs. My style is maximalist, creative and carefree. I hope that some of that comes across on Pretty Dandy too!

You will soon be holding your first Pretty Dandy flea market, in the fair city of Nottingham. Tell us more!
In March I visited New York with my husband and a bunch of friends. We had an absolute blast eating wonderful food, exploring the city and seeing the sights, but the thing I enjoyed more than almost anything else was visiting the Brooklyn Flea… (apart from tasting my first corn dog, that was a pretty exciting experience!) It really inspired me and sowed the seed of an ambitious idea to do the same thing here in the UK – a vibrant mix of handmade and vintage all under one roof, focusing on homewares and giving people the chance to explore and find beautiful items to personalise their homes. We’ve found a wonderful venue in Nottingham, the Congregational Church which not many people will have been to – it’s old and unusual, like many of the items at the Flea – and will make a great quirky backdrop for the event. As well as handmade lampshades, vintage crockery, curios and art prints we will have a “Print Your Own Artwork” stall and live DJs. It should be a really great event, and I have my fingers crossed that everything goes swimmingly between now and then!

The very best of luck with it all Becky, thanks for talking to us.
The inaugural Pretty Dandy Flea will be taking place on Saturday 29th September in Nottingham, just 2 hours from London on the train and well worth checking out if you’re local.

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