B MEETS KAREN MABON
Ahh Karen Mabon one of our all-time favourite brands we have seriously loved for years! Seriously, I have one of Karen’s first scarf designs from before she even properly launched the brand, a small skinny scarf in a quirky racing greyhounds print (we now have a whippet, Mabel, who could actually wear this little scarf, genius! Off I go to riffle through drawers to dress the whippet….).
When I first thought of the idea for Studio B (years ago!), Karen was one of my main inspirations for finding small, unique and interesting brands. I always thought if I could have her on board it would be amazing and now here we are, one small box ticked! Anyway, so about Karen, her brand is all about prints – think fun, quirky, whimsical, nostalgia and unexpected details. Plus, prints of animals in fancy dress clothes, naturally we enjoy this. Her retro style, bingo hall influenced, look book images you can see here are also incredible, all by Scottish photographer David N Anderson.
Karen meticulously hand draws all her prints, which once you see the detail you will fully appreciate she’s got skills. Mostly known for her silk scarves but to our absolute delight she has just added a capsule of silk printed PJ tops – be excited! The prints really are stunning and nothing like anything we’ve seen elsewhere, which makes them so special to us. B unique!
FILL IN THE GAPS
I studied goldsmithing at the Royal College of Art in London and worked for a range of different creative businesses from prop design to luxury jewellery design before establishing my own brand. I started the brand in 2013. I felt like there was a gap in the market for really intricate and unusual prints - everything felt quite derivative.
FIND THE UNEXPECTED
I’d describe my brand as a beguiling collection of scarves and sleepwear laced with the unexpected. For inspiration, I find this in everything really! Even the everyday. I look a lot at fine art and mid-century textiles, but I also travel a lot with work where I get a lot of inspiration for colour and pattern.
I draw all the prints by hand - they are quite intricate (we’d say very!) and take a long time to finish. The designs are printed digitally so I scan them and send the files to our factory. We produce everything in Como in Italy. It’s a really small manufacturing team who finish everything by hand. We only make small limited editions of each design and the process is so involved it does influence the selling price, but you are getting something different, special and well produced. B – Ethics and honesty. This is what we mean about buying less and loving more. Plus shop small and you get something different not everyone else has!
The hardest part is juggling all the different parts of a business in such a small team - there are only 3 of us, so we all have to get involved in everything! The best bit is when the new season collection arrives and we can choose our favourite pieces to take home!
I think you have to really believe in your product or idea and have absolute conviction in what you want to do. You have to really love it too - building a business is hard especially in the beginning and you need a lot of consistent motivation!
B - And if it all gets too much grab a pint.