Meet Fiona Douglas from Bluebellgray
Fiona Douglas is the creative brain behind textile design company Bluebellgray. The company specialises in the home interiors market, producing unique and individual designs for the home.
A graduate of the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, where she specialised in Printed Textiles, Fiona worked as head designer for a leading fabric company before setting up her own company.
Influenced by a love of colour and all things floral, each design is painted by hand in the Bluebellgray studio. It’s then printed on to natural cottons and linens, using state-of-the-art printing technology to perfectly capture every brushstroke and colour.
Based in the west end of Glasgow, the company was shortlisted for an Elle Decoration Design award in 2010 and its designs have been featured in leading magazines such as Vogue, House & Garden and Country Living.
A PROFILE OF FIONA
How did your business start?
Fiona: I developed my style of watercolour designs for textiles at GSA [Glasgow School of Art]; while there I also discovered the Centre for Advanced Textiles. After graduating I spent a few years gaining experience and knowledge working for a large fabric company. I then realised I wanted to work for myself and set up Bluebellgray in 2009, literally starting from my kitchen table. We’ve been going now for three years.
Who else is in your team?
Fiona: My role is design director and I’m supported by our design assistant Carrie, office manager Georgie, office assistant Emmi, and Wendy, who looks after Bluebellgray’s PR and marketing.
I’ve been so inspired by having Carrie and Wendy on board. It’s quite difficult when you are working by yourself, you can really suffer tunnel vision. With colleagues you can bounce ideas off one another. My husband Phil is also involved: we call him the ‘sorter-outer’ and we have additional help from work experience students.
What sort of market do you supply?
Bluebellgray sells to a medium- to high-end market: John Lewis, Liberty, Harrods and a range of independent boutiques. Bluebellgray also sells to a global market, which includes Bon Marché in Paris, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Gump’s in San Francisco and Mitsukoshi in Japan.
Why is digital printing your choice of process?
Digital Printing was the natural choice for my designs. It allows me to interpret them exactly as they are, which means I don’t need to compromise on scale or colour.
Digital printing allows us to capture the essence of the design. So many people have asked if our products are hand painted. I feel the heart and soul of the design gets transferred to cloth with this method and that is what I love about it.
If we had to print traditionally, we could have only afforded one design. Digital printing allows us to produce a collection, and with the opportunity of shorter runs, printing digitally is affordable.
Why choose us?
CAT offers great service and great quality. We work to very tight deadlines and being able to print a quality product with CAT within a couple of weeks is vital to keep us at the forefront of the market and move our designs forward quickly. The fact they are just down the road is an added bonus and they are always on hand to discuss our needs and ideas. They are at the forefront of digital printing and true experts in their field.
Do you offer your customers bespoke services?
We don’t offer a bespoke service but it would be a long-term dream to get back to customer-focused design.
Short listed for Elle Decoration award 2010
Featured in Vogue
Fiona’s house featured in Elle Decoration
Exhibited at Maison & Objet, Paris
Design Collective for John Lewis
Where do you see your company in five years?
I hope we can be bigger and better, while still producing the best designs we can.
I am passionate about keeping Bluebellgray in Glasgow and Scotland. When I graduated it saddened me that there was very little opportunity in Scotland so I hope with us being here we can give more textile graduates an opportunity.
In five years time I hope to be as happy and still love what we do!
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