As we begin to enter our second lock down and I start to write this introduction for ‘Al’s Place’, the two seemingly are counter opposites. What or how could bright and bold woven mirrors and rugs have anything to do with a global pandemic?
WELL, Alice, the owner, creator and maker or Al’s Place has dedicated her lockdown time to perfecting the art of tufting -as have many people, with rugs popping up everywhere! However, Alice has truly nailed it, with super bold, perfectly clashing colour combinations and graphic but simple designs- these mirrors and rugs are some of the stand out tufting work I’ve seen.
With only a few mirrors made and sold monthly, these babies sell out fast. Each one is individual and handmade; which is a rarity in these mass produced, consumer driven times- Alice is focussed on quality over quantity…and it shows.
I think it is no coincidence that this platform I’m working on has emerged out of these strange times but also that I am spoilt for choice when approaching awesome small businesses to take part. Many of these are the result of this strange year, which is an absolute positive to take away from all this- to see that many, including Alice, have used this time to master a skill and create something for themselves. That is in no way meant to disparage those that have chosen Netflix over the tufting gun…hello! I’m right there with you. BUT it is a positive to take away and Al’s Place is absolute evidence of that.
See what Alice had to say to the usual questions below…
1.Tell us about yourself and your brand.
I’m Alice & I’m the founder of Al’s Place (it feels funny saying that)! I started Al’s Place properly in June after having to come home from travelling Australia due to covid, which I’m now grateful for because it gave me the opportunity to grow my business & have the freedom to be creative! My first ever tufted pieces were my 2 degree show rugs, I remember seeing tufting on instagram and I rung my mum instantly like “I NEED a tufting gun!”. My aim with Al’s Place to make products to brighten up peoples home with colour and texture, my most popular item at the moment is my tufted mirrors! When I made my first tufted mirror, it was just an experiment that I thought wouldn’t really work & I’d just keep it for myself, now they sell out in minutes! Experimenting with different mediums and not giving up when we don’t get it right the first time always work out so much better than we anticipate! I currently make everything myself in my little studio in the UK and my next mirror drop will be in November.
2.What are your inspirations?
I honestly just love anything colourful, because currently working from home a lot of my recent inspiration has come from everyday life and online. I also like using instagram and as inspiration, following creatives helps and I also find amazing colour combinations on there! But inspiration always comes at the most random times, I’m constantly scribbling down every idea that comes to my mind.
3.Lets chat about social media – a hindrance or help?
I definitely think its a big help! It’s important to be following the right people, so if you end up in a scroll you’re being inspired by other creatives! I think finding the right balance with social media is so important, I do try and limit my time on social media. Otherwise, it can be hard to actually turn off!
4.Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?
I would like to be in a bigger studio! I’d like to still be making mirrors & rugs. I also want to have experimented with other interior based items like cushions, maybe some different shapes and sizes of tufted mirrors too! My advice would be to be excited and passionate about your product and other people will be to! Make sure you’re loving everything you’re creating!
5.Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?
I love @theflowerandtheflea on instagram, Amber makes flower charms using rare & colourful vintage glass beads from the 30’s-60’s which she finds at thrift markets. I absolutely love thrift markets and charity shops so her ethos is right up my street! I also love the charms and wear mine everyday.
@zoejanebb makes the most beautiful delicate ceramics in lovely pastel colours! I love her checkered and cow print vases as well as her ‘sunbathing lady’ ceramics. Her mug drop is coming soon & I’m v excited!
I also love @protocole_bourgeois, making lovely paper lamps in lots of designs! I love the nude checkered hanging lamp.