A Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of Harris & Jones
In our latest look ‘Behind the Design‘ we’ve caught up with Vanessa Harris, who along with partner Steve Harris founded Harris & Jones, an innovative, design-led stationery and accessories business.
Vanessa has given us a sneak peek behind the scene; sharing the background of the business, as well as a closer look at the products and inspiration.
So without further ado let’s take a look behind the scenes of this exciting design business.
Tell us a little about Harris & Jones. Why did you start the business?
We hand make home and office accessories. We were inspired to start the business through a desire to create accessories that were both useful and beautiful and to create a family company to work around our life.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It is different every day and we are able to work in an environment we enjoy, with music on and our dogs at our feet. It is also different every day because we work for interior designers, luxury retailers, architects as well as customers direct via our website so you never know what the day will bring.
Is there anyone else in the team?
We are a team of six, all fitting in making our products around our family commitments. Plus the workshop dogs, Louis & Sasha.
What is a typical day like at Harris & Jones?
One moment, we might be working on a large trade order for a department store, the next we might be selling a keepsake box for a gift. We like to have a close relationship with our customers and particularly enjoy personalising special items.
What inspires which product lines you create?
We tend not to look at what is around already, we prefer to take the approach of “that would be really useful and we can make it look great too”. Take our desk top memo blocks available in small & A5 sizes. Filled with quality paper these are a great addition to any home or office space.
Tell us about your design style. What influences the look of your range?
We like to keep up to date with trends and new designers in interiors and design in general. We are lucky to have close relationships with lots of talented British designers but are always on the lookout for new things.
What is your favourite item in the Harris & Jones collection?
Our NEW Concertina file.
This style of product has not been made in the UK for many years but we really wanted to bring it back so had to start from scratch and figure out how to do it. We like the result and our customers have really embraced our take on an old classic.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
Our Keepsake Boxes and Magazine Files are always popular. They make great gifts and easily add a bit of pattern and colour to a room.
Can you tell us anything about what you are working on at the moment?
We have some exciting collaborations with Nina Campbell, Jemma Lewis and Molly Mahon all being launched this spring.
Do you recall the first time you saw your designs in a shop?
We will always remember the day we were approached by a very unassuming man at a small craft fair who having reviewed our range said they would be perfect for his store. The following week we met him again at Fortnum & Mason and we have been supplying them ever since.
What can you tell us about how your products are made?
Our small team makes everything by hand using traditional techniques in our workshops. We specialise in offering bespoke options and customers can personalise each item if they wish.
Do your products feature any special materials?
We offer a range of finishes including a wipe clean linen finish.
Do the designs use Eco-friendly materials?
All our materials are sourced in the UK, as close to the workshop as possible. Everything is recyclable as our main materials are paper, board & recycled wood fibres.
The Future of Harris & Jones
What would you like to do next with the business?
We are still as small business but are growing organically. The website will evolve as we want to let customers “build” their own products for us to then make. Now wouldn’t that be great!.
Where do you dream of seeing your products next?
Whether it be a small studio apartment or a luxury yacht sailing the Caribbean, as long as customers have a chance to choose exactly what they want, we are happy.
Thank you Vanessa!
To find out more, shop, or stock the collection please visit the Harris & Jones website.