10 minutes with... Carrier Company's Tina Guillory
PUBLISHED: 17:19 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:38 31 October 2019
For the founder of clothing and accessories label Carrier Company, a love of north Norfolk runs deep. Stevie Smith spoke to Tina Guillory about the importance of keeping it local and taking inspiration from the big Norfolk skies.
How did Carrier Company come to be?
I started in 1993 with the 'classic carrier.' I was working as a gardener, and when the weather was bad or the kids were asleep I made things to sell.
A lot of our items were made because we needed them ourselves, and I remembered that my grandmother used a carrier in her garden, and I wanted to recreate it. It's good for weeding and carrying cut flowers, or using in the winter for carrying logs.
Where are your products made?
People make things for us working in their own homes across Norfolk. They might have young children or care for elderly parents, so it means they can work at their own pace. They come to us, collect what they need, then bring back the finished products.
As humans we're not around for that long, so I think it's important to try to work to live, rather than living to work.
Most of your designs are based in functionaility. Why is that important to you?
I don't think we can make things that we just throw away anymore. We have to have things that are functional and can be repaired.
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We choose natural fabrics that age better than synthetic ones, and avoid design details that don't stand the test of time - I love the way our cotton drill acquires this sort of patina with age. Clothes that are well-constructed shouldn't restrict your movement or be unkind to your figure.
What are your tips for making sure things last a bit longer?
Don't wash things too often. I mean of course you should change your underwear! But other things can be aired out, and don't need to be washed as often as they are.
To what extent is Carrier Company a family affair?
My daughter Sienna and her husband Enzo organise photography and help with the PR, which is always important for a small company like ours. One of my young granddaughters is now interested too - she'll come into the barn and poke around and suggest new colours!
Which of your designs if your personal favourite?
The Celtic wool jacket, which is made from wool that's shawn, spun, dyed and woven all within a few miles in Ireland. It's made up of what I call 'our colours' - the shades we return to again and again - a lovely orange, 'Norfolk sky' blue, dark greens and navy.
Are there specific places you like to go for inspiration?
I go out on the marsh and walk around Blakeney Point - it's big, cleansing and liberating. And it's always beautiful. In the spring, there's the pink sea thrift, then the sea lavender and samphire. Then autumn arrives with its yellows. All the colours are there!
For more, visit www.carriercompany.co.uk