Keeping it Local: Part 2- Salle Home
This month I caught up with Maria, the lady behind amazing homeware pop ups that took place over the summer in local independent artisan coffee shops, hotels and botanical stores. Having met Maria a few times at various events I love her passion and infectious enthusiasm, plus her curated collection of homewares are totally my style. They range from local prints by Bill and Coo Paper Co. to bold prints from House of Hackney and colourful concrete planters. She is a busy Mum and teacher so I totally admire her for finding the time to follow her dreams and I’m also slightly jealous she has done something I’ve wanted to do for ages!
1. Who is the lady behind the brand and how did Salle come about?
Let’s just say it had been brewing for a while. I’ve always been obsessed with style, design and putting things together to create an interesting visual. I suppose up until a certain stage, my only vessel for that was through putting outfits together; I was never good at art at school. Then I bought my first home and interior decor became my newfound channel. By the time I’d finished decorating our second and ‘forever’ home, I knew I needed to find a way to make this creative outlet a part of my life. I let it sit for a bit (I’m a real processor) and slowly things came into view. I began to gather fabric, pick up pieces when I travelled, plan the formula, and make contact with designer-makers and potential hosts. I was often out of my comfort zone - I have no business background at all, but am often told that I have the ‘gift of the gab’. Turns out it was my most useful tool. In a world saturated with pings of instant communication, I made it my business to meet face to face with the people I wanted to work with. In my opinion, it’s the best way to forge successful relationships in this game. I feel strongly that we need to get back to people, and it’s for that very reason that my business has taken it’s current physical form, as a pop-up. Many people ask if I intend to go online. Naive it may well be, but at this stage it doesn’t light my fire. I want to meet my audience, my customers, out there where they are. I need to know them, chat to them, observe them and identify who they are. If I meet and know my customer, I know my business better, because they are the business.
2. You have been running pop-ups all summer, now the sun has well and truly gone what are your next plans for Salle?
Whilst I started out not knowing where this road would lead, one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to create a brand as opposed to just appearing as a pop-up, in order to give Salle the space to grow and change. The potential paths are vast and varied. I’m a big dreamer, but I’m a grafter too. If I’m passionate about something I’ll give my all to it. I see so many possible avenues but I need to rein it back in sometimes - I have to walk before I can run.
I have lots of exciting blogposts in the pipeline. A wonderful, initially unplanned side-effect of developing the brand has been the opportunity to blog. At the outset I never intended to write, really. As it turns out, I love it just as much as running the pop-ups and sourcing products. I love meeting the people in my posts - creative homeowners and local, inspiring, creative business owners. And then I love the writing element. I hadn’t written anything in years, since uni really. Short and sweet as they are, I find so much cathartic enjoyment and satisfaction in the process of blogging. I’m a linguist, so it makes sense I guess.
And, of course, the second season of our pop-up events is just around the corner. I’m excited to get back out there with our unique range of home goods. And with some gorgeous new products and local collaborations, I feel like it’s going to be a great run. We’ll be in Bullitt hotel every weekend in December, one of my favourite spots in the city, so I couldn’t be happier.
3. What is your favourite piece from your collection?
I could never choose! From the very beginning my stock parameters were limiting because they had to be - space was limited. So I told myself that I could only choose pieces which I loved as soon as I laid eyes on them. If it was a ‘hmmm’, it was a no. I’m like that anyway, I’m a gut yay or nay-er. So I took that approach to choosing pieces and it made me decisive. As a result I adore every single thing. And I’m especially excited to have new products in the range for our new season, as well as the appearance of my first local design collab, with Wish Designs. I’m a massive typography fan and Sinead is a talented, young graphic designer with the most the amazing eye, so I’m hugely excited about what we’ve come up with.
As part of our Christmas season pop-ups, we’ll also have a mini range of products from local clothing brand OutsideIn, which I’m so happy to be able to do. They’re a social business with both style and integrity, and I love their message and ethos. Personally, I struggle a bit with the crazy excess of Christmas, which I know is contradictory as a retailer, so I’m glad to be able to give something back in a teeny, tiny way.
4. Do you have one key piece of advice for anyone decorating their home?
It’s all about that paint. I’m completely mad about paint - I could stare at a paint colour chart for an hour just dreaming up colour palettes. I’ve always been drawn to odd colour combos and trying to create a fresh palette, I think it’s down to my constant need for visual stimulation. And I like to rule break with colours - pink and red, navy and black, nude and neon - those are my favourite mixes, because we don’t see them in everyday life. So back to the question. A wall colour can change a room and dictate a mood; never underestimate it’s power.
5. Ideally what are your long term goals for Salle?
So hard to say as my mind races at a steady 200mph with ideas. As far as the homewares side goes, I love concept stores, I love people, I love beautiful spaces, I love getting together with other enthusiastic and passionate creatives and really igniting ideas. So I suppose if those were ingredients in a soup, then what you’d end up with is a beautiful, shared, collective space-flavoured broth, filled with unique, creative individuals ‘doin’ their thang’. Le rêve, quoi? 💋
If you like what you see you can catch Salle Home on Saturday 10th November at Blick studio and on Sunday 11th in the Victoria Square Dome both as part of Belfast Design Week and Salle Home will be in Bullit every weekend in December, follow Maria on Instagram to keep up to date @sallehome