As a partner on the online shopping site.. Not on the High Street .. we were recently invited to ask Sir Terence Conran a question through the site and without hesitation I posed my question to him. I did begin to wonder if I should have asked him a more sober question about starting up a business or a design element, as he is, in my eyes, one of the greatest designers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Imagine my surprise and utter delight to discover that my question was chosen along with a few others by Sir Terence. This was his answer..
Dear Terence, I would dearly love to know what your favourite toy was when you were a child? Michele, Cowboys & Custard Oh good grief, what a question Michele! I remember on our mantelpiece we had these wonderful things called “Sunday Toys” that my mother’s father had brought back from all over the world. Cherrystone slippers from Russia and a little hare made from ivory that came from China. Perhaps my favourites were toys I made myself, something I began doing when I was eleven and had peritonitis which came me off school for six months. I made a model of the battleship HMS Hood which, I think, I swapped for a 3 inch Myford lathe which absolutely became my absolute pride and joy. May I add what a wonderful name for your company – how on earth do cowboys and custard meet!?
It is a real privilege to have this insight into his life and possibly the early beginnings of his design led career.
Growing up in the sixties, I remember so well my visits to the iconic Habitat stores where the simple but oh- so -stylish contemporary home wares were very much de rigeur of the time. The bold colours and organic style of furnishings are just as popular today and have lasted the distance for many. Ironically I have grown up with antiques and love the individual craftsmanship of vintage items but have the greatest respect for contemporary design too.
I feel the two can marry very successfully with a bit of imagination ..
I don't claim to be an interior designer.. far from it.. My home is stuck in a bit of a time warp and is more of a collection of time worn relics and hand me downs from my family, combined with items I have collected along the way.
If you cast your mind back to the blog post I wrote in May last year.. I had a bit of a 'shoot' at my home, the results of which can be seen in the magazine 'House Beautiful' this month.
Dear Nicky Owen of White Rabbit Media and David Parmiter the lovely photographer.. did my house proud and never has it looked so uncluttered and clean. Just don't open that cupboard!
If you want to have a snoop around my home.. I am afraid you will have to buy the magazine!
Thank you so much for answering my question. I was absolutely cock a hoop that you chose to share your favourite toys from childhood with me. I loved to hear that you made your own toys and used your design skills from a very early age.
In answer to you question about my business name.. The "Cowboys" part comes from games I played with my brothers.. the favourite being cowboys and indians.. being a bit of a tomboy in my youth. The "Custard" part is from the nursery.. favourite childhood food. Cowboys & Custard brings together my love of childhood nostalgia which I hope I reflect in the products I make.
Cowboys & Custard