Summer Sessions - Natasha from Norway
In a few words tell us a little bit about Natasha from Norway Gifts and Interiors?
I originally set up the business to reflect my passion for great gifts and interiors which are inspired by both my taste and travels. The web site displays a growing selection of distinctive, contemporary & Scandinavian style items, home accessories, artwork and handcrafted products.
This distinguished online shop, evolved from my natural curiosity to source greater and more unique - stylish home decor, gifts, art and lifestyle accessories. I believe that the small things can make a world of difference to your home. I also believe it’s good to support quality small suppliers / creators / artisans.
What is the inspiration behind your store?
I always wanted to have my own business & I believe beautiful, well-made things can make a wold of difference to your home. Be it - a nice and cosy blanket, a beautiful vase, a set of contemporary candle holders or some unique pottery. They can help create that warm and “hygge” environment.
Where did your love for interiors come from?
I studied Interior Design and Home Products Development, followed by a few years working in the industry. My career path turned after a few years in the industry to fashion, which was a great experience, with lots of travel around the world. After a few years in this fast pace industry, I felt something was missing and I wanted to get back to my original love for interiors and homeware. I set up my online shop on the side, to share beautiful products made by artisans, who have a passion for their products, interior design, travel and lifestyle inspiration. I often focus on minimalist decor, Scandinavian style and simple, relaxed living.
Which new brands that you are working with are you really excited about this season and why?
Justine Jenner pottery has been my favourite brand as she creates beautiful, handmade contemporary ceramics for everyday use. Each piece is handmade with love, slightly different from one another due to the nature of being handmade and a lot of work as gone into creating each individual item. Her two-tone pottery range are stylish yet functional for daily use. As Natasha from Norway Gifts and Interiors is still evolving, I would also say that every product / brand that I chose to sell on the website, has been carefully selected as an item that I personally fell in love with.
How important is it to you to be working with ethical and sustainable brands?
Whether we are aware of it or not, every purchase choice we make has real value attached to it. It is a conscious (or subconscious) vote for how we want our world to be. What I choose to buy has an immense impact on how businesses treat people, materials, the planet and animals. I like to know how the products are made, supporting local artisans is important to me, when selecting a brand. It reflects the way I see my online shop and how clients would hopefully choose my site, as oppose to the commercial big hitters. As individuals, we all have an opportunity change things for the better, just by simple everyday choices, including the products we buy and support.
What makes your online store unique?
Driven by my natural love for Scandinavian style and way of living, my proposition aims to deliver good quality, simple, functional, yet stylish products, at reasonable prices. All of my products are hand-picked items that I personally love and my selection of brands and products is constantly evolving.
What interior trends are you excited about?
The emphasis on simplicity, nature and traditional crafts has become more of a theme, with a focus on sustainability and natural materials. I like the fact that we are choosing designs that are classic and longer lasting, rather than something you’ll get tired of quickly. Following the “less is more” philosophy, with less clutter. I like to choose things for my home & online shop that bring joy, are functional, and stylish but will last for a long time.
Why is it important to you as a retailer to be working with small / independent brands?
As we become more in tune with sustainable living, I believe people are seeking out more ethical, long lasting products. People are quite rightly becoming more selective in regards to the items they choose. I think people love the deeper story behind the products and the knowledge that it is also helping to support good small local enterprises, within their creative process.
What does an average day at Natasha from Norway Gifts & Interiors look like?
My company is fairly young and I have not completely gone full time as of yet. My average day starts with checking emails, orders and social media, in the morning, before my full-time job takes over. Researching new products, placing orders and updating sales sheets for current suppliers. Keeping people informed of what I am up to on social media is also quite time consuming. I plan to get better at blogging too and hopefully once the business grows into a reliable source of income - to go full-time with building the brand. It’s sometimes hard to keep on top of all the new social media technology, while also continuously monitoring the sales and marketing. Highlighting the benefits and USP’s of my online shop, when there is already so much stuff out there.
What makes your home of Twickenham /St Margaret’s special to you?
I’m based on the border of Richmond, St Margaret’s and East Twickenham, which is a beautiful place to live and work. I go for regular walks and days out with friends, living next to the River Thames. I’m only a short walk from Richmond Town Centre, which is famous for river side cafe’s, bike / boat hire, small businesses, fun maritime related activates, such as - SUP, rowing, skiffing, beautiful squares & greens, parks, historic pubs, buildings, galleries, pop-up shops and weekend duck market, in Heron Square. Every weekend in the summer, there are local live cricket games, which are always entertaining to watch, (with the occasional pint in the sun). There is a great artistic community here, with regular unique weekend artisan fairs. You can also find lots of amazing quirky independent restaurants, shops and cafes – like the Tide Tables Cafe. Richmond Park is only a stone’s throw away, at the top of Richmond Hill, and popular for sporty outdoor activities such as racer cycling and horse riding. Twickenham stadium is just up the road and is the heart of British Rugby. I love the fact that you can take your dog along to most local pubs, restaurants or cafes. This area reminds me a lot of my home in Norway, as it offers a great balance between city / country life.
Can you give us your top three tips for people coming to visit East Twickenham / St Margaret’s?
Here you will find some of my favourite small café’s, fresh bread and croissant - at La Boulangerie; and Zoran’s Delicatessen, with its legendary breakfasts and charming host. Pointing east to Richmond Bridge and Richmond’s many wonders beyond, St Margaret’s Road is host to excellent independent shops, such as - The Secret Wardrobe, a designer dress agency, Armstrong’s Family Butchers and Streets Florist & Greengrocers.
Between St Margaret’s and East Twickenham, you will find fantastic historic parks and houses. Marble Hill House & Park is a fine example of beautiful stunning Georgian architecture at its finest. Next door, Orleans House Gallery and Stables Gallery are also two of my favourite places to visit, frequently hosting art exhibitions.
For good food, we are spoilt for choice - with restaurants in Richmond town centre such as; Petersham Nurseries, Bingham Riverside House and Hotel, By the Bridge Café. Should you wish to enjoy a cocktail or two - No. 1 Duke Street is also a great spot, with its small garden and Shoreditch inspired interiors. Tap Tavern is a great place for a massive selection of 21 draught boutique craft beers and finger foods. On a sunny day, walking by the river or exploring the wildlife in Richmond Park are highly recommended.
What do you do to relax after a hard day’s work?
I often take the time to unwind by going for a walk by the river, with our family dog -Tia. Lighting some candles, making a nice cup of tea and watching Nordic noir. Wrapping up under a warm blanket is also a favourite things to do. On other days my husband and I like to cook together or entertain, with friends and family. We are both big foodies and love a good glass of wine. Creating that “ hygge” feeling at home, is always very important to me.