Back with a vengeance, Lisa Levis (formerly Lisa Stickley) has a new range, Betty & Walter. First spying this delicious range at Top Draw in September, we knew we couldn't be without! Gorgeous 50s inspired wash bags, purses and ipad cases with names to make your mouth water and blow away those wet weather blues. We managed to catch up with Lisa and see what she's been getting up to...
How did you come up with the idea for Betty & Walter?
Designing is in my DNA, it’s what I do. So having sadly left Lisa Stickley London but wanting to continue doing what I love, I started again. Betty and Walter were my aunty and uncle and I have very fond memories of them. Uncle Walt with his chestnut coloured trousers and braces, and aunty Betty with her floral apron and marble cake. They always had a Red Setter bounding about all over the place! As they were in their heyday in the 1950’s I thought this was a great link to an era I am particularly fond of, and a perfect starting point for me to embrace and reinvent myself.
Lemon whip small purse in Flowerbed Puddle £14.00
Where do you find yourself getting most inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, and my mind is relentlessly whirring picking up information from all over the place, but often not realizing or developing ideas for a long time. I collect constantly and my camera is always to hand, with photography being a great way to record thoughts and things. Along with boxes, shelves and sketchbooks full of inspirational bits and pieces, it’s from these collections and archives that my initial thoughts begin. I still find new inspiration from sketchbooks and collections I have kept hold of for many years, but see differently each time I revisit them.
Plum Posset Flat Purse in Flowerbed Puddle £9.00
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Most of the time it doesn’t really feel like a job as such. I’m very lucky to be doing exactly what I love which is creating… this comes in many forms in my general day to day, from building new collections to working on how the next trade show stand will be built, or as I have been doing for the last two days, shooting the next season on our spring summer photo shoot.
Cream cherry washbag in Criss Cross £20.00
What advice would you give an aspiring designer?
Be true to yourself, work hard, be inspired, innovative and don’t give up. It can be a rocky road so you need a good dose of persistence and dedication. Most of all, enjoy what you do!
What has been your proudest moment?
Against all the odds, getting ‘back on the bike’ and starting again.
Damson jam washbag in SGT. Pepper £22.00
What exciting new things do you have planned for 2014?
Well… in 6 weeks time my husband and I are expecting our first baby, and that’s pretty exciting, a whole new chapter! Typically, I have a baby bag launching soon!
Work wise we are very excited about Betty & Walter spring collection, and have some great collaborations in the pipeline. I’m also working on a stationery range for summer and lots of new prints for autumn too! It’s busy!
How are your gorgeous designs created?
I start of putting together concept boards for new prints for the season with new colour palettes too. Print is really important to me, and its something I am very much personally in control of. All the prints start from scratch and I tend to hide away quietly whilst working on this stage. They start off as pen and ink drawings, mono prints on paper, or more recently I have been working a lot with paper cutting and ‘drawing with scissors’ which really brings a new aesthetic to the range. I then transfer the raw drawings to the computer and start to work on colourways and repeats for each print. I can sometimes produce up to 50 different variations on a single print before deciding which works best and which one I am ready to show to the world!
Concept boards for new lines are then worked up once I have thought about what is missing from the collection. Prints are then added to the various product accordingly, some lend themselves more to certain products than others, and some items sometimes only need a little bit of print hidden on an inside pocket. A great deal of work goes into how the print works on each individual piece. The functionality of each product is very important to me too and great consideration is taken to make sure things pleasing to use, or to add a quirky twist here and there.
And finally what would be number one on your Rossiters wish list?
The 50s Polished Aluminum Clock, or anything from Merchant & Mills, love love love them and they have all the tools for the job!
All available from Rossiters of Bath & Online