Featured Shop: Future Shelter

FK talks to Jane King from Perth shop and design workshop Future Shelter

Tell us a bit about how Little Design Horse and Future Shelter came about?
We arrived in Perth in November 2005 from the UK. Armed with nothing more than an printer and an old PC we started designing a collection of textile designs while working from home. Adam was a mechanical engineer (he’s the organiser) and I was trained in textile design. We started selling to designers in Sydney and Melbourne and within a few years were flying to San Francisco & doing “Printsource” in New York which is a trade show for selling textile designs. We loved it but always wanted to have our own shop and create our own products so most of our profit went into gradually buying bits of machines, screen printing equipment (we found a screen printing vacuum table at the tip and refurbished it – we use it all the time it’s perfect!). We had found a studio space to work in that happened to have a potential shop space. When we had a baby in 2008 and we decided it was time to move the business over to making our own products. We’ve taken it really slow – mostly telling people by word of mouth and doing local markets. Future Shelter was always going to be a company concerned with the environment and I guess we ask ourselves “what will our future shelter be?” and often our artwork has an environmental theme.

When did you open the doors and what was the motivation?
We opened the front of the studio in September 2008 but we only had a few products and a very small shop space – most of the space was our studio. Eventually we added a proper sign above the door (which we also make ourselves!) and now the space is mostly shop! We really wanted to be part of a new industrial revolution where designers are creating mini pockets of light industry – it’s not about getting things made cheaply in china – this is us, designing and making things for the people around us. If you come into the shop you also see our design space (which now I have to keep a little bit more organised!)

We see ourselves like a new type of workshop (like the old blacksmiths) where we not only design and make our products but we have a relationshop with our customers. Setting ourselves up this way has lots of benefits – for example we can redesign products reduce waste, create limited editions and we can always keep the shop looking fresh and interesting by adding new products and variations.

What products can we expect to find at Future Shelter?
Lampshades, cushions, limited edition prints, wall decals, laser cut mirrors, our ever expanding coaster range, brooches, badge sets, jewellery trees, tots bags, teatowels, Mens Womens and Kids T-shirts screen printed in our workshop… our shop contains anything that we can print or put a pattern onto! We add something new every week and have *lots and lots* of ideas in development! Usually the crazy ideas are the ones people like the most!

What is your favourite part about running your shop?
Being your own boss is always good! We like meeting the customers and surprising them with new things. Part of me really likes rebelling against the big brands and department stores by making locally and offering new designs all the time.

What do you love most about Perth?
I think what Perth has offered us is the chance to grow. If we were based in a bigger city we may not have been able to afford the studio, workshop and shop so soon. We live nearby so we walk to work and of course love to go to the beach. Perth has lots of hidden gems.

What advice would you give to others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
It’s all about little steps but always keep moving forward. Success doesn’t come immediately. We’ve been collecting machines for 4 years and we practised screen printing in our garage. Sometimes it takes 6 months to develop a product that you can manufacture in larger quantities rather than just 10. Also, the markets are a great place to experiment with new products.

All the specific details:

Little Design Horse Shop
56 Angove St
North Perth, WA 6006
Phone: 08 9229 4832

www.littledesignhorse.com (design studio)
www.futureshelter.com (our future online store – blog at present)


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