Oliver Bonas, the much-loved independent lifestyle store selling a combination of beautifully-designed homeware, clothes and gifts, as well as offering plenty of interior inspiration. I love choosing gifts from OB, particularly their lovely candles which I’ve always been obsessed with, so I’m honoured to be sharing this interview with Molly Parks, Head of Design for Home & Gift at Oliver Bonas. Hopefully this will give you an insight into what it’s like to be a designer, as well as the process that’s involved and some useful advice from Molly herself.
- Where do you find inspiration for your designs from?
It comes from my life experience – going to restaurants, galleries, social trends, news, politics and even science innovation. I’m very lucky to travel around the world and to hunt for the most beautiful art, designs and experience different cultures which is vital.
- When did you first become interested in design?
I can’t remember! I’ve always designed for something since I was very little.
- What do you most enjoy about your job?
Having creative freedom to create designs. Seeing the journey of the product from paper to our customer’s hands. My favorite part is when our customer buys our product and it changes the state of their emotions.
As a designer we are able to make people’s lives that little bit more happier.
- What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job?
Lack of time! I have so many ideas and it’s impossible to make it all happen!
- We all know about the infamous ‘writer’s block’. Do you ever get ‘designer’s block’ and, if so, how do you overcome this?
Luckily I haven’t really experienced designer’s block as I’m constantly inspired by everyone around me. However, I work as part of most amazing design team. If I get stuck, I ask for help and we all sit down to brainstorm and 10/10 times this solves the problem.
- What kind of ‘feel’ do you want your gift and your home products to have?
This changes every season as the emotional needs of people change. We are very much influenced by social, politics and other non-design related trends. Design is used to satisfy the emotion people really crave. So depending on the current trends the ‘feel’ will change.
- What is your favourite gift (or category of gift) to receive and your favourite gift to give?
I always give our gorgeous candles which are made down in Sussex. My favorite gift to receive is my friends/family’s time!
- If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to pursue a career in design, what would it be?
There is no correct path to get to your dream job. Be open-minded and make sure you get as much experience as possible as it matters a lot. There are so many creative jobs within retail, and so try out different roles to find the one which suits your strengths the best. Always remember creative skills are transferable.
Thank you Molly!
Follow Molly on Instagram here for behind-the-scene shots and more design inspiration.