We’re total suckers for stories of mothers and daughters combining their strengths to take over the world. Okay, maybe not the world, but they’ve certainly made their gorgeous mustard-toned, floral-printed mark on many homes and interiors.
Designed in London by Italian-born mother and daughter, Helen and Daniela Boleto, Camomile London is a collection of home furnishings beautifully hand crafted by artisans in India and the UK. Below, we chat with one-half of the duo, (daughter) Daniela, about working alongside her mother, juggling busy family life, motherhood itself and of course, the story behind Camomile London…
TELL US ABOUT CAMOMILE. HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT?
Camomile was born after the birth of my first child, Leo. At the time both my mother and myself had well established career’s in womenswear design with my mum being Head of design at Toast and myself having worked for Max Mara in Italy.
The break from the constant grind of fashion whilst I was on maternity leave left me feeling rejuvenated and even more creative than ever. I started looking more and more at my home and what I was putting in it. When I started creating a nursery for Leo I realised I didn’t want it to be full of the obvious blue, white, animal, car or dinosaur motifs that existed in the UK high street. I wanted the style I had created through the rest of the house to flow into his room. This was something I knew was more readily available in Europe but not over here, so I started making my own bits for him.
My mother who was working away in Wales decided enough was enough and she wanted to be closer to her first grandchild. We started spending everyday together and before we knew it we went from enjoying some time out and doing up Leo’s room into creating Camomile London.
We had worked together within the design team at Hobbs for a few years before and had loved the experience so we knew that creating our own business together was something we both wanted and could do. After a year of planning and producing (plus a second baby on the way) Camomile London was launched through our online store www.camomile.london in 2015 and six months later we were selling and wholesaling across the world.
We haven’t looked back since, it’s not easy running your own business but if you have the dedication, strength and stamina it’s well worth it.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND’S NAME?
We spent a lot of time trying to think of a name that gave a calm and caring feel – then one day whilst we were shattered from all the planning and creative planning, we were sat drinking Chamomile Tea and feeding my son when Mum said as a joke ‘why don’t we call it chamomile’ and we both stopped. It just felt like the right fit and that was it. We chose to add London as we wanted people to instantly know where the designing was coming from.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
We both don’t drink coffee! I used to love coffee when I lived and worked in Italy but once I came back to the UK it just never tasted the same. We are more of herbal tea drinkers, although I love a good classic tea, milk and one sugar in the winter.
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS & MAIN SOURCE OF INSPO WHEN DESIGNING A NEW ITEM?
We travel a lot and take inspiration from all we see. Mum and I both have a passion for vintage so you will find us at flee markets and vintage shops all the time. My favourite finds are vintage, Japanese and Indian textiles. They were so advanced in their skills of cotton weaving and printing that often we find it hard to reproduce vintage fabrics we find because the skill needed to produce the cloth has since been lost to mass mechanical production.
We don’t tend to look at what is going on around us in terms of interior trends but stick more to our personal sense of style, which thankfully Mum and I have identical styles and never disagree. This way Camomile stays true to its astatic and is not swayed but what others are doing.
My eldest son, now 5 years old, likes to give his opinion too and we encourage him so that he creates his own sense of style too.
FAVOURITE CAMOMILE PIECE?
Ahhh this is a really hard one! I am, of course, in love with all of it. But if I had to chose one I would say our hand quilted blankets.
I still have on my bed one from our very first production in the bigger double bed size in colour stone and I love snuggling up in it every night. They are so soft as they are made from a cotton gauze with a light microfibre filling which adds the bounce in the quilting with out too much weight. My boys have one on each of their beds and we have two rolled up in a basket by the sofa for movie night cuddles in the winter. Then I have one in the garden shed which we get out every summer and use on the grass. They are easy to wash in the machine so ideal for a busy family.
TELL US ABOUT WORKING AS A MOTHER X DAUGHTER DESIGN TEAM…
Its great! Growing up Mum and Dad had their own designer children’s wear brand. I spent all my school holidays in the factory sitting with the machinists or helping mum create the prints. Bobo (that was the name of the brand) signature was using children’s drawings as their prints. It was the 80’s and 90’s so full on colour and pattern. Mum used to turn my brothers and my drawings in to all her prints. My kids still wear some of the clothes now.
After the recession in the 90’s mum went back to designing women’s wear and she inspired me to become a fashion designer. After four years of working in Italy I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to work alongside mum on a new line for high street retailer Hobbs. She was head of design so I learnt very quickly how to work alongside her in a very corporate setting. We both gained so much mutual respect for each other from the experience and loved working together that when it ended we vowed to one day do it again.
Growing up mum and I never argued and have always had a stress free relationship. We are best friends, very similar in style and approach to life, never making anything into a drama and always trying to see the positive in situations. We carry this through into our working environment. Running a business is tough so we set out very early what our roles would be and where they would cross over so we both know what we are doing and when one needs to take charge or when we need to come together.
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MOTHERHOOD?
The endless love from my two boys! Those moments when I am sat having a conversation with my three and five year old and they say something so loving it takes my breath away and I have to try to keep it together so they don’t think that sharing emotions will send mummy into a spiral of tears!
…AND HARDEST THING?
Being a working mum. Trying day in day out to balance the school run, pick ups, dinners and running your own business whilst making time for the kids to be with me and have my full undivided attention, plus tucking them into bed every night. I have looked a complete mess since this journey began but I don’t care as long as the boys are happy and I can provide for them and their futures then looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards is okay with me and thankfully my husband.
WHAT ARE YOU LOVING RIGHT NOW?
I am loving that rattan has come back in fashion. I have a few fantastic flee market finds which I now proudly have on display round the house rather than hidden away.
GO TO: camomile.london
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Inspiration/Image Credits: camomile.london