Following on from my monthly NI Creatives 2014 feature in which I put the spotlight on inspiring creative females from Northern Ireland, I’ve decided I want to continue this into 2015. I’m constantly inspired by the females close to me and those I read about. Kicking off January is Louise Scott of french furniture emporium French Vintage Vie.
What led you to set up French Vintage Vie?
I have always had a love affair with France and all things French! Last year when I decided I wanted to do something different with my life and take a career break from my Marketing job, I toyed with a few ideas for my own new business. I kept coming back to my passion for home interiors, my desire to do something creative and of course my love of travelling around the beautiful regions of France.
What is it about vintage French furniture you love so much?
The French have cornered the market on “chic”! They really know how to do things and present things with style – from interiors to fashion to food to packaging.
France is such a vast country with a rich history and culture, that each area and period of time has its own distinctive style of furniture.
At first I loved the neutral palette of greys and whites associated with Provence, but the more I find on my travels, the more open I am to mixing beautiful brown wood furniture such as walnut, rosewood and oak with contemporary furniture. I particularly love the distinctive elegant shape of the cabriole legged Louis XV style chairs which you can put in almost any room of the house!
Visit the French Vintage Vie showroom at 7 Weelington Place, Belfast
What sort of clientele does FVV attract?
My customers are either individuals who come into the shop at 7 Wellington Place because they love French interior style or just because they love France and want to take a “little piece of France” home with them! I also have customers who adore antiques and good quality furniture or people who are looking for something quirky and unusual for their homes.
Like me, my customers love an old piece of furniture that is authentic with a story to tell!
In addition to individuals, I also work with interior designers and venues such as hotels, bars and restaurants to source specific items for their customers and businesses.
What’s been one of the most exceptional pieces of furniture you have sourced?
I found a pair of antique drum tables made from walnut and rosewood at Beziers antique fair. They are very elegant and perfect for a small corner as a side or lamp table. I live in an Art Deco house with a curved glass window at the front and took one of the drum tables home for a photo-shoot. It fitted there so perfectly, I really didn’t want to bring it back to the shop!
What’s one of the most stand-out pieces in your showroom at the moment, and why?
I love to find quirky furniture that you wouldn’t come across here. I currently have a lovely wooden butter churn from Normandy which has been made into a side-table with an opening top to store your wine inside! It’s a barrel with a handle on its side supported by four legs. It would make a fun addition to any living or dining room. The flat top allows you to use it as a table for a lamp or vase of flowers. Plus the storage space inside for your wine bottles is ingenious!
Who or what inspires you in your career?
I am currently inspired by successful self-employed entrepreneurs who provide me with motivation and courage to keep trying to make my new business succeed.
Do you have a motto you live by, and if so what is it?
“Follow your dreams” which is exactly what I’m doing now! I truly believe that life is too short to sit around and accept second best. If you have a dream, you should take actions every day to reach your goal.
What do you love most about the work you do?
I love the flexibility that my new self-employed role has given me. With regards to the nature of my work, I love the creativity of the environment I’m working in, meeting new people and of course spending more time in France!
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
My biggest challenge is being patient. I’m enthusiastic with so many ideas for my business but have to be realistic about what can be achieved with limited resources.
How would you describe your own personal interiors style?
I love light, bright spaces so my decor preference is for a neutral palette. I like to mix antique and vintage pieces with contemporary furniture. In my own home for example I have a 1930’s oak clock that I found in Toulouse antique market mounted on the wall above a modern clear acrylic Kartell Louis Ghost chair.
There is definitely a French ambience in my house with cabriole legs everywhere including on my new silver bathroom sink!
I adore my French shutters which I use indoors leaning against a wall or in the garden surrounded by zinc containers of flowers, also sourced from France, bien sur!