15 Minutes With Anna Schmidt From Also Home
We Spent 15 Minutes with founder of one of our favourite british homewares brands, ALSO Home. Read on for some serious #girlboss inspiration and to learn more about the brand.
First things first, tell us about yourself!
I’m Anna, Owner and Founder of ALSO Home. I am 42 years old and mum to my 7-year-old boy called Josh and my German Shorthaired (3 legged) Pointer called Asia. I am also step mum to my husband’s two daughters. We live in the Surrey Hills and love being outdoors as a family.
What inspired you to start Also Home?
I have always loved designing and creating and after working for a few companies, really wanted to design and create products for my own range/brand. I initially started thinking about my own collection in my mid-twenties, but the timing wasn’t right. It was in my early thirties that I finally took the leap. The desire to start my own business wouldn’t leave me, so I decided to go for it.
What was the greatest challenge in launching Also Home?
Well, I certainly had my challenges! Firstly, the brand launched in 2008, just as the recession hit. I’ve read somewhere since, that if you started a business during the recession, you get used to working in the worst economic conditions and if you can make it a success then, you can do anything – I’m really proud we survived. Another huge personal challenge was that I became a single mum when my son was 11 weeks old. Not wanting to give up on the business, I would travel with my son around the world to meet with clients and would feed him while watching artisans at work or during meetings. I had a small but really experienced team in place who really stepped up this time, with workload but also emotional support. The business wouldn’t be around without them.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love being my own boss and the flexibility that gives me for family life. I’m privileged to have an incredible team behind me who I genuinely enjoy working with. The pinch me moments always bring me joy, sourcing and travelling around the world to create something that I then see in someone’s home.
Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
So much inspires me. I can be walking down the street and see a pattern that inspires me or feel a piece of fabric. Most of the time I listen to my instinct and design and create products that I love. I try to silence the noise of other brands, designs, style and focus on designing for us. We work with a number of larger retailers on their own branded products and it can be quite hard not to follow the season’s trends that we work on and get distracted by their brands. However, when we focus on ALSO Home and do our own thing, that’s often when we create our best products.
The range of products on Also Home all have a calming, rustic feel to them, what are some of your favourite interiors trends?
If I’m honest, I don’t really follow any specific trends, but follow my own style. My main focus at home are key neutral colours such as grey, natural rustic tones and black with pops of colour which I change as I see new colours I love or that we introduce into the collection.
Okay, now on to a trickier question… what are some of your favourite pieces and why?
I love our Kibo benches and stools. They are our first furniture products and took longer than we had hoped to develop and design, but they are totally worth the process. We are so pleased that we designed them. We were inspired in India by some antique woven chairs that we saw in a flea market and this became the inspirational starting point.
ALSO Home was re-launched as a wholesale offering in 2016, where is somewhere you would love to have your products stocked?
I aspire to being stocked in Liberty or Selfridges. We have always focused on Independent Retailers and for me, these two stores are the epitome of Independent Retailers doing it brilliantly.
If you could launch any product range what would it be?
I have a natural love of wellness, wholefoods and health so I’d love to launch a range of wellness products. These would include natural candles and skincare, wellness clothing and loungewear.
What’s next for you and Also Home?
We are continuing to expand our collection and build on the successes of the products we have launched so far. We will be bringing in more furniture items which we find sell really well for us.
If I could live anywhere it would be… CANADA
My idol/person I look up to the most is… Jo Malone
My ideal day would be spent… Skiing or mountain biking
The best purchase I’ve ever made… My black paper bag waist culottes from Cos
I am happiest when… I’m spending time with my husband, our children and our dog.
My pet peeve is… Mispronounced words
My favourite book is… Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone
Favourite movie… The Notebook
I couldn’t live without… Avocado’s
If I could only eat one meal for the next year it would be… A nourish bowl
All images supplied by ALSO Home