Recently we took to social media and asked our followers to help us with some questions for an upcoming Q&A with Sophie and her business partner and brother Jem Allport. Whilst we wish they could have all been answered, it was clear that if we wanted any new designs next year we'd have to narrow it down. It was decided ten questions for the ten years that Sophie Allport has been in business.
We have recently celebrated our 10th birthday so we're hoping this Q&A will give you some insights into how the business has blossomed over the last ten years and the creative minds behind it...
Was there a specific moment or decision that was the driver/impetus/spark that made you take your passion and turn it into the business we know and love? I guess this was an amalgamation of events. Jem had written in a travel journal years & years ago that he would like to work with me. Jem has always liked the selling aspect of a business and being an accountant he was always good with numbers and l've always liked to create. But I guess the defining moment was after having seen our father become so poorly from suffering a massive stroke, leaving him paralysed down his left-hand side and never really recovering. It made Jem & I realise that life is too short and you have to go for it and not wait for things to come to you! We decided to take the bull by the horn and that's how it all began. Dad was still around in the very early years of the business if only he could see us now.
What is your favourite design to date? I think Jem would say chicken, as for me, I'm quite fickle and maybe change with the season!! I love how a fresh new design on a tea towel can so quickly change the look or update the feel and look of your kitchen. I love creating new designs and playing with colour. Our new bee design is my current favourite. Our white ground bee design was our first ever fabric design and does bring back those early days memories to coincide with our 10th anniversary. We thought it would be great to revamp it as it has always been a favourite for our customers. Now we've given it a fresh new look and the colours just happen to go perfectly in my kitchen.
How long is it from your original idea, though the whole process when the finished product appears on the shelf? New designs from start to finish usually take a year.
What do you adore most about Stamford? I love the friendly atmosphere you get in Stamford; from all ages, the toddlers, school children, young students, young professionals, older professionals, mumm;s, daddy's, grandparents, tourists, teachers, everyone is welcome. I love the buildings in Stamford, and the infamous Stamford stone, the pubs, wine bars, restaurants and of course the beautiful church spires. The surrounding beautiful countryside and close proximity to transport to London and the rest of the country. It's got everything going for it.
Are you planning on doing more designs which aren’t 'country' like this year’s Flamingos? Designs that aren't country?! That would be telling!!
What's it like working with your brother, are you usually in agreement about things or do you have 'artistic differences?' Bloody hard work and wouldn't recommend!! Being serious, we are honest with each other and say what we think! Sometimes we can agree to disagree!! But on the whole, it’s great to spend more time together given the busy lives that we lead.
Would you consider doing a limited edition Stamford design exclusive to your store? Watch this space!
What's your favourite kind of flowers? Roses, good old fashioned delicious smelling blousy roses, reds, pinks, whites even yellows if they smell lovely! I also love peonies.
Have you ever had a design that you decided not to go with? Yes....then it may come back another year, slightly tweaked and changed!
What drink would we find you ordering at the bar? Prosecco by the lorry load!!! Well, perhaps not a lorry load, but it's lovely to be able to enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate!