an interview with Susiemaroon

The award-winning, Edinburgh based, independent eco-label Susiemaroon is the brainchild of artist and designer Susie Brown. We asked her a few questions about her life, and how Susiemaroon was born.

1. What inspired you to create Susiemaroon?
As a small girl I always wanted to be a sculptor, and up until graduating from art school I intended to pursue a career in this area. I had always enthused about design and over the early years of my professional career I realised that I was much more comfortable and inspired by creating homeware and fashion accessories. Fine art and design have so many connections – especially sculpture, the area in which I studied. I think Susiemaroon and it’s products are just a natural progression in my creative expedition.

2. Describe your product range
Design-led home and fashion accessories created using responsibly sourced materials produced in Scotland, and leather from a family run Scottish tannery that specialises in tanning Wild deerskin. The skins are sourced from Scottish game-dealers who are closely monitored by the Deer Commission Scotland. These hides would otherwise be discarded as a by-product of the venison industry and sent to landfill.

3. What is your best selling range / product?
The Biro Bookmark seems to be the darling this month!

4. Where did you start your company and where do you work now?
Susiemaroon began life in the corner of our living room in our then one bedroom flat on the South side of Edinburgh. In around 2008 I moved Susiemaroon HQ to a studio on the other side of the City. I didn’t really ever settle properly there and so in 2009 we moved again and I now have a great little studio on the lower level of my house and my partner, a musician, has his studio on the upper level, surrounded by all of our inspiring junk… we love it!

5. What kind of support have you received along the way?
My family are amazing and completely supportive of every move I make. They have helped me financially and offered words of wisdom when they are most needed. I have also been backed by the Princes Trust and NESTA, both fantastic support networks for young creative businesses.

7. Describe where you live / the style of your home
I live in an upper colony house in the east end of Edinburgh city. The houses were built between 1850 and 1910 for artisans and skilled working class families. The house is a little rickety which fits our (what I like to call) junk-chic approach to interior design.

8. What are the benefits of being a designer-maker?
You are never, ever bored…

10. What impact has notonthehighstreet.com had on your business?
notonthehighstreet.com has been great for Susiemaroon. When you find an online business that has a high profile, but still takes the time to correspond with independent designers, giving tips on how to improve online presence, you know you have come across something special.

11. What are you lusting after on notonthehighstreet.com this month?
The Dollybird Mugs by Big Tomato Company are so playful. My cup of tea exactly (pardon the pun!).

12. What are your ambitions for your company in the future?
I would love to build on the success that Susiemaroon has already achieved. I am keen to collaborate with interior designers to create pieces for specific spaces and have always wanted to design a stage set for dancers.
Here’s to the next busy five years…