We’ve long been fans of Bohemia; their brightly coloured leather satchels make an appearance on many a wishlist at HQ. Founded by Jenny Lockton in 2006, the brand is committed to creating unique and colourful accessories for you and your home, all the while being mindful of ethical responsibility and fair trade. We talked to Jenny about her passion for the business and some of her most successful products.
What inspired you to create your business?
I come from a family of knitters, sewers, crafters and artists so creating and making is in my blood. I just can’t imagine a life doing anything else! I love the whole process of design; from dreaming up new ideas through to creating something you can actually hold in your hand. It’s so rewarding.
Describe your product range and what makes it unique?
Our core product range is based around leather goods in a multitude of glorious colours; from Moroccan leather pouffes to traditional school satchels and our new Boho Pop bag design. We are constantly adding new products, such as our first collection of jewellery which has been very well received. We are entranced by colour and everything we create comes in an amazing array of shades, from beautiful deep indigo blues to contemporary neon brights. When we are designing our collections we work directly with the leather tanneries to create a bespoke colour palette exclusive to Bohemia.
How do you choose / source your product range?
We aim to design products which are uniquely beautiful but functional too. For many years we’ve worked in ethical partnership with small artisan businesses in Morocco and around the world and made some amazing lifelong friends in the process. It is an integral part of our business philosophy to adhere to fair trade principles and important to us to support craftsmen and women and to see their incredible skills survive and flourish into the future.
What is your best selling product?
Our notonthehighstreet.com customers love our new Boho Pop leather bags [pictured above] and colourful friendship bracelets [below] which are both selling really well at the moment. It is always encouraging when new designs are met with enthusiasm, it makes us feel inspired to create more successful products!
Where did you start your company ?
I started the business from my home and made the bedroom into a studio while I had the boxroom as my bedroom. It was much easier to be adaptable in the early days before babies came on the scene! Now we have our offices and warehouse situated in Leith, a creative enclave near the city centre of Edinburgh.
What kind of support have you received along the way?
The business has grown organically with one or two good bank managers along the way and, more recently, with the help of Scottish Enterprise who are keen to see us realise our full potential. Bohemia is a close-knit team and we support and encourage each other in being the best we can be.
Do you have a good work / life balance?
Hmm… I am a bit obsessed with what I do, it is so much a part of my life and, having always been self-employed, I don’t really separate work from life. There is a classic saying: ‘If you love what you do you never have to work another day in your life’ and I kind of hold to that. Travelling to amazing places, meeting with wonderful people and co-creating is such a fantastic buzz; I’m happy for it to be my life.
notonthehighstreet.com has been great for us; a supportive and professional team who really want us to succeed and see our business reach the widest possible audience. There is lots of advice and tips for sellers which encourages us to continually examine what we are doing and strive for improvements.
What are your ambitions for your company in the future?
What I love about the way we work is that our success has such a positive impact on other people and enriches many lives. I’m a great believer in trade not aid, and the more we can grow our business the more orders we can place with our artisans and the more employment this will create. You can’t beat the dignity that comes with having a job and the ability to support yourself and your family and this is our greatest reward.