East London Parasol
Founder : Lucy Ferguson
Website : www.eastlondonparasols.com
Instagram : @eastlondonparasolco
Location : London
"Maintain perspective and remember to be a person and feminine."
1. What brought your company to life, tell me a little of your story so far?
I have always wanted to create something bigger than myself and something other people would gain joy from. It was whilst I was living in Kerala and saw beautiful umbrellas used in temple celebrations that the idea of working with parasols began to form. When I moved back to London I started popping them up wherever I went. It suddenly occurred to me that there was no limit to how fabulous a garden parasol could be. So my journey to start the business took me back to beginning, through India and Bali.
2. Describe your personal ethos in a few words.
To never compromise my ability to be happy for other people.
3. Do travel and adventure inspire the textiles you source?
Absolutely, I’m constantly photographing and sketching patterns or colour combinations. When I’m designing a parasolI get carried away by textures, patterns, tassels, and vibrant colours in India and Bali. This season I’ve enjoyed mixing Balinese and Indian influences.
4. Where is your next nomadic adventure going to be and with what intentions?
My world at the moment is entirely parasol-centric because its peak season, so I’ll probably do something spontaneous. I’d love to road trip down Japan across islands and bridges. I’m curious about the culture and aesthetics- particularly their textiles and wood blocking. They also have a tradition of incredibly painted parasols. It appeals to me, in this fast moving world, that it takes 10 years to become a sushi master. I’ve never visited a place that embraces such a level of diligence and precision. It's all in the detail, fancy fringes...so gorgeous.
5. What other product ranges do you dream of stocking?
I’d love even more flamboyant parasols and awnings as well as fabulous stands of my own design. My ultimate dream is to have a line made here in the UK, perhaps even in London.
6. Biggest achievement so far?
Building my brand. It’s wonderful to see the parasols featured in publications like Good Housekeeping, House & Garden and the Sunday Times. This is only possible by building solid, trusting relationships with suppliers.
7. Biggest lesson learnt so far?
Accountability. The buck stops with me at every level.
8. Biggest everyday challenge?
Maintaining perspective and remembering to be a person and feminine.
9. A piece of wisdom you would give to someone starting up in your industry?
To roll with the punches and keep things in perspective. It’s just work and everything taught is a lesson. I think you have to know what integrity feels like and keep on checking in with that. Enjoy the journey and make sure you do things for other people outside work. Like volunteering for a charity, being there for friends or helping someone out. It maintains your perspective and stops work being all-encompassing, because work is only a part of the life you lead and the person you are.
Also keep on top of your accounts, it’s a nice and kind gift to Future You.
10. What does being a Nomadic Woman mean to you?
It means being self-sufficient when I have to be, enjoying my independence and the choices I have. But it also means putting effort and attention into friendships and relationships so that I can be as reliable and as present as possible whilst I’m away for protracted lengths of time. I love to travel, connect, build networks and make new friends, but I’m only able to do that because I’ve got a great support network here in the UK. I love travelling but I’m always happy when it’s time to come home.