Ellie Harrington, Founder of Duck Egg
Q. What inspired you to set-up Duck Egg?
Ellie: It was my family that really inspired me to start Duck Egg and become a MUMPRENEURS. After teaching Art for four years I realised I was keen to go back to practical art and with the arrival of our son I also wanted to work from home. It was our move to the country from London that provided us with the space for my business idea and the challenge of renovating our own cottage. I was unable to find a fabric that suited a male-dominated household, yet fulfilled my wish for pretty vintage fabrics. So I decided to create my own fabric prints. We also moved with little furniture so I started to shabby chic individual pieces and friends who came to the house started to commission me; Duck Egg was hatched!
Q. How do you juggle being a mum and building up your business?
Ellie: We had some very late nights in the early days and even now my working day often doesn’t start until my little one is in bed but I was inspired on by the many other amazing MUMPRENEURS out there. I learnt that the ironing can wait another day! I have also learnt to prioritise and could not live without our enormous blackboard with all our planning scribbled across it. I think being a Mum and running a business from home means you have to be super organised, I learnt the hard way that the paperwork does not stay in the piles sorted on the kitchen table and after a few days of seeing invoices swiftly being posted through the floorboards I have come up with an organised filing system, very much out of reach!
Q. What’s been the highlight of setting-up your business?
Ellie: I have loved every minute of setting up a business and it has been a steep learning curve. We have met some fantastic people on the journey of Duck Egg. Social media has introduced us to some very talented artisans and the business has evolved through many of these exciting connections. We were also thrilled to take part in Kirstie Allsopp’s series ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home’. Filming was so exciting and we loved every minute working with her and her production team. It was a dream come true to see our fabrics on screen! All budding MUMPRENEURS should try and have this experience.
Q. Do you have any top tips for other working mums?
Ellie: I think my top tip for MUMPRENEURS is to not be too hard on yourself, sometimes the housework can wait. And I have also learnt to delegate, another tip I learnt from numerous MUMPRENEURS.
Q. What would your perfect family day include?
Ellie: Our perfect family day out would be a trip to the seaside. I always find inspiration at the seaside and it is wonderful to see our little boy running about and exploring. He recently found two starfish and was so thrilled, giving me a few more ideas for our prints! The seaside heavily influences my work, as it has such happy connotations of hazy, summer days.
Q. What’s next for Duck Egg?
Ellie: I am really excited about starting the next stage of Duck Egg. We will be expanding our furniture range and taking our ever popular toy boxes forward. We have new print designs to launch soon and we will be working on some interesting large scale projects, providing soft furnishings and sourcing vintage and antique items. We hope to expand further to make Duck Egg a one stop shop for all aspects of interiors.
Ellie trained for four years in History of Art, earning her BA at the prestigious Courtauld Institute before her Masters from the London Consortium in ‘Humanities and Cultural Studies’. Ellie’s love for print and art was further founded as she worked in galleries. After a return to studying practical art Ellie began teaching art. Four years later and a little rascal in tow she decided to turn her ideas for her own interior into a business, ‘Duck Egg’. Firmly leaning on her ever-patient and long-suffering husband Duck Egg created a brand that aspires to add a fresh, vintage touch to the home; whether it is one-off finds, a paint transformation, sourcing furniture for a client or the delicate accent of colour and prints from the Duck Egg fabrics. She is very proud to be part of the ever growing MUMPRENEURS community.
For more about MUMPRENEURS and Ellie Harrington’s Fabrics and Interior Design business please go to www.duckeggdesigns.com or visit her at www.facebook.com/duckeggdesigns or on twitter at www.twitter.com/duck_egg