Nature inspired small business - Larkin Society
Lucy Green's nature inspired homeware business began during the first lockdown. Although the pandemic had brought redundancy, having time to consider exactly how she wanted to shape her new future, Lucy looked to her love of nature and Larkin Society was born.
I met Lucy via Social Media after she kindly sent me her Resting Bird cushion (above, photographed in my my home).
I loved Lucy's whole business ethos, not only for being nature inspired, using natural fabrics and fibres but also because of her commitment to sustainable sourcing and support of fellow UK businesses in her supply chain.
I asked Lucy to share the story of how her business began and how nature inspires her collection.
Tell us how your nature inspired business began
I’ve spent 20 years in the corporate world, most recently as a Marketing Director in the events industry. With two young children at the time, I was on the constant treadmill of life.
An endless juggle which really resulted in me not doing a good job of any of it. I had a constant low level of stress that never went away, and I could never get away from the desire to be doing something more worthwhile.
In March 2020 at the start of the pandemic the events industry fell apart and I was abruptly made redundant. With little hope of getting something else I had to let my much-loved nanny go and re-evaluate what I was going to do in life. I started with a complete blank canvas with the idea of considering a complete change. What I already knew is that I didn’t want to go back to the treadmill. I wanted to pick my children up from school every day and I
wanted to feel that I was in charge of my day.
The process of deciding went on for some months! I broke down what I loved in life and what I thought my skills were and I narrowed it down to one key thing, I’m quite good at putting things together; outfits, colours, accessories, rooms. I knew I didn’t want to work in fashion but interiors is something I’ve always loved.
Once I’d settled on the idea I began planning and designing a vast range of products which I swiftly narrowed down to a more realistic launch collection of linen cushions. I called it Larkin Society; Larkin because my childhood name was Lucy Larkin and society because I wanted to make it feel inclusive.
How does nature inspire your work?
My whole collection is inspired by nature and I think always will be as it’s a huge part of who I am. I think that all creatures deserve a chance at life whether big or small and if we can help them on their journey then we should feel it our duty to do so. I tend to like the unsung heroes of the animal and plant world, the magpies and the pigeons, the woodlouse and the pine cone. I like to find the extraordinary in the ordinary around us.
What is the story behind your designs
All of the current collection is based on vintage lithographic drawings which I then edit and combine with vintage patterns so that the pattern shows through on the animals and plants.
The designs are statement pieces without being loud and can fit with so many different interiors. They can be used together, alone or paired with a neutral companion. The names of each design are to make you stop and imagine the scene. Whistling Palm takes you to
that tropical island where the air is silent except for a light breeze. Majestic Moths is that dim light just before sunset where the moths are attracted to the last of the light.
Do you have a favourite design?
My favourite is Morning Pine. I’m a bit obsessed with anything pine, from the visuals to the lovely smell! I called it morning pine because that’s the picture it conjures up for me, that fresh scent, the new morning.
Why is sustainability is so important you, what makes your products sustainable?
I’ve always been very conscious of my impact but I know I need to do more. I’ve stopped buying volumes of clothes and now just buy occasionally, things I really love and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of. I didn’t want to be another brand that mass-produced with little thought or consideration of the impact.
I decided right from the start that I wanted to manufacture in the UK. This maintains our manufacturing heritage and skills and provides jobs for our community. It also reduces the miles travelled of our materials and finished product.
The cushions are made from a linen cotton blend that’s woven in Lancashire, printed in Kent and made in London. I chose to use wool for the fillings as it’s considered to be the eco-friendliest filling available and has many health benefits. It's naturally hypoallergenic, resistant to mould growth, and it inhibits dust mites which cause most allergic reactions, ideal if you suffer from asthma or allergies. All our square cushions are filled with
100% traceable British Wool from UK farmers.
We use as little packaging as possible and what we do use contains no plastic and is all recycled or recyclable.
Thank you to Lucy for sharing her story with us. I instantly fell in love with Lucy's designs and the quality of her products. You can find out more about Larkin Society HERE and follow along on Instagram HERE