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Interview: Ashley Thomas, homeware designer



(Ashley at the launch of her debut range after opening Debenhams in Chesterfield. Photo: Steve Hall)

Since graduating from Staffordshire University in 2007, homeware designer Ashley Thomas has hardly had time to reflect on her success.

The 26-year-old has just launched her debut collection as a featured Debenhams designer which caps a whirlwind 12 months for the woman from north London.

Ashley met the Debenhams home trading team in Paris at Maison et Objet in 2011 and the relationship blossomed immediately with Ashley joining the Edition range.

We caught up with her at the Soho Secret Tea Rooms in London as she announced her latest range, and asked her whether she thought she be here 12 months ago…

Ashley said: “I’ve always been hardworking, and working on my own stuff and never dreamed about working with a company like Debenhams. It’s a dream come true.”

It seems the scale of her success has yet to hit home but Ashley is already looking to the future.

She said: “It didn’t really register that this [opportunity] would be open to me. Next week I’m opening the Debenhams store in Chesterfield [see above] (Ashley lives a stone’s throw away with her husband), I’m a local celebrity!”

“I’m working on my own collection, and doing a Christmas collection next year for Debenhams. It’s like a whirlwind and I’m enjoying it really.”

So what’s next for Ashley Thomas, the designer, and what should we be looking out for?

Ashley added: “We’re going to push a few boundaries next year now I’m more established. And working on my own range I’ll have a bit more freedom.

“The new autumn/winter collection is looking great with novelty items like the owl lamp and my Christmas collection, which includes a rabbit teapot which is a bit different. The surreal cupcake storage jars and teacup eggcups in the At Home collection are other favourites.”

So after all the experiences of the previous 365 days what advice would Ashley Thomas in 2012 give to the young, aspiring, Ashley Thomas just starting out?

“Relax and enjoy, everything and not be nervous. Everything will be alright.”

With this attitude it’s not hard to see why Ashley is becoming such a hit, and you wouldn’t bet against her becoming even more successful.

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