Laurie Robertson, founder of home & outdoor living brand Anorak, has always been interested in functional, useful objects and is not remotely swayed by luxury. Childhood camping trips spent in Europe with her family are the main inspiration behind the brand, which was launched in January 2008 after she graduated with a Masters in printed textiles from the Royal College of Art in London. She now runs it with her partner Matt, and her brother Stuart. Here, she tells us a bit about herself and how Anorak got started:
1. How would you describe yourself? I asked my merchandiser Cathy what she thought (as she probably knows me better than myself anyway), and she described me a hurricane. She often calls me a Tasmanian Devil as I’m always a whirlwind of ideas.
What’s the story behind Anorak? Anorak was inspired by memories of my family camping trips during the late seventies and early eighties. My parents are both painters and we used to travel across Europe on long summer holidays in a mobile home. I remembered being packed up in a caravan along with my brother and an array of weird and wonderful camping paraphernalia, from canvas chairs to sleeping bags, everything in the van was collapsible, mobile, and most importantly, had a purpose. All of this inspired me to launch Anorak‘s functional, useful products for inside, outside and travelling featuring bold graphic signature prints with a nod to the retro style of the times.
3. How did you get started? When I was faced with a career break I took the opportunity to launch my own brand combining my Printed Textiles degree and my experience in trend forecasting with help from the Prince’s Trust. Then Anorak was born…out of our one bedroom flat.
4. What’s the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning? Bert. He’s my one-year-old son.
5. How do you unwind at the end of the day? After we’ve put Bert to bed, I can’t resist watching trashy TV with a glass of wine.
6. What couldn’t you live without? My Mac. And my iPhone. And at the moment my (well actually my boyfriend’s) Barber jacket.
7. What’s your favourite foodie treat? Sweets, cakes and salt & vinegar crisps and, of course, chocolate. My current obsession is with Tunnock’s Carmel bars, I love the retro packaging too.
8. And the best advice you’ve ever been given? My mum told me to work hard and set your own goals. We also have the ‘Work Hard And Be Nice To People’ poster by Anthony Burrill in our office – a motto I like to live by.
9. What’s your most treasured possession? Matt and Bertie obviously…but other than my family…in my home I have a very stylish Danish drinks cabinet given to me by my granddad that I cherish!
10. Are you coveting anything right now? A 1970s townhouse. We’re moving house at the moment and this is top of my ‘want’ list.