An interview with: Abigail Bomford
With a love of design, interiors and textiles, Abi’s career has never strayed far from these interests - encompassing product design, interior design, and a position as Design Manager for Asda Walmart Group (where she launched the George Home brand, growing it to become one of the UK’s largest homeware retailers), before finding her perfect home here at Camira.
We caught up with her to find out a little about what inspires her, how she researches trends, and her advice for those hoping to pursue a career in design.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
Yes, pretty much always. Well, I initially wanted to be an artist but then realized I was likely to make more of a career with design.
Has there been anyone – in or out of the industry - who has strongly influenced you?
I am influenced and inspired by people around me all the time. Whether it’s a famous designer, artist or a customer, my old boss or a friend. The simplest of things can be the most inspirational. I love seeing what people have achieved in their careers or personal lives. I’ve learnt so much from the people around me.
What advice would you give to those hoping to become a designer?
Simply, you can do it!! It is vital that you believe this. Don’t lose focus and always have a five-year goal.
Has the industry changed since you started your career? How do you see it changing in the future?
Well, when I started working there were still fax machines and people smoked in the office!
The creative process is much the same, but the way inspiration and ideas are shared amongst global communities is different. The world has opened up, everything is accessible. Instead of trends being localized, they are globalized.
As such, people are more aware of the issues that exist, and the impact society is having on them. People care about our environment and they also know they can make a difference. There is less acceptance of a situation. People will stand up for what they think is right and question what they don’t agree with.
How do you research trends?
Trend research is a skill you build up over the years as it takes a lot of confidence and experience to get it right. It is about building up layers of insight: looking at wider macro influences, e.g. politics, nature, technology and innovation then onto more detailed influencers, color, design, materials. All these elements help to build the picture of a trend. You need to know what your customer likes before they do, you need to understand the dynamics of your brand and you need to know your competition. The timing of a trend is everything.
What is the favorite part of your job?
Managing creativity, product and brand to drive the business forward.
Describe a typical day.
No day is the same - the one consistent aspect is I like to start it early and with a strong coffee.
I tend to be involved in a lot of meetings, either reviewing exciting new products we’re about to launch, helping to solve any issues we have with them, analyzing product performance or planning for the following year. As we are a global business, we exhibit regularly in different countries, so I am often working with the marketing team to create new themes or attending the shows and spending time with our customers.