Meet the Maker: Laura Thomas
Your name. Laura Thomas
Location. Gullane Beach, East Lothian, Scotland
Please describe yourself, your business and the story of how your business came about.
I started my earning life as a banker in London. After a few years of the corporate experience, I knew it wasn’t for me. I have always wanted to own my own business.
So when I met my New Zealander husband, we set up a company which bought and sold cafes. We would find a hospitality business that had gone into liquidation, refurbish it, get known for the supply of great coffee and delicious eats and trade it until the business reached good profit levels, then sell it on. We have turned around 3 existing cafes and set 1 up from scratch in both New Zealand and Scotland. Once our two children came along, it was time for a change. We could no longer put the long hours in that are involved. So I decided to set up Laura Thomas Linens and we started to renovate residential properties instead. So far we have renovated 2 properties with a third to start in the summer of 2015, and I can say my DIY skills have increased tenfold!
The concept of Laura Thomas Linens came about while we were living in Edinburgh for a year in 2009. Our beautiful apartment was on Castle Terrace, a street below the towering manmade Edinburgh Castle above. One morning while sipping on a coffee in bed and looking out of my large bedroom window directly at the Castle, I began to wonder what the bedding of the Kings and Queens of yesteryear looked and felt like. It was from this moment I began to dream about owning and running my own bed linen company. Thoughts led to actions and those actions led to Laura Thomas Linens being established while living back in New Zealand in 2012.
What are you working on right now?
Last Wednesday, I flew out to Portugal where I met my new suppliers in the North of the country above Porto. We discussed and confirmed my new range will be 50% cotton, 50% pure linen bedding. There will be three new colours in duvet sets, pillowcases and flat sheets. I'm very excited about this as it's unique fabric, something that is not widely available at the moment. The blend has the luxurious crisp feel of linen with the softness of cotton through it. It's really stunning!
Please describe your workspace.
At the moment, I work in a small room within my home. I have just purchased an old Doctors Surgery which will need total renovating and is due to start this summer. Being that it's an old Doctors Surgery, it will lend really well to a new studio I plan. There are already sinks in place in an old treatment room which will be my new work space. It will be of Scandinavian design, all white and minimal. I have already bought an industrial style wire lamp shade to hang in the centre!
Please share a little bit about your creative process.
Much of what inpires me comes through in my interior design blog, Laura Thomas Interior Design. There, I can log my inspirations, and I thoroughly enjoy going back through my posts of inspiration.
How do you begin your mornings?
My happy place has to be the beach we live on in Scotland. Gullane Beach, east of Edinburgh. It's a stunning golden sandy stretch with beautiful dunes and coastal vegetation. I start my day there after I drop my two little girls at school. It is simply perfect on an early morning run when there is a high tide, no wind and not a person in sight!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I work full time and I'm a full time Mum! My two girls are 5 and 7 and as any parent knows, they keep you very busy. A typical day for me tends to work around my children. I work during school hours and have become very accustomed to working into the night after they have gone to bed. That way I can be ‘Super Mum’ as well as run my own company and work from home.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
My goals are set for Laura Thomas Linens to expand and have a full range of textiles for the home. This will include soft furnishings, towels, sleep wear and a range of 'at home' clothing designed for comfortable relaxing.