Every so often, The Study Room catches up with our favourite freelancers, creatives & fellow business owners to find out what really makes them tick (and jump out of bed everyday)
This week we caught up with Plyconic.
A furniture designer and children's toys maker, she discusses sons nap times and schedule to make her beautiful mid-century pieces.
Keep checking in with us as we will meet with lots of people from lots of different specialities, to help you make the most of your day!
Helen's designs allow the material to be the focus of each piece and are raw & wonderfully modern.
What does a typical day look like to you?
My typical day starts with my 19th month old waking me. I bribe him with a morning cracker while I have a mug of tea and posting get on Instagram. I love interacting with others on there, it's a nice way to start the morning and talk about Plyconic with other enthusiasts.
I then take a morning walk with my son and beagle, we are so fortunate to have a forest at the end of our road. It's a great time to reflect on jobs that I need to do that day/week and long term strategies. After breakfast, I put my son down for a nap (normally around 2/3 hours) so this is my work time.
I prep any orders, sand and assemble pieces. Whist my son has his lunch I will nip back on to social media and reply to any messages. I try to go out in the afternoon, not only does it occupy my very active child, but it also keeps the house in order.
Though my day is often stop start, working like this lets me refocus and assess my goals.I can change direction or stop a project if it is not working.
My husband gets home at 6, in time for bed time and leaves me to work on drawings for new designs or organise what needs to be cut from my plywood sheets using CAD. This is the part of my day I find most satisfying, a lot of concentration is needed to work out placements of each piece, working out how they fit together and physically making my products . I usually finish at 9pm.
Where do you call your office?
My office is my spare room/workshop in my home in East London. It can very easily become a dumping ground for other house stuff so I need to be strict with what can go in there. Eventually I plan to turn my shed into a workshop and printing room so my office can remain sawdust and paint free.
Creating an official office space whether it is a room or just a corner of a table is really important; I like to fill mine with nice stationary and prints. Not only does the nice environment spur you on to work and but it also helps you to take your business seriously and not as hobby. It's also very nice to have a kids free space.
How did you end up in your line of work?
I studied contemporary furniture design at uni and ended up using the CAD skills I had learnt on my course for a structural engineer and fell into highway design. It certainly wasn't the path I wanted or had planned.
Whilst on maternity leave I visited the Blackhorse Workshop (a community led workshop where members can use their space and tools for a daily charge) In the corner of my eye I spotted a contemporary mobile and thought, "I could make that, why don't I make stuff?" I hurried home and started flicking through design books for inspiration and made a 1/2 scale model of what has now become our Plyve desk and stool.
When my son started to crawl around the model that i realised it would work perfectly that size for toddlers. I realised this was a great opportunity for me to pursue my dreams of designing and making furniture and Plyconic was born!
What is one thing you wish you had known at the beginning?
I'm still very much at the beginning of my business journey.
I once read an inspiring story a ceramic bowl making competition. One group of contestants were asked to make as many bowls as they could in 1 hour and another were asked to make the best bowl that they could within the same time. When the bowls were judged the best ones all came from the group who were tasked with making the most bowls, as they had learnt from mistakes and processes so their bowls had evolved, whilst the group who only made one bowl procrastinated to seek perfection but weren't able to achieve it.
This story really helped me to stop procrastinating to seek perfection; if things don't work out it's also a positive. You've learnt something and will now make a better product.
What is the best part of your day?
The best part of the day is either our morning walk or when my husband gets home and frees me from our son and I can get on with the CAD part, which I find really satisfying.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on small self assembly sculptures that can be configured in multi formations. Made up of various shapes the plywood pieces slot together to create a mini sculpture. I'm also planning on printing on to these shapes with geometric patterns. These will be launched this weekend at a free kids workshop at Olive Loves Alfie East.