Following on with our When I grow up series, we caught up with textile designer Naomi Tuffery founder of Tuff Love, who specialise in creating stunning digitally printed silk scarves. Read on to find out how she managed to bag her dream job...
You graduated with a degree in Textiles and Surface Design, was this is always your dream career?
Definitely not! When I finished my A-levels I thought 'Oh gosh! What am I going to do with my life now?!' I knew I wanted to do something arty but was unsure of the direction I wanted to go in so decided to do a foundation degree but was told they had no more places at my interview. I immediately thought it had all been a waste of time and that I was back at square one but the interviewer carried on talking with me and looked through my work and thought I was ready to go straight to degree and between us we hand-picked the Textiles and Surface Design on the spot. All of a sudden I was doing a degree! It was very surreal. Luckily when I started the course I fell in love with print design and that was when I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
Where does your inspiration for your designs come from?
A huge combination of things! I find that it's pretty random, for example I may stumble across an old photograph and it will inspire a whole collection. All it takes is one initial thought to expand and lead onto other things...
Who would you most love to see wearing one of your designs?
I think I would say Kate Middleton. She has become such a fashion icon and she dresses very smart, classy and sleek – A look that I think my scarves go with perfectly.
Do you have a favourite piece?
I have a couple in the collection that I like the most but if I had to pick I would say my Winter scarf print, partly because of how it came about. Last year I went out to my car and it was completely covered in the most beautiful intricate patterns that had been formed by the ice overnight. I photographed them and used them to design this piece. That then inspired the whole of the Seasons Collection.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My mum. She is so supportive of me and my career. Having her motivate me and keep me positive keeps me going and not let me give up on my dream of being a successful textile designer. I’m getting there one day at a time and I wouldn’t be able to do it without her.
Describe your average day...
Well I work freelance and am building my business up at the moment so I have other part time work around it. This means most days I will work a shift at one of my part time jobs and then I will go home and try to do as much designing as I can in the evenings, or visa versa. I love to design in my room with a big mug of tea and background music or telly. My favourite days are when I have no other work on and I get to work from home all day creating beautiful things! I'm hoping one day I can quit the other jobs and that can be my full working week.
Any advice for our readers wanting to take the plunge for themselves?
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your business. You don’t want to waste time and money investing in something that is not going to work. You need to look at every aspect of your idea and decide whether it is a good one. When it came to picking my label name it took me ages and before I finally settled with ‘Tuff Love’ I asked most of my friends and family what they thought. They all loved it and I’m so happy I stuck with that one.
Tell us something no one else knows about you...
I spend a lot of my time designing from my bed, drinking tea and eating chocolate! It is work, I promise!
What does the future hold for Tuff Love?
I will definitely be widening my range of products. At the moment I am just selling digitally printed silk scarves but soon I will have hand printed T-shirts available too. Then even further in the future I hope to have even more products!
Oh and as we've just released our music issue, we want to know what's on your ipod at the moment?
I am in love with ‘Waiting All Night’ by Rudimental! I cannot stop listening to it. It is definitely my favourite song at the moment.