As part of our Women That Inspire Us series, we caught up with the gorgeous Rosanna Lonsdale, founder of her eponymous decorative lighting company. Artfully decorated with hand-painted designs from vibrant pink flamingos and glossy banana leaves to wild animals including zebras, pelicans and lobsters, Rosanna’s lamps are coveted by celebrities and interior designers alike and are the ultimate addition to any home. We loved hearing about how she creates her lamps using a time-honoured technique that was also used by her grandmother and how she is inspired by everything from colour to travel.
What inspired you to become a Lamp Designer?
I started off in advertising working for one of the big ad companies – and craved being my own boss while also doing something creative in a smaller office… So I took a leap into the unknown! My Grandmother used to handmake lamps, so that most definitely inspired me to do it too as I never would have considered making lamps had it not been for her.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey and how you learnt the necessary techniques and skills?
I started off in my friend’s kitchen, and through trial and effort worked out the right technique. I loved the process of coming up with new ideas and tried to go with designs that were uplifting. I use the process of decalcomania to transfer the motifs I design onto the inside of a lamp base – It’s labour-intensive and requires building up six layers of pattern and colour but the smooth, high-quality finish makes it worth it. It was especially difficult to master this technique as lots of the tools my grandmother used are no longer in existence, so I had to slowly source new suppliers and components and piece everything together like a jigsaw puzzle!
What inspires you?
I am often inspired by foreign cities. I love looking at the colours of the buildings abroad and always have my phone in hand taking snaps of stunning patterns, colour combinations or original interiors. I also spend far too much time reading homeware magazines as well as scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest – they are such amazing tools for getting ideas.
What do you love about being your own boss?
I love the freedom that it brings. You end up putting more hours in, but it makes a difference when you can work to your own timetable. I run all angles of my business, which can be a challenge, but it also means that you have huge variety of tasks and ownership over what you do.
What challenges have faced since setting up your business in 2016?
At the beginning I did miss sharing decisions with a team, and the collaborating in general – there is a lot of pressure that comes with setting out alone. It can be lonely and daunting when you first start your own business as you don’t know if all your efforts will come to nothing, however, you soon learn to trust your own judgement and as you grow you soon find tools that can help – I am all about trying to automate tasks where possible! I have now built up a small team, which includes someone on PR and a production manager, and that’s wonderful.
It is lovely that you have chosen to only work with British suppliers. What led you to this decision and is it important to your business?
Absolutely, I love working with local suppliers, meeting them face-to-face and visiting their small warehouses. There is so much talent tucked away in hidden and unexpected places and it’s a privilege to be able to see this craftsmanship first-hand and to support the craftsmen too. Working closely with London-based suppliers also allows me to monitor the quality of my products from start to finish – and to work with small quantities, which is essential when offering a completely bespoke service.
What are you currently working on?
I am looking at designing some new lampshades as well as some very large decorative lamp bases that will be very unusual and detailed. Watch the space!
Do you have a favourite thing to do when you have down time?
I realise how old I sound… but I love to go on walks in the countryside or be by the sea. I grew up in Oxfordshire and now realise how conditioned I’ve been to fresh air, greenery and space! Other than that, I love spending time with friends and indulging in good food!
What is your favourite piece of jewellery from our collections?
I am torn, they are all so lovely. If I had to choose it would either be the Knot Drop Earrings with Blue Topaz, the Huggie hoops and Blue Topaz Pendants or the Rainbow Sienna Hoop Earrings. I love the warmth of the gold against the blue. I have blue eyes so am a big fan of wearing blue earrings to make them pop, and the rainbow colours, well who could say no to that when getting ready in the morning!