Company Name: Aorta Ltd
Interview Contact Name and Job Title: Frida Rush, Company Owner and Lead Designer
Social Media Links:
Number of outlets: 1
Location(s): Showroom by appointment only, Unimar House, Unit 31, Perivale Park, Horsenden Lane South, Perivale, Middlesex, UB6 7RJ
Market(s): Luxury interiors, bespoke furniture and home accessories
Other relevant info: All of our products are handcrafted using an authentic and irreplicable bending process, I designed and developed myself. With over 12 years’ experience in the furniture industry and a PhD in furniture design, I decided to create a formal business. I am also a Liveryman for the Furniture Makers Company and a Professor at The University of Kuwait. I was a runner-up in Grand Designs Grand Rooms 2017 and have been shortlisted again for this year’s competition. I have also been selected to design the VIP area for the Luxury Property Show, London 2018.
Modern Retail speaks to Frida owner of Aorta. The unique furniture range has a variety of design options and high-end finishes, recognisable by their curved structures achieved through a complex laminating and bending process she has pioneered and mastered. It is almost impossible to duplicate these curves, hence each piece produced is exclusive and personally signed. Her beautiful collection is designed to conceptually combine many visual triggers, emotions, and meaning. As such, the furniture becomes more than just an object to its owner.
MR: How do you aim to stand out as a brand?
FR: As a brand, we aim to express personality through functional art and aim to exuberate quality design and craftsmanship in everything we do.
MR: How would you sum up your target customer?
FR: Our customers are discerning individuals with a passion for art and appreciate it in everyday life. They admire expressive environments and statement pieces enjoying the conversations the pieces encourage.
MR: Why should people shop with you?
FR: Aorta provides a truly authentic experience, everything can be customized or made specifically for the client. Our work is high end and our products will stand the test of time. Using a unique bending process, no two pieces will ever be completely identical.
MR: What do you want to do differently to your competitors?
FR: We provide sustainable products and a flexible interior design service tailored to individuals. We are an intelligent design company and take a holistic view of a project, maximizing space and opportunity for bespoke design and furniture.
Our aim is to create a sustainable, less throw-away culture. We believe that by creating bespoke pieces that are designed specifically for or customized to individuals we can increase the life-cycle of the product; By weaving character and personality into the design, it creates product attachment, meaning it will be well maintained by the owner and hopefully passed on to future generations.
MR: What challenges do you face as a business, and how do you aim to overcome them?
FR: All businesses have their challenges; I guess our main one is reaching such a niche audience.
MR: How do you use technology/media/eCommerce to improve your offering?
FR: We have recently redeveloped our website to include an online shop for our home accessories and gifts range. In addition to this, we are now able to offer online consultancy and a quick advice service. Our online design consultancy means we can help customers from anywhere in the world. Using Skype, Whatsapp, email etc… we can do a walkthrough of the room(s) they need designing, talk it through and send back proposals, mood boards and 3D renders. The service is entirely flexible from initial concepts to a lookbook which includes a full design with a shopping list of where to source the items to full design and project management. Our quick advice service is aimed at those who want to take the DIY approach but may be unsure and need advice on colour matching, furniture and furnishings
MR: What do you love about your work/business/brand?
FR: I love creating new pieces of functional art, it’s a passion. I simply can’t imagine doing anything else!
MR: What advantages/disadvantages does your location bring?
FR: We have a small showroom in London, but are currently renovating an Old Chapel in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Whilst London has the clientele we are limited on space. Greylee’s near Sleaford has new housing developments surrounding it and is not far from Newark Station making it accessible. We plan to open a larger showroom, retail area and tea rooms later this year.
MR: What are your growth aims for the next 12 months?
FR: We aim to get the showroom open and increase our team.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
FR: Do things in stages, don’t take on too much all in one go! Get reliable and experienced people to support you from the start.