Another Interview that you here Wayne describing his early days of creating ‘Red or Dead’

The piece I wanted to extract from this was his story of good days on ‘Camden Market’ 

Realising that he was having a huge success with long trench coat style jackets, because of the era, lead him in to thinking he needed to be able to supply affordable ‘Dr Martins’ boots. He was already looking at his target market for these products and thinking what else they needed at affordable prices. He explains how he approached the manufactures of ‘Dr Martins’ boots and enquired what they did with there worn returns. He was subsequently showed a room filled with 100’s of pairs of damaged, worn boots. Where most would of seen nothing, Wayne realised that he would be able to work with these boots and provide a product that the consumers out there wanted. Through his creativity and the skills that his Grandfather had passed to him because in days gone by our older generations seem to just know how to keep the life going in anything, it wasn’t a society of waste! Wayne was able to purchase these boots at 10p per pair take them home and repair them generally buy soldering the sole that was commonly known to split on the ball of the foot and then take them to market and sell them for between £10-£16. So simple yet ingenious. This generated a great capital that helped them form ‘Read or Dead’.

For me it is very eye opening looking at how old pieces of furniture were constructed before the trend of mass consumption came upon us. I myself have enjoyed purchasing old pieces that I know have been made by skilled trades men 30-40 years ago but are still perfectly fit for purpose other than the trend of the fabric. With the right fabric exchange and some tender loving care we have been able to put these products back on the market and most importantly back into peoples homes for a second act.

Styles and designs over time repeat – progress – repeat ….. if you have a quality product/design that you can believe in will always stand you in good stead to have a significantly better chance of long term success.    


Working hard is an essential requirement, it becomes part of your life flow.


This interview hit a soft spot in me. The english seaside is a passion of mine having part of my family living in Devon I have experienced many times how much joy & happiness you can have with your family on an English Beach. We have all wanted to acquire a beach hut but unfortunately the waiting lists are very long and we are still waiting. 

Combining this passion with the thought of bringing an old run down building back to life sounds an amazing project.

Rejuvenation within Towns is an essential part of moving forward. I love the style of this building from the overall look of the outside to the fine details inside that still tell the story of the building. Keeping these features and using artistic interpretations of  what used to be within the cupboards designs and decor keeps the memories and heart of this building still beating.   

A very inspirational project.


It is so important that you know your target market ‘The Big Learn’

What is the level you are aiming at John Lewis V’s Conran?

Wayne states that as ‘Hemingway Design’ has progressed they design for the market they don’t expect the market to adapt for them.

This can be a very hard thing for a designer. Its easy to get carried away with your designs but if you haven’t researched your market there may be no place for your product.

Research  research research, reflect reflect reflect.





What a staement very empowering and very global. This sentence could be in context to any area of design and business. It covers any project taken on.

Following on from looking at the you tube clip posted earlier Wayne speaks about how designers are problem solvers, detectives, analyst. Walking down the street a designer notices the surroundings, the shop windows, the pavements, the signs, the cars passing by. An over load of  images-creations that within one split second a designer has edited and made better within there mind. A door Handle, A chair, A cup.  Anything.

Creativity comes from within and doesn’t switch off. It is part of our make up, it is who we are.


I have replayed this clip over and over again. At first I just watched and listened then subsequently I began to try and deconstruct the interview and place myself and my experiences within its context. 

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Foundations – Your Parents

Wayne spoke of the people who were around him as he was growing up and how who they were as people encouraged him.

I can very much relate to this area yet have only just begun to realise just how much inspiration can come from within your family structure.

His first make shift office. His work ethics are un questionable. A very knowledgable & inspirational man.

My Father – His first make shift office. His work ethics are unquestionable. A very knowledgable & inspirational man.

I am unable to put her into any category she was unique & very creative 'Happiness & Laughter' is what i think of.

My Mother – I am unable to put her into any category she was unique & very creative ‘Happiness, Laughter & Strength’ is what I think of.

 Being encouraged to do anything, but to make sure you do it hole heartedly. 

It’s sounds silly when I tell people that my father would ask us to log all our spending money in  a little book from a very early age. He never asked to see the book he just wanted us to know where our money was going. 

This structure combined with the magical creativity that just seemed to follow my mother around has been passed on to me. At the time it was just given, but now I can see the benefits and purpose that it possessed.

I use these skills each and every day.

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Being able to take the negative points that may occur along our career paths is a huge part of this journey. Lingering on the low points can be destructive yet reflecting and learning from each obstacle can be a great force to help you move forward.

When I came back into education I did wrestle with my views about this. At times I felt at my age I should not of needed to come back, I felt I should be in a secure place within my business and should my time be best spent concentrating on that. Looking back I made the right decision. Coming back to learning has given me another dimension to myself as an individual and also as a professional within my field.

I have learnt to move with the times and see every experience as a lesson learnt.

Throughout life we are always learning, this will never stop wether it be good or bad.

Change doesn’t mean failure.

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Wayne’s Team is very much based around his family this looks to of created a strong structure running throughout ‘Hemingway Designs’

I have a fantastic working relationship with my partner. We are very different souls that bring two totally different aspects to the table. Were as I am creative yet structured my partner is very sales orientated yet free thinking and easy to engage with. Our working life does feel never ending though at times, this has its good and its bad points. Learning not to work all the time is a lesson still being learnt.  Our greatest asset is being able to talk through and dissect every aspect of our business constantly reflecting and analysing our situation.

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As Wayne says “You are only as good as the people who gets your design to market”

As a small business finding that balance between what you do completely yourself and what you ask help for is sometimes a dilemma. Within the rebranding of my business I am moving more into the internet sales market. I began to build my own website and I was really happy with the overall look I was achieving. It took a lot of research into layout, designs, product placement and so on just for ascetic purposes then I was needing to go into much more detailed aspects such as e commerce and optimisation, the knowledge needed to complete all this was very vast but still very creative and completely drew me in. This was when I realised I could not do everything. I’m running my business, I’m  Studying for my degree and somewhere within this I’m trying to also be a good parent. Something had to give (just a little) I found a wonderful company that came with great recommendations from personal friends and a fresh very up to dated outlook on what I wanted to achieve.  I let my grip just slightly slacken as I asked them to help me create my website. 

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I love this question, one of  Wayne’s answers was “designers don’t think in one dimension”

This blog is helping me to reflect on who I am, what skills have I got, what have I achieved so far?

I find it very hard when people ask me ‘What do you do for a living?’ or ‘What is your business?’ My answer always seems to be awkward and long winded.

Yes I sell furniture, yes I have a market stall – But this does not describe what Me or My Business is. I have studied  and am educated as a ‘Furniture Designer Maker’ and when asked I can design a custom piece of furniture.  I can take that basic piece of wood chopped from a tree and I can create a beautiful piece of furniture using the cabinet making skills I have gained. I can also design a bespoke sofa and go on to make that piece right from the construction of the frame making sure it is ergonomically correct then moving on to the Upholstery of the finished piece.  I have used my knowledge to restore pieces such as a ‘100 year old Chaise lounge’ that I restored for one customer, completely stripping it down removing the upholstery, preserving the straw filling inside, restoring the mahogany wood frame treating it for woodworm them bringing its grain back to life with oils and waxes. Finishing by reupholstering it and handing it back to its owner so her grandchildren can appreciate it as much as she has done over the years.

I can also go the other way and create a completely abstract piece. My favourite work was the creation of my lady. It was a piece done during study but I still love it to this day. I created a lady standing in a huge dress/skirt the skirt formed a seat where you could sit next to the lady. I used papier mache and upholstery techniques to create this piece. 

Back to the ordinary I can design and make a sofa/settee or chair also.

At times different things take over and you may do less of the things you like doing and more of the things that are making you money and helping you to carry on. 

On top of all this is my passion for change within the ‘High Street’ an aspect of my business moving forward it to help find and be part of the new innovations coming forward. May it be helping other individuals take those steps needed to survive in our retail economic society or continue to fight and find that miracle that will help the ‘High Street’ succeed again. Yes I know a Big Task!  

So as I quoted earlier “designers don’t think in one dimension” I totally agree. 

Hopefully one day I will be able to describe what I do for a living with ease or would that be just boring?  


I have come across this Video on youtube and I think it really simplifies the explanation of the processes of consumerism. 


We are socially responsible for our society and I firmly believe this. 

Consumerism is essential, be it based at the lowest level of society or the highest. 

Working with & within your community to develop products & services that are needed.



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