Interview by Katie Gregory. Photos by Rachel Albright.
Hey Helena! How long have you been working on furniture specifically for Space Ninety 8?
About a month, I’d say? It’s hard to say, exactly. I’ve done an online range, and then another collection for Space 15 Twenty in L.A. on top of this collection for Space Ninety 8. And now I’m researching and looking for furniture for the Harold Square store. Right now I have no furniture because I’ve got rid of it all! I get the concept books so I get an idea of what they want it to look like and then I go from there sourcing the fabric and furniture.
Any awesome spots that you get your furniture from?
At this point it’s been varied. I’ll go to Adamstown or…well, I haven’t bought anything from Jinxed yet, but that’s a great place to look in Philadelphia. I also like to go to the Mid-Century Furniture Warehouse where I just got a bunch of stuff from. Whenever I’m out and about I’m always looking into vintage places. Some of the stuff I already have, like stuff I’ve collected over the years. I'm pretty cleaned out at the moment, though. I need to start collecting again.
And what about fabrics?
Sometimes it’s harder to find at the vintage spots. The best places we’ve found were in L.A. I went to the Rose Bowl and made contacts with a bunch of people and now I know where to get what from. I get a lot shipped over or I just pick up things whenever I’m there.
You've previously worked as a clothing designer for UO. How did you get into working on furniture full-time?
Well, I’m from England obviously [laughs], and in the U.K. I worked in fashion for like, ten years. In between that I did a diploma in traditional upholstery in Wales. I learned everything I needed to know about. After that, I started a side business alongside my fashion in the U.K. When the opportunity came for Urban, I just went head-first into the denim stuff because I didn’t have time for side projects. I did that for three years and it went really well, and then doing this just felt like the right thing at the right time. When I got my space here, everything all just seemed to fit. Urban has been a great company to work for because of how creative it is.
What music do you like to listen to while working?
I always like to listen to BBC Radio 6, which is a U.K. station. I always listen to that because it's familiar, and then that leads me on to other music. Generally it's just indie/folk type music. I used to be massively into music and now I like listening to it but I'm not as full-on with it [laughs].
What are your future plans with Hym Salvage?
Well, I just bought this house at the end of last year so I plan on staying here. I feel like there's a lot of opportunity here. Building the connections here for growing a business has been quite easy, and I think there's a lot of opportunity in Philadelphia as opposed to going somewhere like New York. We have a garden in the back and we plan on building a garage back there so we have a back delivery place as well and a place for bigger pieces. That's the short-term plan for now [laughs]!