I’m talking luxury this week with a capital L as I chat to Louise and Kiki, founding directors of Inkerman, the luxury British brand producing and specialising in bespoke gifts, trophies and awards. With Valentines Day and Mothers Day looming on the horizon, what better way to say “I love you” than a bespoke design or one of Inkerman’s exclusive gifts?
Hi Louise and Kiki, welcome! Please introduce your business:
INKERMAN – founded by us, Louise Eadie and Kiki Grigson in 1996, was the first of its kind – we identified a gap in the corporate gift market and turned our entrepreneurial skills into filling it.
What inspired you to launch your business Inkerman?
We both worked in the corporate department at Tiffany’s and realised there was a real gap in the market for a British Brand, as we were continually being asked for British products
Who came up with the brand name “Inkerman” and the little red box packaging idea?
Our first office was in Louise’s basement in Inkerman Terrace, Kensington. The name Inkerman was chosen for its British heritage, being one of the battles of the Crimean war. The red box was chosen during a visit to the box makers; the colour red was chosen for its strong colour and relevance to the Union Jack.
I love your sterling silver rolling bangle and, in your exclusive pewter collection, the Westminster Jug. What gift products seem to be most popular at the moment?
Our new British Pewter collection continues to be one of our best selling products. We work with British craftsmen to produce our stylish range of tumblers and jugs which look fabulous and wear beautifully well. Pewter is wonderfully sensorial on the lips, enhancing the enjoyment of the drink whether a cordial or chilled champagne. It is also super durable making it the perfect companion for summer fun. And because pewter is the fourth most precious metal in the world, our range of tumblers and jugs will always bring glamour and a touch of style to any outdoor event – even if it’s raining and you’re wearing wellies!
Out of all your products, do you have a favourite item?
That is a difficult question to answer because we are so personally involved in the design of all of our products, we really love them all. However if we had to choose:
- Kiki’s favourite is the initialled tankard which she has just given to all her godsons.
- Louise’s favourites are the Tusk Elephant bowl and Chianti carafe with the silver trim.
Your company specialises in producing one-off pieces, bespoke designs and special commissions. What was the most unusual item you’ve had to create or produce?
A hand-made carbon fibre sail trophy sitting on a glass and steel plinth commissioned by a private yacht company for a regatta. It looked amazing.
What are your party must-have gifts/ideas?
Our focus is always on the best of British and working with the very best British craftsman. Favourites for Christmas 2015 were named glass dressing table bowls and initialled tankards. A party must have is our fabulous leather tasselled clutch that comes in a great choice of classic colours, Navy, Orange, Pink and Tan – I don’t go anywhere without mine!
As you are based in the UK, do you offer your products or bespoke services overseas too?
Yes we supply all over the world.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Our job is fully and completely hands on. It can involve visits to workshops, meetings with customers, designing new ranges and occasionally packing boxes so comfort is absolutely essential. We usually like to wear classic pieces like cashmere v neck or shirts, trousers or jeans and trainers or loafers.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Louise’s favourite for something special is Mojo and McCoy in Hungerford, set up by A P McCoy’s wife Chantelle and the Duchess of Cornwall’s daughter Laura Lopes. Kiki’s favourite is Anthropologie.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Where do we start?
Boots or Shoes?
Trainers for comfort; boots and shoes for smarter occasions, when we need to dress to impress!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Inkerman.
Thanks for visiting the blog Louise and Kiki – your gifts are exquisite and your leather tasselled clutch is a favourite of mine too! For Christmas and New Year 2015, my candles (fake and real) and fairy lights were an important feature of my entertaining decor – I didn’t have a proper Christmas Tree as my two kittens would have had a field day! I did however have a small stick tree with lights at the end which was just as lovely. What dear readers are your party decor must haves? Do tell!
All photos have been published with kind permission of Inkerman (Louise Eadie & Kiki Grigson)