Brisbane-based Alexandra Thompson’s love of interiors and beautiful fabrics came from her mum Sally, so no wonder they recently launched a business together, inspired by their passion for interiors...
The idea for The Bedhead Co. – a range of beautifully designed bedheads in exquisite plain and patterned fabrics (wait until you see the options for kids!) – came about when Alexandra was looking for a custom-made upholstered bedhead. She wanted the freedom to design it herself, but at the time was a young professional who couldn’t afford to engage an interior designer. The ready-made options left her uninspired and she couldn’t find the quality she was after. “To have one made was an expensive and time-consuming exercise and mum and I thought there had to be an easier way,” she reflects. After identifying this gap in the market, the duo began manufacturing bedheads for their friends and family. “We really enjoyed the creative process and wanted to channel that into a business that we could run together,” she says. The rest is history. Thompson’s primary job – an in-house legal counsel – has assisted the mother/daughter team in creating and developing the business itself. “While it is a completely different set of skills from my job as a lawyer, it is what I find most rewarding about The Bedhead Co. and the design process. It is refreshing to be able to transition from corporate to creative,” she says. We caught up with Thompson to find out more about the range, working with her mother and the process behind each piece. Go to www.thebedheadco.com
Where did you grow up and what are some vivid memories of your childhood?
I grew up in Ascot in Brisbane. It is a beautiful area with many young families, so my brothers and I had a great childhood playing with other children in our suburb. However, my parents are both originally from the country and my fondest memories are our visits out to the family farm, learning about the animals and learning to ride.
Why is The Bedhead Co. unique in the market - talk us through what you offer and the process behind each piece?
I think our business concept, which was formed based on our personal experiences, really resonates with our clients. Depending on the client, the process varies for each bedhead. Some clients know exactly what they want, or are happy to purchase from our online range – but for our clients who want a more personalised experience, we look at their space, provide shape and colour scheme options and send out fabric swatches to the client to assist them in designing their dream bedhead. Our clients can have as much or as little involvement as they choose but they still get a great product at an affordable price but also support and a relationship with us a which makes the process less daunting! We want our clients to feel supported to make their own styling choices and to experiment with different fabrics and styles and the feedback we have received is that we make clients feel confident to make those decisions.
Talk us through a typical day at work? You work as a lawyer during the day and on The Bedhead Co. after hour? How do you juggle it all?
It is definitely challenging at times and it requires effective time management to ensure that I allocate enough time to ensure The Bedhead Co. is successful while making sure that I give my best to my primary job. But it is so rewarding to be able to be creative (where I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity in my office job), to develop a different skill set and learn the ins and outs of a different industry and meet some amazing people! I am really fortunate to have such great support from my Mum, especially while I am at work, to source fabrics and to ensure that we are giving our best to our clients.
What’s it like working with your mother - do you have different roles in the business?
We are really lucky that we have such a good mother-daughter relationship separate to The Bedhead Co. – that has really allowed us to work effectively together in a business context. My role in the business is focused on operations, running the website and social media. Mum really has the eye for design and does a lot of the background work in sourcing fabrics and inspiration for our bedheads, curating the designs for each range and also helping customers find the fabric they are looking for. Mum is my constant soundboard and always gives pragmatic advice. Mum has an incredible sense of style and ability to curate beautiful living spaces so I hope I have inherited some of that ability from her!
What inspired your debut range - what are some of your favourite bedheads?
The first collection really demonstrates the diversity of finishes and styles you can order through The Bedhead Co. We wanted a range that delivered to our client’s differing needs by offering both statement bedheads as well as subtle additions.
What do you offer for kids?
We have an online Bambino Bedhead range or The Bedhead Co. can help clients design a custom bedhead with some of the great kids’ fabrics in the market at the moment or a bedhead that will transition with your child into adolescence. We offer Bambino Bedheads in all shapes and sizes.
What would your dream bedroom have in it?
A super king bed, a view and a gorgeous bedhead!
How do you unwind at night?
I really enjoy reading a good book (or work if I have to) in bed – this is where a bedhead provides a lot of comfort. But if that fails, a glass of wine always helps!
Where do you get your bedlinen from?
I currently have some crisp white linen from Sheridan as I have recently changed over my bedhead to a patterned statement bedhead. However, I am a big fan of Mim and Mae’s linen sheets and The Pillow Slip Store’s king pillows!
What’s your approach to heath and wellbeing? Do you eat well/exercise?
I think exercise is so important not only for your body but your mental wellbeing as well. I am a lot more focused and effective at work if I have exercised. I live at Bondi Beach so my day usually starts with the Bondi to Bronte walk or an F45 class. With so much amazing food in Sydney, exercise allows a bit more indulgence as well!
Favourite way to spend your weekend?
I love going to the beach and having lunch or dinner with friends. The weekends also give us an opportunity to visit different fabric houses and designers to see their different ranges and find new styles for our clients.
How do you handle stress/feeling overwhelmed?
I usually call Mum! She helps me to take a step back, look at my work load and prioritise each task. Stepping out to do exercise always helps or failing that, some retail therapy.
Most rewarding part of running your own business?
I think it’s knowing that we took a risk to start the business and then seeing the steady growth we have had since. We have been amazed at the interest and support we have received since The Bedhead Co. launched its first range. We are thrilled to have clients from all over Australia – from Country Qld (Roma) to Airlie Beach and Sydney to Perth. We are so lucky to be able to create beautiful bedheads using gorgeous fabrics and we love the client relationship that we develop with each order – helping our clients bring their design to life is one of our favourite parts of the business. On a personal note, working with Mum in a business and industry that we both love is really rewarding and adds an extra layer to our relationship. The mother daughter dynamic allows us to be candid and transparent – so far so good!