Summer Lovin’: Gallant & Jones interview by The Organic Contessa
Last week we were interviewed (please see below) by The Organic Contessa aka Michelle Witherby. We wanted to share it here with you in case you are interested and to let you know that we are inspired this Monday by new friendships. How about you?
xox Gwyn & Tamra
This week is an exciting post for me as it’s my first feature on sustainable furniture! The line is called Gallant & Jones, and their furniture has fast become a new addition to “what my heart’s trending“. Coming from years of being in the design industry; good architecture along with smart interiors & furniture creations sort of makes me giddy with delight, like with a new beauty product. But I never knew deck chairs could do that to me as well, I’m simply in love.
I had the pleasure of being introduced to Gwyneth Jones-Parks thru a mutual friend a few months back. Gwyneth is one of the founders behind the Gallant & Jones brand alongside Tamra Gallant Devine. This beautiful pair have reignited the world of craftsmanship with their line of hand-crafted, eco-savvy deck chairs & outdoor furniture. With recent appearances in the likes of Elle Decor Magazine, Gallant & Jones is fast becoming a house-hold, albeit pool side, name.
Tell us the inspiration behind your furniture line, Gallant & Jones?
G: The idea for Gallant & Jones came about when I was in the UK with my family 3 summers ago. After coming across some traditional old English deck chairs, I commented to my husband how lovely they were and that I sure haven’t seen many of them in Canada. I immediately thought of my best friend Gwyn who studied textile design in Brighton. I have always loved woodworking and hoped to take it up again one day in some context and thought this would be a great opportunity for us to work together. When I approached Gwyn with the idea to make our own line of deck chairs in Vancouver, I found out that she also loved deck chairs and she was on board immediately.
I’m assuming you are both lovers of the outdoors?
G: Yes, you could definitely say that. Going hiking in the mountains with my family is one of my favourite things to do. As well as camping, swimming in the lake, and in the winter months, I absolutely love snowboarding.
J: Spending time outdoors is something I get to do more of living over here in Vancouver, after 8 years of living in London where the great outdoors was more like a walk to a far away pub or a stroll in a park. I now ski nearly half the year and get out and about as much as possible in the Spring and Summer hiking and swimming. There is so much good outdoor living to be had in British Columbia.
What are your backgrounds in?
G: After graduating high school, I spent 7 years traveling all over the world, living and working in different cities. I moved to Vancouver and after 5 years of working in the hospitality industry, started a family. Shortly after that, inspiration struck and Gallant & Jones was born.
J: I studied textiles and then worked for years in magazines, as a stylist assistant, then stylist and editor. I always kept my hand in design by working on projects for interiors and designed one off pieces of art or wallpaper and love that I am now designing textiles again…
Sustainability is a common thread seemingly throughout your company. Specifically what makes G&J such an earth-friendly furniture company?
G&J: From the first day we got together to talk about our new business venture, we decided that we would consider the environment every step of the way and that we would try to give back to our community as much as possible. We wanted to support local artisans, use materials that were close to home, use eco-friendly products and to reduce our carbon footprint along the way. It’s not easy to run a totally green company but there are many ways that you can do your bit to be kind to the earth. We use North American white oak wood, which is sourced from well managed forests, eco friendly oil protectant, 100% organic cotton pillows and our Tyhee sling is made from recycled polyester. We also donate to have a tree planted with every sale of a deck chair.
In an era of mass production, there are so many of us that applaud a company’s dedication to true craftsmanship. Something quite special in knowing the items you just purchased have been hand-crafted; made with great care, time & attention. I’m sure this is something G&J’s takes great pride in?
G: Yes, this is all very important to us. When you pour your heart and soul into a business you have to love every aspect of what you are producing, we didn’t want to just get our designs made in China, we wanted to understand the process completely so we set about to make them all ourselves and we take great pride in each piece that we ship out. Every chair that we box up is perfect and we are confident that we have done our utmost to produce a wonderful product that our customers can enjoy and treasure for years.
J: Yes, we definitely take a lot of pride in offering a handmade product. There’s a great satisfaction that comes with seeing a product through from start to finish and have something at the end that you are proud of and you know will be used for many years by someone. I’ve always loved woodworking and being creative with my hands and feel grateful that I was able to do that for Gallant & Jones for almost 3 years. Our business has changed and grown over the years and we now have a manufacturer who uses the same hand crafted process, we work closely with and trust completely.
Have a personal favorite chair/textile design?
J: My fave this season is the Tahiti. It’s really good fun. I love it’s 70’s feel…
G: I love Tofino. It was designed by Gwyn and is such a beautiful stripe. It’s admired by both men and women and the colours go so well together, I was drawn to it immediately.
Do you design your own fabric?
J: Yes, I have so far designed 9 stripes that we got woven locally in Vancouver. We are looking into printers to print some of my designs for next years collection.
“Love Trees Program” – share with us what this is about.
G: Gwyn and I always wanted to give back to the earth and the community as much as possible. She came up with a great idea to plant a tree with every sale of a deckchair. I thought it was brilliant and started researching a company we could work with and support. I came across ‘Love Trees’ which was the perfect fit for G&J. Love trees is an organization that donates saplings to school children to plant with their families or with their class. When the tree is planted, the children make a wish for the planet. It teaches young children how to nurture the environment and that they have the power to make the world a better place. Love Trees is a global organization donating trees to North America, Africa and Haiti and we’re very proud to be working with them.
Will G&J’s be debuting additions to your product line anytime soon? Anything “hot-off-the-press” you can share with us?
G: We are working on a few new products. We have 3 new beach bags coming out in the next month. We do have a couple of exciting new things we’re working on for Spring 2013 but they are in still in the development stages and we aren’t ready to spill the beans just yet!
The G&J’s blog is a personal favorite with its variety of eclectic featured articles…what can a new reader expect to see on it?
J: The blog is our way of communicating with the outside world about what’s going on at G&J. We also share all the things/art/people that inspire us. We love finding out about new businesses who give back in some way or have similar ethics and ideas as ours, we share and spread the word as often as we can.
G: We are constantly inspired by the growing community of handmade artists and the amount of awesome up-cycled pieces out there. More and more people are creating beautiful objects with their own hands using recycled items- it’s a wonderful revolution to be a part of and we share what we find on the blog.
I’m envisioning me throwing a sleek pool party with the deck bordered in G&J’s furniture. Ah, well I digress seeing I’m sitting at my computer … maybe some time in the near future, right?
Be well, xo Organic Contessa