Meet Alison Nottingham, textile extraordinaire, talented business woman and founder of NZ brand, Bianca Lorenne!
Built on Alison’s desire to bring exquisite bed linen to the New Zealand market, Bianca Lorenne was started in 2005 when Alison was on the search for high quality, hand crafted pieces for own home. 15 years later, Bianca Lorenne couture range of linen is the epitome of luxury and style, staying true to Alison’s vision.
We caught up with Alison to talk about how she got started, her unique style and where she finds inspiration!
What convinced you to make the leap into bed linen?
Bianca Lorenne was started 15 years ago by my husband and I and named after our daughters who were 9 and 11 at the time, Bianca and Lauren.
One day, whilst renovating an old villa we had purchased I decided to go to town and find some bed linen. I didn’t just want ordinary bedding, but something of interest, quality with a unique, handmade element to it. Alas I couldn’t find anything different. My passion at the time was quilting and embroidery and I have an absolute obsession with all textiles so a spark was triggered!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up at 6am every day and get to work as soon as I can, stopping in at my favourite café Birdie for the best cheese scone ever and of course coffee. Arriving before our staff gives me time to reflect on the previous day’s activities and plan for the day. This is the most productive time without interruptions. Then it’s all go – juggling many tasks at a time. We have a catch up meeting with everyone to see where we are all at. From visiting and liaising with customers, designing new collections, managing production, travelling abroad buying and those administrative duties that are always there!
I finish at 5pm most days, home for a wine and casual business meeting with my husband on the day’s events. Dinner is My Food Bag as by the end of the day there is no thinking or planning on that front – a welcome relief! Netflix and knitting to finish off the day for an early night.
You have a lovely relationship with the McKenzie & Willis team. Tell us more about that?
From day one when presenting Bianca Lorenne to McKenzie & Willis, we have had a wonderful relationship with all of the showrooms. We love how our brand is represented so beautifully by all the showrooms and in a lovely environment. The staff are always so welcoming when I am on my trips to visit and show new collections and I have made some lovely friendships over the years.
Bianca Lorenne Cigna Comforter
How did you discover your style?
I guess my style is ever evolving. I have always loved quality in everything I buy, so that has followed through to Bianca Lorenne. I love to seek out unique and interesting collector items for my home – pieces you always love with a story or point of difference.
Collected treasures from a corner of Alison’s home
Where do you find inspiration for new collections?
Inspiration comes from a myriad of places – art, travel, literature, history and nature to name a few. I love to create collections around a story as part of a theme depending on the inspiration as I feel it gives more interest to the pieces we produce.
What is your top bedroom styling tip?
Make your bed look plush, comforting and inviting by using plump pillows, euros and cushions. Nothing looks worse than having beautiful bed linen only to put it on undersized, flat inners. Layering your bed finishes off the look – think of your bed as dressing yourself.
As a successful NZ Brand in the interiors industry what advice do you have for others starting out?
Follow your own path – too many businesses are followers of others today. Go with your gut feeling and my motto that has motivated me throughout the past fifteen years is “Never Never Never Give Up”. That has served me well in challenging times.
Did you know?
Right now, until June 28th 2020 we have 15% off all linen & homewares* PLUS incredible deals across our range of furniture, beds, flooring, curtains and blinds featuring some of NZ’s top interior brands! View the deals and find out more online here.
*Excludes Bianca Lorenne Korakuen Collection.