Looking back to a couple of years ago, we were just at the beginning of setting up the social media pages for Guy Mitchell Design. One evening, which we'll never forget, we stumbled upon the most amazing Instagram profile. That was the beginning of our huge crush on all things beetle & WILDE. We couldn't help but fall immediately and hopelessly in love with their eclectic mix of mid-century classics, intriguing anatomical accessories set against walls and floors in moody dark tones. We caught up with Caz from beetle & WILDE to find out what inspires her, and how it all began.
How would you describe what you do?
I'm guessing that's not supposed to be a difficult question, but l actually find it quite hard to quantify what l do. Probably because l have a ridiculously low boredom threshold and consequently I'll give anything a go! So, it's a kind of moveable feast of interiors styling, item sourcing, selling, buying, learning, making, designing & travelling. So, one minute I'm sourcing antlers for Louis Vuitton, the next I'm styling the interior of a boat to look like an autopsy room, and the next I'm covered in mud in a Belgian field arguing in pigeon French over a pair of candlesticks!!
How long have you been in the design/retail industry for?
l started beetle & WILDE at the beginning of 2013, but it was the culmination of a lifetime of work experience & studying. I've had a very varied career to say the least, but I've learned something useful from every weird & random job and it's given me a real insight into how to work with people.
Where are you based?
We were originally based in London, but moved to Ramsgate just over a year ago. It's changed the way l work, and we're still renovating, but l love living by the sea! Having a shop & an enormous house to experiment with is lots of very exhausting fun!!
Where do you take inspiration from?
It's a huge cliché, but literally everywhere!! As a design style l would say my skeleton is Mid Century, but l flesh that out with an eclectic mix that changes and evolves, depending on the season, what I'm working on or studying, or where I've been travelling. There's always a huge reference to the natural world though!
What made you want to work with anatomy as a theme?
I've studied science, art & design in equal measures for as long as l can remember. So, it was more of a natural progression than a conscious decision. When it came to pinning down the direction of the business, l knew l wanted to work with natural history, but l didn't just want to sell it. I wanted to incorporate it into an interiors aesthetic that elevated it and changed the way people thought about it. Maybe even set up a dialogue between the interior & the exterior - the built and the natural environment. Push people's buttons a little, and of course create kick-arse rooms that bite!!
What are the best-sellers in your shop at the moment?
Small mounted Roe Deer antlers are the best sellers online and our cards are the best sellers in the shop. Any medical anatomy models tend to do really well too, but most things are one-off vintage pieces, which makes it difficult to quantify in terms of best-sellers.
What's the best project that you've ever worked on?
It's always the one I'm working on right now! Which at the moment happens to be our house! It's the biggest project to date and so far, at 16 months and counting, it's definitely the longest! I've learnt a lot on this one, mostly that l probably should've been a plumber!!
Where do you like to shop for interior products?
I love flea markets & antique fairs! Rummaging around in the mud with a torch, eagerly anticipating coming across something amazing is such a buzz. Although when its cold and wet, there's nothing like snuggling up on the sofa in front of the fire and trawling through eBay!
Do you have three "do's" and three "don't(s)" for people decorating at home?
Do take risks & step outside your comfort zone
Do follow your instincts not fashion
Do buy at least some vintage furniture, it's cheaper, better made & kinder to the environment.
Don't skimp on bathroom fixtures (random obsession). Invest in gold, brass & copper instead. It makes your bathroom look amazing!!
Don't use textured wallpaper...Ever! The people who buy your house will curse your name 'til the end of time!
Don't use oil based white paint indoors. It's UV activated so will go yellow if not in direct sunlight & you'll have to paint it every year!! Water based gloss/eggshell is better for you, the house & the environment.
(Ok, so these may be my personal demons at the moment, but still good advice l think!)
Can you offer any advice to a budding interior designer or new retailer?
Yeah, don't do it!
...But if you must, do what you love and be prepared to work harder than you ever thought possible!!
What are you excited about for the year ahead?
We're going to Iceland in May, I'm beside myself with excitement about that! I'm sure l'll come home filled with inspiration & hopefully won't break anything ice axe climbing!!
Also hoping to get the house finished this year. I'm looking forward to lazy sunny days in the garden (which in my head will look like Yves Saint Laurent's in Marrakesh!) & walks on the beach. I might even get a dog!!
Thank you very much for your words and your time Caz!
The beetle & WILDE website can be found at: www.beetle-and-wilde.co.uk and across social media via the following links: