Designers on Lockdown: One Nine Eight Five’s Eleanor Nadimi

In the fifth instalment of Designers on Lockdown, we spoke to Eleanor Nadimi, founder of One Nine Eight Five. Lockdown has affected everyone and all our brands and designers have dealt with it differently. As an independent maker, Eleanor had to adapt quickly to lockdown, read on to discover more.

Hi Eleanor, tell us a little bit about you and One Nine Eight Five…

Hello, my name is Eleanor Nadimi and I’m the founder of One Nine Eight Five. One Nine Eight Five is an ethical British homeware brand that specialises in really bold, colourful printed velvet cushions, tassel cushions and recycled fibre throws.

One Nine Eight Five Cushions

How is lockdown treating you?

I have to say, it has been a tricky time as I’m sure it has been for many others. For example, adapting to new ways of living and working. The work life balance and trying to get that right took quite a lot of time. I’m living with my family who are all on furlough and in the meantime I’ve been trying continue trading and that took a bit of time to get in place.

But it has actually been an extremely positive experience. I’m a big believer in needing to go through certain hurdles and challenges to move forward and grow. This has definitely been the time for that. It is also a time of reflection that highlighted certain areas of the business that needed attention or tweaking. Luckily, I’ve now had the luxury of time to be able to address these areas. Being able to slow down and do this has been great.

How has your business adapted to social distancing measures?

As an independent maker I run the business completely on my own. When it comes to routine there isn’t one, every day is different. So, I could be designing for a few hours, followed by some PR, accounts and packing orders. There are so many different things within a day so to have that slow down a little was really helpful. It has also allowed me to work on all the ideas I’ve had in my head for the longest time. I’ve been painting, I’ve been drawing, I’ve been researching.

One thing I have really missed is being able to go to galleries. I’m just so thankful that most galleries have moved all their exhibitions online. Thanks to the internet you can still feel incredibly connected and find lots of resources for research. A lot of the ideas are turning into reality now and I’m so excited to show you them. I hope once you see them, you’ll be just as excited as I am.

Wallis Sofa with One Nine Eight Five upholstery

How has lockdown shifted the way you design?

The way that I design has definitely shifted. That’s partly because you can’t travel to a location or outsource things since everything is closed. So, problem solving and innovating from home has been a challenge. But it’s bought out results that I never expected. For example, I’ve roped in my family to help with any jobs that involve more than a pair of hands. We created a beautiful photoshoot in the garden which I’ll be releasing soon. It’s taken turns that I didn’t expect to happen and I’m grateful for these outcomes. I do enjoy a bit of the unexpected and I work well under pressure. So, I find bouncing around different ideas and innovating really inspiring.

How have you stayed motivated when working from home?

One thing that has been a challenge at home is motivation, as I’m sure most people can appreciate. Something that has helped keep me grounded is living with my family and getting them involved. It bought us closer together and as they see what I do every day they value it a lot more. They understand more about the processes of things and I’ve enjoyed sharing that with them. Also, with my friends from afar it has bought us all closer together and created a much better support system.

Woman Throw and Cushion from One Nine Eight Five

Another thing that has kept me motivated and grounded is my dog Lulu. We enjoy going for long walks and I’ve discovered loads of places on my doorstep that I didn’t know existed. It’s also bought me much closer to my local community. In times of uncertainty when you have no control, it’s so powerful when people come together. I’m so thankful for my neighbours and the acts of kindness people are doing locally and afar. It’s so inspiring, motivating and grounding. It has made the future feel a lot less scary to me, and for that I am really grateful.

For me, life moves so fast. I’m always late, always running to the next thing. To be able to take a step back and stop is such a special thing. Slowing down whilst still being productive has been a really humbling experience.

Like what you see? Shop One Nine Eight Five.

Want to know more? Read Meet the Designer: One Nine Eight Five.