Five Go Mad

Monday 18 October 2010

Interview with Snowden Flood

What inspired you to start out?
I was working in New York for a large architecture and interiors firm designing bespoke products for our famous clients.  This meant that I spent lots of time going to tradeshows and meeting manufacturers so I had lots of experience already making products but frustratingly not always the ones I wanted to make!.  I also already had lots of designs.  So when I had a baby in 2003 I had some time on my hands & I developed the iconic landmarks as cushions, that was the start.

Who was your biggest influence on your work?
Well initially a lady called Joan who is a product consultant for Barney's NY.  She saw my cushions when they were still really sketchy designs in 2002 or 2003 and encouraged me to build a range out of them - plates, mugs etc.  She gave me a long-term vision - my whole collections grew from my conversations with her

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm just finishing up the range I've designed for Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and am launching a new range inspired by fun fair signage - quite different in feel from some of my other work.

Do you have a favourite product from your range?
Yes I like the World Rivers cups and saucers.  They are quite subtle and not one of the sets that gets the most attention, but I love the delicacy of them and anyway designing them was fun, fulfilling my own imaginary river journeys!

How would you describe your style?
Quirky British Nostalgia

What makes a house a home for you?
Books - lots of them, colour, things with character that you've picked up over time - that could be anything really

How did you get involved with FiveGoMad?
They wrote to me and I thought it sounded like a great idea

FiveGoMad's slogan is quintessentially British, what does that conjure up for you?
Well I think of Britishness being a bit of a mixture of eccentricity, attention to detail and quality.  Think of someone like Sir Paul Smith.  The essence of looking at something differently, with a twinkle in your eye and then making something beautiful that you'd want to keep forever.  That's my goal for my own products really.

What would be your dream commission?
I often dream about designing a range of products for English Heritage or the National Trust based on their houses.  Also my background is art so I'm very drawn to art galleries and museums - they are places I spend lots of my time.

Which of your contemporary's do you admire?
I very much admire the work of Marian Bantjes, she's writing, making, designing, always having interesting things to show and say.  I also like the playful sometimes experimental style of Pieke Bergmans.

What's next for Snowden Flood? 
I don't feel I've even scratched the surface of what I want to do yet....

Sunday 3 October 2010


To celebrate the launch of FiveGoMad, Clare & Simon hosted a pop up restaurant at Jone's Dairy Cafe, on Wednesday, September 15th. The guest list consisted of friends, well wishers and some of our lovely suppliers.

The evening kicked off at 7:30pm, with guests being greeted by the quintessentially British aperitif of a beautifully crafted gin & tonic, the main ingredient courtesy of artisanal distillers Sipsmith. Everybody then sat down to a 6 course extravaganza lovingly prepared by FiveGoMad co-founder Simon, with his partner in crime and fellow GoMadder Clare.

In keeping with our site the meal followed a British theme, the menu being:

Bacon & Egg
(white truffle custard with truffle stock and smoked bacon crisp)
Prawn cocktail
(pan fried garlic marinaded tiger prawns on mini gem lettuce, cucumber, spring onions, with home made marie rose sauce)

Pea Soup

(pea and coconut milk)

Tartare of Smoked Salmon
(Sladbury farm organic smoked salmon with capers, gherkins, red onion, and sour cream with dill)

Oxtail Pie

(served with creamy mashed potato and baby carrots cooked in star anise infused orange juice)

Strawberries & Cream
(served between two pieces of heart shaped shortbread)

Clare styled the 'Oh-so-English' vintage feel venue with bunting supplied by Twisted Twee, Union Jack napkins, red roses and candles burning on every table to give a magical look to the evening.

The whole shebang finally wound down at the witching hour, guests staggering off into the late Summer night (being careful not to disturb the neighbours).

It was a fun evening all round. Hard work for Clare & Simon, but well worth the effort. We'd like to thank Rebecca, Lucy for their invaluable help in the kitchen, and especially warm thanks to Robin Whaite for allowing us to hire the cafe for our event. One question remains. Would we do it again? You bet! For an update on forthcoming events please email

Saturday 2 October 2010

Interview with Sue Hill

What made you decide to set up Sue Hill Handknits?
I was pregnant with my son Jack and decided that I didn’t want to return to my job in London as it entailed a lot of overseas travel and I didn’t want to be away from him for long periods. My mother suggested hand knits as I had always knitted for my friends’ children.

How important do you think independent businesses are to the UK market?
I think they are vital as they provide innovative ideas and products in a saturated mass market oriented era.

What are you working on at the moment?
We are already working on our Autumn/Winter 11 samples! We juggle wholesale and retail which is very difficult – we are selling retail AW10 and wholesale SS11 at the moment. We are incorporating more textured fabrics with the Liberty fabric and combining more knitwear and fabric styles together.

Where do you get ideas for your designs?
My main inspiration is vintage. I love the designs from the 50’s and 60’s mainly and then incorporate my own ideas with these styles.

Are your products made in the UK?
Everything we make is hand made in the UK . We have our own team of knitters and seamstresses all over the country and even the buttons and labels are stitched on by hand by me and a few helpers.

What is the Sue Hill handknits trademark? What set's you apart? 
Our trademark is the highest quality in hand made clothing – using only the very best yarns and fabrics with great attention to detail. We also pride ourselves on our customer service – nothing is too much trouble to achieve the right result.

What do your children think of the clothes? Are they fans?
I have one son of six (Jack) who has seen his mummy knitting and sewing since he was born . He spends a lot of time in the office with me so he understands what we make and how important it is. He says he is very proud, especially when he sees any publicity we get where our photo is featured!

Five Go Mad is "Quintessentially British" what does "Best of British" mean for you?
Best of British means excellent quality, classic style and a caring attitude.

What's next for Sue Hill Handknits?
As I mentioned we are now working on our autumn/winter 11 samples. We are moving forward with our export plans and we are already supplying Bergdorf Goodman in New York as well as a boutique in Paris. I have a trip to Tokyo planned for November as a part of a British fashion group and hope to promote our high quality British products to the Japanese market.

Liz Appleby

Friday 1 October 2010

Q and A with Suzi Warren of Twisted Twee

London based Suzi Warren of Twisted Twee creates pieces for kids and grown ups. Everything from baby pants to pillowcases are emblazoned with slogans and famous faces. Want some quirky jewellery to jazz up your outfit ladies? how about a knitted ring. Dad, matching t shirt for you and your son? Grab yourself a twinset. Kids, need to know how to dry those dishes, get yourself an instructional tea towel and away you go.

How did Twisted Twee come about?

A need to admit to myself that my brain hadn't turned to slurry after having a baby. It was my way of documenting the baffling and often life-threatening things my daughter Betty did, and served as a tribute to the befuddlement of child-rearing.

Where did the name come from?

Twisted Twee is as much a mission statement as a name. I've always enjoyed merging the benign with the berserk. If Twisted Twee did day trips they'd  consist of driving army tanks in the morning and a high cream tea in the afternoon.

Did you face any particular challenges starting up as an online shop?

Not ever using the internet was one.  Not knowing anything about business was another. Not having enough time, money, support, knowledge, influence and foresight was a third.

Where do you get ideas for your product ranges?


Are all of your items made in the UK?

The pillowcases, tea towels, and bags are all made and printed in the UK. The t shirts are also printed in the UK using organic ink.

What is your best selling item?

Political Pants - Boris Johnson.

What is your favourite item you sell?

Bad Bunting - pretty yet depressed Festoons of Gloom that are guaranteed to put a dampener on any occasion. My favourite is "DONT FEEL OBLIGED TO STAY".

Who is the typical Twisted Twee customer?

I sincerely hope there isn't one!

Five Go Mad's slogan is 'Quintessentially British'. What does that mean to you?

Garden fetes, tea tents,and boot fairs.

What's up next for Twisted Twee?

Twisted Twee Adult Lucky Bags, - out later this month. And De-motivational Posters -  out for Christmas.

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