Maker Monday: The Vale London

Melinda Marquardt turned her career around when she began The Vale London. As a textile saleswoman for a major brand, she learned the industry inside and out, and became familiar with the process and art of textile design. It was in 2017, then, that she left her sales job and began selling her own product. An incredibly talented fine artist, Marquardt began transferring her skills for art and sales to branding her own studio of textiles and wallpaper. Inspired by the glamour and elegance of Southwest London where she grew up, Melinda names each collection after a place in the city, creating a strong identity for her new, but very successful, brand. See what the Londoner has been up to since departing her desk job, and check out her designs at THEVALELONDON.CO.UK.

The Lily Stripe and Kubb patterns from The Vale’s debut collection, The Oakley.

Andrew Joseph: What’s your current TV obsession?
Melinda Marquardt: I’m slightly embarrassed to say, The Bachelor, it’s such wonderful mindless television. After a long day of work, there’s nothing better than an episode of pure trash. Having said that, I absolutely love a Louis Theroux docu-series and Netflix documentaries in general. When it comes to TV or movies I’m not so into fiction.

Andrew: Favorite app?
Melinda: Deliveroo! (the Uber Eats of London). Such a waste of money but such a time saver. I travel loads for work and am rarely home for a meal. Every time I go to the grocery store and do a proper shop it just sits in my fridge and goes to waste.

Andrew: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Melinda: Relaaaax girl! Your current problem isn’t going to matter in the next five minutes let alone the next five years. Focus on what you love and with enough practice, you’ll be great at it. If someone says no, try another avenue until you get a yes.

Marquardt’s lilies are drawn from hand and distributed around the world.

Andrew: Are there qualities in potential clients that you identify that make you know you have to run away.
Melinda: Deciding on which potential suppliers and showrooms I want to work with is such an important decision. I look for values that I share personally as well as in business. If you look at the top businesses in the industry they are family owned and run by those who are wildly passionate about what they do. I look for generosity, kindness, a strong work ethic and passion. I tend to turn away from know-it-alls and those who patronize me because I’m young.

My mother always said to trust my gut and this is how I operate. If I get a funky feeling in a first meeting, I won’t go back again. My instinct has always proven to be my strongest attribute.

Andrew: What’s one thing that is always in your refrigerator?
Melinda: Don’t judge me… Diet Coke, Vodka and mayonnaise. That’s literally all that’s in my fridge right now #adulting.

Relating to your previous question about my favorite app, restaurants NEVER supply enough condiments and I always forget to order drinks. The vodka is self-explanatory.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Melinda: Challenging, rewarding & creative. Being an entrepreneur to me is about being a little bit scrappy. It’s solving one Rubik’s cube at a time and trying not to panic! There’s always a solution.

About The Maker | After working in sales for American textile company, Fabricut, for seven years, designer and artist Melinda Marquardt founded The Vale London in 2017. Partnering her education in fine art with her many years of sales experience, Melinda created the Vale London to provide exquisite textiles and wallpapers to the luxury interiors market. Her company name is a tribute to the street in Chelsea where she spent her childhood.

Inspired by the interiors of townhouses she knew growing up, she designs with the comfortable elegance of South West London in mind. Today, her fabric and wallpaper designs blend the timeless decorative arts and architecture of our capital with cultural treasures from her global travels. The Vale celebrates the thriving contrasts of the world’s most international city. Each collection will be named after a London street or square, including The Vale’s debut release, The Oakley Collection.

Each pattern starts out as an original piece of artwork; illustrated by hand and produced by the finest mills. Each meter of fabric or roll of wallpaper is a piece of art for the home. Texture, color and design work symbiotically to create each unique piece. Melinda creates timeless designs that will adorn windows and walls for many years.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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