Sticking My Beak In
Hello! I'm Emily, a wife, mummy of two and a lover of all things interiors and I've recently joined the Duck Barn team, so I'm starting off by sticking my beak in to interview Tracy, the founder and owner of Duck Barn Interiors, to find out more about the company and its gorgeous handpicked home furnishings and accessories.
Hatching Duck Barn
Tracy’s journey began with Duck Barn after building their own house. When it came to the interiors she knew what look she wanted, but found herself spending a huge amount of time searching for furniture and accessories to suit their new home: “When tackling the interior design, there was so much (or little) choice, quality and price varied considerably and sometimes it just wasn't 'quite right'. After much exploring, I gradually found the items to suit, but it had been quite a long-winded task and that's where the seed was sown for Duck Barn Interiors.” Tracy was passionate that others would be able to visit one place that would meet their interior needs on all levels and so Duck Barn was hatched in 2013. “The aim being,” Tracy says, “to bring together a lovely mix of high quality home furnishings and accessories that we would be proud to have in our own home, all in one boutique website.”
It’s this personal touch that Tracy brings to the company that makes it successful and admired by her customers; even the company name comes from her childhood: “The name Duck Barn came from a house in the village where I grew up. There were ducks in their pond that I used to love feeding, despite one regularly pecking my finger!”
After a couple of years of running Duck Barn alongside her full time job, Tracy decided to take a “deep breath” and commit to her growing business full time.
When asked what her interior inspiration was Tracy’s reply only affirms why the collection Duck Barn offers works so well: “My design inspiration is really from the countryside as I love earthy colours and like to make a place feel homely and comfortable, while still being stylish and practical. You can always add splashes of colour with accessories, artwork, cushions (I can't resist plumping a cushion!) but, for me, the earthy baseline works well. The countryside does it well so naturally, so who are we to argue?” In a world suddenly aware and conscious of re-establishing its relationship with nature, interiors are also drawing upon being at one with outside and popular looks draw their inspiration from it: Duck Barn fits perfectly into this new outlook.
A recent interiors fit out of one of the marketing apartments at Castle View Retirement Village, Windsor. Homely but with a splash of colour.
Tracy ensures her product’s materials are befitting with her inspiration and so you can find oak furniture that has been sustainably sourced; natural organic rattan and bamboo storage solutions that don’t use any kind of glue; colour palettes including soft pebbles, greengage and clay and textures of chunky knit, woven wicker and smooth wood.
Each product that appears on Duck Barn Interior’s website has been hand selected by Tracy; this is something that’s hugely important to her and the brand: “I attend trade shows so that I can see the products in person, which enables me to check their quality. Being online, our customers can't physically see or touch the product first, so it's imperative that I do that. I know when I've ordered items, I want to be excited about their arrival and then delighted when they're delivered, so the quality is an important part of ensuring we meet that goal. It's so satisfying when you're asked 'Oh I love that, where did you get it from? Whether it's an item of clothing or a new handbag, so we'd like that same question for something in our home. I also ask myself 'Would I be happy with this in my home?' If it's not a yes, then I'm afraid it doesn't make the grade.”
Spreading Its Wings
Duck Barn is a family business and despite wanting it to grow, Tracy’s vision for the brand isn’t necessarily to become big and corporate. Instead she values what it is to be a small business; “So much has already changed since I started the business and we’re seeing some of the struggles that the high street is experiencing, so to continue to grow the business and the brand is key. I'd like to see Duck Barn Interiors becoming a brand in its own right and to be one of the 'go to' places when choosing an item for your home. The retail market is continually evolving and we may expand at a slower pace than some of the bigger players, but so long as we do that without compromising our products and continuing to deliver excellent customer service, then the experience of buying from a smaller family business is often more rewarding.”
So what’s Tracy’s ‘go to’ item? When asked what one of her favourite items was, she knew exactly what she would pick: “It’s the Wire Weave Fairy Light Lamp. They are truly beautiful as they look stylish during the day but when lit up with their fairy lights twinkling, they really are stunning. They suit any room and also make a perfect gift, whether for a new home or a wedding. It's always commented on at home. ”
This product encapsulates Tracy’s values for Duck Barn – it’s stylish as well as practical, it’s likely to provoke one of those ‘ooh that’s lovely’ comments, it’s not extortionately priced and finally it’s definitely passed the grade as it’s also in her house!
One of Tracy's favourites, the Wire Weave Fairy Light Lamp. Available in three sizes.
Horses for Courses
Even when she’s not working, Tracy embraces the outdoors through her love for horses and riding: “My passion since my childhood has been horses. I currently have two, so they keep me busy. One is now retired and enjoying life being pampered and the other is a more recent addition to the family, so we're enjoying rides in the countryside and regular lessons - always working on improving my riding and keeping him (and me!) fit and healthy.”
Another firm favourite - her four legged friends.
For those who already follow Duck Barn on social media, you will know that Tracy’s ‘quackers’ about their products - the light-heartedness is all part of the brand and when asked to describe her company’s products in three words Tracy replied, “Contemporary, handpicked and cherished”... and it’s as simple as that. Like water (you know where I’m going with this) off a duck’s back.
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- Emily Tumber