Summerill & Bishop
Summerill & Bishop’s CEO and creative director Seb Bishop says the luxury tableware company is here to set the trends, not follow them. The former CEO of Goop tells us how his mother has always been his inspiration, and what new designs to look out for this summer.
“Purpose is paramount to me. Every business I’ve ever been a part of has had a clear purpose. Early in my career, my purpose was to get people online, and change the world of online advertising. In some ways, my purpose at Summerill & Bishop is in direct rebellion of that work during my digital days – now I want to change the way people come together at the table, to encourage them to connect with each other and be present, away from the distractions of social media and devices.
“At S&B, we want to change the way people eat and we do that by creating beautiful tablecloths – a beautifully laid table encourages people to stay at the table for longer.
“My love of tableware is an inherited trait from my mother – there was always room for one more at her table. She laid the most beautiful tables, simple but incredibly special settings that made her guests feel like every detail was thought out just for them. Perhaps I wasn’t aware of it at the time but, subconsciously, it’s been instilled in me, to value the personal little things. Of course, the tableware should be beautiful and practical but really, the table is about coming together and connecting. It doesn’t need to be a social media moment; it needs to encourage people to sit for as long as possible so that they can talk, laugh and share.
“At S&B we set out to reposition the tablecloth as a relevant and aspirational item that feels current, covetable and most importantly – cool. We have seen a steady increase in the demand for table linens over the past year, as more people dined at home than ever before. I’m currently alternating between our recently released Pink Hydrangea and Blossom table linens. For both designs, we were inspired by our home here in Notting Hill. Our new ‘Stripe’ collection is a firm favourite too – it’s our colourful rendition of happy moments made on Mediterranean escapes, and is available in four colourways.
“Belgravia is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and distinctive neighbourhoods in London; Elizabeth Street has been our second home for four years now and we’re looking forward to many, many more.”
Pronounced “set”, The Sette was founded in 2018, bridging the gap between table and kitchenware. When founders Belgravia resident Sophie Elliott, 30, and Cloe Bueso, 32, met, Sophie was in lifestyle and fashion PR and Cloe was in luxury marketing, including her family’s textile business in Honduras. They both quickly discovered that some of their favourite memories took place in the kitchen…
“We both grew up understanding the importance of sitting down with family and friends for a meal around the kitchen table and so the idea of setting a table for any meal, special or not, was ingrained in us from an early age.
“As we get older we have naturally taken more care in our own homes, how we furnish them, what we buy for our kitchens and how we spend our time, which includes more entertaining at home (especially during lockdowns!), and this process highlighted that there was a gap in the market for The Sette.
“We met through mutual friends in London. We both actually studied and lived in Paris at the same time and knew the same people but we never met. It’s all about timing!
“We actually launched during peak Covid in October 2020, from Sophie’s home, so we don’t really have much to compare it to. However, we can say that we have been incredibly lucky with healthy sales since day one and the business is growing in a positive way. Speaking to friends and from personal experience, everyone does seem to be a lot more interested in purchasing items for their tables than before, and seasonal dates such as Christmas and Easter are a very big deal for the tableware industry.
“A great tablecloth is always a very good place to start. It can totally change how the kitchen feels.
“We source from Europe, mostly Italy, France and the UK, and are releasing a few more products under our private label as well as three very exciting collaborations (table linens and fine bone china) with both UK and US brands. We also have a few new pieces coming from British brands in time for the summer and outdoor dining, which we are particularly excited about.
“Belgravia is where the business started – at Sophie’s kitchen table – so it will always be very close to our hearts.”
Bonadea hand-picks the finest pieces by heritage brands and contemporary designers, creating a home for the world’s finest tableware. Founder Gemma Martínez de Ana tells us about her inspirations and aspirations for the business, which has just moved to Pimlico Road
“Growing up in my native Spain I have fond memories of my family enjoying the traditional long Spanish lunches, socialising for hours with our loved ones. The tablescape and my grandmother’s china playing the role of backdrop for the unfolding mini dramas and conversational scenes that played out. I developed, from a young age, a love for long lunches and porcelain, and I now have several of my grandmother’s pieces within my own collection. I find great joy in integrating these pieces into my designs and adding new memories to them.
“Undoubtedly there has been a growth in demand for tableware in the last year. We found that people wanted to make a meal out of every occasion, which extended to laying up beautiful tables with linens, glassware and proper serviceware. I hope this is a fashion that will continue, even when restaurants open back up again.
“We’ve had a really busy year, getting the shop designed and opened as well as working with some beautiful brands on exclusive pieces. One of which is Marie Daage with whom we have designed a collection of plates. Each piece is hand-painted using Marie’s own colourful pigments and features a wildflower motif – a nice symbol for unfurling and growing on from this last year of lockdowns. We’ve also worked with Los Encajeros on a collection of linens that are perfect for the upcoming outdoor entertaining season.
“Whether for casual or formal dining, table linens set the scene – they can be dressed down or up depending on the occasion. From embroideries to simple, starched linen, they create the perfect canvas on which to build upon. A simple porcelain design will immediately be uplifted by a beautiful napkin, placemat or tablecloth.
“We’re very lucky to be opening our first store in Belgravia; the neighbourhood is unlike any other in London. It’s so warm and welcoming and I love its rich heritage. Pimlico Road is an especially exciting place; every shop is filled with creative minds and I love that energy. It makes me excited to continue designing new pieces and add a colourful addition to the street. On top of this, our store is in the old photo studio of Antony Armstrong-Jones (Earl of Snowdon) and so there is a positively palpable energy within the four walls. I hope when people come and visit us they will feel excited and ready to start entertaining guests once again.”