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Interview: Peter Holmes, Be Seated; and Ellie Clinch

 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND?

P: I’m from Preston in Lancashire. I trained as an apprentice upholsterer in Lancaster and started my own upholstery business at the age of 20. Four years later I decided I needed to see a bit more of the world and sold the business to go travelling around Australia and Far East Asia. When I returned to the UK, I moved to London and worked for a prestigious manufacturing upholstery company and it was there that I really honed my craft. However, the travel bug got to me again and I spent a year travelling through East and Southern Africa before finally settling in Edinburgh in 1998.

E: I grew up, mainly, just outside of Edinburgh in the Scottish Borders. Growing up I wouldn’t really call myself creative, but my creativity was expressed through the way I dressed, presented myself and the way I saw the world. Whilst studying Media I fell in love with photography through design projects and it sort of evolved from there. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in New York, Atlanta, California, London and Edinburgh with photography.

 

CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR PRACTICE AND WHAT YOU DO?

P: We specialise in producing bespoke upholstery and are specialists in mid-century furniture. Whether restoring or making, our aim is to provide resolute construction and ergonomically sound furniture. Every piece is individually tailored using traditional craft skills and materials, while at the same time embracing modern techniques where appropriate. 

E: I ‘shoot a wide variety of things including fashion campaigns, portraits, corporate ‘shoots, weddings, product ‘shoots. I like to keep challenging myself and also undertake social media and branding work and I’m doing some filming too! Like most freelancers my work changes day-to- day so it keeps me on my toes!

 

HOW DID YOU COME TO COLLABORATE TOGETHER?

P: We’re both members of Creative Edinburgh. I’d seen Ellie give a talk for one of Creative Edinburgh’s networking events, Talking Heads and was struck by her enthusiasm. I was looking to work with someone creative who could help with my website and social media as well as do some photography and Ellie turned out to the perfect fit.

E: After giving my talk for Talking Heads last year Janine reached out to me mentioning that Peter was looking for someone to take on to look after the social media side of his business as well as providing product photos and working on his website. After an initial meeting, spending Fridays at Be Seated has become something I really relish.

 

ANY TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL COLLABORATION?

P: Don’t expect it to work right away. Collaboration is a process that evolves over time and you can’t expect the other person to know exactly where you’re coming from at the outset. Take time to find out how the other person approaches work and try and complement each other where possible

E: Clear communication. It’s easy to think that everyone thinks the way that you do, or works in a similar way to you, and ultimately that’s not true. Like any relationship, a working relationship takes time and it is important to appreciate that it won’t be absolutely amazing straight off the bat. Give it time for teething problems, raise your concerns and work hard to make it work and after a while it’ll click.

 

ANY EXCITING PROJECTS OR EVENTS YOU HAVE ON THE HORIZON?

P: Definitely. We’re looking at ways we can create more engaging content for the website and one area we’re really keen to develop is around the use of film. We’re currently in the process of recording and documenting aspects of the business and I’m really looking forward to seeing how that will impact our online presence. Ellie recently redesigned the website and we’ve been working hard at increasing our social media and digital based media profile.

E: We’re planning on doing a film, which I can’t wait for. I’ve been dabbling in a little bit of filming for some clients and in my mind it’s an extension of photography and something that I would love to try! We are also working hard on raising the profile of Be Seated, and I’m excited to see where that goes.

 

WHAT MAKES EDINBURGH A GOOD CITY TO BE BASED?

P: Edinburgh is a vibrant city with striking architecture, excellent art galleries and museums and a world-famous arts festival. But what really inspires me is the collection of small creative industries that are thriving here. There’s a real sense of community and it’s thanks to organisations like Creative Edinburgh that we can come together and collaborate and share our expertise.

E: Edinburgh, to me, is almost like a ‘town-city’. It’s small but there is plenty to do from walking up Arthurs Seat, to visiting Stockbridge, heading over to the Arches, shopping on Princes Street and George street and we have this abundance of beautiful little independent coffee houses which are great to work in. I also love the sense of community I get in Edinburgh. I have a brilliant network that I can call upon and it’s one of the first places I’ve lived where I’ve really felt that to the extent I do in Edinburgh. London and New York are great cities, but you can feel a bit lost in the sea of so much…

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE THINKING OF PURSUING A CAREER IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?

P: Never undersell yourself. People will take advantage of that. Believe in what you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

E: Work hard. Build a good network. Create work that you believe in and don’t ever stop believing in yourself. What you do will evolve and change; what you do on day one might be totally different from what you are doing on day 100. But ride the waves of opportunity and don’t give up.

 

Find out more about Peter's work at Be Seated and Ellie's photography; to become a Craetive Edinburgh member, click here