A Life Well Travelled

A Taste For Travel

Issue 9 - 2018
Words by Gill Morgan

One of the joys of going abroad is seeking out treasures to bring back for your home. Former ad exec Lisa Mehydene has gone a step further, transforming her passion for travel-inspired homeware into a thriving business

Issue 9 - 2018
By Gill Morgan

One of the joys of going abroad is seeking out treasures to bring back for your home. Former ad exec Lisa Mehydene has gone a step further, transforming her passion for travel-inspired homeware into a thriving business

Walk into Lisa Mehydene’s lovely home in south west London and you’re struck by a sense of life lived, countries visited – and an unerringly stylish eye. There is a layered richness to the rooms, filled with rugs, pots, paintings and baskets. Everything looks like it has a story.

 

Mehydene is the founder of edit58, an online homeware store that takes its inspiration from travel. Launched three years ago, the company now has a presence in Soho House, The Conran Shop, Selfridges and Liberty, in addition to its burgeoning online business. So how did it all start? A career in advertising led to years of travel: “In 2007 we moved to Dubai, where I worked for Young & Rubicam. I was always shooting abroad, and I’m a natural magpie, so I was constantly spotting things and bringing them home. Then we moved to Singapore, and we did lots more travelling – weekends in Bali and so on. Friends would see things in our home and ask where I got them, so I’d say that next time I was there I’d bring them one back.”

 

After giving birth to twins, Lisa carried on working, but knew that when the family moved back to the UK, she didn’t want to carry on with agency life. Restoring a house from overseas for their return, she realised this was what she loved: creating beautiful interiors, filled with interesting finds. “I thought, I’m going to do a shop of things that I love that I’ve found on my travels, which I know that other people will love too.”

 

Her eye is spot-on. “I knew I wanted a tight edit,” says Lisa – initially baskets, blankets, cushions and wall hangings. “I used to shoot all the time in Morocco for work so a lot of things came from there. And right from the start I specialised in Berber rugs – they’ve been having such a moment for a while now, but it just keeps going.” Alongside the online edit58 business, Lisa takes on bespoke rug-buying in Morocco for clients. “People feel if they’re going to spend a decent amount on a rug, then why not invest just that little bit more and get something really special?”

 

Although she now goes on very targeted buying trips, it wasn’t always like that, as with one of her early finds, the hugely popular animal heads. “I was visiting a friend in Porto, and I always make time to have a hunt around. We went into a bookshop and this lady was making these lovely papier-mâché animal heads in the corner. I bought some, and they did really well right from the start. We had a big order last Christmas from The Conran Shop, and Liberty have them too. They’re unique, kids love them and you can match the animal to what the child is into.”

 

It was the animal heads that led to Lisa’s involvement with Soho House. Alex Eagle, the London-based creative director, stylist and tastemaker, bought some animal heads from edit58 after she’d had her baby, Jack, which led to her inviting Lisa to do a pop-up at her concept store in Soho, and from there to collaborate on some bespoke pieces for Soho Farmhouse and Soho House Berlin.

 

 

“I thought, I’m going to do a shop of things I love that I found on my travels, which I know other people will love too”

 

 

What’s clever about Mehydene’s edit is that her own home doesn’t scream “holiday buys”, or feel like someone’s got carried away in the souk, but there is a feeling of a curated home, filled with unusual finds from all around the world, without it being located in one particular place. “That’s the most thrilling thing you could say to me,” Lisa beams. “It’s true that part of what people are buying is the travel aspect. When we travel abroad, part of what we enjoy is the aesthetic and design of that place. But although lots of us love the idea of bringing things back, most people don’t want the hassle. And no one wants to look like they’ve transported an entire holiday look back home, whether it’s an Ibizan cabana or Moroccan bazaar.”

 

Which is where Instagram comes in. Lisa describes it as her shop window, and it drives her business. But rather than just showing the pieces, she also offers regular styling tips, showing how to combine things in a way that doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard. She uses her own house to do this – as she says, a normal family home with two kids, albeit a stylish one – which functions as a rolling lifestyle location to feature new products and styling tips. The morning we meet, edit58 has been featured in The Times as one of the top 10 design blogs to follow. Instagram also gives her a direct connection to her customers and to the design community – it’s how many of her collaborations have come about.

 

We take a walk around the house and she points out where everything comes from: “The wire words are from France. My in-laws live there so they found these, and we also do bespoke ones. You’ll see baskets everywhere; they’re still our biggest seller. We do them with bespoke embroidery, names, messages, whatever. The green Tamegroute pottery comes from Morocco – so beautiful. The rag rug runners are from Sweden – they’re great for family life. The cushions are made in East London, but using old fabric from Morocco.”

 

In the bedroom, she shows me her new pride and joy: a lovely cotton eiderdown made as a collaboration with the designer Molly Mahon using hand block fabric printed in India. Increasingly, this is how Lisa is developing the business: getting more involved in the design process, finding people to collaborate with, then working with local artisans to develop the product. The other range she’s really excited about is her new scalloped-edge woven wicker lampshades. “There’s a workshop collective in Bali that I discovered years ago when I was living in Asia. I’ve been wanting to work with them ever since. They do the most beautiful work with amazing skill.” This is the core of what she loves: “Seeing how you can apply local skills to something very current that I know people here would want in their home.”

 

Lisa’s close connection to her clients gives her a very strong sense of what kind of interiors we’re collectively lusting after. She’s noticed a big shift these last couple of years towards “more is more... more pattern and colour. I even see it in Berber rugs: a few years ago everyone wanted the classic Beni Ourain style – white with the black geometric shapes. But now Azilal rugs are getting really popular. They’re gorgeous and colourful. It’s that eclectic thing that people want, a global mix, and the stories that go with the pieces.”

 

So where is she planning to travel to next? “I definitely need to get to India – I’ve visited Kerala and Goa but there’s so much more to discover. And I want to see more of the Scandi countries, like Finland.” She laughs. “I have various ideas of what I’m looking for in these places, but the reality is, I’ll probably come back with something completely different.”

 

 

Lisa Mehydene on holiday in Portugal

 

 

Molly Mahon for edit58 block printed eiderdown

 

 

Lovely papier-mâché animal heads – kids love them and you can match the animal to what the child is into

 

 

Berber rug from Morocco

 

 

Moroccan Tamegroute fruitbowls

 

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