At Home with the founder of Edit58, Lisa Mehydene
We all have some sort of impetus that stops us in our tracks and gives us pause. It may be a fleeting moment — one that can be ignored and from which we may quickly move on — or, that slight bump can inspire us to shift directions in life. What's more, that bolt of inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes. In the case of Lisa Mehydene, it can very well be something that develops over the course of a long, emphatically successful career.
The founder of interiors platform edit58, Lisa found herself fully devoted to her passion after toiling in — and progressing through — one of the most competitive industries imaginable. Her career took her from the UK to Dubai and Singapore, adding up to eight years of living abroad.
Now, having spent years settling into this new rendition of her life, the joyful and energetic Lisa takes a minute to chat with us about her background, some of the hurdles she (still) has to overcome, and a few of her favourite pieces of fine art photography.
edit.58 – where did both the name and concept come from?
I wish there was a more interesting story to the name but 58 is our house number! When it came to registering a domain name pre-launch, every brand name I thought of was already taken. A good friend recommended making the name more obscure with the addition of a number that meant something to me - so that’s what I did! The edit part just seemed to succinctly sum up the curated offering of the brand.
Why did you launch edit58?
If I'm honest, I was looking for an ‘out’ from my career in advertising and falling pregnant with twins was the perfect time to say goodbye to that part of my life. I had spent the previous 10+ years climbing the ladder and had reached board level. After having the twins, I just knew I couldn’t go back to the stressful world of advertising. I freelanced for a brief period and then we decided to move back to the UK from Singapore (where we were living at the time). I knew that with a move home I could start my own business.
Interiors has always been my passion and so I knew my business would be related to this, somehow. Increasingly, with my years living overseas, friends would ask where I had picked things up from that they spotted in our home. This, coupled with decorating our London house, made me realise there was a gap in the market for one-off/artisanal homewares (particularly rugs). I launched online in Summer 2015 with a tight edit of pieces I love and have in my own home - and now 4 years later, whilst the offering has grown, and in particular we have done collaborations in lighting, ceramics and enamelware - the original premise remains the same.
Can you highlight some of your best collaborations to date and why you love them so much? Does this correspond with your bestseller over the years?
It’s impossible to pick a favourite collaboration - it’s like asking me to pick my favourite child!
I do love our enamel jug collaboration with Lisa Hardy. I had wanted to created a line of hand painted jugs for a while as I love the idea of ‘beautifying’ quite a functional/basic object and turning an everyday item into an artwork. My PR knows Lisa well, so kindly introduced us as I had long admired her floral paintings. I knew she would be the perfect collaborator, and she kindly agreed! Enamel was a new canvas for her and it involved trialing enamel paint to see if it would work, and I’m thrilled it did. I love the resulting jugs. And they’ve been a huge hit which is so lovely.
I also love the edit58 x Matilda Goad MG rattan light collaboration. I had wanted to create an item using our rattan artisans in Bali for sometime. Whilst the process from initial meeting with Matilda to launch was fairly long and there were numerous bumps along the way - it was worth every minute. We are thrilled with the result and the response from customers and press alike.
Which is the best part to your job? From the outside it looks rather fun being able to cherry pick creatives and brands to co-collaborate with?
I feel very privileged to be in a position of being close to the creative process. I am not a ceramicist/a weaver/a painter etc, and yet, through the products we produce - I am able to infiltrate these worlds, working closely with these artisans to bring my visions to life through their talent and expertise.
The other best bit is seeing the rugs I source in the homes of clients. There’s no better feeling than finding ‘the one’ and seeing it in situ.
How do you plan future collaborations? Meet a person you love, or see a product you would like in your house, or is your decision more commercially strategic?
It’s very organic actually. Sometimes I meet someone and we hit it off and then an idea is born. Others, I strategically approach.
What key implementation has made running your company easier for you?
Taking on team members, albeit it on a part time and consultancy basis. I’m a total control freak, and when it’s your own business it’s always hard to relinquish ownership of some aspects - but having a PR and a part time assistant has really freed me up to focus on key parts of the business and those I’m best at (and enjoy most!).
Where do you source your vintage furniture?
Flea markets, reclamation yards, antique markets/shops.
Would it be a fair assessment to say that you love a brocante?!
‘Love’ doesn’t quite convey my affinity to brocantes! My knees go wobbly at the mere sight of a brocante sign. So much treasure to be had. I’m addicted to the thrill of the hunt.
Flowers or plants for indoors?
Both; although for their longevity I’ll say plants.
Favourite time of year to be in your home?
Spring. The front of our house is covered In wisteria, so for few short weeks when it is in full bloom the windows are framed by gorgeous purple flowers and a heady scent fills the rooms.
Scented candles or fragrant florals?
I used to spend a small fortune on scented candles, but about a year ago I decided that what with the reported harm caused to our health and the environment by burning them, I would halt my addiction. So fragrant florals it is.
Which 3 online companies couldn’t you live without in your day to day life?
1. This makes me sound very middle aged but good old Marks and Spencer - I’m always ordering online from them and collecting next day from my local branch (which is handily at the end of my street!)
2. Ocado - I haven’t done a weekly shop in store for years. I regularly top-up at local independent suppliers (we buy our meat and fish from small speciality providers), but like to know the bulk is coming to my door once a week!
3. Shopify - it’s the online platform we use to run edit58. I wouldn’t have a business without it!
What have been your biggest hurdles running an e-commerce store?
I suppose one of the biggest hurdles to being an online homewares brand is that customers don’t have the opportunity to see/touch/feel the items before they buy and for homewares that’s quite a hurdle. I appreciate that it’s a leap to go from seeing a picture online/in a magazine and then going online and pressing the ‘buy’ button. But as time has gone on we’ve built up a loyal following and feel lucky to have a customer base that trusts our offering.
If London wasn’t your home town, where would you like to live?
Having lived overseas for 8 years, I’m still very much in love with London and being back here. If you pushed me, I suppose I would quite like to live in a farmhouse in Provence. One with a weekly brocante in the village square!
How do you relax?
I’m quite old fashioned in that I still love a good ol’ magazine and a glass of wine on the sofa. I also love going out to dinner with friends/husband. And travel relaxes (yet inspires) me like nothing else can. And sad but true - I’m never happier/more relaxed than when shopping at a flea market.
Photography – we admired your Norman Parkinson print of Jerry Hall in her red swim suit in your sitting room. Does this mean vintage photography is your preferred era of photography?
Actually, whilst I love vintage photography, I suppose it is more fashion photography that I like. Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Corinne Day....to name a few....