Martin Ephson began his career in design as the owner of British heritage paint brand Farrow & Ball. And a deep love for good design and manufacturing led to the creation of Fermoie in 2011. In the nine years since Fermoie’s launch, the British brand has succeeded in bringing back the enjoyment of printed textiles. As a result, the brand has developed a strong following with interior designers in the UK, America and further afield. In a crowded market place, Martin and his co-founder Tom Helme have managed to sustain high levels of growth through innovative design, subtle printing and a great colour pallets.
How did you get the idea for Fermoie? Fermoie was the natural progression from Farrow & Ball— taking our deep expertise in colour and light into a textural dimension. Our big mission was to bring back the enjoyment of printing, so that people did not just look at the pattern but they looked at the printing and said “that is incredibly beautiful, how do they do that?”
How do you describe what you do to someone at a dinner party? Co-founder of Fermoie, a British fabric brand with a unique take on traditional fabric printing.
During the last year, we have all spent an incredible amount of time at home–what are some of the comments and trends you’ve noticed as a result? Home became the focus of most peoples lives and the 20 percent of income usually spent on travel and entertainment was largely spent instead, on home improvements.
You have over 400 colourways–how did you stay inspired? What makes a colourway successful? Colour lies at the heart of Fermoie. After screen prints are made, the lengthy process of trialling colours begins–it’s not just a matter of producing a colour that is beautiful in its own right, it’s about producing a series of colours within colour families that will sit well together in any combination. The results make the decision-making a lot easier for the customer. Fermoie has colours that make it very difficult to combine badly or to clash, so the customer has a good chance of getting it right every time.
What are the trends you are noticing in design–patterns, colours, fabrics Colour and pattern are back. That doesn’t mean the monochrome pallet has been consigned to history, but we just now have a broader range of aesthetics that are popular—an altogether healthier place to be.
What are some of the innovations in technology that are helping you and your business through Covid-19?Covid has been a massive catalyst, it’s changed the way many of us live and work and hopefully these changes will be sustained. The new flexability to where we work, our working hours and our new found sensitivity towards the environment has, with the help of technology, freed us all up enormously. At Fermoie, we already had a distinct advantage—designing and printing in one location here in the UK, and we were able to adopt new working patterns across our business.
Tell me a little bit more about your process of dyeing, printing and creating fabrics? Our design, though with traditional echoes, has the distinction of being completely original—we don’t revive old prints or patterns; instead, we chose to create anew and each design is conceived and hand-drawn at our studio.
What defines a Fermoie product? Original thinking and unparalleled care in everything we do, from the drawn design, through printing and of course our unique colours. And not forgetting environmental considerations—from natural fabrics, pigment dyes and sensitive packaging