15 May 2019

Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Ian Snow

Ian snow, a sustainable furniture company, is different than most furniture suppliers because they put ethics at the core of everything they do. Ian Snow was founded by its name sake after he took a trip (or ten) to India in the late 60’s.

Ian, the founder of Ian Snow, was fed up with his outlook on life and wanted to broaden his knowledge. At 18 years old, he saved up 70 pounds and spent 6 weeks walking and hitchhiking to India, sleeping on the side of the road in a tent. Daisy Snow, Ian’s daughter and MD of Ian Snow said, “He walked through Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan among others, he just used physical maps and talked to people. He was even held at gunpoint at one point. When he got there, he fell in love with India and went back and forth for a number of years bringing interesting products back to the UK with him.”

Ian Snow

Ian Snow Backpacking to India

Ian sold the products at local markets, eventually opening his first store, then his second, and then his third. As Ian Snow expanded he began to source products from around the world. Ian’s future wife owned a fashion business that made products from waste. Daisy said, “She sold to Selfridges and Topshop and all these big brands, and my dad bought products from her for his shop. They eventually started dating and mum started the wholesale furniture side of Ian Snow. Last month my mum retired, and I am now taking on her work.”

Sustainable furniture

Ian Snow used to be very Indian inspired, but now its biggest inspiration is upcycled and recycled materials, “We sell a lot of sustainable furniture and products that are made from waste, we still have routes in India, but I wouldn’t describe our products as ethnic but more so eclectic. The crafts that we sell keep artisan skills alive. Everything we sell is painted by hand.”

Second hand furniture

Daisy’s favourite side of the brand is their Second Life range, that stocks second hand furniture from India, “We think people buy too much, so we don’t promote consumerism. We think everything you buy has an impact. Our Second Life range is circular rather than disposable. We want most of our products to be made from waste or from second hand materials. We make fresh things from what is already on the planet.”

Daisy believes that people now want to make their homes into a really interesting creative environment, “Our customers are really creative people, so they buy vintage doors from us and turn them into bedframes, and they buy fabric that they upholster furniture that they’ve had in their family for years with. They like to know that the second hand furniture and products they’re buying have a story behind them.”

second hand furniture

The sustainable furniture and homewares store are reassessing everything they’re doing to make sure they’re as sustainable as possible, “We won’t be buying anything new that has plastic in it, our aim is to be 100% plastic free in the next three years. Our packaging too, everything is wrapped in recyclable newspaper. We are taking the environment into consideration and the impact of what we do has on the world.”

Looking to meet Ian Snow and similar sustainable furniture brands? Visit Autumn Fair and source furniture and homeware accessories for your retail store in Living, Accents, and Décor in Hall 20.


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