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Meet Becky the creator Pretty Dandy, an online homewares shop selling loads of vintage, handcrafted and beautifully designed goods. She also organises the Pretty Dandy Flea which will be on this weekend in Nottingham. Find out how she runs her business all the way from Barcelona with a cup of tea and cake on stand by…
Becky Morris Knight
Owner of Pretty Dandy
At my desk, listening to the rain in Barcelona
Sweet or Savoury:
Sweet. Every time. I’m a sucker for sugary treats!
Knit or Crochet:
Knit. I can’t do either, but I used to be able to knit when I was little and it’s something I often think about taking up again. I love the feel of the needles, the clackety-clack noise, that moment when you slip into a rhythm. Plus you can buy wool in really lovely colours!
Hero or Villian
Oooh. That’s a tough one! I think I’ll have to go hero because even though I love a villain, I also do want them to lose in the end. I’d like a flawed hero though please, preferably with a great outfit. Like Wonder Woman!
Can I choose more than one? I love really silly kittens, with big heads and tiny bodies. I’m also a sucker for a little curly haired white dog. Lambs, llamas, alpacas, bunnies. Basically anything kinda fuzzy. Oh and octopi are pretty cool too!
I change my mind about this all the time, but two really magnificent films are O Brother Where Art Thou? by the Coen Brothers and Magnolia by Paul Thomas Anderson. They are two of my favourites alongside Bugsy Malone, It’s a Wonderful Life and anything with Bill Murray.
1950′s for style (fashion & home), right now because life is good and 2060 because I’ll be retired and there will probably be flying cars and stuff by then, right?
What is your favourite vintage find and why?
My favourite find is some vintage wallpaper which I bought on a whim an awfully long time ago, for a couple of pounds on Ebay. At the time we were living in rented accommodation where we weren’t even allowed to put up pictures, never mind redecorate. I hung onto it for about 5 years, shifting these funny old rolls of wallpaper from cupboard to cupboard. Eventually we bought our own place and I was so excited to use this paper. I brought it out and proudly displayed it to my husband who took one look and declared he didn’t like it. We struck a deal where I could use it on one wall and if he didn’t like it we’d change it fairly soon. Luckily, he loved it and I still think it’s just beautiful, interesting and unusual. It’s stylish, bold and yet not too ‘in your face’. I love it!
Describe Pretty Dandy in five words:
Eclectic, curious, open, colourful and fun!
How did Pretty Dandy start?
I was working for my father, living in Nottingham but driving up to Doncaster every day to work in the family business. It was lovely to work with my Dad and see my family a lot, but the work I was doing just wasn’t fulfilling for me… our family business sells car parts! As I’m sure you can imagine, as a girl with a head full of art prints, bows and vintage china, it just wasn’t a good fit. I’d always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and set up my own business, so it was just a matter of deciding what and how and taking that leap!
Making, designing, photographing, branding! Do you do everything yourself or do you have a team?
I’d love to say I have a fabulous team, but actually it’s just me. I am lucky to have a lot of fabulous friends who have helped me out in so many ways – from my good friend Angi Fletcher who did our beautiful branding to my husband Anders who helps out on photo shoots, writing press releases, setting up for events and much more! I also source products from lots of different places – vintage things, stuff I make myself and also goodies from other crafters and designer-makers. Sadly the thing I usually run out of time for is my own making, so that’s something I hope to do more of in the future.
The Pretty Dandy Flea focuses on homewares and interiors rather than fashion. Was this a conscious decision or did it just develop that way?
It was definitely a conscious decision. While I like fashion in an abstract way I’ve never really followed trends or have been a part of that world. Interiors however is my passion. I recently remembered that when I was about 13 or 14 I went through a phase of refinishing old bits of furniture. Not necessarily with a great deal of skill or taste, but I guess even then I was drawn to it. I just think our homes are so important, it’s where we go when we want to rest, to rejuvenate, to take care of ourselves and to enjoy ourselves. I can’t think of anything better than making that place just perfect!
Managing the Pretty Dandy shop and markets seems like a huge task! How do you keep it together when things get stressful?
I’d love to claim that I never get stressed out or fazed by these things, but there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve had to be sat down with a big piece of cake and a cup of tea. Those are my two main coping mechanisms. I’m also learning to ask for help more. I’m a bit of a perfectionist (for that read: control freak) and am used to just being able to get things done by myself. However, as the shop & the events grow I realise I need to reach out more and ask the lovely people around me to help out. Luckily my husband is super supportive and is always happy to throw himself into the fray and back me up. Oh, and the other thing? Lists. A million long lists. I love a list!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the next flea?
Can I say my sisters? I live in Barcelona now and I can’t wait to come back and see all my friends and family. It’s going to be wonderful. In terms of stallholders it’s a tough choice, they are all so great! Some we’ve had before like the fabulous Carly Dodsley who makes great ceramics with a fab mid-century feel to the design, Jenna from Ding Ding creates brilliant geometric prints on all sorts of objects and is also lots of fun, Modflowers makes gorgeous stuff out of bright bold retro fabrics, Emma Blue makes beautiful paper cuts… really there’s too many to name! Plus there’s lots of lovely new stalls which I can’t wait to see too, like Charmain Lewis’ designer cakes, J.Lakin’s vintage treasures, Rebekah Critchlow’s beautiful painted gold birds and Suitcase Sounds – a fab stall with vintage suitcases turned into stereos! In fact, there’s only one stall I’m not looking forward to seeing and that’s the Spinster’s stall. I’ve only got a small suitcase… I’m never going to be able to choose which goodies to bring back with me!
Suitcase Sounds, Modflowers, Emma Blue, Carly Dodsley
And finally… What is the future of Pretty Dandy? World domination?
Yes. And I’d love to have a real-life shop one day too!
Spinster’s Emporium will be at The Pretty Dandy Flea this weekend! It will be wonderful to be back in the city where Spinsters was created. There will be some special offers on so pop along and grab yourself a bargain.
If you would like to know more head over to The Pretty Dandy Facebook page. There’s some lovely Pinterest boards too, and of course the website full of handcrafted and vintage delights!