If you've visited one of our showrooms, you have likely seen the beauty of Parlane with your own eyes - maybe without even realising it! This popular brand offer a varied selection of items from furniture to lighting but are perhaps known most commonly for their charming gifts, faux flowers and homewares. Based a short way away from us in Bourton-on-the-Water, this beautiful Cotswold brand are cherished for their charming designs and captivating decor. We had the opportunity to ask them a few questions and learn a little more about the brand, finding out how Parlane International works behind the scenes and what it is that makes them so special and unique. We interviewed Parlane's Head of Sales, Chris Lewis.
An Interview with Parlane International
How did Parlane International start in 1970?
John Rutter started the business a celebratory 50 years ago predominantly selling artisan-made recycled glassware sourced from Europe. Parlane still use some of the same Mediterranean factories today to achieve their signature rustic look.
Parlane represents an inspiring local success story. How you have created a global business from your head office in the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds is a great backdrop for our collection and customers love to come and visit as it is such a beautiful location. Our showroom is huge and we offer refreshments and lunch to all customers to make their visit a pleasant experience and not a chore. We are in close proximity to well-known villages and prestigious destination shops that some customers like to visit en route!
Do you think the Cotswolds is an exciting area for interior design?
We like to ensure that we have some incredible statement products that are perfect for Interior Designers to use as an anchor-piece for their projects. Whether it’s an oversized ceramic vase, a fantastic piece of lighting, a faux tree or a stunning piece of wall art – we always carry products like this in our collection to fulfill this purpose. We also use a shoot location nearby and therefore a bit of Cotswold inspiration is always present within the pages of our catalogues.
"We like to source as many handmade pieces as we can & absolutely love using natural materials."
Can you tell us about the products you started out producing & what types of product you produce today?
It started out with rustic glassware for the kitchen and today we hold products to fit into every room in the home, including a large selection of faux flowers and plants.
You have a wide variety of different products & styles. What are your core values that unite all the various products?
We like to source as many handmade pieces as we can and absolutely love using natural materials for our products, where appropriate.
How did you come to specialise in Christmas products & what qualities do you look for when selecting your festive range?
We responded to demand to supply a lifestyle range of Christmas products. We always try to follow the same core values attributed to our main lifestyle collection as much as possible, such as handcrafted products from natural materials, and endeavour to make sure the range ties in with the rest of the collection.
"We follow the latest trends in homewares very closely."
Every spring and autumn, you launch 1,000 new products. How do you select the products & the producers/craftsmen you buy from?
Our core supplier base, that we’ve built up over many years, all understand our style and are capable of producing to our high standards. We follow the latest trends in homewares very closely and select suppliers that we know can produce the right product for that particular look/trend.
Could you tell us about the products that are designed in-house at Parlane International?
In a competitive market, our own design products and exclusive ranges offer us a point of difference. We like to provide the customer with something that they cannot buy anywhere else and allows them to offer the same to their customers.
You create stunning imagery of your product ranges. Does this help you understand how the customer might incorporate the products into their interiors?
We create our imagery to help customers visualise how they can display our products together to create a fantastic ‘look’. We carefully and purposefully select products to sit together with our core collection of products.
"We also use a shoot location nearby & therefore a bit of Cotswold inspiration is always present within the pages of our catalogues."
Along with selling your products to shops for the general public, you work with interior designers so, effectively, the retail customer is getting access to the same products that interior designers use. Please can you tell us a bit about this side of the business?
We are considered by our customers to be a mid to high-end brand which is the perfect fit for interior designers. One of our accounts is an in-house designer for a group of high end pub/restaurants. She attends all of our product launches to make sure she’s ahead of the game in getting the very latest trends into her projects. She likes to select some of our quirkier pieces to add a point of difference to the interior of each restaurant.
What are the most popular retail ranges? And how has your retail customers’ style influenced your buying decisions over the years?
We curate our collections to appeal to the various types of retailers that we supply. One of our best-selling ranges, the pothanger, is especially popular with gift shops and garden centres. Our faux floral collection has increased hugely in popularity and no longer just appeals to garden centres.