Thursday, 20 December 2007

designer tanya igra

Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong era. I love all things from the past (okay - some things from the present, too) but one thing that struggles to be replicated in modern-day products is the art of crafting an object. Here's where Tanya Igra steps in with her small but growing business Miss Parasol. If you're in Sydney she plans to have a stall at the Antiques and Collectables Fair, Wentworth Park, Glebe on Sunday 3rd Feb. Alternatively, contact her via

How and why did you start Miss Parasol? My late father-in-law was a manufacturer of unique umbrellas and parasols from the 1950s. He had brought the family trade with him from Europe after the war. After he passed away, much of his unused stock was left in storage. When I eventually saw how beautiful these umbrellas were, I decided to bring some of these special pieces out in to the world again and started "Miss Parasol".
What has been the response? It's been unbelievable. I started selling at vintage markets and antique fairs specialising in collectables and old wares. The clientele who frequent these venues have been so excited about the excellent craftsmanship, beautiful fabrics and unusual handles which you don't see nowadays.
How has having your own business been different to what you expected? Having previously never been in the game of selling and marketing, it has required a lot more administration, coordination and planning than I had anticipated. Getting systems in place so that things can run smoothly has been essential. Following up key contacts and keeping things flowing has been a challenge, but well worth the effort.
What has been the highlight? Our first vintage fair… for the first hour it felt as if we were being ignored and the stall was deserted. Then suddenly everyone noticed us and we were absolutely overrun for the next 6 hours with very excited customers buying several umbrellas each as they could not make a choice about which umbrella they liked best. People often contact me after fairs wanting to buy more umbrellas.
Where do you look for inspiration? I don't look to any one person in particular for inspiration, but admire many creative people, especially those who can write well, draw and create things. I spend a lot of time reading and find inspiration in many of the characters I read about and the stories people have to tell about their lives and those of others who have overcome adversity.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? "Good things come to those who wait!" This may sound cliche but the best lesson i have learnt is certainly to be patient, not to lose hope and to have faith that things will turn out for the best in the end.
What are you passionate about right now? Raising my gorgeous 15-month-old son. As an older mother I feel so blessed to have him in my life and do not take motherhood for granted for one minute.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? I would love to meet the author Beatrix Potter. I am a complete fan of Peter Rabbit and his friends and was very inspired by the movie Miss Potter who had a dream which she fulfilled despite the odds against her.
What are you looking forward to? Hearing my little boy finally speak so I can find out what is going on in his head! I also look forward to growing Miss Parasol by starting a website and branching out to find other avenues for exposing the umbrellas further so that they can be appreciated by more lovers of vintage things.
What are you reading? Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.

Images courtesy of Miss Parasol.

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