In my last interview I set out to unveil some of the mystery surrounding online shopping from the viewpoint of the customer. This time, I thought I'd look at things from the other side: from our view here at the Scaramanga office. In the same way customers receive orders from apparently out of the blue, we spend our days in the office packing up chests, furniture and bags
and sending them out into the world with no idea where or who they go to.
An old wooden chest
can become a number of different things. It can be an addition to an extensive vintage collection, a one-off quirky piece in an otherwise modern home, or even a memory box which will be fondly filled with one's most precious possessions. And a bag, well that can become the life-saver bag which makes carrying stuff around uni easy, the perfect fashion accessory you've been looking for that compliments every outfit, or the bag which goes travelling with you over summer and comes back with the well-worn look to prove it. But we never get to see any of this; we never get to see what each piece becomes to an individual and how it comes to be fitted it in with their personal style.
To this end, I set out to find an example of how a customer has taken our pieces and used them in their home. So we invited Herve Moreaux to tell us about what he's bought from us, what he did with the furniture and to share some of his thoughts on interior design and style...
Hannah: Hi Herve, thanks for agreeing to answer my questions. We want to hear all about your home and how you've used our many items in your home; so to start with can I just ask where you live and what's your home like?
I live in an apartment in a town called Draguignan in the south of France. My home looks like a small museum or a window looking into India for others. For me it's a comfortable place where everywhere you look you can see something unusual and unique; it feels like halcyon years of intrepid travel from colonial times.
Hannah: You say it's like 'a window to India' and obviously we know you buy a lot of Indian items, but is there a particular common theme or style throughout your home?
The main theme is Colonial India. I am inspired by the Victorian era, I love the idea of traditionally handmade high quality items made by small family run businesses. Items like old tin boxes, enamel signs, watches, telescopes, travel trunks and leather suitcases. I like mixing these items with old wooden chests, cabinets, doors and windows and tropical plants to create an exotic feeling of travel and exploring ancient places.
Hannah: You clearly have a strong interest in Indian furniture in particular - how long have you been interested in Indian interiors and what is it that attracts you to that style?
I lived on Reunion Island for five years, a French island close to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It was here I discovered old Indian home interiors with their contrasting shimmering colours and classical old wooden furniture. Since then I have been collecting old Indian furniture and interiors. India is such a colourful place, bright colours are everywhere: clothes, walls and pottery. I find bold colours and old teak furniture mixed together create a very pleasant and positive atmosphere.
Hannah: Speaking of colour, we always noticed that you bought a lot of blue items from us! Was there a reason for this?
: Blue is the colour of the sky, it enhances creativity and it is a peaceful calming colour. I love old faded coloured chests and cabinets because their old traces of colour testify to their age. It is the same thing with us as human beings: we become more interesting and fascinating with age!
Hannah: As we know well, you've been a loyal Scaramanga customer - why do you choose to buy from Scaramanga? Are these items not available in France?
Scaramanga has a wide range of old wooden chests and furniture which are constantly changing. The prices are very reasonable, so I like to browse and choose new items. In France we have very few shops that sell Indian antiques, vintage and colonial furniture. I have visited the few that we do have, as well as a shop in Philadelphia and another in London, but I have to say that their prices are higher than Scaramanga's.
Hannah: Aside from the reasonable prices, what is it that you like about Scaramanga?
The first time I discovered Scaramanga on the internet I was pleased to see items of a similar style to those in my home: old wooden chests, and vintage furniture. Also, Carl (one of Scaramanga's owners) speaks of his love for vintage things and retro style which I completely relate to - we have the same love for vintage things and classic styles, so it is nice to share a common passion. I also admire the ambiance of the photos: the backgrounds often feature a natural setting, or an old wall, old factory or old car, all of which I love.
Hannah: Speaking of the photos, do you feel confident about buying our items online considering you don't get to see items properly until they arrive?
All the images are very good, and each product has several images at different angles along with a good description. However I have noticed that, even where the photos are very good, items are still better when they arrive. I never worry about being disappointed because they are always better
in reality. Importantly, I also take my time when deciding what to buy; imagining where the new items will go in my home and checking the dimensions listed on the website. I often read the customers comments and feedback to help make my decision.
Hannah: Well you will get a break from online shopping soon - we are hoping to see you over visiting our store very soon, next week in fact. What made you decide to take the trip over to Scotland to visit Scaramanga? What are you hoping to do when you come over?
I absolutely want to meet all the lovely girls who model the leather bags! And it is a good opportunity to drink a whisky! More seriously, though, it's so much nicer to meet the people you have communicated with on the Internet for so long. I also get to see their new stock. I have been told there are several thousand new items in stock for me to touch and smell!! Also Scaramanga is located in an old mill building which looks interesting to visit.
So there you have it... and it looks like for once we haven't just had the pleasure of finding out how a customer has used our stuff in their home, but we will also be getting to meet him in person too, as Herve travels over to Scotland to visit us here in the store. And we may not be lucky enough to have a staff trip to France lined up, but we have had the chance to see our furniture pieces in their new setting, thanks to the fantastic photos of Herve's home he has sent us.
We would like to thank Herve for taking the time to answer our questions and for his loyalty to us here at Scaramanga.
Got a different story and style from Herve's? It's great to hear about, so tell us what you've done with your Scaramanga products and what you use them for!