Could you tell us a bit about each of your backgrounds and how you came together to set up the shop?
We met in 1980 bidding against each other at an auction in Pontypridd in the Welsh Valleys. Mark had served an apprenticeship as a carpenter joiner and then went on to do furniture design. I had done a BTec in building and gone on to study interior design at Cardiff Art College.
Baileys has become a destination for interiors enthusiasts – what is it about Baileys that makes for such a unique shopping experience?
We think that we have created an interesting space that is both visual and sensual.
How would you define the Baileys style?
Natural, raw, crafty and folky all rolled into one.
Most of the items in the shop are in neutral tones. What is it about this color palette that most appeals to you?
It gives us the freedom to mix things up in interesting ways.
How has the Baileys brand evolved through the years and where would you like to take it into the future?
We’ve grown organically over the years, culminating in various collaborations and would like to continue down this route.
You must go on some incredible buying trips around the world! Could you tell us about a particularly memorable one?
We go to the South of France a few times a year and do the markets. On one of our early trips, we were in a remote hill town and I made the big mistake of asking the price at lunch time. I was told in no uncertain terms that they were having their dejeuner and wouldn’t give me a price until they had finished. We decided that if you can’t beat them, join them, and went off and had a great simple meal. Well fortified we went back and bought the work benches that I had asked about. From now on we have decided that when in France do as the French do.
What are some of the best projects that you’ve worked on to date?
One of the most memorable was a series of pop-up shops in Japan. Over the course of a week, we did quite a few; we even included a Baileys tea room serving our own homemade cakes and English tea. Everything was organized by our friend Yumiko Sekine of Fog Linen, another designer whom we very much admire.
Who are some of the people you most admire and respect for their sense of style and eye for aesthetics?
Our friends Jonathan and Yiolanda who run a company called Knowles and Christou. They are amazing. They design and make a breathtaking collection of wallpapers, fabrics and furniture in Talgarth just outside of Hay on Wye. They work with a very small team and produce everything from start to finish. There are huge screen printing tables, a workshop and spray booth. They have a showroom on Lots Road London and are very low key and under the radar.
What has been the single greatest influence on your work?
In one word: travel.
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone decorating his or her first home, what would it be?
Keep it neutral in order to maintain a calming effect.
Mark and Sally, it has been a pleasure meeting you and exploring your very special workplace. Find out more about it on their website here.
Photography: Rich Stapleton for Cereal Magazine & FvF
Interview & Text: Rosa Park