So let me introduce you to Sandra Isaksson who was brought up by a family of trolls in the heart of a Swedish forest. Her summers were spent sculpting clouds and painting rainbows. In the winters she carved with wind and whittled snowflakes from Skybears.
Her family found her pretty and plump and blueberry kissed but as she grew up she became terribly unruly. They found it necessary to send her out into the real world where she met a handsome fighter pilot prince.
Fastforward to 2010, Sandra now lives in rural England with her Prince Nick and two sons: Theo and Eden (nice name).
She is not only a successful illustrator (proof that growing up with Trolls did the world of good to her) who does freelance work for other companies but also the co-Founder with Prince Nick of ISAK, a company that manufactures and sells beautiful design-gifts and co-ordinated home accessories, all products ethically.
At B&F, we've always been huge fans of her Penguin wallpapers which of course, look perfect in a nursery but Sandra's Scandi style make them suitable for use in a hallway, kitchen or to create a feature like this French stylist did it in her home.
Betsy Benn, who recently launched her first two designs with us will love to hear about.
bodie and fou: When did you decide you wanted to be a designer?
Isak: I was 13 when I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer and I guess some time at Uni I realised that I wanted to do more product design as well.
bodie and fou: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
bodie and fou: Describe your studio/workplace?
Isak: We did a loft conversion and I now have the biggest and brightest room in the house to work from. With small children it’s convenient to be able to work from home. It’s got white walls and wooden floors.
bodie and fou: Which aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?
Isak: I really enjoy creating new designs and new products and when people fall in love with them – that’s is incredibly rewarding.
bodie and fou: Launching your design studio/company was.....?
Isak: Exhilarating and completely necessary!
bodie and fou: Best piece of advice you were given?
Isak: I never had anyone to ask for advice. I just did it because I had to do it.
bodie and fou: When did you get your 'lucky break' ?
Isak: Oh, I don’t think Iv’e had it yet!
bodie and fou: How often do you end up with a finished product that you don’t want your name attached to?
Isak: It happens but not very often. Within Isak it doesn’t happen because we are in control pretty much all the way from start to finish but when I license art work out to other companies that’s when things can go wrong. It’s important to have a very strict licensing contract that explains what the company are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.
bodie and fou: Who is your favourite designer?
Isak: Don’t think I have one… There are many products that are my favourite products but a specific designer as such, no. And that changes as well.
bodie and fou: What is your favourite piece of design?
Isak: Well, I love the Arne Jacobsen chairs – but I don’t have any, Eames and so many other Danish furniture designs… My favourite pieces of what I do have are bowls by Merete Rasmussen
bodie and fou: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
Isak: Don’t give up. Believe in yourselves
bodie and fou: What would your dream project be?
Isak: I would love to design stamps! And to do more freelance work for big home accessories companies.
bodie and fou: How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
Isak: Extremely difficult! When you work from home your work is never turned off, it’s always there and you never get a break from it. Home life is muddled up with work life and there are no weekends… But that’s the price you have to pay when you try to do everything! :-)
Isak: Apart from the children it would be the computer!
bodie and fou: How would you describe your style at home?
bodie and fou: If your studio wasn't, describe your ultimate dream workspace?
Isak: A huge top floor of a building, wooden floors, great views, huge windows and white walls. With a modern kitchen, a small library, a coffee machine and lots of design classic furniture.
bodie and fou: Can you cook and what's your signature dish?
Isak: I love cooking and my favourites to both cook and eat at the moment is probably salmon cheviché and slow cooked harissa lamb.
bodie and fou: Name something you can't resist...
Isak: Food (I so know the feeling!)
bodie and fou: What is next on your design journey?
Isak: Well, we’re embarking on a new bedding range for Isak and working on adding to the range and improving the range. But before that we’re actually going to Guatemala to source some coffee…
bodie and fou: And the mantra that keeps you going.......?
Isak: There’s no mantra… more fire in the belly. Or hunger. For more.
Click here to see Sandra's gorgeous art prints for children