i’m so thrilled about today’s interview with darling clementine! they probably don’t need much of an introduction since i’m sure you’ve seen their whimsical illustrations all over the blogosphere. so, needless to say, i was completely excited when the dynamic duo behind darling clementine, ingrid & tonje, agreed to the interview — to say i’m a huge fan of their designs would be an understatement! based out of norway, their illustrations are such a cool, unique blend of scandinavian design & fun themes - i’m completely smitten with their work. their story is so inspiring (i love that they both had admired each other’s work!!) and i think we can all agree with their guilty pleasure!!
Can you share a bit about yourselves…what’s your background? How did you get started?
We both have the same background of Art & Designs studies in England. We didn’t meet until we moved back to Norway when a mutual friend randomly introduced us at a Jenny Wilson concert almost 5 years ago.. It turned out we had both been secretly admiring each other’s work for a long time, so it was an instant match! We arranged to meet for a drink and Darling Clementine was born.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We get inspiration from anything and everything, from classic illustrators like Paul Rand and Abner Graboff, to things we find in flea markets, blogs, contemporary fashion and fellow designers. We also tend to ‘fall in love’ with things for a while, we’ve had our mustache & beret phase (we still have flash backs from that love affair actually!!) Paris & everything French, harlequin diamonds, and our favourite colour-combo orange-red, cream and black!
I’m always fascinated by those who are able to take the leap…what hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome? Are you pursuing your dream full-time?
It was quite stressful when we started out,- we had a lovely but very small office and tried to be there all the time, but were constantly distracted by annoying part-time jobs. It was a patchwork of jobs for a while, I remember having 3 jobs at one point, and all we wanted to to was to sit in our office, drink coffee, design and get to know each other. We have now been full-time for 1.5 years and have just moved into our dream office. It has a beautiful shop front and chess patterned floor and we are so happy as this is what we always wanted!
Can you give us an idea of what a typical day is like for you?
Our day starts, without exception, with turning on the coffee machine so we can start the day with a nice cortado. We try to plan our days, but it’s sometimes hard to keep it strict as we are good friends and know each others so well now. But we always start the week with Monday meetings, and then we divide our time with freelance work and self initiated projects.
Creating work and running a small business can be time consuming, can you share how you manage to balance home/work life?
It’s very hard sometimes, but for our own health we have to! We try to have a set day that starts at 9 and finishes at 5.
What one piece of advice can you share with other aspiring artists?
The best advice would be to contact other designers/artists who do similar things to what you want to do! Most people are just happy to help, and you can avoid all the mistakes they did when warned about them. Obviously, people don’t give away valuable contacts etc, but it’s still a very good place to start.
What is the most glamorous part of running your business? Least glamorous?
The most glamourous part of our job is probably that we in general get to do exactly what we want to do, and what we love to do. Also, it’s fantastic to go on inspirational business trips to for example wonderful London! The least glamorous would be chasing overdue payments. That’s not nice!!
Just for fun…what’s your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect day is one that starts out for breakfast, coffee, croissants, fresh orange juice.. As it’s finally spring here, a perfect day would have to be a day out on one of the islands in the Oslo fjord were we can have picnics and swim, sun-bade and drink ice cold white wine before we get the ferry back to the city in the evening.
What are some of your favorite blogs or websites?
At the moment our favorites are SeeSaw Designs, Fine Little Day, Grain Edit, Oh Joy, All the Mountains and Black Eiffel.
Any guilty pleasures?
Everything in the dessert category…
Where do you see yourselves and/or your business in 5 years?
In 5 years we are running DC like we do now with the same control design wise, but with a couple of nice employees and more relaxed days for the two of us as it has been very, very hard work upon till now. Our aim is to broaden our product range, and we would really like to get into textiles etc. We would also love to illustrate some children’s books, and generally work with other designers and companies in other countries.
thanks to both of you for stopping by one sydney road and sharing with us!
you can find darling clementine here: shop / website