We’ve featured a few members of our staff here on the blog before, but today it’s the turn of Carl – the man behind the Scaramanga brand. So grab a cup of tea, and get ready to meet the team. Sit down, relax and discover Carl’s tips on how to find the best vintage homewares, the perks of the job and how Scaramanga got it’s name.
What made you want to start the business?
I’ve always travelled a lot and in 1999, on a trip to India, I brought some old and handcrafted items back with me, one of which was a beautiful brown leather satchel. I had quite a few comments on everything, but people seemed to particularly like the satchel, which got me thinking. In 2006, we had twelve satchels made for us, and I brought back some old small boxes and wooden bowls from another trip to India – and Scaramanga was born.
How did you come up with the name Scaramanga?
Growing up in the 1970s, I was a fan of some of the classic James Bond films – somehow the name Scaramanga, the villain in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ had stuck in my head. It seemed like a cool, retro name for a new business inspired by classic retro and vintage design.
Have you always been a fan of all things vintage and retro?
Pretty much for as long as I can remember – my Dad ran a business designing and making furniture back in the 1970s and 1980s. I remember one of the first items I ever bought back in the 1980s being a black Bakelite telephone from the 1950s.
What do you think the main benefits of shopping ethically are?
I think that today, people want to know that the individuals involved in the making and supplying the goods they buy have not been exploited, are treated fairly and are being paid a fair wage. For other people knowing that producers are making products that are not harming the environment is important. Shoppers really want information about the people they buy from, so they can make informed decisions.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I like all of what I do. From talking to customers, to buying vintage furniture, to designing retro inspired leather bags, I thoroughly enjoy everything.
What is your least favourite part of the job?
There really is nothing I dislike!
Where do you live, and what do you enjoy most about living there?
We live in Kettle Bridge in Fife, Scotland. It’s a small, very friendly village and there are some great walks near by, especially by the coast. That said, we’re still close enough to get to Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth in under an hour. The best of both worlds!
Is your own home full of vintage and retro furniture?
We have many vintage and retro pieces at home, but we also have antiques and new stuff too. We like to mix pieces from different eras and periods – there’s nothing wrong with furniture from the 1920s being placed alongside things from the 1950s and 1970s.
Give us your top five tips for adding a little vintage to your life.
Try to go for original vintage or retro pieces – they actually often cost the same, or even less than more recent replicas. An old travel trunk from the 1940s can be bought for less than £100, yet newer versions can cost close to £200. Don’t rush to buy pieces; do your research, ask questions and have a good look at the items. Try to theme your vintage finds – for instance, if you like travelling, a vintage trunk with some old framed maps and a globe may be a good start.
If you’d love to see one of your bags on any celebrity, who would it be?
Brad Pitt. Just like like him, our bags look better with time!
What is your favourite: Book? Generation X – a great tale about a group of young people in the late 1980s and how they live.
Film? Vanishing Point
Band or Musician? Ray Charles