One of the things we love most about being located in the East End is the sense of community that seems not to exist in quite the same way anywhere else in London. Refusing to allow the pandemic to keep us away from our fellow east Enders, we’ve managed to set up a few zoom chinwags with some of our local creatives.
As part of our ongoing East End Creates series, we were keen to produce a special series specifically in response to International Women’s Day. So, we’ve been thinking hard about what this month actually means to us. Certainly, as we look back, we can see our ancestor’s vision for an equal future comes into clear view. As they passed down a brighter future for us, we wanted to continue the tradition in our ‘Mumma Told Me’ interview series, by asking; what will you pass on?
In a series of talks with some of our local female entrepreneurs, we wanted to hear just that whilst getting the inside scoop on what we imagine is a very glamorous and exciting life. Embodying this best is Ella Jones, founder and director of A New Tribe on Hackney Road, who we were lucky enough to pin down for this interview!
ELLA JONES IN HER SHOP, A NEW TRIBE
TOBV: To kick us off, what did you do before you opened A New Tribe?
EJ: Before opening A New Tribe I worked in Fashion Design for around 8 years - starting out at Paul Smith and then working for various high street retailers. I continued to freelance in fashion design for the first 3 years of running A New Tribe, before being able to make the move to solely focus on the shop.
TOBV: So what spurred you on to jump from working in fashion to interior design?
EJ: I always loved interior design and knew that this was something that I felt more passionate about for a while before I made the move. I was also motivated by setting up my own business and being able to have full freedom to create something that I truly believed in. It was a gradual transition from fashion and into interiors and setting up the shop, but I worked really hard and eventually managed to make the full jump.
PEGGY, LAYING ON ELLA’S MOROCCAN RUG
TOBV: We’ve read that your Moroccan rugs were where it all started for A New Tribe, how many would you say you have scattered in your own home? And how much is your home an extension of ANT?
EJ: Our home definitely has a strong element of A New Tribe, as for me the objects and rugs that I source are what I love and so it’s only natural that there would be a crossover. However our home is a combination of both mine and that of my husband Magnus Pettersen’s style, which I think fortunately combines nicely and gives a slightly different take on A New Tribe, rather than a carbon copy of what you will find in our shop. Rug wise, we have nine Moroccan rugs in our home, which I guess sounds like quite a lot! This includes one which we had framed and is hanging in the kitchen. We knocked all of our walls down on the ground floor to open up the space, which is then made more cosy and pulled back in with the addition of three vintage boujaad rugs, plus there is one in most of the other rooms of the house.
TOBV: What do you enjoy most about your line of work?
EJ: I love buying and discovering new stock - from selecting the rugs in Morocco which makes me just as excited every time, to working with independent designers and getting to know them and having their beautiful wares in the shop. I also love curating the space and spend many hours rearranging the displays!
CHAIR WITH CUSHION, JOJO BEDELL, HUNG PROUDLY IN ELLA’S HOME
TOBV: We’re glad you managed to finally get your hands on Jojo Bedell’s artwork! Would you consider yourself a collector of art? What kind of things are you most attracted to?
EJ: I wouldn’t call myself an art collector as such, but Magnus and I have always loved to collect beautiful objects and things for the home - be it a vintage design classic piece of furniture, a rare rug, an antique ceramic piece or an artwork. We love it when we find beautiful pieces on our travels, and many of the objects that we surround ourselves with have meaning or a memory attached to them.
TOBV: As we’ve recently celebrated International Women’s Day AND Mother’s Day, we’re thinking hard about what the women in our lives have passed down to us (whether that’s specific behaviours, lessons learned, or even the well-loved clothes they can’t bear to part with!). With this in mind, what do you think your mother has given to you?
EJ: I’m very close to my Mum - I would say she has a clear opinion of what she likes and doesn’t like, which I think I also share. I think this helps with having the shop, as I feel that I know instantly if I like something for example to stock or not. My Mum also works very hard which is an ethos that I agree with - if you want to achieve something you need to work hard for it.
TOBV: On that note, what do you think you’ll pass down?
EJ: Hopefully the notion of following your dreams but in a realistic way, that hard work pays off but also its ok to take a risk sometimes, and to do something that you love doing. That and a great collection of Moroccan rugs and slightly cheesy 80’s vinyl!
TOBV: Finally, what are you looking forward to when we finally get out of lockdown?
EJ: So many things… Being able to travel once again - especially to Morocco, hanging out with friends and family, and going out for delicious food!