Inspired by beautiful India – Q&A with ibbi

ibbi was launched in 2014 by Eliza Browne-Swinburne, Anna Kirkup and Claire McAlpine. ibbi is an online store of quirky homewares and found objects from around the world. We interviewed the wonderful Eliza from ibbi to find out more about their beautiful brand.

What was the original idea behind ibbi:

It all started with a trip to India and our longing to create a colourful hand crafted collection of really unusual homewares which were fabulous quality and sensibly priced.  Months of careful research and several incredible trips later ibbi was launched.

I love the name ibbi – what does it mean? 

ibbi stands for Inspired By Beautiful India and its a great palindrome.  We now source from lots of places around the world but India will always be the main inspiration.

There are 3 partners involved in ibbi… how do you all compliment each other?

None of us had any retail experience when we started ibbi and we had to learn on the job.  I mean, shipping was completely confusing because of the acronyms.  Its like a different language  B/L, CBM, CFR, CofO, EORI, FEC, LCL  we had no idea!  Google helped!

Learning to run a business from scratch is hard but we divided up the jobs working to our strengths.  Anna had to get a grip quickly of cashflow, budget, SWOT analysis, gross profit, VAT and so on , really hard but essential.  She is also a photographer and all that fell to her as well.  Claire took on Social Media and Marketing – a whole new vocabulary to learn and digital marketing changes so quickly.  My job was the website and IT.  Our roles cross over all the time so we are able to help each other out when we need to. All three of us work on product development and branding.

Is travel important to you and the business?

Travel is essential to ibbi.  It’s where we find new products, build relationships with suppliers and generally just get inspiration.  So many of our products are unique to ibbi and thats because we go and find them.  The bonus is we get to travel to beautiful places.

Which would be your desert island ibbi product?

This would have to be the Kantha Throw.  It so warm and soft.  I would hang it between palm trees to create a beautiful and colourful sun shade then in the evening lay it on the warm sand and wrap it around me at night to keep warm.  The beauty of the Kantha throw is it is 100% cotton and pre washed so no shrinkage when washed it in the desert island stream and then hung out in the sun to dry.  It just gets more and more beautiful with age.

In your dreams where would you like ibbi to be in ten years time?

On the Kings Road, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Bath and Terminal 5!

If you were to choose one product from the Wild & Gorgeous AW18 collection, what would it be?

The Charlie Dress – I mean who wouldn’t want that dress in their cupboard.  Forget the child – I want one!


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