United Interiors have been supplying art, furniture and rugs to The Block Shop for several years now. We chatted to Laura Toms to find out a little more about their successful small business...
Tell us a little about your company - how long have you been in operation?
We started United Artworks in 2103 for the hand-painted side of the business. In the following year, we created The Canvas Workshop for the printed side of the business. We quickly outgrew our first two office/warehouse spaces and decided to open the showroom in Melbourne to house our online team and make a welcoming gallery space for our growing client base. After bringing rugs, outdoor cushions, acrylic art and furniture into the picture, it only made sense to combine all elements of the business to create United Interiors.
'Shape of You' by Deb McNaughton, "who has a vibrant, bright, fun style in painting and ink on paper," Laura tells Insider Style.
Who are the brains behind your business?
Husband and wife team Tony and Marcia. Having had prior businesses in furniture and outdoor furniture, the couple saw a trend and gap in the market with their customers requesting to purchase the artworks being used as props in-store. Tony brings to the business the creative and Marcia brings the style!
How do you source your artists?
We have been extremely lucky in that artists have frequently approached us. But we do, however, seek artists through all creative avenues such as Pinterest, Instagram, BeHance and through local exhibitions. We also have an Art Director who works closely with Marcia and Tony, based in the USA.
'Timeless Part II' is a popular print from United Interiors the artist "Emma Thomas uses alcohol ink on paper to create dream-like pastel ethereal works on paper."
Do you sell both original art and prints?
We work on a licencing basis, meaning the artworks we sell are approved for reproduction by the artist themselves. If the piece is in the form of a print, then you’re receiving an exact print of the original. If the piece is a painting, it is reproduced by hand in a studio of artists we work closely with to ensure it’s as close to the original - and again, with the consent of all our artists.
What are your most popular items?
Our customers have a very wide and varied spectrum. Abstract art, by far, sells more than any other style. Paintings have long been the most popular, as our model allows for customisation of shape, size and framing at affordable prices.
'Mondata' will freshen up any room, perfect for bringing the outdoors in. Featuring large luscious leaves in gorgeous greens and teals.
Is there an artist that sells particularly well?
We have two particular artists who sell very regularly and are both Melbourne-based and regularly visit the showroom - Deb McNaughton, who has a vibrant, bright, fun style in painting and ink on paper. The other is Emma Thomas, who uses alcohol ink on paper to create dream-like pastel ethereal works on paper.
Tell us about your rugs - how do you decide what to stock?
We work with a few hand-selected suppliers to curate our rug collection. The suppliers we chose are local to Melbourne or Sydney, meaning we can have a close relationship with them and offer samples and education in their products. We regularly refresh our collection to suit both seasonal and trending styles.
California 1 and California 8 by artist Claire Desjardins stunning abstract prints for a modern space.
Have your products been used on The Block before?
We are lucky enough to be close to the current St Kilda pop-up shop and had products within the store. We also collaborated closely with Alisa and Lysandra (Series 7: Sky High)
You guys are constantly evolving...we love it!
Our popularity over the years has grown, on account of us giving customers stylish art and furnishings at value-for-money prices - and we’ll continue to drive this message in the coming years with many new projects in the pipeline. So watch this space!
'The Beginning of This' framed print by Alisa and Lysandra a mutable piece able to work with other colours and compositions.
Do you have a favourite Block couple from this year?
Deb and Andy! Aside from the fact they are such a fun, kind and hilarious couple, Deb’s styling is incredible.
Who do you think will win?
Deb and Andy! The house has just the right balance between feeling styled and having a blank canvas for any potential purchasers to imagine as their own. The fresh beachside style is also perfect for the location.
Shop United Interiors range HERE
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