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Brands of Tomorrow Flashback

10 years of Alexandra Llewellyn

An alumna of both Walpole's Crafted and Brands of Tomorrow programmes, 2021 sees renowned backgammon board designer Alexandra Llewellyn celebrate her 10th anniversary - a key milestone for the business and a symbol of her commitment to traditional craftsmanship and dedication to specialist skills and techniques. Read on for an interview with Alexandra on how she's celebrating this landmark year, the impact the last 12 months has had on her business, and what's next for the brand.
15th Feb 2021
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Brands of Tomorrow Flashback 10 years of Alexandra Llewellyn

This year marks your 10th anniversary in business, how are you celebrating this milestone?
We are delighted to have reached this milestone, and we have new products launching to celebrate: new playing cards and backgammon designs. Some of which have already launched, including the marquetry Snake backgammon set and a new signature photographic Dandelion set. The Dandelion design was created during the first lockdown when working from home gave me new-found time to focus on what I enjoy doing most; on being grateful; and being inspired by the nature on my doorstep.

We are also concentrating on our B2B clients and have set up a new branch of the brand called Alexandra Llewellyn Corporate, which is very exciting, and a proactive development for the business adapting to the demand over the past twelve months. We have also been working on a wonderful collaboration with the amazing G . F Smith, who I met through Walpole, and Kingsbury Press - watch this space...!

You are also a former Walpole Brand of Tomorrow, why did you apply for the programme?
I had taken part in Walpole's Crafted programme and had so appreciated the support and comradery of being in a group of other brands and designers. I learned so much from my peers, plus the incredible access to industry leaders - many of the learnings that I continue to apply to my business today. I do miss seeing the wonderful Walpole family! Walpole has introduced me to so many friends and colleagues who have taken my business to a new level.

What key thing did you take-away from completing the programme?
The programme gave me the confidence to trust my instinct, and broke down the many facets of running a brand today that otherwise felt too daunting, or previously might have been restrictive for a small creative business.

What impact has the last 12 months had on your brand?
We have had an extraordinary year. In addition to fantastic sales, I have relished the opportunity to build on the relationships with my bespoke clients. We have worked on some very exciting private and corporate commissions in the past twelve months, and I have had far more interaction with clients than before the pandemic. The past twelve months has also provided more time for clients to invest in the process of commissioning work; there has been more of a desire to understand the process and materials involved in creating a bespoke item. I feel very lucky to have been flat out, and creatively challenged and inspired continually.

What’s next for you?
We currently have a waiting list for bespoke, and the business is growing significantly through our new corporate arm - an exciting development for the business as we celebrate our tenth year.

We will soon be launching the new collection of backgammon sets, poker and cards on our website. As well as some extraordinary one-off pieces such as doubling cubes containing gold crystals and meteorite, games pieces inlaid with onyx and marble commissioned from Afghan craftsmen that are truly unique. We also have some rather inspiring collaborations to come later this year.