About Time You Met: Carol Lovell, Founder of STOWBy Angelica Malin
Carol Lovell is the Founder & Creative Director of STOW, a luxury company that has disrupted the world of travel accessories, with their contemporary, colourful and practical designs. Carol, born and raised in England, always had a deep love travel and dreamt of travelling the world from a very young age. This led her to create STOW in 2013, with a mission to create the global destination for luxurious, practical and life-lasting travel accessories. We sat down with Carol to talk inspiration, craftmanship and her plans for the future:
What inspired you to launch STOW, did you spot a gap in the market?
I realised there was not any single brand specialising solely on luxury travel accessories. Most were being positioned alongside other luxury accessories such as jewellery, stationary or fashion. I wanted STOW to be the destination exclusively for travel goods.
What do you think it is that appeals the list of luminaries using your products?
I like to think they understand the adventurous spirit of our brand, they connect with our story and appreciate the quality of craftsmanship and thought that goes into the practicality of each design.
How do your products speak to current travel trends?
There is a trend to be and do more, and to have less. A STOW spirit prefers to be doing, not having – it’s an attitude I have grown up with and continually promote. Travel is the ultimate doing experience and I believe our products are a thoughtful and long-lasting gift for those who seek to experience the world we live in.
What travel trends are you particularly excited by?
The luxury of time and space. There is a definite trend towards time out, wellness, self care and for me, the big outdoors. I am off to Africa at the end of May to horse ride 300km across the Namib desert for all of the above.
Talk to us about the manufacturing process? Where are the materials sourced?
All of our materials are sourced from Europe from the finest tanneries in Spain and Italy. Since day one we have partnered with a family owned factory in Andalucia who make up our samples and manage our full production orders. We work very closely with the owner whose master craftsmen make up our designs – they are the best in the world with centuries of tradition behind them and their trade.
You must be over the moon about being announced as a Walpole Brand of Tomorrow. What do you think this means for the company going forward?
Thank you, it was a tremendous accolade for us and I am extremely proud of our achievement. We have already seen considerable interest in STOW from prospective new partners, new business opportunities and increased customer engagement. It has been fantastic. There is no doubt Walpole has provided a superb platform from which we can launch as high as we aim! I have just returned from a new business trip to the States and there is no doubt the Walpole recognition has elevated our credibility. The sky is the limit!
How do you plan to build the company?
Organically and prudently. There is much uncertainty at the moment and it would be foolish to operate in any other way in this market. We are seeing a surge in US orders and view America as a fantastic opportunity for STOW. In the short term we are concentrating on developing that interest in addition to securing our place as the destination for luxury travel goods in the UK. The company is going from strength to strength each year with a focus on building our direct to consumer business alongside key retail partners such as Harrods.
How does travel inspire your products?
In every possible way! It runs through our veins. From the adventurous historic travellers whose courageous spirits inspired me to start STOW, through to the shapes of by gone travel goods influencing our designs, and the modern processes and requirements of travel informing the practicality of each design. Also, landscape and natural phenomenon inspire our colour selections.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
You have to believe 100% in your vision and work 200% to reach it. Don’t accept NO and love and learn from every mistake, for you will make many.
For further information on STOW please visit: www.stowlondon.co.uk