Ideas and innovation are at the heart of every successful and sustainable brand. Here at Redsbaby, we are fortunate to have Anna Wilcox as part of our design team to keep us current and ensure our products are consistently leading-edge.
As our Industrial Designer, Anna calls upon her extensive experience and keen eye for innovation and style, along with a passion for creating products that ‘make life better’, to identify design and product development opportunities, then bring them to fruition.
We had a chat to Anna about what makes her tick!
Q: Tell us a bit about your industrial design background:
I studied Industrial Design at Monash and graduated with Honours. I’ve always been interested in creating things in a three-dimensional way. While many of my friends would be drawing and sketching (which I did, too), I was more interested in building stuff out of Lego and wood. Workshop was my favourite place at uni. I loved being in my overalls using the lathes and drills. Since university, my career has seen me working globally with some of the world’s leading design agencies and manufacturers including: Blue Marlin, Pearl Fisher, Desgrippes Gobe, Holmes and Marchant and Amcor. Projects have included work for Dell, Unilever, Diageo, Schweppes, Lion Nathan, AB InBev and Coca Cola.
Q: What led you to move from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) to the baby category?
Having a baby changed everything for me. I found myself exposed to a whole gamut of products that I’d never interacted with before and I was surprised by how difficult to use most of them were. It’s one of those industries you don’t think about until you become a parent. It was frustrating to wrestle with everything from my daughter’s pram and cot to her capsule and high chair but the industrial designer in me was inspired. I found myself working through all the possible improvements in my head and I realised that this was an industry I could make a genuine difference to. My aim is to reform the functionality and aesthetic of baby products. With prams, for example, they are so heavily influenced by international cultures, especially European lifestyles. What drew me to Redsbaby was the commitment they show to their home market, and their focus on the right balance of functionality and style.
Q: Innovating is key to what you do. How do you stay current and ahead of the game?
Innovation is everywhere, it’s just a matter of tuning in and looking in the right places. Fashion is a great source of inspiration, especially when it comes to textures and high level conceptual thinking. I’m also a keen cyclist and I find that the state-of-the-art materials used in cycling and cycling apparel are a good source of stimulation in my work. I often look at the automotive industry for ideas on colour, trim and materials. Interior design trends are always a great barometer for what’s up and coming as it’s not as fast-paced as fashion.
Q: Who do you derive design inspiration from?
I’ve always loved Vivienne Westwood. While her style and mine differ a lot, she is fascinating. Her ability to bring out the beautiful side of the bizarre is one of the best demonstrations we have in modern history of fashion as a true art form. She’s taken risks, stuck to her style and used her creativity to bring an entire sub-culture’s style (punk) into the mainstream.
I also love Dinosaur Designs (created by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy). I love big, chunky, statement jewellery (although it’s all hidden away now due to my daughter’s shared love of my cherished pieces). Their work is instantly recognisable and they pioneered the use of resin in mass production jewellery making. Again, like Westwood, they’ve stayed true to their creative roots and become icons in the process.
Q: If you were to receive a compliment on one of your designs, what sort of feedback would really make you smile?
If someone was to say, “I love my pram, it’s beautiful but it’s just so easy to use” or “Everything works so well, it just makes sense!”, I would see that as an indicator of success. In industrial design, it’s never just about the look or the functionality in isolation, my role is to make things better by finding the ideal cross-section of the two and providing just enough design to make the creation perfectly fit for purpose; nothing more, nothing less.
Q: If you were given a voucher to go into a shop and buy one beautiful item for yourself, what would you buy?
I’m a shoe girl. I’d make a beeline to a shoe shop and buy (yet another) pair of sandals. I’m not a ‘label’ person, per se, but I do rather like designer sandals.
Q: Is your daughter (18-month-old Willow) showing signs of following in your creative footsteps?
ABSOLUTELY! She’s a little fountain of creative brilliance. She’s obsessed with drawing (I was too when I was younger. I used to curl up in bed with a sketch pad) and takes any opportunity to put coloured pencil or crayon to paper. She also has amazing, distinctive style. Her current look is generally some combination of tutu, beanie and/or trainers. She works it well!