February 27, 2019
Welcome to our blog - we're delighted that you've popped over! At Meg Morton, we're often asked about our interiors journey and the inspiration behind our designs.
Below, Maggie Baxter, who runs Meg Morton along with her daughter, Vicky, tells us about herself, her passion for interiors, and how this friendly, family-run company with its beautiful range of fabric, wallpaper and home accessories, can help you create the home of your dreams.
We hope you enjoy Maggie's Question & Answer session below:
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I love the countryside, wildlife and horses and wanted to be a vet, but ended up studying agriculture at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. That’s where I met my husband Rob, who is now a National Farmers’ Union insurance agent.
During the 1980s, Rob and I farmed firstly on a smallholding, and then on a larger farm, milking 200 sheep by machine for cheese and yogurt making. We actually opened the farm up to the public as a local tourist enterprise!
I’ve always been passionate about interiors, colour, textiles, flowers and pattern and, in 1989, started working for Laura Ashley in Yeovil in Somerset.
When our daughter, Vicky, was born in 1990, Rob and I moved to a smallholding in West Dorset. I started a dried-flower business and later expanded into hand-painting interior accessories.
In 2000, we moved to our current home in Manston, near Sturminster Newton in Dorset, where I opened a shop called Morton Interiors, selling mainly vintage and hand-painted homewares.
When did you launch Meg Morton and why?
Meg Morton was launched in 2010. Initially, this was a small shop, just off the high street in nearby Shaftesbury, selling hand-painted interior accessories along with vintage/French homewares.
At that stage, Vicky joined the business. Apart from sharing my passion for interiors, she is a wonderful photographer with a great eye for colour and detail.
A couple of years later, we opened a larger showroom and then moved again to bigger premises in Shaftesbury where we stocked furniture, home accessories and fabric.
In 2017, we started designing our own fabric range, inspired by Vicky’s beautiful photography. After receiving such positive feedback, we closed the large shop to concentrate on our designs and products.
Having launched Meg Morton online, our Cow Parsley and Thorncombe Fern fabric collections were soon joined by a host of others, including my hand-painted designs and those inspired by my vast collection of vintage French fabrics.
Where does the name come from?
The business is named after my mother, Meg Morton, who sadly died when I was 13. She was an inspirational homemaker, as well as a sewing and cookery teacher.
Her family in Scotland were part of a remarkable dynasty of textile manufacturers, designers and weavers, dating back to Alexander Morton (1844 - 1923) who was a brother of my mother’s grandfather.
My father was a textile technologist, involved with weaving and lace machines in Scotland.
My grandfather was also involved in the textile business. My ancestors, including James Morton and his son Alastair, established Morton Sundour fabrics and Edinburgh Weavers.
The connection is in the genes, and, Vicky and I reckon this lineage is one of the reasons why we are both so passionate about what we do. We both wish we’d had the chance to meet our relatives. It’s a rich heritage that we enjoy exploring and one that’s wonderful for Vicky to take forward.
(Ref Alastair Morton and Edinburgh Weavers - Visionary Textiles and Modern Art by Lesley Jackson)
(Three Generations in A Family Textile Firm by Jocelyn Morton)
Where do you glean inspiration for your designs?
Just about everywhere and from everything! However, our main source of inspiration comes from our beautiful countryside and coastline in Dorset and a little further afield in Devon and Cornwall.
During rural walks, Vicky and I can be found photographing anything from horses to flowers, architecture to iron work.
My huge archive of vintage French fabrics is also a fantastic reference.
Who else works for Meg Morton?
Vicky is the other half of the Meg Morton team. Both of our husbands, Rob and Rich, help with business plans, accounting, trade shows and, occasionally, fabric sample cutting when required.
What’s it like working with your daughter?
Vicky and I work surprisingly well together, mainly due to the fact that we have identical taste.
Vicky concentrates on computer designing, and photography, whilst I focus on hand-painted designs, book work and so on.
We both make our ever-popular hand-made lampshades.
Tell us about your customers and their homes? Any unusual projects?
Our fabulous customers from Shaftesbury are extremely loyal and continue to support our online company. They’ve been joined by others, from across the UK and, indeed, worldwide.
Meg Morton designs suit any style of home. We often spot our fabrics, wallpaper and accessories in photographs in a wide variety of our customers’ homes, from country cottages to coastal retreats.
All of our fabrics are perfect for curtains and blinds and look terrific with our wallpapers.
Our Hydrangea in the pink colourway has been a runaway success and continues to be incredibly popular.
Handmade lampshades are big sellers, particularly the striped designs, and we are often complimented on our attention to detail. We take huge pride in our job and enjoy helping other people create their own much-loved homes.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of running Meg Morton?
I love working with Vicky. We thoroughly enjoy developing new patterns, designs and products. We both get such a buzz from seeing new designs for the first time when they come back from our UK-based printers.
Any surprises along the way/what have you learned?
I’ve had many a surprise since researching our textile heritage.
Our retail background taught us lots about running a business which has been invaluable when setting up our online store.
How has the range expanded?
The number of designs has expanded from a handful to more than 60. We are continually evolving and introducing new designs and colourways. Our most recent collection of French brocante florals is proving extremely successful.
What does home mean to you?
I’m a real home-bird. Home means everything, it’s where we work, relax, live and laugh every day. It’s where we look out on our wonderful, rolling Dorset hills and watch deer playing in the adjacent field - inspiration right on the doorstep.
What’s new for 2019?
Running Meg Morton is a journey that we are both loving and we our extremely excited to have numerous new designs in the pipeline.
Keep an eye on our blog for further details.
Maggie's Mum Meg Morton
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