Having been named a Walpole Brand of Tomorrow, the sky’s the limit for Carol Lovell’s luxury travel accessories brand STOW.
I realised there was no single brand specialising solely In luxury travel accessories. Most were being positioned alongside other luxury accessories; I wanted STOW to be the destination exclusively for travel goods.
How do you balance work, travel and family/personal life?
Family is my main priority and my husband and I share the responsibilities of our children and home between us. It’s easier now that the children are teenagers and more independent, but being a founder means you are thinking about work 24/7. I ride three times a week before work, which I refer to as my self-care and family holidays are an important time for all of us so we rarely holiday with others.
How does your travel inspire you? What’s the most inspirational place you’ve ever visited?
I enjoy the sense of freedom and curiosity sparked by travel. Big wide skies inspire me creatively so I fall for deserts and other vast landscapes. Memorable inspirational places include The Dolomites, South Island New Zealand, Cape Town and Tibet.
Congratulations on being named a Walpole Brand of Tomorrow. What does this mean for you?
Thank you! 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 that the Walpole recognition has elevated our credibility and provided a superb platform from which we can launch as high as we aim!
Can you describe what the Spirit of Wander-Luxe means to you?
A STOW spirit prefers to be doing, not having – it’s an attitude. Travelling is the ultimate ‘doing’ experience and our products are a luxurious and long-lasting travel accessory for those who seek to experience the world we live in.
What was the inspiration for the New Bespoke Floral Wander-Luxe range?
We wanted to develop a more thoughtful style of personalisation. Commissioning “her favourite” flowers hand painted onto our designs seemed the perfect way to do that.
What are some of the other ways that products can be personalised?
Personalisation is a key element of the STOW experience, making each item truly unique as well as an heirloom to last for years to come. Options include hand-painted initials, or the monogramming of initials, motifs or company logos. We can alternatively emboss a handwritten message, scripted by you in your own handwriting, creating a unique memento.
Can you tell us some more about your relationship with the Spanish factories responsible for the exquisite craftsmanship of your products?
Our factory partner is a British entrepreneur married to a Spanish lady. He set up his business the same time that I founded STOW and we have been instrumental to each other’s growth. He is our most important partner and I work extremely closely with him and his master craftsmen on each STOW design.
Many British brands place a lot of emphasis on using only British materials and artisans. Do you feel that your Spanish links are instrumental in making STOW more of a global brand or do you identify as uniquely British?
I am a Europhile and I am very proud that our designs are made in Spain, and our materials are sourced both there and elsewhere in Europe. I love our marriage of British design, Spanish & Italian materials and craftsmanship and British fulfilment and operations. I believe our customers do too.
Your website has a section dedicated to your illustrious clients, along with Q&As. Is there a sense of ‘family’ and belonging that comes with being a STOW client?
I hope so! We really strive to make each and every customer feel like they are a friend of STOW.
Which luxury item is your must have for travel? And your favourite STOW product?
I am currently travelling everywhere with our new Mini First Class Tech Case. It’s my new favourite! A smaller version of our First Class Leather Tech Case, it holds an array of travel necessities.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Learn to love mistakes – they make you stronger.
What’s next for the brand?
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.
For further information on STOW please visit: www.stowlondon.co.uk.