Shop Local: Hampstead designer’s ‘uplifting’ lifestyle products for a ‘dreary’ lockdown

PUBLISHED: 08:33 16 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 16 November 2020

Hampstead-based designer Sara Miller. Picture: Sara Miller, London

Hampstead-based designer Sara Miller. Picture: Sara Miller, London

Sara Miller, London

“Over lockdown everyone wanted bright and colourful uplifting things for their houses, as life was dreary and people were stuck at home, and they came to us to get them.”

Sara Miller shortbread. Picture: Sara Miller, LondonSara Miller shortbread. Picture: Sara Miller, London

Sara Miller’s eye-catching prints bring a splash of colour into a miserable November. Drawing from her travels around the world, the award-winning designer told the Ham&High her products capture a sense of the exotic, allowing users to escape the everyday.

Launched in 2016, the Hampstead-based luxury lifestyle brand now offers more than 1,000 products in 60 countries, and is stocked in John Lewis and House of Fraser, as well as having its own sales website

The founder has been widely recognised for her work, and last Monday won the Best Licensed Fashion or Talent Brand award at the industry’s Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards. She won the same award in 2018, beating fellow nominees Paul Hollywood and David Beckham.

The designer lives with husband Philip and two-year-old daughter Lyla, and is expecting a baby boy in March.

Cushions by Sara Miller. Picture: Sara Miller, LondonCushions by Sara Miller. Picture: Sara Miller, London

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Like business owners across the UK, Ms Miller was hit hard by lockdown restrictions.

Christmas mugs by Sara Miller. Picture: Sara Miller, LondonChristmas mugs by Sara Miller. Picture: Sara Miller, London

She said: “I felt I had a pretty stable business model, and the diversity in our products and our territories meant we were secure. Then Covid came and turned everything upside down.”

Two weeks before March’s lockdown the business had exchanged on its new Hampstead Gate office.

“That was a huge financial commitment and a leap of faith, even in the best of times. [Lockdown] was just awful,” she said. “I had the most stressful, choking feeling.”

Most of her small team were furloughed in March, and Ms Miller added she was grateful for the government’s support during that time.

A Sara Miller cheese plate. Picture: Sara Miller, LondonA Sara Miller cheese plate. Picture: Sara Miller, London

But she is frustrated that under current lockdown restrictions supermarkets remain open and have a monopoly over household items.

“Little independent shops whose lifeline is greeting cards aren’t able to compete, and there’s a danger that supermarkets steal our business and consumer habits change in that process.”

She said she’s praying lockdown, due to be lifted on 2 December, isn’t extended, and people can go return to the high street.

Visit or find them on Instagram @saramillerlondon

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