How bohemian homeware brand Graham & Green started

Homeware brand Graham & Green, famous for its 70s bohemian aesthetic and eclectic pieces, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Graham & Green was founded in 1974 by Antonia Graham and the family business has been thriving ever since. So, I decided to speak with Jamie Graham, the founder’s son, to find out more about the brand’s beginnings…

Bohemian rattan cupboard with baskets by Graham & Green
Esben cupboard, £1,395.

What was the initial inspiration for launching Graham & Green?

My mum, Antonia, started the business in 1974. At the time, she had just had me and needed an income. She had investments from two friends, Renetta Green and Sparrow Harrison, and with her knowledge of importing and travelling, she launched Graham & Green. The original shop on Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, focused on cookware and basketware. We are still on the same street but now a few doors down.

Whitewashed freestanding kitchen island with drawers and oak barstools
Whitewashed Hudson kitchen island, £2,495.

How did Graham & Green grow from there?

Mum is a workaholic; she loves what she does, travelling and buying things. It was only a short time before she managed to get another shop on the same street, which transformed into a bohemian-style interior store in the classic 70s fashion.

We became a lifestyle brand on that street and eventually had three stores, with the office above one. There was nothing quite like us in Portobello, so we developed a following from local customers; most of the staff were part-time actors and artists. It was such a creative, whimsical era.

Upholstered bench in front of a window with storage underneath
Bobbin natural linen and ash bench, £695.

How would you describe the aesthetic of the brand?

Graham & Green is highly eclectic, embracing a classic 70s bohemian style and take inspiration from all over the globe. We mix everything into a big melting pot of things, trying to make it a treasure trove of items. This mimics someone’s real home as you would own things passed down or bought on your travels.

What underpins our style is that it is from us and our hearts. We go out and source the products, so it is always our eye. We mix everything to create our story. Our stores are packed high and feel like an Aladdin’s cave, which makes people want to walk in and explore. It’s the magpie effect of people wandering around and discovering things to love.

Pair of table lamps with white and blue and green lampshades
Thea table lamp base, £125.

What contributions have you made to Graham & Green?

After university, I joined Graham & Green and sought a place to fit in. I wanted to avoid simply following in my parents’ footsteps and bring something new to the table. I delved into the e-commerce side of things, helping build the first website in the late 90s when having a website was rare for most businesses.

We were an early adopter, and some young and skilful friends from college helped build the first website. We had a space in Elgin Crescent’s basement, and I then spent a few Christmases packing up and shipping gifts across the country. Then, we gradually expanded that side of the business and eventually grew to need a huge space.

Large dark wood and black dining table and chair in a open-plan kitchen
Porter 10-seater dining table, £2,250.

Is there a moment you feel particularly proud of?

At this moment, I’m so proud. To have a company that has been running for 50 years is a real achievement. Keeping Graham & Green as a family business growing is lovely. I’m proud of bringing in the e-commerce side. We are always trying to bring the company into the future, but we always want to retain what Graham & Green is at our core. We look forward to the next 50 years.

Selection of Graham & Green rugs with a dog.
Jute rugs, from £95.

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