Meet the Designer: Diana Wilson Arcana

I often get asked about the people behind the brands who we stock so I have decided to start doing some new “meet the designer” blog posts where you can meet the designers and find out a bit about their journey. The idea is to put the same set of questions to every designer and share some images with you of them and their designs

We have stocked Diana Wilson Arcana for a number of years now and her scarves are always best sellers. She epitomises the kind of designer who I like to work with as her creations are so unique and individual and she comes to the shop personally with each of her new season’s collections.

The roots of Diana’s business started in her late teens designing jewellery and the current company was created six years ago when she moved to Bath from Jersey. Diana has lived in Jersey for most of her life but considers herself Scottish like her parents. She now lives in Bath and has her studio at home. She is married with three grown up children.

What was your starting point for the brand?
The brand has its beginnings in my late teenage desire to own a fair quantity of costume jewellery without being able to afford it. Then I managed to mostly fund trips to California by going from boutique to boutique selling my beach glass and shell necklaces. So there was no turning back.

How long did it take for your business to be profitable?
It made money from year one. Especially in the early years I only ever invested in materials and tools out of cashflow. 

Me and my mum both wearing Diana Wilson Arcana silk scarves from the current collection.

What is your favourite part of the job?
I love working on new designs (which then get put on shawls, cards, cushions and so on). But that is mostly a solitary activity. So I also look forward to appointments, showing shop owners and buyers the latest things I’ve been working on.

Describe your typical day
Starting at around 8.30 I could be doing anything from sourcing components, designing possible images for shawls and cards, posting on Instagram, researching a new product line, responding to retail enquiries, making jewellery to collating an order for shipping. I tend to work until all the tasks I’ve set myself for that day are completed. Which sometimes means a fairly late finish.

What has been your biggest success / greatest achievement?
Discovering that Naomi Campbell was wearing my designs in an Elle photoshoot must be one of the highlights.

A large silk cactus scarf from the current collection. £99

What difficulties have you encountered?
The greatest difficulty I’ve had is in ramping up production to meet orders while maintaining quality. And there’s also the small matter of getting to grips with social media and digital marketing.

How do you strike a balance between your home and work life?
I work from home and from a studio in the garden so the two are inextricably mingled.

Is there a conflict between the creative process and having to be a salesperson / admin / running a business?
When I started out, I’d been managing a clothes shop for a couple of years so was comfortable with selling. As you move on you generally learn what you need to be able to do. These days some of the management and most of the admin gets done by other people.

One of the fastest selling scarves in wool that we have ever stocked from Autumn Winter 2018

What advice would you offer to others just starting a business?
You’ve got to believe in your product and do the research to get it right. Obviously that is an easier prospect if the product is your creation. Then you have to accept that some failure is part of the process, and move on

How did you come up with the name of your company?
The first bit was easy but then five years ago we added Arcana. The point was to give the brand a feeling of something slightly secretive and out of the ordinary.

Where do you see yourself / your company in 5 years from now?
Company: Bigger with more retail outlets across Europe and the US
Me: Exhausted but happy!!

A best seller from the Autumn Winter Collection which we did in both silk and wool.

If you like what you see then view all of the current stock of Diana’s collection.

Harriet x