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Rachel Ashwell

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aisling nolan

on 24 September 2014

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Transcript of Rachel Ashwell

As reported in The New York Times early in 2009, after 20 years in business, Ashwell's company filed bankruptcy, which caused her to re-evaluate. The site Shelterpop.com asked, "Can Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Survive in Modern Times?"Ashwell, the article said, weathered the bankruptcy of her company "and embarked on a redux." That "redux" came in the form of an investor partner, which teamed with Rachel Ashwell to give the brand new life. The re-invented Shabby Chic Brands developed a new business model that expanded the line to include moderately-priced collections to be sold nationwide.By mid-2011, Shabby Chic Brands expanded further into the United Kingdom, pairing the House of Fraser to offer the "Shabby Chic at House of Fraser" product line.
Also, Rachel Ashwell bedding is available at national retail chains and outlets. In 2011, Ashwell opened The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell, a bed and breakfast in Round Top, Texas.
Rachel Ashwell was born Rachel Greenfield on 30 October 1959, in Cambridge, England, She is an author, designer and entrepreneur best known for her home furnishing company leading her name being synonymous with the shabby chic style.
Who is she?

Ashwells father was a rare books dealer, her mother restored antique dolls and teddy bears. She told the Sunday Times in 2004 that "Following my father around the markets taught me how to make quick decisions about what was or was not worth buying."

Rachel began selling antiques at the London outdoor markets when she was 13 years old. She left school at 16 and later she began a career working as a wardrobe and prop stylist for television and photo shoots from 1977 untill 1987.
Small beginnings
New ventures
In 1989, Ashwell opened a store in Santa Monica, California, called Shabby Chic. By this time, she wanted to start a small business, though Shabby Chic soon became a large, successful company. She began by selling slipcovers, in such varied materials as velvet, denim, and linen. She later expanded to vintage furniture and accessories for the home, again emphasizing comfort as well as the beauty of imperfections.

First Store
To find pieces to sell in her store, Ashwell would hit garage sales and flea markets. While she might restore, sand and/or paint the dressers, tables, and cabinets that she would find, for the most part Ashwell was determined to keep the piece's character. She would buy furniture that was well–built but well–used, capitalizing on the flaws as a chance to be creative. These finds would form the core of Ashwell's Shabby Chic business for many years.

By 1991, Ashwell had three Shabby Chic stores, opening additional locations in New York City and San Francisco, California. She later added a store in Chicago, Illinois. While each store sold Shabby Chic products, she geared what was found in each store toward the style and clientele it would attract in each city.

Shabby Chic also expanded the kind of products it carried. Ashwell first branched out into home textiles, like sheets and fabrics. Many of her fabrics were poplins and linens in her signature colors. In the late 1990s, she also added Shabby Chic Man to appeal to male consumers, Shabby Chic Home, which included bedding, and Rachel Ashwell Designs Collection, which featured new furniture in the mode of the restored pieces that she sold at her stores.

Shabby Chic Home included bedding, and Rachel Ashwell Designs Collection, which featured new furniture in the mode of the restored pieces that she sold at her stores.

Some of these products created trends in the home decorating industry. Ashwell was among the first to popularize the concept of knitted bed sheets in the late 1990s, a trend which other companies began to follow. Similarly, many companies started selling new, distressed furniture.

Ashwell continued to expand her own ideas to stay ahead of the market. She added pajamas and aromatherapy products to the Shabby Chic Home line. She also introduced three new product lines: Shabby Chic Studio, a less expensive line of furniture; Shabby Chic Baby, which featured bedding and accessories for infants; and Shabby Chic Accessories, a line of lampshades, chair pads, and backpacks.

Between 1996 and 2004, Ashwell penned four books showcasing different aspects of her Shabby Chic design concept. Shabby Chic, published in 1996, was primarily a book of photos of homes done in Ashwell's decorating style.

Because of Ashwell's success with Shabby Chic, she was a guest on shows on HGTV (Home and Garden Television). By 2000, Ashwell was a home and how–to expert with her own program on E! Entertainment Television and its related Style Network. She displayed her style on her show Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic

Rachel Ashwell
By 1983, Ashwell had moved to the United States, settling in California primarily working in as a commercial and print stylist. When she had her two children, she left this career behind to focus on her family.

Ashwell began doing what became Shabby Chic in her own home as she decorated the house to withstand the rigors of her children and pets. She made washable, design–friendly slipcovers for her furniture. Friends soon wanted them, which led to her first store.

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