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About Grand Illusions

Grand Illusions is based in the beautiful rural countryside of North Dorset and has been offering inspiring products for the home and garden since 1987. Rustic style has gathered momentum at a pace in the UK, shaping our homes now for many years. Naturally there will always be demand for clean lines and shiny surfaces, but antique looking pieces that look like one offs always shine the brightest and still provide so much inspiration to our brand today.

The original core principles conceived in the 1980’s are as relevant now as they were then: Great taste and original design at an affordable price. Sourcing from across the globe creates limitless inspiration to our buying team and our range is constantly evolving, the briefest glimpse of just one curiosity found on any continent and a new range is born. Our aim is to bring our customers products that cannot be found elsewhere whilst maintaining the Grand Illusions style and present a cohesive range that all sits very comfortably together.

In January 2012, Grand Illusions became part of the Virginia Hayward Group of companies, allowing the brand to flourish yet further, explore new genres and continue to build upon the modern vintage style that is still thriving today.

As a business we recognise the environmental impact of importing products from around the world and we are constantly working to reduce our waste and increase the amount we recycle. From using 100% recycled cardboard and bio-degradable packaging, to carefully reviewing our transport profile, we place real importance on ensuring that we operate in the most environmentally minded way possible.

Sundries

We travel the world to discover craftspeople who share our passion and pride in creating beautiful products. Over the years we’ve developed long lasting partnerships with talented makers around the globe. Nothing beats visiting workshops and factories to better understand the products, processes, and most importantly the people and stories behind them. There’s so much to learn, so much inspiration to be found and enduring friendships to be made over a cup of tea, a vibrant meal, and a common purpose.

It’s always a privilege to see artisans at work, and an absolute thrill to watch them bring our design ideas to life. The making process, from sketch to cut-out, from maquette to mould, from first draft through to the finished article, is never quite the same from workshop to workshop. It’s these little differences that give the products individuality and character and, we hope, a place in your home.

Our product development and buying teams share a wealth of experience across many countries. Supported by talented sourcing teams in UK and Hong Kong, we are all joined in our love of discovering new products and our excitement in sharing them with you.

Photography

Despite being an online wholesaler, we understand the importance of the ‘shop window’.  Many of you only see our products in catalogues or on this website, therefore a high standard of photography is vital to give our beautiful products the justice they deserve. Our photographer Deborah brings her wealth of experience and fresh ideas to each shoot to maintain brand values and keep us ahead of the game.

Our small team loves finding the next shoot location that fits perfectly with our brand and style.  We still have a few old favourites but finding a new property provides us with so much inspiration and shows off our products in a setting they deserve – a home rather than a studio.

Product Development

product development

As a team we’re embarrassingly passionate about our products.  Over the years, we’ve travelled the world, visited more factories and met more artisans than we can hope to remember.  Each trip always delivers an adventure and serves as a reminder to the talent, expertise and imagination of, and ingenious techniques employed by, the craftspeople who are behind our ever evolving range.  

When what we’re looking for just doesn’t seem to exist, then there is always a trusted and innovative supplier who can step into the breach, draw a sketch or two and solve the problem.  It is this ground-up development that really excites us and motivates us to become even more creative.  Not all of our products are for everyone but we think they are interesting, individual and have a sense of originality that has an indisputable appeal.

 

Design

Originality of design is very important to us and we enjoy improving a wheel that may already have been invented as much as we do creating a product from the ground up.  There is something very rewarding in being involved with the birth of a new product, from concept to prototype, then catalogue photography through to production and finally hearing the excitement from a customer when they find just what they never knew they needed.   We have a lot of fun finding, adapting and creating products that range from classic, alternative and unusual but, above all, interesting.

Not only do we love the small differences in finish between two otherwise identical products, we actively find products and processes that lend themselves to carrying the handwriting of each artisan for a truly unique result.   Inspiration is drawn from all around us, whether that’s the beautiful surrounding Dorset countryside, sourcing trips around the world or even a long weekend in the Dordogne.

In the end, our range is driven by what we’re looking for personally, what we know we’ll enjoy having in our own homes.  And we all love a bit of quirk in our lives.

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