A Baa Stool creation delivers a moment of pure joy. It’s impossible not to smile when you see one – indeed the company’s mantra is ‘style with a smile’. Their products inspire oohs and aahs and provide comfort and delight in homes all over the UK and in the US which has also discovered the Baa Stool pleasure factor.
Pictured: Michelle Bartleet-Greavey
MICHELLE DREAMS IN SHEEPSKIN, CONSTANTLY THINKING UP BRILLIANT NEW IDEAS FOR USING THIS MOST TACTILE AND VERSATILE OF MATERIALS
In the eight years since Michelle Bartleet-Greavey first came up with the idea of covering a footstool in sheepskin, the range has grown to include stools, tuffets, pouffes and benches in different shapes, sizes and colours, from natural tones to bright jewel-like hues. Now Baa Stool customers can dial up the snuggle factor at home with sheepskin-covered armchairs, gorgeous patterned rugs, cushions and even lampshades. The company’s hug of a ‘Polar Bear Chair’ was brought in by ITV’s Dancing on Ice to introduce a fluffy, feel-good factor into the presenters’ cabins.
Michelle dreams in sheepskin, constantly thinking up brilliant new ideas for using this most tactile and versatile of materials in a range of interiors items. She explains that as well as the obvious, Baa stands for brave, accountable and awesome.
Originality is the brand’s byword, always striving to create something that is unlike anything else that’s available to buy. If an idea doesn’t excite the Baa Stool team or make them smile, then it won’t get made!
Her dedication to ethical production methods and eliminating waste in her North Wales workshop has inspired some of the company’s most innovative creations. Baa Stool’s quirky door accessories such as draught excluders and doorstops in the shape of birds use some of the smaller pieces of sheepskin that would otherwise end up as throwaway scraps. The company’s opulent, best-selling Union Jack rug, available as a made-to-order item also includes some of these smaller cuts. The tiniest pieces of sheepskin are even used to stuff cushion pads as part of the brand’s drive to eliminate synthetics where possible.
The story behind Baa Stool is an unusual one. After being made redundant from her 25 year-long corporate career Michelle had an encounter with a fortune-teller who saw her surrounded by pin cushions and other sewing items. Originally from North Wales she’d recently moved back to the area where she grew up, but was travelling so much for work that she’d had little time to enjoy the local countryside.
Inspired by the thought of a new direction she threw herself into a two-year professional upholstery course run by the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF). Then one day as she gazed out at the sheep grazing in the fields outside her house, she had a flash of inspiration. Why not cover a stool with sheepskin? She sourced a couple of fleeces locally – to this day the majority of sheepskin used in Baa Stool items are sourced from UK flocks – and set to work. Several weeks later and a fair bit of trial and error, Michelle took her experimental stools to local fairs and farmers markets where she quickly realised she had a hit on her hand.
Eight years since that initial stroke of genius, Baa Stool has gone on to create an entirely new interiors category and concept that has earned it an ardent fan base at home and abroad.