Friends of Trouva: Goods of May
Last updated December 12
Date created August 5
Founded in 2020, Goods of May is a sustainable homeware brand creating playful and practical knitted cushions using 100% sustainably-sourced British lambswool. Blending traditional craft with contemporary colour combinations, each Goods of May piece is produced in founder Lucy’s south London-based studio.
Ahead of our fifth Trouva Exclusives launch, the Babette Bolster Cushion, created in collaboration with Goods of May, we sat down with Lucy to chat vintage ‘70s-inspired checkerboard, knitting machines and finding community on Instagram.
Hi Lucy! Tell us how Goods of May began
I studied fashion design with knitwear at Central Saint Martins and part of the course included learning how to knit on a machine. They had a great studio and one of the knit technicians, Rodney, restores old machines, so I got a good deal on my first through him. After I graduated, the machine went under my bed until lockdown, when I was on furlough from my retail job and stuck at my parent’s house with nothing to fill my days.
I actually started Goods of May with hand crocheted raffia summer hats and bags. While I loved them and they did well for a while, they took a long time to make and were expensive to produce, so I pulled out my dusty knitting machine to experiment with wool again. I’ve always loved homewares, so I naturally progressed into making the cushions you see now.
All of your colourful lambswool cushions are handmade by you in south London - tell us about the ethos behind the brand
Goods of May is a celebration of craft and aims to be as sustainable as possible. Lambswool is a natural insulator, so as well as being bold and bright, the cushions are really cosy too. I use sustainably sourced yarn, and have no plastics in my packaging. I avoid deadstock by making everything to order, and the cushions are knitted to size, too, so there’s minimal waste during the production process.
I really love the nod to tradition with handmade products. My knitting machine was made in the ‘70s - it’s totally analogue and the patterns I knit are actually programmed in via a plastic card that I punch holes into. The machine reads the card and then puts all the needles in the correct place to create the pattern.
What inspires you?
I’m a bit obsessed with colour. My camera roll is full of colour combinations that I spot when I’m out and about. Two artists that I came across recently on Instagram - Joshua Perkin and Peggy Kuiper - both use colour in such an interesting way. It’s something I try to keep in mind when designing; finding the sweet spot between interesting colour combinations while staying pretty true to my customers’ tastes.
I love looking at retro interiors, too, whether in old magazines or on Pinterest. The interior trends of the 1970s weren’t shy on colour or pattern - I love that. I think people can be a little scared of colour, but they definitely weren’t back then.
You run Goods of May around your full time job - what does your work set-up look like?
Life often gets in the way but I don’t really like sitting still for too long, so the brand gives me ways to keep myself occupied on weekends and evenings. I think I’ve definitely learned the hard way to find a balance, and always now try to not take on too much. I also work with a freelance knitter called Alice who is an absolute life saver. She helps produce my wholesale orders so I still have time to design and plan future collections.
At the moment I work from the spare room in the flat I share with one of my best friends. I work my day job there, and also use it as a studio for Goods of May. There’s still a little way to go to make the room a bit more inspiring, but it’s so nice to have a dedicated space to work in then switch off when I’m done. I used to work from my bedroom, meaning when I had a big wholesale order I was literally sleeping in a cushion factory, in amongst all the stress - it’s been a real upgrade!
When I’m making the cushions you’ll find me in my pyjamas, headphones on, playing all the cheesy pop and guilty pleasures to help keep my energy up. When I’m hand sewing the inner pads into their covers, you can guarantee that I’m camped out in front of the TV surrounded by cushions and a glass of wine.
Tell us more about the Babette Bolster Cushion, made exclusively for Trouva
Bolster cushions are super traditional and a little retro, and it felt like a natural way for Goods of May to evolve. I like the contrast of the boxy checkerboard and broken stripe designs against a round form. I wanted to stay quite timeless, and not too seasonal or trend-led, so kept the design inspiration rooted in tradition with a nod to the ‘70s.
The Babette is a move on from my bestselling Sidney cushion, a square cushion in classic checkerboard that comes in pop bright colours. The bolsters feel like a really exciting new route to help the brand grow up a bit.
Why did you want to collaborate with Trouva on our fifth Trouva Exclusives?
I love all the efforts Trouva puts into championing independent brands, so I was really excited when I was asked to do an exclusive. I started my brand during the big boom of small makers and businesses coming out of lockdown in 2020, and the sense of community I’ve gained from starting Goods of May has been the highlight of my brand journey so far.
I’ve connected with so many other small brands through Instagram - we’re all trying to navigate this space together. Then there’s the wonderful independent boutiques that have stocked Goods of May in their shops, from Brighton-based DOWSE, a boutique I’d admired for years, to Bellwoods, located close to where I grew up (they’re in Whitley Bay and I’m from Sunderland.) It’s really nice knowing I have a presence up north now I’m based in London.