Close
 

Deadly Ponies' Liam Bowden talks creativity, coolness and pop culture

  • Design
  • December 19, 2017
  • Idealog Team
Deadly Ponies' Liam Bowden talks creativity, coolness and pop culture

Deadly Ponies founder and Creative Director Liam Bowden was the People's Choice winners for Most Creative in fashion/footwear for Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People. Bowden began making one-off leather pieces and jewellery in his garage. And now Deadly Ponies has become an internationally renowned leather accessories brand that has challenged traditional notions of design. And a recent collaboration with My Little Pony cemented its pop cultural cool factor. Here, he talks finding inspiration, where his best ideas come from and resilience. 

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity to me means, taking a quirk, item or object and expanding it, making it my own interpretation.

What do you think it is about your nature/habits/interests that makes you creative?

I enjoy collecting; the ideas, the concepts and learning. Learning about the process, about creative people and what they make and how they make it. Learning fuels my creativity.

What first drew you to your chosen field?

I sort of fell into it. While studying graphic design I was interested in sculpture and furniture design, which led me into making three-dimensional objects. I started creating furniture, then playing with tactile fabrics, which took me to leather and making leather accessories. Bags came after and here we are today.

What was your upbringing like, and how do you think that led you to where you are today?

As a child, I didn’t bother with many bought toys. My siblings and I would make our own toys out of cardboard, playdough or anything we could get our hands on, which led to me creating something out of nothing.

Where do your best ideas come from?

The best ideas come from refinement – I prefer working and re-working a product until I have discovered a look that meets my expectations. I often don’t know what those expectations are until I get there.

What does inspiration look like for you?

Everything. I am drawn to things that have history and are worn or used. For example, an old padlock or a paintbrush. Figuring out the story behind the item, why it was created or for what purpose and, in turn, how it can be reinterpreted for future projects.

Is there an ethos/motto you abide by in your work?

I try to abide by the rule of having fun and creating products that are not too serious.

If there were a secret to success, what would it be?

Work, work and work. Also, hearing the world around you and taking into consideration what people want and how they respond. It is important to be able to tweak what you are doing to appeal to your target market, however, there is a fine balance in not letting it influence you too much.

What were some of the challenges that you faced early on? What went wrong? Any regrets?

One of my biggest challenges I faced early on was entering the fashion industry with little or no formal training. In terms of the business side, I learnt a lot along the way, which meant a lot of things took longer than they should have.

I have no regrets. These challenges made the products unique and the business operated differently, but we forged our own path.

Creativity to me means, taking a quirk, item or object and expanding it, making it my own interpretation.

Do you work a lot? Do you have an obsessive part to your personality?

I do not see Deadly Ponies as work. I am always curious and continually researching an object or an artwork. It may seem a little obsessive. Currently, I am researching everything about nut-crackers; the history, function, models, style - everything! 

What’s the secret to resilience?  

The secret to resilience is being able to take things seriously, but to always prioritise having fun.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

Opening our first store remains one of the many highlights in my career and then the subsequent stores after that. Other highlights include staff events and team breakfasts; seeing the whole team we’ve brought together – all these people are working towards one goal - it is very humbling.

What do you think New Zealand is like for creativity? Is there something about ‘Kiwiness’ that helps or hinders?

I believe creativity thrives in New Zealand because we are small country. There are many cottage industries and specialist creators who can be a lot more accessible and we can give things a go or know someone who can help.

What would be the advice you’d give someone who wants to turn their creative passion into a full-time gig?

My advice would be that knowledge is powerful. Learn as much as you can about your passion and continue to seek out others more skilled to learn from.

What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

To learn to categorise problems and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Where to next? Do you have a goal you’re working towards?

2017 was a big year for us and at times there was not enough time to reflect on what we had achieved. Next year we have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline, however we will also take stock and focus on our processes and refinement. 

This story originally appeared on Idealog.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Bambi Boutique: The launch that influence built

  • News
  • February 22, 2018
Bambi Boutique: The launch that influence built

Bambi Boutique is the latest venture by Auckland business tycoon, Iyia Liu, proving time and time again that influencer marketing is the key to quick growth. The Bambi Boutique launch went off without a hitch, while Liu’s influence saw the launch almost completely subsidised by the vendors involved.

Read more
 
 
Technology

Looking at retail inside and out: Simon Pound talks Vend, ventures and diversification

Simon Pound worked with retail tech company Vend for more than four years before shifting to become a partner at ventures start-up Previously Unavailable in ...

 
 
 
topics
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

GoodFor opens a second store in Parnell

  • News
  • February 21, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
GoodFor opens a second store in Parnell

Popular bulk food retailer GoodFor, has branched out and taken its success out in east Auckland as it opens a new store and distribution centre in Parnell. The move comes less than a year after its launch.

Read more
 
 
 
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita@tangiblemedia.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}