Names: Sara Güida and Alessio Nobili
Ages: 31 and 34
Occupation: Follow a natural way of life and explore all aspects of design in an eco-friendly way. We started ILIÜI to prove that sustainable products can be fashionable, modern, and contemporary.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
S: We are an Italian couple living in the south of Spain, the countryside of a little village of craftsmen called Gata de Gorgos in the Costa Blanca area. We have lived here for 8 years, and decided 1 year ago to leave our jobs to begin our own project of work and life: ILIÜI.
I’m a designer by profession (I studied art/ Industrial Design at the Institute of Art in Rome and graduated as a Fashion Designer in Milan) but above all, I love nature and animals; we only use herbal medicines and we have 3 wonderful Czechoslovakian wolfdogs! I love materials, and colours, as well as photography and dance – I’ve practiced for many years and it helps me so much in everyday life.
I met my husband in Milan, in a street market where he used to sell handcrafted ceramic goods.
And… he’s the one taking care of plants and vegetables on our land! We both also love cooking - you know... us Italians both ;)
2. What's a typical day like for you?
Once we wake up, we open the door to our 3 dogs and go out with them to have a little walk, breathing fresh early morning air, and contemplating the wonderful view we have of nature (we can see the sea from here in the distance).
We then have a bit of royal jelly, an Italian coffee (or two!), and then get started on crafting things or cleaning up metal cans.
We really try to reduce the times we have to catch the car to go to the village.
Three days a week Ale goes to sell our goods and second-hand things to some markets nearby this area.
And some evenings we go with our dogs to have a walk in the woods behind our home. We don’t have a TV, we threw it away many years ago!
3. What got you started in this field?
During all of my professional life as a designer, I heard too many times my bosses telling me that I have too much creativity!
I spent all my student life finding out the best way to express that creativity that I couldn't permit anyone to tell me those words again.
In addition to this, I felt that I really needed to change my life 2 years ago. I couldn’t continue with the same routine for the rest of my life and working in an office environment was no longer for me; I began to feel like an animal in captivity.
I’m a super active person. I like to do lots of things and have always had many interests, so I felt I should explore them more and use all my talents, not only one (not only drawing!) for my job, for my life.
And I wanted to change the “time-table” of my life – I was sick of waking up every day at the same hour since I was 6 years old.
So then I left my job as a ZARA Women’s shoe designer where I had worked for 5 years in order to find another way - another way of life, another way of work, another way.
I spent some months thinking about priorities in my life and how it would be possible to combine family and job in a simple, natural way; thinking about the best project to begin with, the strongest one, the one for us.
For Alessio, he also felt the necessity to become more autonomous and to have more responsibility in his everyday job.
4. What is your greatest inspiration and why?
We don’t have a fixed inspiration for creating things; it’s different every time! It could come from a small piece of material, from a leaf, from a colour that comes into my head suddenly, from a sketch without sense, from speaking together, from a white wall. That is creativity.
5. Any advice you would give to budding entrepreneurs?
Be brave. Let your job and life be really what you were born to do, discover your talent and use it at maximum expression.
6. What's your favourite piece in ILIÜI's entire collection?
Actually we don’t have many different products in our collection as we just started our brand, but of course amongst them, our very first lamp: “FLEXO nº001 ©”.
Thanks for your time Sara - we hope to meet you and Ale in Costa Blanca one day!