Objects of Desire: Launching Vigour and Skills

By Guest Writer

2 years ago

Inspired by a creative community around their new Cotswold home, Beatrice Savoretti and husband Clement Lauchard launched Vigour and Skills, an artisanal concept store championing British makers.

March/April ’22 Issue

Objects of Desire: Launching Vigour and Skills

When Clement and Beatrice swapped city life for the Cotswolds, their aim was to establish a rural idyll rather than any ideas of fresh enterprise. Beatrice was pregnant, their second child imminent, while Clement planned to commute to London to carry on his career in backstage fashion photography. As for many others, lockdown caused derailment but also an opportunity for re-routing. With time to explore the local area around Burford, like enthusiastic metal-detectorists, they ventured out, unearthing little gems of creative talent in villages and farmhouses: weavers, ceramicists, carpenters, jewellers and glass specialists producing exquisite clothes, artworks and decorative objects.

‘It was enchanting,’ says Clement, ’I wanted to know about these artists working in sheds, stables and spare rooms, to document and share their stories.’

Vigour and Skills makers (from left) Reesha Zubair; Emsie Sharp; Glynn Allcock

Vigour and Skills makers (from left) Reesha Zubair; Emsie Sharp; Glynn Allcock

Early in his career while at Louis Vuitton, Clement met leatherworkers and artisans behind the luxury brand. It was one of the highlights of his role. ‘I loved telling clients how pieces were put together, the materials and skills involved. I realised they loved it too. Telling a story was integral to a purchase. Understanding the love and care that goes into a product makes you appreciate and value it more’.

Like shaking a kaleidoscope and watching tiny fragments fall into order, Beatrice and Clement realised their shared experiences, passions and expertise had the potential to become something special. Soon after their second child was born, so too another baby: Vigour and Skills, an online store connecting customers to the best of British craft.

Business is thriving, Vigour and Skills now showcases a nationwide community of experts. With storytelling and traceability at the heart of the brand, the website shows each maker in their workplace with behind-the-scenes interviews directed by Clement.

Blue glass vase

Glass vase made by Emsie Sharp, one of Vigour and Skills’ makers

‘We had a vision of everyone coming together,’ says Beatrice, ‘we’re the umbrella, empowering customers to make informed choices, cutting out the supply chain labyrinth. It’s so relevant with the issues of farming, circular fashion and sustainability. We want to be accessible and transparent, offering product with an enduring quality.’ The duo also share business acumen where necessary. Beatrice has experience of fashion marketing with brands such as Chinese designer Huishan Zhang when he was a start-up. She explains: ‘I know the difficulties young designers face trying to keep hold of their creativity in ferocious industries. We’re here to nurture and help.’

As well as the array of handmade products, the website offers sonnets, recipes and news, including details of a collaboration with Amber Foundation, a charity supporting disadvantaged young people to transform lives by helping them move out of homelessness and unemployment. Beatrice and Clement have big ideas and big hearts – with surely more to come.

Beatrice, Clement and Vigour and Skills makers are at London Craft Week, 9-15 May 2022, londoncraftweek.com

Featured image: Vases by Bristol-based artisan potter Reesha Zubair, one of Vigour and Skills’ makers


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