Homeware As A Form of Self-Expression: Meet Scarlet Ding
Founded by Scarlet Ding in 2020, Humber specializes in design and product development in storage products, sculpted taper candles, and glass table lamps.
Who is the founder of Humber? Where are you based out of?
Humber is an Asian woman powered homeware studio based in Toronto, Canada. The idea of Humber, a collection of colorful homeware products, was a bit of a pandemic pivot. As founder, I wanted to create a line of products that combines style, functionality, and quality. Coming from a fashion buying and product development background, I am happy to utilize my previous experience into this new venture.
When and why did you get into designing homeware? What interests or experiences influence your vintage-inspired collection?
Designing homeware has always been my passion. It was just put on the side when I was pursuing my fashion career. I remember flipping through fashion editorials and looking at the staged homeware and decorations instead of the actual content. Aside from the huge trend/comeback for vintage products (you've seen them everywhere on IG), I personally always get this calming energy from a vintage-inspired space, and I want our products to impact people the same way. I think the whole world is in this nostalgic mood given how unstable everything is. Products that calm our nerves or that simply can take our mind off reality for a second are something we want to offer to the market.
Where does your design process start?
It always starts with my own need/crave for that one specific product. I've lived through a lot of long nights getting excited over a certain shape or material. For example, our sculpted squiggle candles came from one of these nights when I just started to play with heated taper candles.
Lex Pott has been such a huge influence for us when it comes to the unlimited possibility you can have with wax. It's such a canvas to channel our creativity. After the idea followed painful experiments and constant failure like material, packaging, or just shapes not burning well. It took us a year to finally get them right - hence being able to launch them with the AMDC this summer!
Customer need is another big force that drives us in the design process. Heavy duty crates have been requested by our community since we launched. We actually speak to focus groups to make sure we get the dimensions/colors/structures right. It's always a lengthy process from design to product launch, but we enjoy every second of it.
Your storage crates come in a variety of sizes and colors. We’ve played around with removing and reassembling their panels to create unique combinations. Why is it important to offer a range of choice when curating homeware products?
The number one reason is always to give our customers (either retailers or our retail clients) liberty to get creative. Homeware has moved from just stuff we have at home to a form of self-expression, either online or offline. Customers (as well as ourselves) spend so much time finding that perfect match in the market and we want to make sure we are always there for them, no matter what styles they are into.
We understand everyone has a different taste, preference, or vibes. Some customers love the classic earthy tones while others love to get bright and loud in their home. Whatever they are into, they can always find something here that they like.
Where do you see Humber General Store in the future? Are there any cool plans or projects in the works?
I am very, very product driven. It's crazy--I picture Humber products as must-have pieces in everyone's home in North America.
Right now, it’s essential for us to focus on what we currently offer, and optimize them in designs, colors, functionality, etc. Storage products have been the most asked for collection, so we are currently in the process of developing them in various materials and shapes. We ask for and are constantly getting feedback from all sales channels that we always take into consideration when making future plans.
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