Founder, Alexandra Llewellyn, Brand of Tomorrow 2017
London-based designer Alexandra Llewellyn creates backgammon boards and custom-made games tables and games, all crafted in the UK. Alexandra Llewellyn Designs stock a collection of in-house designs that are available immediately or can be personalised with engraved or painted messages, initials, and dates, and commissioned with exquisite semi-precious stone and brass playing pieces. Alexandra Llewellyn Designs also takes one-off commissions for games tables and boards. Alexandra Llewellyn Designs works with a team of master craftsmen in the UK who each specialise in different techniques and materials, making each unique commission an original to be enjoyed by generations to come.
“I originally trained as a fine artist, and have always loved materials. When I created some backgammon boards as presents in the past, I used them as vehicles to experiment with different processes and designs … and so the story began.
I launched with four backgammon designs in December 2010, and we continue to make specifically bespoke backgammon boards and games tables. I had intended to move on to another product line after a couple of years and this was my first lesson in remaining flexible – understanding what works and what doesn’t. This is a continual challenge/inner monologue!
I work with an incredible network of British craftsman, covering all materials and techniques, and these are a huge part of our work. We all learn from each other which feeds my designs and ideas. I think it is really important to be generous with time and connecting our suppliers and everyone that we work with.”
In order to be a successful luxury entrepreneur what are three pieces of advice you would give?
Keep an open mind and try not to be too influenced by others.
An understanding of materials is essential.
You need to understand your client.
What are the most important lessons you have learned along your journey?
Keep going whatever happens.
Always look ahead.
Try and maintain a sense of perspective.
What are the watch outs along the way?
Keep true to the core of the business beliefs and reasons for doing it…distractions pop up along the way.
Always be aware that to grow, others will need to take over most roles, so you need to able to delegate and let go.
Trust your instinct and take time over decisions if you need it.
When you started out who was your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration and support was my family. Starting a business can be very isolating and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without a constant reminder of my priorities and a reminder of perspective when it was all consuming. My mother called them the two peas in a pod. They always encouraged me to talk about my successes and the failures, and this helped so much. If you don’t discuss them or say them out loud, they get lost in the craziness.