Rituals: Abel Sloane

Abel Sloane is a rising name in the world of furniture. A former English and American literature student, who now runs Abel Sloane 1934, selling vintage furniture finds alongside custom made pieces.  

Sloane originally viewed furniture as a general interest to go alongside his studies, but this changed after his time working for Retrouvius, a reclamation design studio. ‘I was working for Retrouvius and they pushed me to work for myself selling [furniture]’.

So, in 2012, when Sloane was 21, he launched Abel Sloane 1934. The 1934 refers to designer Gerrit Rietveld, the famed Dutch furniture designer, architect and prominent member of the De Stijl movement, who designed his ‘crate furniture’ in 1934. Sloane was inspired by the democratic approach of the crate series, which made furniture from the materials used from crates. We spoke with Sloane about his daily rituals, the best find of his career and the most important question, tea or coffee.

What’s your daily ritual?

Every day is different. On a day like today I would’ve woke up at 5 and drove to Kempton [fair], I don’t really have a ritual in the morning, I wish I did something like go for a jog in the morning. I tried it once, wore flat sole plimsolls and it was the wrong footwear choice. So I didn’t do it again.

Are you a morning person?

Yeah. I actually am, I get up quite early and I’m not grumpy in the morning. Last week, I got up at about half 3 to drive down to Reading for a big market and then, on the same day, I had to drive up to Sheffield, straight afterwards. That was a long day, but I quite enjoy it.

Was furniture always the thing for you?

It’s always been something I’ve been interested in. I did graphic design at school but then, at university, I went to Goldsmith’s and did English and American literature. I thought there were more jobs in that field. I got to my final year and I was more interested in furniture. It was a hobby and the demand of it turned it into a job, accidentally. Because I’m interested in it, it doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like I’m doing my hobby and getting paid for it. I enjoy it a lot.

Is sourcing goods harder now because of the internet? Everyone has a story about finding an Ercol sofa for twenty pounds.

There are a few times when that’s happened. When I started I found someone who’d listed 23 chairs, £1 each. No photo. I said ‘can you send me a photo?’ at £1 each, you can’t go wrong. They turned out to be 23 Alto chairs. He had them in his front garden. I was like ‘I’ll come down now!’ that was my biggest and best find.  It does happen occasionally but not often. You have to really scour the internet now.

Coffee or tea?

Tea. I don’t really drink coffee unless I have to pretend to be grown up. If I go for a meeting with a client or something, I’ll say ‘oh yeah, I’ll have a coffee too’.