Pom Pom Factory’s installation is currently featured in the Wonder Room at Selfridges where you can find 7,000 cherry blossom pom poms sitting alongside the largest collection of fine watch and jewellery brands in Europe. They have also just collaborated with French label Épice at the concept store Merci in Paris. Poms are a pretty straightforward DIY project, but what makes Pom Pom Factory’s work so special is their organic approach to their business, uniqueness and their eco-friendly stance.
Pom Pom Factory started in 2010 by Hong Kong-born, London-based artist Karen Hsu. A graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Karen applied her formal training as a freelance graphic designer. After a few years of working in front of the computer, Karen started experimenting with handmade work using anything from tape, tissue paper and feathers. Pom Pom Factory was subsequently born when Karen was asked to become the resident window designer for A142 stores in Shoreditch: it was there where her work got recognised by bloggers, stylists and photographers. She then slowly built her business by employing a team of like-minded Pom Pom ‘Factory’ workers from her circle of family and friends. A day at the Factory means experimenting with poms and different material and transfer them into avant-garde creations for visual merchandising projects, weddings and one-off requests.
Their recent work include a ‘Pom Pom Save the Queen’ flag which is handmade by 4 people in 14 days and consists of 600 mini pom poms, to celebrate the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.
Karen started experimenting with handmade work using anything from tape, tissue paper and feathers.
When Karen first started making pom poms, she realised that some paper manufacturing processes still created high level of waste and pollution; she then researched and found a French paper company, M&M Luxe, which are one of the first producers of innovative paper with an environmentally approach. Ever since then, all Pom Pom Factory’s products are made from 100% bio-degradable and recyclable Pyrène tissue paper which is a natural product.
Pom Pom Factory’s future is going to involve in a lot of experiments as part of their endeavor to create greater products; this ongoing stance will also continue in their quest to becoming more environmentally-friendly.
What were your ambitions and aspirations at the age of 26?
To stop being an artist slash something and start becoming an artist who does what she wants for a living.
Pick a word beginning with the letter 'E' that best sums you up.
For each letter of the alphabet pick a word followed by a short sentence
that inspires you.
A142 Store in Spitalfields, where it all started.
“Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey,
currently most played song on our playlist.
The Carpenter’s Arms on Cheshire Street, E2,
where we exchange ideas and drink beer.
Dad, we miss you.
East London, never ceases to amaze us.
Flower Market at Columbia Road.
Hong Kong, our roots.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it".
which inspired us to create the cherry blossom pom poms.
Lars Von Trier’s films.
Moustache Mugs by our dear friend Peter Ibruegger.
Princy, our cat.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Rhonda Byrne “The Secret”,
a great book that got us through hard times.
St. John Bread & Wine in Shoreditch for a treat.
Totoro from “My Neighbor Totoro” in 1988,
one of the best animated films which cheers us up.
Ups and downs.
Wales, our summer retreat.
XOYO in Old Street,
saw everyone from Jamie Woon to Zulu Winter.
Yayoi Kusama, great exhibition at Tate Mordern.
WORDS & INTERVIEW / Kevin Langridge