With August now behind us, it’s time to look toward the latter end of the year. Our minds are pre-occupied with the outdoors during the Summer months with everyone making the most of the warmer weather. However, as we turn into September we spend more time indoors and we want to make our homes comfortable and cosy places to spend your time.
The life of an entrepreneur can be a stressful one but a rewarding one, and I can certainly vouch for both sides!
With a successful business comes difficult decisions, financial pressure and a need to keep ahead of the competition. But it’s also exciting, unpredictable and extremely rewarding which is why it’s important to enjoy what you do. I’m lucky; I’m passionate and completely in love with my job and that certainly makes things a lot easier to manage.
This year, I’m supporting an initiative called Britain’s Top Real Role Model, a nationwide competition run by Amway UK Ltd to uncover Britain’s unsung entrepreneurial heroes. Together we are searching for an aspiring Passionpreneur – someone who has set up a business related to a hobby or passion of theirs – to win a £5,000 investment for their business.
This June, I was honoured to be invited to the Business of Luxury Design (BOLD) Summit in California. It was my first time I Palm Springs and I totally fell I love with it. It was like going back in time, with the vintage cars vintage stores and the architecture, all set in totally desert like surrounding was unbelievable! The only thing that was hard to get used to was the Heat… It was 90 degrees at night – it was quite unbelievable!
One of London’s most iconic events and one of my personal favourites, I’m thrilled to share that we’re displaying my collection of Home Jewellery at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I’ve collaborated with Absolute Flowers and Home to create a display that showcases my current and new collections of beautiful ceramics and glassware – including some new colourful arrivals.
As an advocate of design, I’m thrilled to have a Kelly Hoppen London concession at Redbrick in West Yorkshire. This has allowed me to bring my Art of Home to the North of England and be closer to our Yorkshire customer. I’ve been designing for 40 years and I’m glad that I’m now able to reach a new area of my customers!
As a former Dragon, I’m constantly being asked on Twitter and Facebook by small business on how to succeed in today’s economy. I may have shed my ‘Dragon’ wings, but I’m still here to help out with business advice!
I wanted to pass on my top five career tips to succeed in small business – I hope these help out!
Inspiring Women – A fantastic morning at the Tate Modern
I had the pleasure and privilege of being invited to an event at the Tate Modern for Inspiring Women. Created by Miriam González Durántez, the event was a great opportunity for women to meet the younger generation and pass on tit-bits of advice and the some of the knowledge we’ve gained over our careers. Organised with the help of my dear friend Amanda Berry OBE and BAFTA, it was a fantastic event.
Since October 2013, the campaign has gone across the country and has hosted events with women in the fields of Finance, Fashion, Medicine, Manufacturing, Technology, Sport – and now the Arts. As an ambassador for Great Britain and a women in the arts I was delighted to be invited to come along and I feel strongly about our younger generation – they are our future after all. In attendance were some other great names, such as Kanya King OBE, Sue Peart and representatives from BBC, Bank of America and Warner Bros.
Now with over 15,000 members, the organisation has amassed a vast network of individuals who are excited to be involved and rightfully so. I was truly inspired by the drive and tenacity of these young people. I spoke to girls as young as 13 and 14 who wanted to become doctors and even one young novelist who treated us to a small snippet of her story – although I wish it was longer as I could have listened all day.
I was blown away with how many watched Dragons’ Den and had the ambition to get into the business and the arts – and wanted to succeed! It was fantastic to hear that the girls’ knew the importance of having a mentor and they said they had this relationship with their teachers. I’m an advocate for mentors so this really made me happy.
All in all, Inspiring Women is a terrific organisation which I’m thrilled to be associated with. If you’d like to learn more about their campaign or to join the network, click here to find out more. Hopefully together we can all be positive role models for our future and inspire these girls to be everything they want to be.
How to Tame the Curl
Despite being known as an interior designer, a dragon on dragons den, it is, believe it or not, my hair that gets the most attention. I am inundated with tweets on my twitter page asking how I tame my curls and what products I use. Some people are actually surprised it’s all my real hair, and I can assure you, it is! Thank you to everyone who compliments my hair, I’d love to take the credit but it’s the wisdom and experience of others who have helped me perfect my hair curling and here’s how…
It’s taken years of trial and error and learning to work out what works for my hair and thankfully, I’ve finally stumbled across what does and seeing as I get so many questions about my hair I thought I’d share my top five hair styling tips so you too can hopefully learn how to tame your own curls.
1 MOISTURISE REGULARLY – the main thing about most types of curly hair, whether it be thin or think, long or short is that it can generally be extremely dry so moisturising regularly is imperative. The problem with a lot of moisturisers is that they are either heavy and weight he hair down or too oily and make the hair look greasy. I am in love with Kevin Murphy’s range of products for curly hair and cannot live without his shampoo and leave in conditioner and motion lotion.
2. NEVER BRUSH YOUR CURLS – this is something that some of you may not be aware of but you should never use a brush on your curls as it strips out the curl and makes your hair more frizzy. Instead gently use a wide tooth comb after you’ve washed your hair and this will give your curls real definition and then leave it to dry naturally, don’t use heat on your curls as this will also dry your hair out and possible blow your curls out. However, if you want extra body, using a diffuser on your roots with your head upside down can be a bit of a life-saver if you don’t have natural volume.
3. WASH YOUR HAIR SPARINGLY – as washing your hair dry’s it out so wash your hair sparingly. I wash mine about once a week and if it needs refreshing I rinse it with a bit of water and put a bit of conditioner in it, no shampoo.
4. DEFINITION POWER – Once your hair has dried and you need to style it I use either L’Oreal’s Studio Line Curl Power or the Kevin Murphy Motion Lotion – these seal in the curls giving them definition and bounce and making them look as perfect and slick as they can and without weighing them down.
5. MAGIC WAND – when taking my curls out on the town, my magic tool is the curling wand to give my curls that extra glamorous look and as well as really defining the shape of my curls.
Lastly, the one thing I cannot live without to ensure my curls look chic is my amazing hair stylist Magdalen Jagri at 10500 Hair. I owe a lot to her for introducing me to Kevin Murphy and helping me find the perfect routine for my hair which is a huge part of my image and with a busy schedule takes out a lot of the time and stress for me and ensures I look more chic business woman and less crazy lady!
GREAT Festival in Shanghai – Virtual Creativity
I’ve recently returned from Asia, where I visited both Shanghai and Singapore – but more about the latter in later blogs! Shanghai was Great Britain’s time to shine and I was there to fly the flag for creative industries. However, the experience as a whole was a fantastic opportunity to see the innovation, creativity and new ideas that our island has to offer. The GREAT Festival was the perfect opportunity for businesses of all shape and size to meet with Chinese investors in order to promote export to this fast-moving economy. Meetings could be set up, deals could be done and new connections could be forged.
Day One explored the new face of entrepreneurialism, new markets, new networks and the underlying values and qualities businesses need – creativity, imagination, re-invention – to face new and future business landscapes. As these qualities are part and parcel to my design ethos I was very excited to see what was on offer.
Walking around the fair, I spotted many stands that sparked my interest and got my creative juices flowing. I loved meeting with the team from John Downer Productions, BBC Earth and BBC Worldwide who had created a series of penguins to record secret footage in the Antarctic – this was key to our understanding of this climate and I adored the cute little figures moving around. So inspirational!
I also spotted a fantastic device by Rex Bionics, who had created a device to stabilise legs allowing a wheelchair user to walk again. It’s just fantastic to think that creative technologies like this are coming out of the UK and giving people who are disabled the power and dignity to move again.
The evening brought the event’s official opening ceremony. After being serenaded by the fantastic Jessie Ware, The Duke of Cambridge, HRH Prince William joined and announced the festival to be open. From doing a lot of work with his father and The Princes Trust, it was truly the Best of British in the room and it was buzzing with creativity. It was also the Duke’s first official visit to China, so it was great to be a part of this moment. I actually had the chance to meet him, but more on that later!
I’ve just returned from Paris, where I visited with some of my design team as part of a trip to seek inspiration from the city and from Maison Objet – which I’ve attended in the past. It was a fantastic trip and we got to see some new designs, but I was more interested in the vintage finds Paris had to offer.
We visited Maison Objet, which is held on the outskirts of Paris. It’s a huge trade fair and there is usually heaps of inspirational pieces here, with new designs and ideas. However, it saddens me to say that this year it wasn’t the case. I was disappointed by the lack of newness and for an event that is supposed to be synonymous with design and creativity, there was just the same old same old. I’d rather go to just one hall of complete newness than walk around a whole fair of things I’ve already seen. There were several inspirational new companies full of great design and newness who did not simply borrow from others, so it was worth going for that. For me, I need new and unique designs as it’s what I and my clients expect. However, it gave me a taster for Maison in Singapore – where I’ll be launching my fantastic range of design-led baths with Apaiser. More to come on that soon!
I absolutely loved walking around the vintage stores and markets in Paris on the hunt for antique finds. I got loads of inspiration here and there’s something satisfying about rummaging around in what could potentially be a pile of junk, only to find a spectacular piece. It got me thinking about how amazing design has been through the ages. How do we catch up with iconic pieces from the past and bring the innovative creativity back to what we see in the present day. I saw loads here and it will keep my creative brain ticking over for a while. I would recommend visiting Les Puces market at Saint Ouen. Sometimes you see something that is simply part of an antique that can create a new design idea in your head.
As well as design hunting, it was a great opportunity to spend some time with some of my design team. I’m very close to my team and we all work together when we’re happy – and nothing satisfies more than good food! We visited Le Voltaire which is one of my favourite restaurant in Paris that I loved as a child. And reminds me of my father We also went to a particularly chic restaurant called La Societe and a few other places for lunch – which were all fantastic.
For me, Paris is the definitely a destination for design inspiration. Stick to the vintage markets and antique dealers to find the best pieces, but have some cash in your pocket as they can be quite expensive. I’m now looking ahead to my trip to Asia, visiting Shanghai as an ambassador of the GREAT Campaign and opening Maison Objet in Singapore – I hope to get lots of great ideas from this trip and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with all the details before I go!
Love Kelly x