CNBC Meets Kelly Hoppen

If you missed Kelly on CNBC last night be sure to tune in when it repeats this weekend…this really is a must watch! CNBC reporter Tania Bryer not only sat down with Kelly but spoke with former client Gary Rhodes and Kelly’s dear friend and inspiration Vidal Sassoon.

Kelly spoke about her childhood and knowing early on that she had a real affinity for interiors. Aside from taking trips to show homes with her mother Kelly would style her own bedroom and make sure everything was just so…a designer in the making to be sure!

I was surprised to hear that Kelly had experienced bullying as a child and as a result never felt at ease at school. Though I’ve heard of many successful people who have experienced bullying it’s hard to image what those times must have been like for Kelly who was also struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia.

Kelly has spoken before about the importance of her relationship with her father but in the interview she shared what it was like to lose such an important person in her life. Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is never easy but Kelly rebounded from the tragedy with incredible resilience following her passion for interiors that began so early in life. Starting with nothing at just 16 she took on her first project and the rest, as they say, is history.

It was interesting to hear how she adapted in the face of the global economic downturn. As a self-made woman Kelly stated that it was very difficult times when her US opportunities seemed to dry up overnight. The thing I found interesting was the real sense of responsibility Kelly felt for all the people that depend on her for their own livelihoods. She is definitely a different breed of business owner.

Her unique take on business was made even more clear when she spoke about her belief in family and that she is always on call for her children even now that they are adults. Kelly spoke openly about her two marriages and her very modern family. It was really touching to hear about the bonds between Kelly, her daughters (Natasha, Sienna and Savannah) and Jo Miller that were forged in the difficult circumstances of Jo’s fight with breast cancer.

Though Kelly’s life did (and still does) revolve around her family when the girls went off to boarding school she returned to interiors in earnest. Since then her business has flourished and aside from working with amazing clients (Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Victoria Beckham to name a few) her unique vision has turned into an ever expanding range of products. From furniture, to accessories, and from paints and wallpapers to home fragrence and kitchens there is no part of the home that can’t have a touch of the Kelly Hoppen!

She spoke about her desire and commitment to growing her global business by highlighting the focus she has placed on the Asian market. Kelly will be China from December 9-11 but in the last 6 months she has also launched profiles on Chinese language platforms so she can speak directly to her fans in their own language. She is on Weibo, Kaixin, RenRen, Douban and Xiaozhan. While her travel schedule can be gruelling Kelly is dedicated to helping her business reach new heights (and markets).

Perhaps it’s seeing so much of the world that has really spurned Kelly on to look for ever more opportunities to give back. While she is committed to sharing her knowledge with students in her design school she has also partnered with Earth Couture to create an organic ethical fashion line that helps fight the spread of malaria in Africa. There are even plans in place to share a percentage of the sales of her new furniture rage withcharity.

Kelly also shared her thoughts on being honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for her work with charity, employing British workers and raising the profile of a truly British brand. I was really touched by the comments made by Kelly’s mentor and friend Vidal Sassoon who said she was a woman of unique vision who has an amazing future in store that may surprise people. The “Kelly for Prime Minister” campaign started with Vidal Soon but we think it has real legs.

I’ve had the pleasure of working for Kelly for just over a year and a half now and even I was surprised by the things Kelly shared in this interview. If you’ve ever wondered what has shaped Kelly into the incredible businesswoman and inspiration she is today all your questions will be answered in this interview!

The programme airs in the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and on CNBC World in America at the following times so be sure to tune in:

Rebroadcast time:

Saturday 19/11 at 21:30 gmt/22:30 cet

Sunday 20/11 at 19:30 gmt/ 20:30 cet

Monday 21/11 at 22:30 gmt/23:30 cet

Wednesday 22/11 at 22:30 gmt/23:30

Here in the UK it is on the following channels:

Sky (505), Virgin (613), Talk Talk (510), and Freesat (210)


Feng Shui

I saw a post from Crystal and the lovely ladies at Rue Magazine on arranging their new office space which is something I do every year so I thought I’d write a blog about it.

I have mentioned before that when I design I look to create spaces that people instantly feel at ease in. The best compliment I can get from a client when they walk into a home I’ve designed for them is that they feel like they’ve always lived here. Aside from the fabric, colors and all the elements that go into dressing a room its really important to think about how the space will be used and how people will flow through it.

The concept of flow and energy of a space is nothing new as the art of Feng Shui can attest too. We all know what its like to walk into a home and feel that something is ‘off’. This I believe comes down to the energy of the space and whether you have created a space that is well balanced. I work with Richard Ashworth who is a Feng Shui practitioner and the man I trust to help me organise my own office to make it a place I can work, create and be inspired. Quite often you will see Feng Shui tips relating to colour in your home but I think it is more important to look at the very basics like having a clutter free space with natural light. Think of your house as a whole and if one room is really cozy or relaxing what makes it htat way? What elements could you bring into a space that you never seem to want to spend much time in. Some times changing simple things like the position of the furniture addressing dim lighting or having a clear out is enough to make your least favourite room more welcoming.

Since I’ve been talking about my own office space here are some quick tips to give your space the right energy

  1. Make it a distinct space all of it’s own (don;t work out of your bedroom!)
  2. Make sure it has plenty of natural light
  3. Fresh air is great but if it’s not possible look to invest in an air purifier
  4. Don’t face walls or doorways at your desk
  5. Keep it clutter free
  6. Bring in the natural elements through decorative pieces (wood carvings, mirrors, metal)

I always say that the bedroom is the most important part of the house so here are some quick ideas linked to Feng Shui to try in that space as well:

  1. Take out anything that doesn’t relate to sleep or relaxation (that means TVs!)
  2. Open your windows during the day so you have lovely fresh air when you come into the room at night
  3. Have different lighting for different purposes which can also be dimmed
  4. Have neutral colours in the space and on your bed
  5. Make the bed easily accessible from both sides
  6. Have bedside tables to avoid clutter

These are just a few tips but I would encourage you to have a second look at your own home and work spaces to get the energy right so you can be as productive and happy in them as possible.

P.S. Do take a look at Richard’s blog as well for more great tips!

Image Credit: the lovely photo that instantly inspires tranquility is from Toby M


One of the best mornings of my life

In 2009 I had the honour of receiving the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. When I received the letter I actually let it sit for two days as I thought it might have been a bill or something. So you can imagine my shock when I opened the envelope and read the letter!

When I finally opened the envelope it became one of the best mornings of my life…I cried…I called all my family…I really could not believe what I was reading. I have worked very hard from an early age and all my life really because I was following my passion so to be told that I was going to receive an MBE in recognition of this work was indescribable. I am so proud to be a Member of the Order of the British Empire and having Majesty Queen Elizabeth II present me with the beautiful Grand Cross Star was too wonderful for words. My only wish was that my father was here to share the moment but the letter now hangs proudly over my desk as a reminder of the great honour I’ve been given.


Setting the example…The Jamie Oliver Foundation

I’ve talked about how making small changes can make a big difference and how important mentoring is not only to students but to me as well. In this post I want to talk about the good work being done by Jamie Oliver through his amazing foundation.

For the last 11 years Jamie has made it his mission to use food as a way of improving the lives of people around the world. Here in the UK he’s campaigned for better school dinners, encouraged people to toss takeaways in favour of making meals and provided at risk youth with a means of changing their lives around by working in the food industry. Now he’s even taking his campaign to America and start a food revolution!

The work Jamie does inspires me in so many ways, not least of which is because I’ve been aware of the importance of nutrition from the age of 17. Mostly, though it’s his dedication to improving the lives of young people that has had the most impact on me. Jamie is truly passionate about reconnecting young people to the food they eat not only to protect their health and combat obesity but to develop basic skills like cooking and veg gardening. These programme as aimed at school children but his fifteen foundation picks up where his school programmes leave off by offering people between the ages of 18-24 the chance to start a fulfilling career in food. If you haven’t been to a fifteen restaurant yet you should because each meal helps further fund the amazing programme.

Jamie is setting an inspiring example on how to change lives through something as simple as good food. I look forward to continuing to support Jamie and his amazing Foundation alongside my own charitable and mentoring schemes.


Making your passion your profession

I’ve spoken before about the inspiration I find in the work of others and how for them, and myself, success is not a day job. But I wanted to speak about how following your passion as a profession can be challenging but the most rewarding thing you do. I started in the business I was passionate about at 16 and I’ve made a successful career out of doing what I love but it hasn’t been without hard work. Confidence, drive and determination are what see you through the long hours and challenges of running your own business.

Starting and running your own business is hard work but maintaining balance is important especially when you’re following your passion and want to throw every bit of energy into it. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when things will be hectic but remember that it’s just as important to play hard as it is to work hard. Taking time out to reconnect with family and friends is really important to me. I also know when to ask for help which many people struggle with. I’ve got a great team aound me at work and I also use my personal time to work with people like Dr. Joshi to help ease stress.

I am also a big believer in the power of visualization and every morning I start my day by visualizing what I want to happen that day. This helps me focus and reconnect with the reasons I work as hard as I have to too make my dreams continue to succeed. I recently read The Power by Ronda Byrne, who is the author of the Secret, which talks about the importance of visualization and self belief. I also follow the teachings of Deepak Chopra which helps to keep me centred and in the right frame of mind.

I have worked very hard to achieve what I have and as a result have been able to work on amazing projects and achieve amazing things…not least of which was being awarded an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2009. I want to encourage those thinking about starting a business to stay motivated, determined and focused on achieving your goals but also remind them to find balance and never forget to laugh when following their passion as a profession.

This image from Memories Visual Depot reminds us that life is a journey….


Life in Balance

Like most people I live a busy life and have to juggle to find the right balance of between work, family and time for myself. Maintaining my health is a real necessity and I have been a ‘health freak’ since I was 17. I work out pretty much everyday and am lucky enough to have a home gym and a personal trainer who comes to me. The amazing Efua Baker is my trainer and I’ve been working with her for years. We’ve become inspirable…she makes staying fit so much fun! I love to do pilates and run but every workout is new to keep things interesting. I’m not a slave to working out but spending an hour first thing in the morning helps get my day off the right start and I always feel that I’ve done something good for myself afterwards.

I’m also a real believer in holistic medicine and have been going to Dr. Joshi for a while. He works with a variety of people and some very high profile clients at his clinic. I go to him for supplements, acupuncture and cupping to make sure I’m in balanced and healthy. I try an start my day with meditation and visualisation to put me in the right frame of mind before the frenzy of the day begins. Even taking five minutes to calm your thoughts and focus on what you want to achieve with your day does wonders.

Another really important part to making sure I’m healthy is eating right. I have lunch delivered every day by Food Ganesh Munchies and at only £6.50 having a delicious organic lunch is much more affordable than many people would think. My daughter Natasha runs the company and she has taught me everything I know about food. One of my oldest friends, Vicky Edgson, also guides me on making the right choices and how to eat well without sacrificing taste.

I truly believe that in order to be successful you need to first start with taking care of yourself by finding balance and making your wellbeing a priority.

The lovely images clockwise from top left are from ardrina.richards, worridden, me’nthedogs and Kritit <3


Small Choices Big Changes

I was approached by Meleni Bharwani, Creative Director of Earth Couture, to design a collection for her luxury Organic clothing range. This wasn’t as much of a departure as you might think as I’m passionate about design in all things and a firm believer in the benefits of organic living. But what really excited me about the project was Earth Couture’s dedication to making a difference in Africa. The idea for Earth Couture was born out of Melanie’s experiences living in Nigeria and her commitment to making positive change remains.

With each purchase from my collection a portion of the sales goes to purchasing mosquito coils to combat the spread of Malaria and AIDS. Malaria has been in the headlines recently and is a disease which affects half of the world’s population. In 2008 alone there were an estimated 243 million cases of malaria and nearly 863 000 deaths due to the disease. Being able to work with Earth Couture meant I could do my small bit to combating this terrible illness.

Aside from being in fashionable company when lounging in my new collection of luxurious ethical and organic clothing you’ll be making a real difference to combating Malaria. I hope you’ll look at my collection on the Earth Couture website, or if you’re in London, pop in to Harrods to see the range up close.