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)


Hot Off the Press: Bodie and Fou Catalogue

My great twitter friend Karine and her sister have launched a catalogue for their wonderful website Bodie and Fou!

Though I loved her blog (it’s on my blog roll) I first met Karine about a year ago for the launch of my app. Over the year we’ve tweeted to one another and she’s been such a great online friend that I didn’t hesitate to give her an exclusive interview (along with family photos) for her Huffington Post column

Deciding to produce a catalogue is a big step and I’m thrilled they’ve decided to take it. The catalogue has a magazine feel to it offering a bit of inspiration in addition to the carefully edited items in their collection.

The Bodie and Fou website really is my go to place for last minute gifts because the items are chic and their customer service is top notch. Now I look forward to flipping through up coming issues of their lovely catalogue.

Well done Karine!

Kelly x


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


The Lakes by Yoo

I’ve told you before about my own search for the perfect place in the country but now I thought I’d share a few pictures of my blog of the project I worked on for Yoo.

The Lakes by Yoo project was all about adding a bit of urban style to a country setting. I used vintage pieces, loose linen throws and gorgeous textures so that anyone would feel instantly at home in the space. The stunning location and oustanding vision of John Hitchcox and the rest of the Yoo team made this a great project to be a part of.

Image Credit: All these beautiful photos were taken by Mel Yates


Design School Graduate Guest Post: Chelsea Frazer

Kelly started a new session of her Design School in London today so we thought it would be a great time to have a recent graduate share her first hand experience of the course. I had the pleasure of meeting Chelsea Frazer in September while she was attending Kelly’s School. Read on find out what she thought of Kelly’s Design School.

At a very young age, my Mother thankfully introduced me to the work of Kelly Hoppen. Mom would point out Kelly’s designs in magazines, in books, and other publications. Since then, I literally swoon over each incredible interior she designs. Having actively followed her work and read all of her books, one thing I began to understand was her keen business acumen. I have admired all things Kelly Hoppen.

Recently, I took a deep breath and started my own interior design company in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been somewhat challenging coming right out of University and diving right into my own business, trying to find my own way. Right when I really needed it, my parents delivered the best birthday present: a week at The Kelly Hoppen Design School in London. Now that will make a young designer really swoon!

I immediately began planning for this unique and incredible opportunity, refreshing all of my knowledge of Kelly Hoppen and arranging my trip to one of my most favorite places.
One word describes the course: fabulous! The course is a brilliant week of learning from individual lectures given by Kelly culminating with designing your very own project for Kelly’s instructional critique. The class size is small, and everyone is very excited to be in Kelly’s splendid studio and absorb as much as possible.

Kelly covers everything from A to Z. She gave us advice on how to manage design projects from start to finish, deal with the demands and whims of clients, and use her wonderful tips in creating successful, knockout interiors. Kelly also favored us with special guest lecturers who are experts in niche fields. Lecture topics included scale & space planning, schedules and budgeting, lighting, color and texture, fabrics, design & accessories, furniture, soft furnishings, kitchen, bathroom, flowers, and art. Kelly’s secrets and tips truly are key ingredients to a successful interior design business.

I learned much for certain, yet the most valuable message I received from Kelly is simple and elegant: believe in myself. Kelly, in affirming my knowledge, eye, and ability, counseled me to be confident and trust my design instincts. The week was truly extraordinary, giving me vast amounts of knowledge, confidence, and drive.

Thank you so much, Kelly. Your inspiration and encouraging words will shepherd me for the rest of my career. You gave me just the right mix of knowledge and confidence, helping me to ignore the irrational fears of a young designer!

Chelsea Fraser is the owner of Chelsea Frazer Interior Design in Nashville, USA. She is on twitter and blogs about interior design and her projects.

You have the chance to win your own place at Kelly’s Design School in her ‘Create the Look‘ Facebook Competition


Jaime Derringer shares business insights and resources

Yesterday, Jaime Derringer the Founder & Editor of Design Milk and Dog Milk shared her personal journey so far as she follows her passion as a profession. Today she shares her experience of creating a successful business, highlights the importance of community to building an online magazine and asseses how the interiors world is doing at embracing the digital landscape.

You’ve started an amazing business what tips could you offer to others considering starting a business themselves?

Don’t underestimate the power of the Internet, blogging, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media and online engagement.

Prepare to live and breathe your business. You will work harder than you’ve ever worked before, but if you’re passionate enough it never feels like work.

How important is community to what you?

At first, I didn’t think that community was a big deal, nor did I believe that face-to-face networking was all that important. Boy, was I wrong. Just because you run a website doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get involved with your online community or get out in the “real” world and meet people.

I decided to start getting involved by actually going OFFline.

I put my photo on my website, made real business cards, started attending events — really go out there and meet people in my business, both bloggers and designers. It seems that once you attach your face and a human being to a website, there is an instant feeling of comfort. You feel more comfortable picking up the phone, emailing or contact them. They become approachable. You begin to look forward to meeting with them at events, and collaboration seems easier.

Moreover, handing out business cards and shaking hands with people who don’t know who you are is a great way to spread your brand. Once people know your face or see your logo on your business card, they will make the connection when they see your name or website mentioned online.

To anyone who wants to hide behind the computer, I say put on your sneakers and get out there and pound the pavement.

How important have facebook and twitter been to connecting with people and raising awareness for Design Milk and Dog Milk?

Essential. If you’re not on one or the other these days, you can forget about reaching a large portion of the people who spend their time online. I have been able to connect with the design lovers as young as 13, 14, or 15 because of Twitter — before they even decide to become designers or artists.

I have a large non-US population of readers on Facebook. I’m able to connect with people I wouldn’t otherwise reach with just a website. Many of my Twitter followers found me on Twitter first before ever hearing of my website.

How important is reader feedback to what you do?

Crucial. I wish I got more reader feedback. I do what I do for my readers.

Here in the UK there is still a bit of uncertainty about bloggers and online magazine. What would you say to convince people as to the merits of online resources?

This is a tough question because there are a lot of quality bloggers online but there are probably twice as many uninformed bloggers. It is hard to distinguish who is who. Since the web basically offers everyone their own voice (anyone can start a blog), everyone can instantly become a source for information. I like to stick to the well-known news resources to get my news about world affairs, science, technology, and politics.

However, when it comes to my hobbies and my own business industry, it’s a bit different. There are top print magazines who have years and years of experience in the industry who have begun to produce online content. This is very promising for the rest of us. The more traditional, well-known top names in the industry who begin to recognize the importance of online media the more their readers will also move in this direction. We need Wallpaper*, Metropolis, Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Modernism Magazine, etc to really push their readers into reading about design and getting information online.

Moreover, I think that the current generation of designers who have been in the industry for over 30 years are likely not the target audience of bloggers. We’re targeting the designers, architects, and future designers who are young, still in school, and embracing online media as their FIRST source of information and resource. I want my readers to grow with me, and I want them to tell me where and how I need to grow to meet their needs. I have a feeling that the current generation of 18-30 year olds is going to reshape where and how we get information, so I think that those who don’t accept us as valuable or valid will get pushed out the door by the new generation.

How do you think the interior design world is doing at embracing digital? Who is doing things well?

I think resource sites like Decorati , MyDeco or Modenus are great in reaching the interior design audience. I also think that weekly Twitter chats like Interior Design Chat have become a great way for IDs to connect and share resources or tips with each other.

Some of the top design magazines are doing OK but no one is really standing out just yet. I think they are still in transition. With all the movement in Editor-in-Chiefs and Online Editors happening in the past 6 months, things are changing so we should see more happening online in 2011.

Who should the interiors world look to for examples of best practice in incorporating digital tools and the web into their business plans?

I think that HGTV is doing a pretty good job of connecting online with viewers. They’ve created online video series, promoted their Twitter and Facebook on their TV channel and partnered with interior design bloggers to help promote their Design Star TV show.

I also think that there are great design-related people online like Kenneth Brown, Angelo Surmelis, ABCDDesign, Rue Magazine, Grace Bonney, there are a lot of design folks doing things right online, but I’m not seeing the REALLY big names do anything amazing yet. I think big things are coming soon. I’m hopeful.

If one has a budget allocated, I think looking into getting advice from someone like The Kaleidoscope Partnership is a good start. If designers or companies are struggling, TKP is a helpful resource to strategize, teach, and inform about social media.

Here in the UK a few of our newspapers, such as The Times, have gone behind a ‘pay wall’ and are now subscription based. What are your thoughts on this? Is it counter to what the web is all about?

I think this idea is great, but it’s not for everyone. Magazines and newspapers that were previously popular only in print are now offering their full content online because many people are now going to the web for news. If you think about it you’re essentially reading the same thing in a different format. In my opinion, just because you’re holding an iPad instead of a newspaper doesn’t make the words more or less valuable and you should pay the same price for it. Whatever you paid in a paper subscription you should pay in an online subscription.

For anyone who says online is cheaper than print to produce has never developed an iPad app, had their own server, hired a programmer or a designer. To truly provide quality, attractive, and user-friendly content, the costs add up!

Image Credit: The round-up of social networking sites came from The Ecommerce Solution.


Celebrating Success: Jaime Derringer of Design Milk and Dog Milk

Jaime Derringer is the Founder and Editor of US Online Magazine Design Milk and sister site Dog Milk. With a fantastic team of collaborators Design Milk showcases what is new in interiors, architecture, furniture, fashion and art. On Dog Milk, Jaime (along with the trusted advice of Lulu and Beans) showcases the best of the best of dog products. Jaime’s sites are incredible resources and a real must visit!

Kelly believes sharing the success of others is a real way of inspiring others considering following their passion as a profession. We’re thrilled to have Jaime share with us her journey to creating her amazing sites here on Kelly’s Blog.

Tell me a bit about Design Milk and where the inspiration for your site came from.

This is actually a longer story than I thought! I’ve never told the full story and this is actually only a part of it…

My parents bought a nice-sized single family home when I was about 3 years old and purchased a second house at the Jersey shore shortly thereafter. During the ages of 4 through probably 7 or so, I spent every weekend with them, cruising from furniture store to furniture store looking for the right pieces for both of their homes. We went everywhere: local furniture stores, garage sales, estate sales (the estate sale people knew us by name!), and of course IKEA. I remember many a Saturday falling asleep on some random bed in a bedroom display. I ate a lot of fast food and Swedish meatballs. I watched my parents get cranky while assembling furniture with tiny Allen wrenches. This was a memorable time in my life.

In college, I worked at a few furniture stores as a salesperson to help pay for college and living expenses. I think I felt most comfortable in furniture stores, like I was supposed to be there. I loved helping customers choose fabric and make sure sofas would fit in their living spaces. What I didn’t like was the snakey, salesperson like atmosphere of some of the bigger stores. It made me feel uncomfortable to push things on people and play psychological games. After college, I had a bunch of jobs, none of which really felt like the right fit, but I thought that was the path I was supposed to take so I kept on keeping on.

In 2006, I had a townhouse and was looking for a sofa for my home. I discovered the world of blogs at about the same time. I previously had a few online journals and had even tried to start an online magazine, but nothing really stuck. However, I decided maybe I’d start cataloging my internet finds in blog form, the topic simply being things I found that I liked, mostly home décor, furniture, and art. To my surprise, other people seemed to like the same things as me and started following my little blog. Soon enough I found myself buying a domain name, moving to a powerful blogging platform and updating multiple times a day.

At the point when I got contacted by advertisers, I think a light bulb went on – I realized that I was on the cusp of something, but I didn’t really know what yet. Most of my growth is due to luck and the amazing online community of design enthusiasts. I think the fact that I am passionate about my subject matter makes a world of difference. I love art and design. I like to look at furniture, touch it, feel it, sit in it, and tell other people all about it. I think about it all the time. Maybe it has something to do with my experiences all those weekends when I was a child, maybe it’s because I’ve always wanted to do something creative and entrepreneurial, or maybe it’s because when I was younger I had wanted to be a writer. Or, it’s all of the above.

How important has your support network of family and friends been to your success?

My family and friends are the best. They’re very supportive and some of them even have skills that have been crucial to my success.

My mom always told me to be myself, do whatever makes me happy and encouraged creativity. She never pushed me to go to a certain school or major in something specific. I kind of just did whatever I wanted at the time. I made my own mistakes and successes.

I would never be able to do what I do without my husband. He’s extremely supportive and let me quit my day job when I thought the time was right, spends hours talking (OK, mostly listening) about my business plans with me, and always keeps me grounded. Also, he is an attorney, which has been immensely helpful. He reads contracts, drafts them as needed, helped me connect with the right people for accounting and other legal or business-related services. He does all the boring, tedious stuff at tax time.
My brother, Dan, has been the singular most important person in the success of my website. He’s very tech savvy and has taught me most of what I know about programming, html and css, and managing my website on the back end. I would never have such a well designed or functioning website if it wasn’t for his sleepless nights.

Lastly, my friends are amazing. They are all very supportive and encouraging. Most of my friends are other bloggers, which has been extremely helpful because it is easy to bounce ideas off of them and ask for advice – they actually know what I’m talking about!

Who has personally inspired you to follow your passion as a profession?

I listened to my inside voice! :)
Over the 10-year period that I worked in medical and pharmaceutical advertising, marketing and education, I encountered many people who were so terribly unhappy in their jobs and I didn’t want to be that. I saw how much my mom changed when she moved into a new profession — one she was passionate about and enjoyed. Whether you’re happy with your career definitely affects your outlook on life, your personality, and your health. It sounds stupid, but I followed my bliss.

There are challenges and joys when following your passion as a profession. What have been the ‘highs’ in your journey and what have you learned from you ‘lows’?

The biggest high for me is when I meet someone in person and they recognize my name, face or blog’s name. That means I’m doing a good job spreading the word about my brand.

The biggest low is the fear. Fear of failure, fear of one day being irrelevant, and fear of what the future will bring. Technology moves so fast these days it’s scary and almost impossible to keep up. I’m still learning what I need to do to make sure I stick around for a while…

Do you have a mantra for when things don’t work out as you’d hoped?

No, but I tell myself all kinds of lies! Tomorrow is another day. It will get better. Things can’t get worse, etc… I was listening to (I think) an episode of RadioLab where they found that people who lie to themselves and believe their own lies actually perform better and are more successful because they have tricked themselves into thinking that they can do anything. Sounds dumb, but if you think things are great then sometimes they really are.

What is your philosophy to producing great resources on your site?

Go with your gut. If you don’t really feel supportive of something or you can’t get behind it 100% (pro or con), don’t publish it.

What do you consider success?

Waking up and going to sleep feeling fulfilled, satisfied, and content.

We love your sister site Dog Milk. What inspired you to create it?

My dogs, Lulu and Beans! If there are two things I’m really passionate about it’s design and my dogs. There are some hideous products out there for dogs and I wanted to explore the alternatives. I knew that there must be other dog lovers out there like me who appreciate good design, so I decided to create a place for them. It will probably never be as popular as Design Milk, but it’s a niche where there was a void to be filled.

What are your hopes for the future of Design Milk and Dog Milk?

Success. I’d like my sites to continue to grow, evolve and adapt to fit the needs of the future.

You haven’t seen the last of the Milk brand!

Image: The gorgeous Lulu (left) and Beans (right)!


App Launch Party Pictures

On Tuesday November 2 I launched my ‘Home Style‘ app and held the #designdebate at The Soho Hotel in London. Here are a few snaps from the party. xx

Me at the party. You can see one of the looks from the bedroom styling section of my app in the background.

Dame Kelly Holmes and myself.

Yasmin Mills with Melissa Odabash.

Adam and I.

Me with Yasmin and Simon Mills.

Melissa Odabash and I.

It was such a great night and the #DesignDebate was really inspiring. I’m already thinking of new projects which embrace more of the exciting elements of the digital space.

Image credit: All photos were taken by By Richard Young for Rex Features.


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.