The Prince’s Trust

Working with The Prince’s Trust has been such an amazing and inspiring experience. I got to meet some really driven young entrepreneurs who have been able to follow their dreams and start their businesses with the help of this worthwhile organisation.

Last year I was given the opportunity to mentor one such individual called Fay and we worked together on a product that we then sold on QVC. It was a great exercise not only in product development, but also selling as on QVC you are selling into people’s homes as opposed to a shop so we got to scream and shout about it, which really made a difference. It aired in November – in time for Christmas and we had a great time doing it!

I strongly believe that anybody can make a success of their life. You just have to believe in yourself, have a passion, and make sure you can be heard. There are so many opportunities and avenues for young people to take these days and a charity like The Prince’s Trust shows that there are people who will listen and can make it happen.

Over time, I have learned a lot about being an entrepreneur and the dedication that it takes. You need to understand your market, have a good plan, and not be afraid to ask for help.

This year I met Karishma Malam of Karizma’s Collection and Jonathan Mitchell of Brothers We Stand. They are two highly ambitious young people with amazing ideas. I know their businesses will do well. Watch this video to learn more about Karishma and Jonathan and get my top 6 tips on how to start a successful business.


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)


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


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.


What mentoring means to me

My mother was a very successful businesswoman who worked incredibly hard and, in a way, she was my first mentor. I do think that parents play an important role in shaping their children’s attitude towards work and the importance of striving no matter how successful you are. My mother set a great example and even now I know I can ring her for advice but I know that a lot of people don’t have that person whom them can call which is why I’m such a believer in the importance of mentoring.

I am participating in the Inspire & Mentor programme with Marie Claire and am loving working with my mentee Madeleine Casey. I started my business at just 16 and I know that confidence can be a big hurdle for young people…actually it can be a hurdle for people of any age! I know how to get the best out of people so when a person says to me that they want to start their own business I remind them that anything is possible, you just have to trust that it is. I am a believer that you have to visualize your future and learn from your past mistakes to make things happen for yourself. Passion, drive and determination will see you through so long as you believe in yourself and stay positive. This is what I tell all my mentees and the people that are part of my design school. But the learning is not all one way, the energy of my students is so compelling that I can’t help but learn from their enthusiasm!

Being able to offer advice and words of encouragement to others means a lot to me so I look forward to passing on as much of my knowledge and experience with others that I can.


My Design School

You may have seen me tweeting last week about my design school or even looked at the photographs on my facebook page but the school is so important to me that I thought I would write a blog post about it as well.

Seven years ago I decided that I wanted to give back and share my secrets to organising the design of a space. I established the Kelly Hoppen Design School in 2003 and re-launched the programme in 2009. It’s a five day course where you can learn my trade and style secrets to creating amazing spaces from myself and carefully selected guest speakers.

This school has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and it has made me realise how keen other people are to receive my insights and how much I love mentoring others. At first I wasn’t sure who would want to come to my school but I’ve had students of all ages from around the world which has been so exciting! Each group, and actually each student, throws new challenges at me while I’m trying to get the best out of them and build confidence in their own talents. Every student that has come through my course has taught me something and working with them is so inspiring. I have a two more design school courses this autumn and I can’t wait! I hope I’ll be able to share their successes and thoughts with you here on my blog in the near future.

*The images were taken during my most recent Design School course which took place September 27 to October 1, 2010.