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)


Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day in the UK is this Sunday April 3, 2011 so we were thrilled when Harper’s Bazaar magazine kindly allowed us to share an article from their April 2011 issue on the Miller-Hoppen clan.

This article explores the dynamic modern relationships between Kelly, her daughter Nastasha, her step daughters Sienna and Savannah Miller and their mother Jo. It’s an amazing story of the bonds between very modern families and the lives of these incredibly successful women.

I hope you in enjoy the article and even if you aren’t in the UK why not spend this Sunday celebrating the relationship with your own mother.


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)!