The importance of doing things differently

Happy New Year you guys, my very first post of January is a long one (just to warn) so you might need to pull up a pew and put the kettle on.

I wanted to run you through a couple of threads, theme’s and mantras that are predominating and shaping everything I do going forward from a personal perspective to a business perspective. Funnily enough I’ve never really analysed any of this until now (its so deeply instinctive and routed in how I want spaces to feel or products to look and feel) that I’ve not really drilled down into why I create what I create or do what I do until now!

I got a message on Instagram over the holidays it said this ” your interiors are like a Walter Mosley novel set in New York or downtown LA in the 70s- they transport me to a time when we lived for good food, drink, music and conversation rather than Facebook and texting”.

I’ve been thinking on this ever since, in this fast paced world of ours with smooth edges, gleaming surfaces (dust free) with tons of soulless bland products we’re deprived of sensory pleasure. Practically designed, minimal spaces with their wipe clean surfaces feel so passive and powerless to me. There’s no friction (friction by the way creates energy and passion – both are a good thing). With no friction there’s no stimulation and that doesn’t make me feel good. If I don’t feel good in a space then I don’t perform well. So I go out of my way to create zones, areas where we, (I) can digitally detox and take a moment of quiet reflection, flip through a magazine or a novel – think – its an nice antidote to living life in a rush. Even if I’m not digitally detoxing I create work areas that shout patina and texture, tactility abounds. I hadn’t ever really thought about this before.

Now I wouldn’t be at in this place right now if I had followed the rules and followed the trends. Sneered at for launching a faux botanical range years back, laughed at for embracing a dark palette (I remember being told it will never be commercial) I’ve had quite a few obstacles in my way, but I haven’t let that stop me.

So I really wanted to take this time to encourage you to do things differently in 2017 both professionally and personally, if of course you feel you that your home needs a bit more pizazz or your career needs a change up.

Like once a month go do something to your pad that you’ve never done before, or go someplace you never been before – its amazing what this simple action does. It opens up your experiences – the worst thing is to do nothing but sit there and complain. The minute you give yourself permission to do things differently and I say this from experience – when you open your doors it will and does change your life – in the most extraordinary of ways.

I know so many people hate the month of January but I happen to love it. I love that feeling of turning over a new leaf and with it the fresh optimism it brings. I love sitting and thinking of new ideas and plans for the whole year ahead. I love that each day is 2 minutes 15 seconds lighter than the last.

All the trade shows around the world kick off so if you’re a retailer you will be wondering around halls in Birmingham, Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Vegas wherever you may be – spring predominates. Mimosa’s and blossom’s decorate stands, outdoor furniture is big– spring feels it’s almost around the corner.

The week that has just passed has been a full on working one but with HQ empty I have the headspace to reflect what worked, what didn’t and where I want to take the business. Until that Instagram message I had never realised that I seem to be going out of my way to create and produce products that have been greatly influenced and inspired by all things artisanal, I’ve just done things like always from the gut.  I didn’t quite realise how obsessed and deeply focused I am in creating this free spirited whimsical, sometimes nostalgic vibe. Whether that’s a hand turned vase, or beautiful little ottoman I’m trying (subconsciously until now) to slow down the pace in this friction free, technology overloaded world – the more anaesthetised it becomes the more I go out of my way to counteract it. Does that sound weird?

Looking forward we have some amazing opportunities this year with the biz including a launch into China (more on that in the coming months) plus the launch of my American deal (looking forward to show you a sneak peak of that soon) along with some seriously big plans for the store – but none of this would have happened if I didn’t take risks, if I simply followed along like a sheep.   Many of them caused a lot of anxiety (I pushed the business to the brink last year) with our expansion plans it caused a lot of stress (more than I have ever had to deal with before). Now I’m not a crier I get cross, I get annoyed but I don’t ever cry. Confession: in the last 4 months it’s been so tough that I’ve sobbed every week if not more. So many times were uncomfortable and scary and I felt a little (a lot) out of control – see how messed up that is? I’m creating products that make people hanker for slowing down and digitally detoxing and at the very same time I’m quickening the pace of the biz so at hurtling speed it’s taking on all these new things causing everyone a lot of stress, including me.

All I know is this when you embrace change you grow and when you grow you become a better person than you were yesterday. I’m stronger than I was six months ago and I’ve learnt to deal with fear and insecurity more (yoga has really helped). The very act of taking control (personally, professionally) means I now have more confidence and that makes me want to push things even further. I’ve done it with my house – simple case in point. I’ve created a sanctuary and a space that I never want to leave. If I hadn’t taken the plunge, converted to the dark side, overdosed on texture blah blah blah I would be living in a minimally furnished white Scandinavian styled abode right now. When I used to live in such a space I was never happy with it – I couldn’t figure out how to make it better. Until I gradually slowing took the plunge and experimented, I painted a tiny alcove dark. There is no going back once you step into the unknown – you don’t know where it will take you but the best thing is the learning you get to do along the way and the ability it gives you to believe in yourself more, push more boundaries and do things differently!


Happy new and sorry you guys for the mega post!


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