Just over a year ago, things shifted. Live Loud Girl had been evolving and finally we weren’t afraid anymore to say we were more then ‘just’ interior stylists with the focus on kids rooms. We see ourselves as a creative agency now. We have been allowing ourselves to get out there and take on bigger commercial projects. We focus more now on art direction, styling consultancy and building a brand.
Besides all this, my new business @fronteriors has been growing at the same speed as my kids. Together with my business partner @houseofhawkes I have been working around the clock to build a solid business. It has been all about finding a balance between following our gut feeling and doing what is commercially viable.
Although it was not intentional, both businesses complement each other. It is not possible (and not necessary) to draw a line between where one starts and the other one ends. Something that really came to show when I installed my own @fronteriors wall unit at home this week. Styling and furniture are two of my greatest passions. This passion and style have evolved over the years though.
Ingredients that changed my DNA
Traveling and living in different places in the world has definitely influenced my style, but also the way I do business. It allows me to push myself and be pushed by the people I have around me. My Dutch roots give me guidance and keep things very clear (ask anyone from the Live Loud Girl or Fronteriors team…). My time in New York has taught me to stand out. And the Middle East gave me the opportunity to follow my heart and actually bring everything together. All these ingredients make it my own and – hopefully – unique. Even though I am genetically Dutch, I feel that these ingredients have changed my DNA.
The new focus
My focus at the moment is on entrepreneurship. It shifted from becoming a stylist to building a brand and running a company. My dream and goal is to have @fronteriors grow into a healthy, confident brand which allows anyone around the world to welcome a piece of furniture into their home with a Scandinavian design feel. Live Loud Girl is still my platform to tell my story about style. It will still be the place where we focus is on inspiring home owners to let their homes tell their story. On showing how to work with what you have, and sometimes adding that LOUD element. But with both businesses I want to focus on style. Untouchable, transformable, ever-changable style.
With our latest installation done and dusted, a break from the heat in Dubai and our current holiday back home to see family, it almost feels like things are back to normal. However, we are very aware that this is not the case. And although the COVID crisis is not perse something interior styling related, we have (had) a lot to do with it as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs world wide, big or small, profitable or passionate, commercial or hobbyists, are suffering big time. So whilst people around us are now enjoying a restaurant visit and weekend away again, we do feel that we need to be aware of what is still going on in other parts of the world. And maybe more so; what is still to come.
As an entrepreneur these times are tough. I am not even going into the details as everyone has their own story. Some families are solely dependent on this income, others are not. No matter the situation, industry or part of the world you are in at the moment, we can all agree that entrepreneurs have to sit tight, get creative and reinvent themselves in this uncertain and unpredictable situation.
So… January just flew by before being able to reflect on the past decade. A decade in which I not only became a mother, I also moved countries twice and started up two businesses that I am very proud of today. It is always worth reflecting. Looking back gives you the opportunity to see what went well and what goes on the improvement list. Looking forward allows you to set our business goals for 2020. And being focused on those got me from being passionate about styling to running my own business.
We did not get here overnight. We suffered from imposter syndrome for years, because being a creative and doing what you love can feel like a hobby. But now, six years after arriving in Dubai with an idea, I can say that my gut feeling has been my biggest driver. It got me started with Live Loud Girl, a blog where I would share my love for beautiful interiors. It allowed me to build a team of people I trust and can share ideas with. It forced me to make bold decisions, bluff where needed and grab opportunities. It pushed me to start the furniture business Fronteriors with Kath from House of Hawkes – a partner who others will refer to as my competition. And it challenged me to rent a proper office. Moving into Studio Fronteriors last year, has been a dream come true. It is the home to the Live Loud Girl, House of Hawkes and the Fronteriors team and the place we use for photo shoots and brand styling.
As interiors is kind of our thing, we have put effort, time and money into making this studio an inspirational place for all of us. Painting the ceilings and walls, putting in a wooden floor and adding furniture and accessories that make us smile when we walk in in the morning all adds up to our output.
Taking ourselves seriously (but not too serious… fine line…) and being professional is important for building our brand. We stay very close to what we believe in. Because if we don’t, who will.
Growth is essential. We want to stretch a bit and do things we never would imagine we could pull off. Being scarred and biting some fingernails is part of the fun.
It is not only about how much we make. We focus more on how we make it. The creativity prevails the financials. The fun overrules stress. And coffee always, always beats water.
If starting your own business is on your new years resolutions list, go for it. Here are our cliche tips that have worked for us:
Stop saying you will start, just start!
Speak to people about your ideas. Getting feedback is so valuable
Get out there and sell your product. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will
Work hard, work a lot. Having your own business means that you are working 24/7. If that does not excite you, make a new plan