When we first found out we were expecting twins, the aspect of creating a small cute and cozy nursery took a different turn! While you don’t necessarily need two of everything, it does make it logistically more difficult to create an intimate and useful space to raise two little bundles of joy. Whenever I feel out of my depth, I call in the experts and since I’m a novice when it comes to designing a nursery, I tapped Kathryn Hawkes, a mother of two and the founder of House of Hawkes, to answer a few of my most pressing questions!
Full Name: Kathryn Hawkes
Title: Founder, House of Hawkes
What year did the business start?
I started House of Hawkes in 2013. Back then it was just a blog, and very much a creative outlet for my love of interiors.
Why did you start the business?
Interiors have always been my passion, and I started my website to share ideas, resources and suppliers with fellow expats. I found it challenging to source the things I wanted when I first arrived here almost 12 years ago, but over the years I built
up a list of tried and tested suppliers for just about anything home decor related. One day a friend suggested to me that I start a website to share this information so that friends wouldn’t feel guilty about hassling me every time they needed the number of
a painter or carpenter. She planted a seed that day, and it grew from there. Once the blog was up and running, requests for interior design work started to arrive in my inbox. I remember explaining to my first client that this was just a hobby and that I
have no formal interior design training, but insisting that she loved ‘my work’ and didn’t care, she refused to take no for an answer. I guess the rest is history.
Who is your target market and why are they so important to reach?
My target market is anyone who loves a well curated interior space. I think that so many people have great taste and style but struggle with pulling things together to achieve the right aesthetic in their homes. I love helping people with that. It is so
rewarding to have a happy client at the end of a makeover project or to hear from social media followers who tell me how I have inspired or helped them to make a particular change in their homes.
What are your top 3 tips for couples decorating a nursery?
- Be practical about the placement of furniture. You don’t want to have the cot or changing table being blasted by the AC draught or near a window that could pose a safety risk.
- Choose a calming colour palette that you love as you’ll be spending a lot of time in there. And be sure to use washable paint!
- Don’t overspend on items that you are likely to change down the line. You’ll be surprised how quickly some things suddenly feel too ‘babyish’ for your independent toddler. Artwork is a good example of this – opt for affordable digital prints in frames so that when your little one outgrows them, you can simply purchase, download and print something new for their room. It will feel like a mini-makeover at a fraction of the cost.
What are the styling or interior trends we will see for 2018?
Blue is big – navy and all shades of indigo are making a big statement in interiors – and I’ve already fallen victim to this particular trend. I love combining blues with a blush pink or, if it’s a dark blue, mustard yellow makes a great contrast. I also think that there is a renewed focus on lighting and its contribution to the style of a room. I am encouraging clients to step out of their comfort zones with lighting choices.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I spend an extraordinary amount of time on Pinterest, interior design blogs and reading good old fashioned magazines.
Whats the process when you take on a new client?
It would depend on the service they client has opted for. We offer Full Service Interior Design, Home Consultations and E-design. For the full service, we visit the clients at home for an in-depth consultation. After that, the client is asked to share ideas
(Pinterest boards or images of the style direction they have in mind). We then set to work creating mood boards, floor plans and the budget. Once approved by the client, we allow 3-4 weeks for sourcing and installing all the new items.
Share 3 of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt so far in business.
- Collaborate and exchange ideas with your fellow industry players
- Manage client expectations on project timings
- Sometimes you just need to jump in rather than over-thinking things
Who do you admire or look up to in business?
Dubai has so many wonderful entrepreneurial success stories. It’s difficult to pinpoint anyone in particular, but I do feel constantly inspired by fellow small business owners who are doing amazing things.
What is your one piece of advice to those looking to start a business in your same industry?
Just go for it! There will be changes along the way, but those will serve as opportunities to learn and grow. I hesitated on doing what I loved for so long; I wish I had leapt a lot earlier.
What is a quote you live by?
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
How do you and your family manage your calendars with two working parents and two children?
With a lot of juggling! It can be very stressful at times, but I am blessed to have a hubby who’s not only a hands-on dad but also very supportive of my business. We also have a helper at home, who is part of the family, and a key player in the ‘team’.
She keeps things from falling apart around here, and I couldn’t do what I do without her.
I am in the final stages of a House of Hawkes rebrand, which will include a new fresh website – exciting times! We are also growing and looking to expand the team within this last quarter of the year.