21 Entrepreneurs Series: No. 12 Giselle Hon, HON Luxury Curated

I had the privilege many years ago (sorry Giselle showing our age now) to intern at Marie Claire Magazine. Giselle was one of my mentors there! As Giselle notes below, the value of surrounding yourself by those better than you and wiser than you is the best way to learn & grow! I learnt so much through her guidance. Giselle was always meticulously focused and passionate when it came to her styling work, but I loved her fun spirit and eagerness to laugh on the side!

TITLE: Giselle Hon, HON Luxury Curated 

1. ) How did your business/blog/website come about? How was this idea born and what lead you to do what you’re doing now? 

I started my career as an Internal Auditor at Woolworths and Truworths. Then worked at House of Fraser’s Auditing department in the UK, and finally after 3 years, decided to return to SA, where I chose a passion career over money. The only opportunity I could get to break into the magazine industry was through Huisgenoot / You. I worked in their fashion office for just over a year, free of charge. (I had to waitress at night and on weekends)

After working at couple of other titles, I finally got my dream job as fashion assistant at Marie Claire. A couple of promotions and a retrenchment followed, and it was clear the time to move on had arrived. I spent the best 5 years at Rooi Rose as their fashion editor, pushing boundaries in the Afrikaans market. Fortunately, having the best boss who believed in me, allowed me to soar and win awards.

Then, a new challenge and opportunity presented itself; to become the Press Relations Manager for Louis Vuitton in South Africa. Spending 5 years with the leading luxury brand in the world changed my life and educated me in ways that no other could. I believe all this combined life experience led to the next step.

Realising early on that luxury brands in South Africa do not always have the magic mix correct when it came to communication: combining international luxury and the local market. I heard many complaints about PR’s, so I knew I could help other luxury brands grow. With a clear understanding of how a luxury brand operates and what it’s expectations are, I guide them in the local market. South African media and consumer are unlike any other.  

Before committing to starting the agency, I first needed time away. I spent a month living in Bali, and travelled to Singapore, Jordan and Israel.

2.) Tell us about your morning routine. Any specific rituals / productivity aspects etc 

The alarm goes off at 5am daily. 

First up I drink a huge glass of warm water and lemon, with a pinch of tumeric and cayenne pepper added. It’s great for gut health. Then it’s time to move. I see a trainer twice a week and on other days I cycle,  swim, run and do yoga. The day has not started properly for me if I have not done some form of exercise. I’m trying meditation too, but still struggling.

I’m ready by 8am to go in search of the fantastic one; the great coffee of the day. If I’m not having a first meeting, I’ll catch up on Instagram (I’m addicted!) and the newspaper. 

By 9am, work must start.

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3.) What inspires you? 

Walking through Cape Town city and seeing new cafe’s and boutiques pop up. To me it means another person has had the courage to go for their dreams! I just love that. 

4.) Biggest lesson you’ve learnt?

People do not always do the right thing

5.) Biggest failure so far?

Trusting the wrong people

6.) Biggest Success so far?

Deciding to step away from my comfort zone and going for it.

And, getting the luxury client I really wanted. 

7.) Your work space? Clean & Minimal or Eclectic and colourful – what would we find on your desk?

Clean and minimal. 

I’ve a simple raw oak trestle from LIM, a selection of notebooks, magazines, a silver holder filled with a mixture of pens, pencils and a mini Crabtree & Evelyn hand therapy, MacBook Pro, magic mouse, earphones, sunglasses and a collection of loose papers. I love beautiful paper and pens.

8.) Top 3 entrepreneurial tips?

If you overthink it too much, you’ll never do it.

Surround yourself with great people, preferably older, to guide and help you. This is crucial.

The toughest one, well for me, is to completely believe in yourself. Do not listen to the ‘mean girl’ voice in your head. She’s not real.

9.) Who are you currently listening to? 

The iheartradio app. My best!

10.) Your best marketing tool? 

Word of mouth.

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11.) Dream Big Right? What’s next for you?

I’m only learning to dream big now! There’s so many things I’d like to do. 

For more Info:

Website / Twitter / FB / Instagram / Pinterest 

Our Stay At Villa Ella, Skiathos

Just over 10 years later, I return to Villa Ella in Skiathos with my little family! Heaven on earth. This relaxed, tastefully appointed, self catering accommodation amongst olive trees and tranquil garden, is the perfect holiday spot to chill out.

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(Gottex Swimsuit, Inner Secrets; Kikoi, Mungo, rose gold flip flops, Havaianas, Sunglasses, Ray Ban)

Villa Ella is close to the town of Skiathos, totally walkable and right over the road from the beach and a couple of mini supermarkets. It’s also right at the bus stop – an easy way to get to Skiathos’ many beautiful beaches! Lina, Cristiana and Eugene will make sure you are well looked after and have loads of tips & knowledge when it comes to eating out etc – we can’t wait to plan our next trip back!

21 Entrepreneurs Series: No. 11 Holly Becker Of Decor8

Oh my gosh! Yay! Can’t believe I got to interview Holly! I’ve been following Decor8 since I started blogging and it’s been such an inspiration! Following blogs like Holly’s is what got me started and inspired! (Her blog oozes pretty!) I’m seeing such a trend through these interviews – some of the most successful entrepreneurs are: Sharing their story of success, giving back, have grace & style and have a very focused vision for what they want to accomplish!

TITLE: HOLLY BECKER

Holly_Becker

Author, Journalist, Stylist

Founder/Editor, decor8 

Founder Blogging Your Way

Also check out Holly’s latest e-course which is currently enrolling, it’s called #InstaPower and it will run for 2 weeks from July 8-25 and is focused on Instagram.

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1. ) How did your business/blog/website come about? How was this idea born and what lead you to do what you’re doing now? 

Back in 2005, I wanted to share my passion for interiors and at that time, I was working as an interior designer with clients and thought blogging would be an interesting way for me to connect with my clients as well as to potentially reach new ones. I also had hoped authoring a blog would get me in front of magazine editors because I wanted to also write about decorating in addition to working with my clients to not only supplement my income, but because I’ve always loved to write and felt that I had a voice to lend that would perhaps be a fresh, less stuffy approach to interiors. Back then, I felt interior design needed to be more fun and approachable – I wanted to bring that spirit to decorating through decor8.  After launching in January 2006, I received numerous emails asking how to have the success I’ve had as a blogger from hundreds of women with a creative “go-getter” spirit. I couldn’t keep up with answering all of those emails, though I tried for a few years, and so it occurred to me that there were no online classes that taught blogging. There were no good books yet either about blogging. I reasoned that if all of these curious people are writing to me then I simply must launch an e-course about blogging because I could then share everything I know to many people at once instead of writing hundreds of emails. I launched Blogging Your Way in April 2009 and we’ve taught over 8,500 students worldwide so far. Our next class, #Instapower, begins registration on May 10. It will focus on Instagram – from how to grow your audience, find your Insta-style, taking better photos, styling your photos, choosing your content, networking on IG, monetization, etc. The e-course will run from July 8-25 and you can register here: bloggingyourway.com

2.) Tell us about your morning routine. Any specific rituals / productivity aspects etc 

I make sure we are all showered and fed by 9am, then my son is out playing with his dad until 11:30 so I am able to work in my office. When my son comes home, he immediately goes down for a 2-3 hour nap, so I work some more. When he’s up, I cook lunch, we eat, and by 3:00 we are playing in his room on rainy days, going to a play group, to music class or out to the playground or public swimming pool until 6:30. Then we come home, I prepare dinner, give him a bath, get him dressed for bed, read stories and then his daddy puts him to bed and they cuddle and I go back to my office to work until 10pm but lately, more like midnight! This is our schedule 6 days a week, I only have Sundays off but this Summer I plan to only work 4 days a week from June until September and I’m taking a week away in June for a photography and styling retreat in Sweden with my girlfriend.

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3.) What inspires you? 

People who make progress in life inspire me so much! I love watching a person go from beginner to pro. I like seeing someone who had a tough childhood rise about it. I really love comeback stories, before and after stories, people who beat the odds. And speaking of people, my two-year-old son is my core inspiration and muse – I love looking at the world through his eyes. It’s all so fresh and precious. Everything is exciting to him and now, to me too.

Of course, I also love writing and photography, I love looking at beautiful photos of people, places, things… I enjoy taking photos too but mostly of people either posing or doing interesting things. I find learning very inspirational – through books, online classes, workshops in person, meeting with friends… Music and foreign cinema is a big inspiration too. And of course, my great passion and inspiration in life is travel. Travel is my favorite thing in life because it fuels everything else – my photography, writing, craving to learn, love of people and culture, all of it.

4.) Biggest lesson you’ve learnt?

One step at a time.  It seems so simple to say, and a big mundane, but if you take everything in steps, no matter how big or scary the task, you really can do it.

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5.) Biggest failure so far?

Negotiating my own deals and/or hiring incompetent people. I should have hired the best people to take the financial lead of my business and negotiate deals for me a long, long time ago.

6.) Biggest Success so far?

Having my little boy, Aidan, who turned 2 back in February. I love him so much; he is by far my biggest success in life – the best thing I’ve ever done was to have this little boy enter my life!

7.) Your work space? Clean & Minimal or Eclectic and colourful – what would we find on your desk?

Danish modern with some boho touches, pale gray walls in one room, second room has pale salmon walls, wooden floors, lots of white and natural wood furniture, tons of books and ceramics, a lot of windows and natural light.

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8.) Top 3 entrepreneurial tips?

1. Be consistent – in other words, don’t expect overnight success. Take everything you do for your business in small steps.

2. Always treat others well. The blogger you snub may be the daughter of your next client. The client you talk smack about behind their back may end up hearing about it and drop you, costing you thousands in loss and the prospect of word-of-mouth clients. Don’t assume you know everyone you meet based on what job title they have or the type of car they drive. “The waiter could be your future boss”, is what my grandmother always said. It’s important to treat everything with dignity and respect. This also makes your business shine because people will want to help you and play back the kindness you’ve extended. People want to help those they admire and feel respect them.

3. Make time each week for yourself – get your nails done, go see a film, get a cocktail with a friend, have a hair cut, go to the gym, take a swim, get a facial, just do something for YOU – so you don’t lose yourself to your work – making time for yourself helps your business too because stepping away from the office for self-care time freshens your perspective. It’s great to do something for yourself DAILY but so many find that impossible so make it a goal to exercise daily (even if it’s a 20 minute walk) and then, once a week, do something bigger for yourself that takes at least an hour or two.

9.) Who are you currently listening to? 

London Grammar, James Morrisson, Lana Del Ray, Sia, Calvin Harris, Beyonce, Drake

10.) Your best marketing tool? Word of mouth. Always.

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11.) Dream Big Right? What’s next for you?

I don’t want any more children, I’m happy with my one little sweetheart… So next I want to buy a home and then get into product design, maybe have a television show, and definitely travel often before my little boy is in school full-time and traveling becomes more difficult due to his schedule and homework, etc.

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For more info:

Decor8 Blog / Blogging Your Way / Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook / Twitter 

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