Meet the Retailer: Holly Vaughan, founder of Holly's House
Meet the retailer: Holly Vaughan, founder of Holly's House.
"It has been hard for retail recently, but I think there is still a need for independent businesses and the creative touch they bring to the industry can count for a lot."
How did Holly's House come to be?
I've always loved scouring antiques and vintage markets, and remember feeling disappointed by what was available on the high street in terms of home decor and furniture. The vintage option always seemed more individual and interesting, and I thought that that shouldn't be the case – there should be more physical and online shops selling unique and interesting home goods. I set up Holly's House at the end of 2011 – I had always wanted to run my own business, and just went for it when the opportunity arose.
How would you describe Holly's House?
Holly's House is unique retail business which offers a wide selection of inspiring furniture and homewares from designers and makers all around the globe. We sell through our shop in Fulham and online and also design and create beautiful home products inspired by our own experiences and travels.
You offer an interior design service, too – can you tell us about that?
We offer a full interior design and project management service for residential and commercial projects. I studied interior decoration at London's KLC School of Design and worked for designers including Nina Campbell and Suzy Hoodless and initially, I thought that would be the focus of Holly's House, but the retail side grew so quickly it left little time for interior design. Now we have a larger team of brilliant people, I'll be dedicating more energy to this and look forward to taking on more projects soon.
Why are trade shows important to you as a retailer?
They're the best way to discover new products and place orders. They're incredibly important, because as a retailer, we really need to see the products in the flesh before we decide to buy.
If you could give new brands any advice on how to approach a retailer, what would that be?'
It's always nice when brands contact us. Sometimes we're too busy to get straight back to them, so it's always worth trying again if you don't hear anything – just please don't hound people! It's important for us to be able to access a brand's products and information easily, so a clear website and/or catalogue always helps. Nice images count for a lot, too, whether you're trying to sell the products to a retailer or a customer. Sometimes we get sent lovely samples. It's always better to see the physical product, so if you can afford it, send examples to your first-choice retailers.
This year, Holly's House will also exhibit at Pulse – can you tell us about that?
A couple of years ago we started to design products and have them manufactured. This is a really interesting side of the business and one we would like to focus on a lot more in the future. It is incredibly time-consuming to be working on both sides, but it's exciting and inspiring too.
Imagine you have a crystal ball – how do you see the interiors industry evolving?
I think online is absolutely the way to go, both for retail and building a brand through marketing and social media. We still love to have a physical shop as customers do prefer to see things in the flesh. However, a great deal of our everyday work goes in to promoting the business and how it works online. It has been hard for retail recently, but I think there is still a need for independent businesses and the creative touch they bring to the industry can count for a lot.