“That’s too hipsterish*, you’ll have to change it again in two years’ time” a friend said to me when I excitedly announced that I was changing my business name from Zoe Hewett Interiors to Stylemongers Of Bristol. A year later I’ve made the change and the new name has stuck. Forever. But what made me change my name when my parents kindly gave me a perfectly nice one, that no school bully ever quite managed to customise for their own ends?
The truth is I wanted a ‘proper’ business name that would serve me better and reflect my emerging values. In the beginning using my name was the only option, but as my business has evolved and I have a clearer purpose it seemed egotistical to keep my own name centre stage. I had been using a tagline that no longer suited, so I had to lose that to create a real brand with potential to grow. Somehow, during the school run, I arrived at Stylemongers Of Bristol. It might well chime with the zeitgeist for now, but as Yves Saint Laurent famously said ‘fashions fade, style is eternal.’
That suits me just fine, as despite a love of clothes I’m proudly untrendy and have never been a follower of fashion, as anyone who knew me in my teens will tell you. My mission is to help people create interiors that reflect them not the latest trend, so style - their style, their story - is everything. There are environmental considerations behind this too, like not changing everything every couple of years or even seasons, and instead forming an emotional connection to Grandma’s original Knoll armchair and being invested in reupholstering it, for example. All these ideas about vintage, bespoke and eco-awareness had to be weaved in to the new brand story and imagery.
Our surroundings play a vital role in supporting our health and happiness, which makes interior design important for everyone - even though hiring a professional is a luxury. I always try to make sure there is an affordable component in my offer, such as useful blog content or my workshops, but without undermining the profession. I want people to feel as able to approach their friendly local interior designer as they would their local tailor, butcher, baker, florist, cheesemonger, fishmonger, ironmonger….. all these skilled experts that provide useful service to everyone and keep high streets independent and interesting.
There are endless handmade, artisanal skills and crafts involved in interior design, from bespoke joinery and curtain making right down to the weaving of fabric and printing of wallpaper. Often these require specialist research to specify and produce so interior design is very much a practice, as well as the selling of furnishings. Since I’ve always been a designer, albeit for theatre sets and costumes originally (creating physical worlds for fictitious characters to inhabit) I wanted to reference that long history of design expertise and hands-on making things. My grandfather was an architect and my uncle a services engineer so there’s a family history of construction and drafting. I wanted to give the new brand the feeling of a long established, generations old family business with gold lettering on a black shopfront sign.
I’m still so in love with my adoptive home town that I wanted to give it a mention too, and give my brand a real sense of place in this digital age. Stylemongers Of Cardiff just doesn’t have the same ring to it, and my life is now firmly rooted here, having made my own little Bristolian.
Mix in a love of paper and pencils, rubber stamps, classic vintage glamour, a dash of luxury and a sense of humour and this is what you end up with. I think it does the job, for now at least!
*I’m no hipster, but as in the original sense of the word I sure do dig hot jazz :)
If you would like help to find and reflect your style in your home or business interior then please do get in touch to talk about what Stylemongers Of Bristol can do for you.