A HOUSE LIKE THIS is a home fragrance and accessories brand based in South East London founded by James Burrow and Ky Ismet.
WHO LIVES IN A HOUSE LIKE THIS?
When James and Ky purchased their first property in South London they knew they would be taking on a big renovation project – but that had been the goal since they met in 2010. Sharing a love for monochrome style, graphic prints, dark interiors and an unhealthy obsession with home fragrance the boys documented each step of their house project via their @ahouselikethis Instagram. Once the dust settled (quite literally) on their home project they decided to launch their business venture, specialising in hand made luxuries for the home.
Here, the tell us more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Ky : AHLT – A House Like This was born from our love for interiors and scented candles and has been something we’ve been planning for over the course of the last few years but officially launched in March 2018. We used to make scented candles for Christmas gifts for our friends and families and we were unhappy with the overpriced and often toxic candles you can expect from well known brands.
James : After lots of testing and research we created our first range of AHLT Home and Travel Candles earlier this year which have since been featured in the likes of British Vogue, Sheerluxe and now House of Coco. We are proud to say that we have created a luxury product that is both honest and guilt-free in terms of the ingredients and materials and we’re really proud of it.
What’s your background?
Ky : We met in 2010 and have been together since, we’re both very creative and share a love for fashion , music and of course interiors. We always wanted to create a brand that could play on our strengths and teach us both new skills too. Our renovation story (@ahouselikethis) is the story of us doing up a victorian terrace in South Norwood with all of the fun adventures that happen along the way, this then turned into @AHLT_Home in March this year.
James : My background is in Graphic Design whereas Ky works in Digital Marketing so the combination works well when building our plans for AHLT.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
James: Just us two and our little puggle puppy Ezra, if you want to see cuteness in fur form you can see him on our renovation story instagram @ahouselikethis
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
James : We’re still only a year onto the business and already we find that we’re able to learn what works and what doesn’t quite quickly so we can iterate and influence product development proactively. The only thing we would like to do more of is emphasize the end to end experience throughout the entire customer journey which we’re working on.
Ky : When you order from us you get a personal experience every step of the way, whether thats choosing the product or right through to receiving your order from AHLT. We’ve had such fantastic feedback on the “unboxing” of our products. Each order is delivered with little surprises and we love to delight our customers.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Ky : Starting to build AHLT was difficult at the start because our core product is a natural scented soy candle with an online only presence. We have had to work extra hard on getting our products out there and showcasing why we believe our ideal customer should consider opting for our range over some of the more established brands. Once established our goal was to bring the AHLT Scent Library to life which we have been able to do through social media, concessions and securing exclusive stockists. The rest is down to our customers, they offer up their own content across social media sharing what they think which helps us battle the inherent challenges of selling fragrances online.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
James : I won a competition once to design and create an dress for Lily Allen to wear at Glastonbury festival. She never actually wore the dress, but it was pretty cool!
Ky : Mine is equally as random, I got quite far in auditions for the Harry Potter films and met Chris Columbus and the casting team in a very surreal moment at Pinewood Studios when I was Eleven!
2019 is almost here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
James : We have quite a few features and exhibitions planned already, we always said that the first two years are really about building the brand awareness and getting our product out there.
Ky : We love getting customer feedback so running pop up stores and festivals is a great opportunity to get first hand feedback on the fragrances in addition to the reviews we get on social media and online.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Ky : Having our brand featured in British Vogue back in May was a huge surprise and such an amazing achievement just a few months in to the business.
James : I absolutely loved the concession we did at House of Fraser Croydon, we get amazing support from the community in South London and we learned a lot about what people wanted to see from us in the future in terms of products and scents.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
James : London hands down, it’s where we met and where we built our home and business.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Ky : I am obsessed with Deziem / The Ordinary range. My favourites are Hylamide, Hylaronic acid and the caffeine solution!
James : Mancave is a great brand, like us its all about zero nasties and the cedarwood shower gel reminds me of our LAVANTA candle which is a soothing blend of lavender essential oil.
James : It’s all about wearing your clothes comfortably and not letting them wear you.
Ky : Yes, and knowing what works for you whether its on trend or not. Whilst some may think it drab I wear black on black almost every day. It helps me make choices quickly and I always feel like I look smart and orderly.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
James : We have so many shoes in our house, it must be that!
Ky : How about a statement candle instead? In seriousness I love my Vivienne Westwood backpack and whilst its subtle and, no surprises, all black it makes a statement to me and thats all that matters.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
Ky : When I find something I like I usually by multiple versions. My square shaped black with marble effect print tshirt from Black Kaviar is pretty much my go-to summer outfit.
James : I love an asymmetric cut t-shirt, usually in white but I definitely couldn’t live without my favourite leather jacket either. The smell alone is gorgeous and actually inspired our FYRE candle.
Favourite love song?
James : It would have to be something by Florence & The Machine. The Drumming Song was on when we both met each other, but Cosmic Love is more romantic.
Ky : I would probably say Destiny by Zero 7, we always listen to Simple Things in the house and that song always reminds me of us just chilling in our home, surrounded by candles.
Best place for a coffee?
Ky : Considering I’m the coffee snob and James is more into his tea I would have to say Black Sheep Coffee is the probably the best coffee in London / the world that I’ve ever tasted. I have a very unhealthy obsession with both the Robusta Revival and their Love Berries filter blend.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Ky : We met Jane Rockett at a Rockett St George event shortly after launching and had a chat about interiors and our candles, she really loved the AHLT OBSIDIAN blend and was giving us some great advice on stockists and trade shows to try. One thing that really stood out was that she just told us to enjoy it and keep learning and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Both Jane and Lucy St. George have built an amazing business and we really connected with their story so it was great to have the opportunity to chat like that.
James : I’m not sure, but I know what Ky’s is. He’s obsessed with “Charmed”.
Ky : Correct, definitely my guilty pleasure. I even proposed to James outside of the Victorian house that was used on the original TV show on our recent trip to LA.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
James : Toyko! I’ve always wanted to go, I’m so inspired by Japanese culture and I’d love to experience it in the flesh.
Ky: New Orleans, I’m fascinated by its history and would love to visit someday.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
Ky : In our first year we have been solely focused on building the awareness of our brand and seeking feedback so we can continue curating our collection to suit our customers needs. After deciding on our full Scent Library of 10 different unique core blends we have already expanded from Home Candles to Travel Candles plus Scent Solutions for water based fragrance diffusers and Reed diffusers which are a natural evolution. From there it’s all about making people who say, when they’re trawling through instagram or Pinterest and gasping at amazing interiors thinking “I want a house like this” that there is a place to find little bits of hand crafted luxury for the home.
James : We will evolve our store into a destination for those looking to build an eco-friendly but luxe home, I’m really passionate about making sure everything we do is good for the environment which will be a big focus for us as we grow.
Ky: I completely agree, sometimes the very best isn’t actually the very best for your health so we want to continue our “guilt free luxury” theme and when we launch James’s illustrations and prints and develop more home accessories to our collection in the new year we’ll have started our first expansion into homewares. We’re so excited to see what 2019 has in store for AHLT!
Find out more…
Instagram Store : @ahlt_home
Instagram Renovation Story : @ahouselikethis
Twitter : @ahlt_home
Facebook : ahouselikethis