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Welcome to an exclusive glimpse into the world of Jenny Kiehn, an artist whose boundless creativity knows no bounds. 

Join us as we delve into her sky-bound odyssey, where every stroke of her brush unveils infinite horizons and captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world. 

In this interview with House of Coco Magazine, Jenny shares her journey from photographer to sculptor to acclaimed painter of skies, offering insights into her artistic process, her profound connection to nature, and her mission to spread peace and inspiration through her art. 

Get ready to be transported to a world of wonder and possibility as we embark on a captivating exploration of Jenny Kiehn’s visionary artwork and the limitless potential of the human spirit.

What inspired you to focus your artistic talents on painting skies, and how has this journey impacted your creative process?

My journey into painting skies was quite unexpected. After spending two decades exploring various artistic mediums, from photography to sculpture, I found myself drawn back to observational drawing. It wasn’t until my husband asked for a sky mural for his model airplanes that I rediscovered my passion for painting. Despite not having painted significantly in 20 years, I took on the challenge, and that mural marked the beginning of my sky painting journey.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson: sometimes our best work comes when we least expect it, urging us to remain open to new opportunities and embrace them with enthusiasm.

You mentioned the sky as a source of abundance and spirituality. Could you share a specific moment or experience where the sky deeply resonated with you and influenced your artwork?

My artistic journey has always been intertwined with personal growth. Prior to painting skies, I was creating realistic drawings of hibernating animals, symbolising the importance of self-care and healing, particularly as a mother of four young children. However, it was when I painted my first sky mural that everything changed.

The vastness of the sky opened my eyes to the boundless opportunities and peace it offered. It sparked a desire within me to explore endless horizons and embrace a sense of infinite potential. Since then, painting skies has become my primary focus, allowing me to channel tranquility and freedom onto canvas.

Your sky paintings often evoke a sense of calm and tranquility. How do you translate such complex emotions onto canvas, and what techniques do you employ to convey these feelings?

Painting skies offers a unique opportunity to tap into the collective positive associations people have with the sky. My main technique involves creating hyper-realistic scenes that invite viewers to immerse themselves in the artwork, as if stepping into the vast expanse above.

Moreover, I strive to maintain a balance between realism and fluidity in my paintings, ensuring they capture the essence of relaxation and flow. This delicate equilibrium breathes life into the artwork, fostering a sense of peace and serenity.

Exploring the intersection of creativity and science sounds fascinating. Can you share an example of how scientific principles have inspired or influenced your artistic endeavours?

One fascinating aspect of the atmosphere is the condensation point where clouds form—a phenomenon reminiscent of meditation. Just as clouds emerge from the condensation of water vapour, meditation allows the mind to gradually empty until reaching a state of peaceful bliss.

Furthermore, the towering cumulus clouds serve as a metaphor for personal momentum and growth. Much like reaching new heights in one’s endeavours, these clouds ascend with momentum and vitality, symbolising the beauty of progress and achievement.

From photography to sculpture to painting, you’ve explored various mediums throughout your artistic career. What draws you specifically to painting as a means of expression?

Painting offers a tactile and immersive experience that resonates deeply with the ethereal qualities of skies and water. It allows me to play with colour and lightness, capturing the essence of these elements in a tangible form.

Moreover, painting aligns seamlessly with my lifestyle, providing flexibility and autonomy in my creative process. Unlike photography, which is often dictated by external factors like weather and location, painting empowers me to create within the comforts of my home studio, at my own pace.

Your mission is to spread beauty and a sense of limitless potential through your art. How do you hope your paintings impact individuals on a personal level?

My ultimate goal is to instil a sense of peace and empowerment in viewers, encouraging them to embrace their own potential and create a life filled with joy and fulfilment. Through my paintings, I aim to evoke feelings of tranquility and freedom, inspiring individuals to cultivate inner peace and make positive choices in their lives.

Can you walk us through your creative process when starting a new sky painting? How do you approach the blank canvas and decide on the mood and atmosphere you want to capture?

My creative process begins with intuition and emotion. I often have a collection of potential images in mind, and one will inevitably resonate with me more deeply than the others. From there, I allow the painting to unfold organically, gradually revealing its meaning and mood as I work.

This intuitive approach enables me to infuse each painting with authenticity and depth, as the emotions I experience during the process become intertwined with the artwork itself.

What role does meditation play in your artistic practice, and how does it influence the energy you infuse into your paintings?

Meditation serves as the cornerstone of my creative practice, facilitating a state of flow and receptivity that enhances my artistic expression. It allows me to connect with a sense of peace and presence, which in turn infuses my paintings with a profound energy and vitality.

Moreover, meditation serves as a source of inspiration and clarity, guiding me in channeling my emotions and intentions onto canvas with authenticity and purpose.

You’ve mentioned experimenting with different painting techniques, such as rapid painting and underpainting with glazes. Which technique do you find most fulfilling, and why?

Each technique offers its own unique rewards, contributing to the multidimensional quality of my artwork. Rapid painting allows me to capture the immediacy and spontaneity of the moment, while underpainting with glazes adds depth and richness to the final composition.

However, I find the combination of these techniques most fulfilling, as it enables me to explore the full spectrum of possibilities and nuances in my paintings. This dynamic approach fosters a sense of creative freedom and experimentation, enriching the artistic process.

How do you balance the need for structure and planning in your artwork with the desire for spontaneity and creative freedom?

I strike a delicate balance between structure and spontaneity by drawing upon both planning and intuition in my creative process. While I often use photographs for initial planning and composition, I remain open to improvisation and exploration as the painting evolves.

This fluid approach allows me to incorporate elements of surprise and serendipity into my artwork, infusing each piece with a sense of vitality and authenticity. By embracing the interplay between structure and spontaneity, I cultivate a dynamic and evolving artistic practice.

Jenny Kiehn Art

Your sky murals have adorned various spaces, including your own home. How does the environment in which your art is displayed influence its impact on viewers?

The environment plays a crucial role in shaping the viewer’s experience of my art. By bringing the expansiveness of the sky into indoor spaces, I aim to create a sense of tranquility and serenity that resonates with viewers on a personal level.

Many of my collectors choose to display my paintings in their bedrooms, transforming these intimate spaces into peaceful oases of calm and reflection. Moreover, the ever-changing quality of natural light adds an additional dimension to the artwork, creating a dynamic and immersive viewing experience.

Could you share a memorable reaction or feedback you’ve received from someone who has connected deeply with one of your sky paintings?

One of the most touching reactions I’ve received was from individuals who shared how my paintings reminded them of cherished childhood memories spent gazing at the sky with loved ones. Others have expressed how my artwork provided solace and comfort during times of grief, evoking a sense of peace and serenity that touched them deeply.

These heartfelt responses serve as a testament to the power of art to evoke profound emotions and forge connections with others on a deeply personal level.

As an artist and mother, how do you navigate the challenges of balancing family life with your creative pursuits?

Parenthood has brought clarity to my priorities and fuelled my determination to pursue my artistic passions while nurturing my family. Establishing daily self-care routines and delegating household tasks to my children have been essential in maintaining balance and preserving my creative energy.

Moreover, I’ve learned to prioritise my own needs and fill my cup first, recognising that self-care is essential for both personal well-being and creative fulfilment. By cultivating a supportive and nurturing environment at home, I’m able to pursue my artistic endeavours with joy and enthusiasm, enriching both my family life and creative practice.

You’ve spoken at public forums about the intersection of creativity and science. What’s one key takeaway you hope audiences glean from your presentations?

I hope to inspire audiences to recognise the inherent creativity within themselves and embrace it as a powerful tool for innovation and exploration. By fostering a deeper appreciation for the creative process and its intersections with science, I aim to empower individuals to tap into their creative potential and unlock new possibilities for personal and professional growth.

How do you see the relationship between art, science, spirituality, and nature evolving in the future, and how does your work contribute to this evolution?

I believe that art, science, spirituality, and nature are interconnected aspects of the human experience, each offering unique insights into the mysteries of existence. As our understanding of the universe deepens, I envision a future where these disciplines converge to illuminate new pathways of exploration and discovery.

Through my artwork and message of peace, I seek to contribute to this evolution by fostering a deeper connection to the natural world and a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of all life. By inviting viewers to contemplate the beauty and wonder of the sky, I hope to inspire a sense of awe and reverence for the vastness of the cosmos and our place within it.

Your sky paintings often depict vast expanses and horizons that seem to stretch endlessly. What symbolism do these horizons hold for you personally, and how do you convey this symbolism to your audience?

For me, the horizon represents boundless potential and endless possibility, serving as a metaphor for the infinite expanses of the human imagination. By capturing the beauty and majesty of the horizon in my paintings, I aim to convey a sense of wonder and awe that transcends the limitations of everyday existence.

Moreover, I seek to inspire viewers to embrace their own potential and pursue their dreams with courage and conviction, knowing that the horizon is not a barrier but a gateway to new adventures and experiences. In this way, my paintings serve as a reminder of the limitless potential that resides within each of us, waiting to be discovered and explored.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are struggling to find their unique voice and artistic style?

My advice to aspiring artists is simple: trust in your intuition and embrace the journey of self-discovery. Allow yourself the freedom to explore different mediums and techniques, knowing that your unique voice will emerge over time through experimentation and practice.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or deviate from conventional norms—embrace the process of exploration and discovery, knowing that each experience brings you one step closer to finding your true artistic identity.

Above all, believe in yourself and the power of your creativity to transform lives and inspire others. Your journey as an artist is a deeply personal and transformative one, and it’s important to honour and celebrate your unique vision and perspective.

Can you share a glimpse into your creative workspace and how it fosters your artistic inspiration and productivity?

My studio is a sanctuary of creativity and inspiration, nestled within the comforts of my home. Equipped with controlled lighting and a cosy atmosphere, it provides the perfect environment for me to unleash my imagination and bring my artistic visions to life.

Surrounded by the beauty of nature and the soothing sounds of the outdoors, I find myself immersed in a world of limitless possibility and creative expression. Whether I’m painting at the crack of dawn or late into the night, my studio serves as a sacred space where I can connect with my innermost thoughts and emotions, channeling them onto canvas with passion and purpose.

How do you stay connected with your audience and maintain a sense of community through your mailing list and other platforms?

I stay connected with my audience through regular updates and engagement across various platforms, including social media and email newsletters. By sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of my creative process, upcoming projects, and personal insights, I strive to foster a sense of community and connection with my followers.

Moreover, I actively encourage feedback and interaction, inviting viewers to share their thoughts, experiences, and artwork with me. This open dialogue not only strengthens the bond between artist and audience but also creates a supportive and inclusive space where creativity can flourish and thrive.

Looking ahead, what artistic goals or projects are you most excited about pursuing in the near future?

I’m excited to explore new avenues of creativity and innovation, particularly through live online workshops and interactive experiences. By sharing my painting techniques and insights with aspiring artists and enthusiasts, I hope to inspire others to embark on their own creative journeys and unlock their full artistic potential.

Additionally, I’m passionate about expanding my reach and sharing my message of peace and empowerment with a wider audience. Whether through new collaborations, exhibitions, or community initiatives, I look forward to continuing my mission of spreading beauty and inspiration to the world.

If you didn’t become an artist, what other career would you have pursued?

Regardless of the career path I might have chosen, I know that art would have always been an integral part of my life. Whether as a hobbyist or a professional, I would have found ways to express my creativity and share my passion for beauty and inspiration with others.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

One destination that has always captured my imagination is the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia. During the rainy season, when the shallow water creates a mirror of the sky, it becomes a breathtaking spectacle of natural beauty and wonder—a perfect reflection of the infinite expanses I seek to capture in my artwork.

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

My go-to quote when I’m lacking motivation is simply “Allow.” By reminding myself to let go of resistance and embrace the flow of creativity and inspiration, I’m able to cultivate a sense of ease and receptivity that ignites my passion and reignites my motivation.

Whether through meditation, reflection, or simply taking a moment to connect with my innermost desires, I find that allowing myself the space to be present and open to the possibilities that lie ahead is often the most powerful catalyst for creative renewal and inspiration.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram @jennykiehnart, or visit my website at jennykiehn.com to explore my portfolio, upcoming events, and more. I look forward to connecting with you and sharing the beauty and inspiration of the skies!

If Jenny Kiehn’s skybound odyssey has inspired you to explore the wonders of the world and unleash your own creative potential, we invite you to continue your journey with us.

Head over to our site for more inspiring stories in our Worldwide Wonders series, where you’ll discover captivating tales of adventure, innovation, and inspiration from around the globe.

Step into the world of Holly Kennedy, where colours dance like sunlight on water, and nature’s beauty is immortalised on canvas. With each stroke of her brush, Holly weaves a tapestry of emotions, drawing inspiration from the vibrant hues and intricate textures of the botanical world.

As the sun pours through her window, illuminating her workspace, Holly gathers her tools of creation—paints, inks, carving tools, and oil pastels—each one a gateway to her artistic vision. Memories of Kew Gardens, with its magnolias in bloom and cherry blossoms floating on the breeze, infuse her work with the essence of springtime.

Starting with a blank canvas of Fabriano paper, Holly lets her intuition guide her, selecting colors that speak to her soul. She draws upon the patterns and textures of flowers and foliage, carving them into lino blocks to be printed and repeated with ease.

Layer by layer, Holly builds her masterpiece, exploring the interplay of ink and oil pastel, creating depth and dimension with each stroke. The viscosity of the inks, the softness of the oil pastels—it’s a symphony of textures, a dance of light and shadow.

But Holly’s art doesn’t end with the canvas. Each painting is transformed into a digital file, ready to adorn silk scarves, leather accessories, and even fedora hats. It’s a fusion of art and fashion, a celebration of individuality and expression.

For Holly, painting is more than just a creative outlet—it’s a journey of self-discovery, a path to tranquility and contentment. And as her ink-stained hands bring her visions to life, she can’t help but smile, knowing that she’s captured a moment of beauty that will last a lifetime.

Join us as we delve into the world of Ink & Silk, where every brushstroke tells a story, and nature’s palette is brought to life in vibrant technicolor…

Holly Kennedy

Can you walk us through the journey of how Ink & Silk came to be? What inspired you to start designing and printing your own fabrics?

As a milliner, I was looking for a unique fabric to trim and line my hats, something distinctive. Being a painter by nature, I decided to delve deeper into abstract botanical painting. Ink & Silk was born when I began printing my paintings onto silk twill and designing other silk products I could create with my prints.

You mentioned being inspired by flowers and foliage. Can you tell us more about how nature influences your creative process and the designs you create?

Living near Kew Gardens in Chiswick, just over the river, I became a member at Kew and found myself visiting sometimes twice a week. Each visit was different due to the varying seasons and the vastness of the gardens. My father, a landscape gardener, often taught me the names of flowers, and I frequently found myself drawing them.

What do you hope people feel or experience when they interact with your artworks and designs?

Well, I think that is the beauty of art; people can feel whatever they want, and everybody’s reaction or response is different. One thing I have realised is the impact colour can have on mood. I want to bring a splash of colour into people’s lives.

How do you approach the process of capturing the vibrant hues and textures of nature in your paintings and fabrics?

I often spend time visiting botanical gardens, capturing shapes and forms by sketching as a starting point. Before I start working on large Fabriano paper with acrylic inks, paints, handmade stencils, handmade lino cuts, oil pastels, and ballpoint pens, I choose my palette and mix paints. I focus on colour, mark-making, and abstract interpretations of the botanical world around me.

How do your background in illustration and interactive media inform your work as a painter and milliner?

With a background in illustration and interactive media, I feel I have a rich and diverse skill set that enhances my work as a painter and milliner. Aspects such as storytelling, colour theory, and various digital skills all help navigate the complexities of running a small creative business.

Can you describe your experience apprenticing and studying millinery with Noel Stewart and working for Piers Atkinson? How did this influence your artistic journey?

I was first trained by Noel Stewart while studying on his Millinery course at Kensington and Chelsea College. He was such a skilled and creative milliner to learn from. Then, spending the next months apprenticing with him, I met Piers Atkinson, whom I then went to work for as a Milliner.

Piers Atkinson was truly inspirational for his unwavering commitment to his own artistic vision, and I believe it’s through working with him that I’ve developed the courage to follow my own artistic path.

How has being a mother influenced your creative process and the direction of your career?

Becoming a mother has made me more focused with the time that I get to spend creating. It has also made me less concerned with what people think, so it has been quite liberating.

What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood with your artistic pursuits, and how have you overcome them?

Finding time to create is often scarce when you have young children, so it has forced me to become more focused and productive when I do find those free moments. I have found that gardens are great places to take the children, and while they play, I simply sketch, which is the start of the creative process for me.

How do you stay inspired and motivated in your creative practice, especially during challenging times?

Painting for me is my stillness and soul expression, a space filled with tranquility and contentment, and therefore a sanctuary in challenging times. The same is true of hat-making; I find it a meditative practice where many hours can pass unnoticed.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists and designers who are just starting their journey?

Starting on a path as an artist or designer takes time, dedication, and perseverance. Consistently practice your craft and hone your skills, and most of all, believe in yourself and your art.

Can you discuss the significance of colour in your art and how it contributes to your overall aesthetic?

Colour has always been my emotional expression. Sumptuous hues soothe my soul and excite my eyes, like a magical dusting of happiness. The desire to create my own designs for fabric comes from this feeling.

What impact do you hope to have with your art and designs on individuals and the broader community?

I design my pieces for the confident and stylish individual who values quality and uniqueness. All my products are made in England because quality and sustainability are important to me.

What role does experimentation play in your creative process, and how do you approach trying new techniques or mediums?

I am always exploring different ways of creating marks and textures, from finding dried seed heads and plant stems to paint and print with, to exploring how oil interacts with acrylic ink and the textures that ensue. I love the viscosity of ink to work with, how it flows and saturates the paper, interacting with other marks and paint that come across its path as it spills forth a flood of feelings.

Our readers love to travel; what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

I would love to travel to Japan in springtime to experience the cherry and wisteria blossoms coming into bloom. I imagine it to be an extraordinary sensory experience.

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

“Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working.” – Henri Matisse

Finally, what brings you the greatest joy and fulfilment as both an artist and a parent?

I love seeing someone wearing one of my hats or silks and witnessing the pleasure when a customer finds a piece that is a perfect match for their personality or a perfect gift. As a parent, I feel such happiness when my children are being their natural creative selves, seeing them create whether it’s on paper or in imaginary play, showing me how unhindered they are in their creativity, to which I can only aspire.

As we bid farewell to this captivating journey through the world of Ink & Silk with Holly Kennedy, we invite you to continue exploring her vibrant creations and delve deeper into her artistic vision.

Follow Holly on her creative odyssey by visiting her website, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of her handcrafted silk scarves, leather accessories, and more.

But the adventure doesn’t end here.

Join us on House of Coco, where we celebrate the extraordinary stories of artists, designers, and visionaries from around the globe. Discover more inspiring tales and uncover hidden gems that ignite your imagination and fuel your passion for creativity.

Welcome to a journey through the lens of passion and perseverance, where every frame tells a story of love, authenticity, and artistic vision. Today, we embark on an exclusive interview with none other than Mija Mera, the visionary force behind Mija Mera Photography.

Join us as we delve into the essence of Mija’s artistry, exploring the influences that shape her unique style and the experiences that fuel her creative fire. Through laughter, love and the occasional mishap, Mija Mera reminds us that true artistry lies not only in technical skill but in the courage to stay true to oneself.

So, grab a cup of your favourite brew, settle into the cosy embrace of inspiration and let the magic of Mija Mera Photography ignite your imagination. This is more than an interview; it’s a celebration of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to chase their dreams…

Mija, your passion for capturing timeless wedding memories is evident. Can you share with us a particularly memorable moment you’ve experienced while shooting a wedding?

Dear Laura, thank you so much for your invitation; it’s a pleasure to meet you. I think the most memorable moment for all photographers is probably their very first wedding. Back then, during the kiss, there was absolute silence, and I stepped on a stone, which made a loud noise on the floor.

Luckily, everyone took it with humour, and I was able to put my biggest fear of embarrassing myself as a wedding photographer aside right away. Since then, I’ve been able to shrug off little mishaps with a laugh, and funnily enough, they happen to me all the time.

Your editorial style is captivating. How do you ensure each wedding you shoot tells a unique and compelling story?

Thank you very much. Due to my background as an editor, the editorial perspective is always the starting point for my work. Couples book me because of my artistic “signature,” so it’s important that my images have the desired recognition value.

Nevertheless, every wedding couple is unique, every bride and groom is individual, and there are all those little unplanned moments that need to be captured. They are what make every wedding a unique story. That’s why I place a strong focus on details and authentic storytelling in my photography, packaged in a fashion magazine-like aesthetic.

Where do you find your inspiration as a photographer?

I have always been fascinated by fashion magazines, which was probably the reason why I decided to study media and economics. Fashion photography is, therefore, my biggest source of inspiration to this day, which gives my pictures their obvious editorial look. But I also find a lot of inspiration in architecture, art, nature, and the great emotions of life. There are also a few role models whom I admire for their photographic work and who also inspire me a lot.

Overall, however, I try not to be influenced too much by other photographers but simply to stay true to myself. I recently read a great poem about this: ‘Your art is not about how many people like your work, your art is about if your heart likes your work, if your soul likes your work. It’s about how honest you are with yourself, and you must never trade honesty for relatability’ (Rupi Kaur).

How would you summarise your photographic style in a few words?

Finding your own style is a never-ending process and certainly one of the most difficult tasks at the beginning of a career as a photographer. My style is still evolving, which is important because only with evolution comes improvement. Overall, however, my visual language is often described as elegant, minimalist, and iconic. It also has a strong artistic flavour, which gives my photos their unique look and has been described by VOGUE as ‘soul-stirring,’ which I think sums it up well.

You mentioned the importance of creating a relaxed atmosphere for your clients. How do you achieve this amidst the hustle and bustle of a wedding day?

As a wedding photographer, you need to understand that people don’t just book photos; they book the experience. Put simply, people book people. That’s why good chemistry with the bride and groom is particularly important to me; then a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere is naturally created – and this is also reflected in my pictures.

Your own wedding taught you valuable lessons. Could you elaborate on how those experiences have influenced your approach to photography?

Of course, but I’ll be brief so as not to go too far. My own wedding taught me that not everything goes according to plan and that you have to remain flexible. I’ve also learned how important it is to have a good relationship with the vendors and to be able to rely on their professionalism.

That’s why I’m available to my wedding couples throughout the planning process to answer any questions and take over on the day of the wedding if we need to improvise. You should simply be able to enjoy your big day so that the beautiful moments and great memories outweigh the negative ones, even if something doesn’t go as planned.

We’d love to hear more about your furry friends! How do your dogs inspire or influence your work, if at all?

Well, my dogs are certainly my most photographed subject. Above all, they are my retreat to relax after a stressful wedding and get back to everyday life. From a photographic point of view, they have taught me that perfection is not always the most important thing in pictures, but that it is above all individual characteristics or everyday moments that need to be captured.

Unfortunately, our four-legged friends won’t be by our side forever, and I already know that these pictures will be invaluable to me one day.

Being an extrovert who also cherishes alone time must offer unique perspectives. How does this balance reflect in your photography?

I love meeting new people or immersing myself in crowds. But I also enjoy the peace and quiet and time for myself, as mental hygiene, so to speak. I also utilise this balance at a wedding: sometimes you’ll find me in the middle of the action, for example, on the dance floor, to capture the atmosphere up close. Sometimes, however, I deliberately take on the role of an observer and capture the events from an outside perspective: all the unnoticed moments, the small details, and the authentic encounters. Because I find that the candid pictures are often the most beautiful in the end – and they also capture the moments that the wedding couple themselves may have overlooked.

The story of how you met your husband sounds like it’s straight out of a romantic comedy! Can you tell us more about that serendipitous encounter?

Yes, that’s right. Our love story is a classic matchmaking story. One day, mutual friends came up with the idea that we might be a good match and told us about their plan. Neither of us was keen on the idea at first. I mean: What are the odds?! Nevertheless, we agreed to meet up with our friends for a night out. We initially arranged to meet at my house for a few drinks, which meant that my now-husband just turned up on my doorstep that evening.

The rest is history.

Growing up in the USA and traveling the world must have been incredible experiences. How do those multicultural influences shape your photography style?

That’s right; my childhood was certainly not normal. I still love looking at the pictures from those trips today, and they have made me a big fan of film photography. Even back then, we always had a camera with us to capture our adventures – and as I was still a child, I would have forgotten many of my memories without these photos.

So traveling has taught me how valuable pictures can be. I also believe that traveling has given me a different perspective on life. I want to make the most of every moment; I like to experience new things, and when a wedding is in a great location or in a different culture, I just can’t say no.

Family seems to be a cornerstone of your life. How do you incorporate the essence of familial bonds into your wedding photography?

Definitely, I am an absolute family person. I have a very close bond with my parents and sisters, and it’s always fascinating to experience this cohesion in other families at a wedding. Because every family is unique, with its own traditions, emotions, and constellations. I love observing them and capturing them authentically. When I photograph a wedding, I, therefore, always keep an eye on the family members to capture their emotional reactions and interactions. After all, they are often the ones who go unnoticed by the bride and groom but are later the most precious memories.

Laughter is such a powerful force. How do you infuse humour into your work to create genuine moments of joy?

Laughter is a constant companion at weddings. So I don’t see myself as an entertainer but rather as a silent observer of authentic events. I’m also a positive person by nature who likes to laugh a lot – and I’m sometimes a bit clumsy, which regularly makes me and others laugh. So humour flows naturally into my work and makes it a fun experience for everyone involved.

Winning the German championship in hip-hop dance is quite an achievement! How, if at all, does your background in dance inform your approach to capturing movement and emotion in your photographs?

Dancing is still a great passion of mine. It has certainly sharpened my sense of posing and expressing emotions, which makes it easier for me to guide my couples or show them my creative vision. I also like to keep my wedding couples moving, which leads to more vibrant images. This automatically makes the groom and bride feel more comfortable, and the images look much more natural.

Being self-employed for over a decade is impressive. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to carve their path in the industry?

Thank you! Well, the path to self-employment is never easy; that should be clear to everyone. Being a good photographer is not enough to turn it into a successful business. There are many impressive photographers out there. Above all, you need to have the right attitude, a strong will, endless discipline, and patience.

A broad network is also helpful. I would, therefore, advise every photographer to set clear goals, build a strong brand from the outset, and focus a lot on business issues such as marketing, not just photographic development. Ultimately, these are different pieces of the puzzle that only work together.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you had received when you first started your journey as a wedding photographer?

I started photography out of passion; it was never about the money. Nevertheless, I encountered a lot of resistance. Be prepared for the fact that there will be a lot of opinions when you go public with your art. You will receive praise, but also unsolicited criticism. You will probably even lose friends. That can be unsettling. But if you stay true to yourself and walk your path with confidence, you will become successful and meet new people who will enrich your life incredibly.

In my opinion, the most important piece of advice would be to be courageous and authentic, don’t let fears stop you, and don’t let opinions influence you. Because your art will never please everyone. There will always be people who love what you do and people who hate what you do. So just stay true to yourself, and the right couples will find you.

Why do you think you became successful in the industry so quickly?

Strong brands don’t chase; they attract. I have followed this principle from the very beginning, and it has brought me to my goal faster than I could ever have imagined. Of course, the basics have to be right first: the technical and artistic understanding of photography itself. The sooner you know where you want to go, the more purposefully you can work towards it.

With two companies under your belt, how do you manage to balance the demands of both businesses while maintaining your artistic integrity?

This only works with very clear priorities and a lot of consideration for yourself. I have been very exhausted in the past and have learnt to set better boundaries and take care of my health. You inevitably reach your mental and physical limits again and again.

But that’s where I’ve grown incredibly as a person, and I believe that this experience has made me the artist I am today and is reflected in my photographic work. At the same time, I have severely limited the number of weddings I take on so that I can photograph each one with full passion and do my best work for each couple. I also allow myself more breaks between weddings, and this helps me to recharge my “creative battery”.

How has being self-employed shaped you as a personality and photographer?

Over the years, self-employment has repeatedly challenged me and pushed me to my limits. But it has also brought me great success and given me a lot of self-confidence. I now know exactly what I can achieve, and I stand up for myself. Because when you’re self-employed, nobody does it for you – you’re basically a lone wolf.

I’ve also learnt to focus on the next step when I’m faced with an overwhelming task – and not be intimidated by the big picture. This attitude also helps me in wedding photography to stay relaxed and positive even in challenging situations, and it’s certainly reflected in my love of detail and minimalism in photography.

Your commitment to telling authentic stories shines through. How do you ensure that each couple’s unique narrative is preserved in your photographs?

Every wedding is unique by nature: its composition, its location, its people, its events. That’s why no two stories are ever the same, and that’s what makes this work so incredibly exciting.

Our readers love to travel; what destination is at the top of your bucket list? And is there a location where you would particularly like to photograph a wedding?

I have a long list of countries I would like to visit for the first time or again. If I had to decide right now, the Cook Islands would be my choice because my husband and I simply love island life. Professionally, I dream of photographing in Quinta do Muro in Portugal. Overall, I currently have a weakness for modern architecture.

And I love love love love Venice… it would be a dream come true to photograph a wedding there.

Lastly, what keeps you inspired and motivated to continue capturing love stories day after day?

The love, the locations, the wedding dresses, the atmosphere, the details… For me, a wedding feels like a real life editorial set where I can fully unleash my creativity. Not only is there one story to tell, but there are so many unique encounters and moments to capture, which always makes it a fascinating experience, both personally and photographically. But it’s also the people who give me so much appreciation and joy every time. I’ve made so many new friends along the way and look forward to every wedding long in advance.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

I am most active on Instagram under @mija.mera. You can find my website at www.mijamera.com. It is currently being updated and will soon be available in English.

Many thanks for the great conversation; I feel honoured!

As we bid adieu to this captivating conversation with Mija Mera, we’re reminded of the power of authenticity, creativity, and unwavering passion. Her journey serves as a testament to the boundless potential that lies within each of us, urging us to embrace our unique visions and pursue them with fervour.

But the adventure doesn’t end here. Dive deeper into the world of inspiration and discovery by exploring more stories on House of Coco Magazine. From captivating interviews with trailblazers like Mija to insightful features on travel, lifestyle and culture, there’s something to ignite the spark of curiosity in every reader.

Welcome to an exclusive interview with Kate Metten, the visionary artist behind a world of captivating ceramics. In this intimate conversation, we delve into the heart of Kate’s creative journey, exploring the fusion of tradition and contemporary flair that defines her renowned ceramic atelier.

With each handcrafted piece, Kate infuses passion, creativity, and a profound connection to her craft. Join us as we uncover the stories behind her elegant designs, her dedication to preserving movement in every form, and the inspiration drawn from her beloved East Vancouver.

Get ready to be inspired by Kate’s unique artistic vision and the timeless beauty she brings to the world of ceramics…

Kate Metten Ceramics

Can you tell us about your journey into ceramics? What drew you to this medium?

Transitioning out of dance in my teens, I was attracted to the physical and repetitive nature of wheel throwing. I also liked the intellectual challenges of glaze chemistry research and testing local clays. 

I grew up playing with river clay in South Vancouver and from a young age took ceramics classes and then studied ceramics more formally at Concordia University Montreal, Penland School of Crafts North Carolina, and graduated with a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2017. 

Following that, I had the privilege of receiving a BC Arts Council Early Career Development Grant to pursue a ceramic apprenticeship with the Ngan family on Hornby Island to focus on production throwing and natural mineral testing in clay bodies and for glazes. 

I have since done international artist residencies in Denmark and Berlin. When I returned from Europe most recently, I opened an atelier on Main Street which operated as a Bernard Leach style workshop for two years. We are now transitioning into a private studio that allows for more experimentation and accommodates my painting practice also.

Your work is described as blending tradition with contemporary flair. How do you find the balance between honouring tradition and expressing modernity in your pieces?

Traditional forms are filtered through my hands for a contemporary perspective. Looking to history for inspiration feels more authentic to me than drawing directly from what’s being made now. 

My understanding of ceramics comes from studying Canada’s BC potters who thrived during the 1960s back-to-the-land movement of West Coast ceramics. I adapt traditional processes like raw material sourcing into a contemporary context by collecting clay from urban land cuts like construction sites to re-contextualise historic processes, bringing the site’s historicity and politics of land use into the materiality of the piece.

East Vancouver seems to be a significant influence on your work. How does the local environment inspire your creative process?

I am a Vancouver-born artist. I worked at Stan Rath’s independent art supply shop in East Van for a decade and was offered a storefront in the same heritage triangle building at Main and Kingsway, a hustling block where stop n’ chats drive neighbourly connection. 

My studio operated in that retail space on Main for 2 years and I have recently moved to an industrial studio space in Strathcona. Relationships drive my business. The product creates a personal connection between myself and my community. 

Each mug is a love note. People who know me think of me when they use my work. Clients share and give to friends. There is a growing network of collectors of Kate Metten Ceramics expanding beyond East Vancouver to the global scene.

Kate Metten Ceramics

The Bauhaus design philosophy is evident in your ceramics. What aspects of Bauhaus principles do you find most resonant in your work?

In 2022, I had the extraordinary privilege of residing at the Bauhaus Dessau Campus during a German artist residency facilitated by GlogauAir in Berlin. This immersive experience allowed me to deeply engage with the pioneering philosophies of the Bauhaus design movement, such as honouring functionality, the truth to raw materials, and embracing modernist ideals.

When I was in Berlin, I also worked in dialogue with neuroscientist Radoslaw Martin Chichy to explore new research in brain technology to bridge conversation between Art and Science. Painting is about looking; motifs play with our brain’s sense of pattern recognition, optical illusions. I use a glaze called neodymium that changes colour based on the light source which brings ideas of colour and perception into my ceramic sculpture.

I’m influenced by Eric Kandel’s research on reductionist imagery’s effect on the brain to confront the viewer with the conditioning of their perception and subjectivity.

Could you walk us through your creative process, from conception to the finished piece? Minimalism is a prominent feature in your designs. How do you approach simplicity without sacrificing functionality?

My creative journey begins with sketches in my personal notebook, followed by wedging and weighing the clay to prepare for a throwing session. During daily work hours, I throw production pieces. Music informs my throwing as I embrace the rhythm of the wheel, energised by my favourite playlist, treating each throw as a clay-based workout. With practiced skill, I can shape mugs in under 3 minutes each, always prioritising functionality in design. I like to paint in the evenings and oscillate between working with oils or drawing-based practices to generate abstraction and experimental works.

Your palette of glazes is unique to your creations. Can you share a bit about how you developed your signature glaze palette?

Glaze chemistry fascinates me. I draw inspiration from the vivid hues in my oil paintings, seamlessly bridging between my two practices, painting, and ceramics. I intricately layer glazes, coaxing them to blend into captivating ombre gradients through chemical interaction. My tableware is strongly influenced by minimalist, Modernist approaches to simplistic design, monochrome glazing, and limited decoration emphasising the silhouette of the thrown form. I craft my signature oyster shell crawl glaze with shells collected while beach combing to find a natural source of calcium carbonate, resulting in stunning bead-like formations that mimic the ocean’s tides and unpredictable nature.

Kate Metten Ceramics

What role does movement play in your thrown forms, and how do you preserve it in your finished pieces?

At the wheel, I throw intuitively guided by muscle memory. With a rough concept in mind, I surrender to the natural forces of gravity and physics, allowing the form to evolve organically. Each touch leaves an imprint marking a testament to the synergy between hand and mind working in motion. 

Clay’s indexical nature captures these traces of human contact, transforming vessels into timeless relics that echo through geological epochs long after the maker’s lifespan. Ceramics to me transcend mere objects: the material encapsulates stories, emotions, and deep reverence for the beauty found in imperfections.

Your upcoming exhibition, “Work House,” sounds fascinating. What can attendees expect from this exhibition?

The BC Achievement Foundation, in collaboration with MNP Tower, presented an awe-inspiring ceramic installation gracing the lobby’s towering 45-foot wall. Floating shelves displayed an array of ceramic vessels, adorned in a vibrant palette, adding a splash of colour to the space while the reduction shino glaze pays homage to the sandstone bricks to seamlessly integrate with the environment. 

Complementing this, large optical abstract oil paintings and geometric dot artworks create dynamic visual fields. One standout piece among our collection is a poignant symbol of women’s empowerment—a wall-based pot sculpture that takes the form of a corset, rich with symbolism paying homage to the feminist legacy within ceramics, juxtaposing themes of domesticity within the corporate ethos. Around the corner installed across from the elevators, Kate’s series of grid motif oil paintings, which were made in Berlin, resonate with the architectural design.

Winning the Judson Beaumont Award for Applied Art and Design must have been a significant achievement. How has this recognition impacted your artistic journey?

Beyond personal validation, winning this award offers me a platform—a platform to voice my intentions, share my artistic vision, and advocate for the significance of clay in contemporary art. It allows me to contribute to the dialogue surrounding the medium, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for its potential. 

It opens doors to exciting new opportunities by granting me access to a broader network of fellow artists, mentors, and potential collaborators, providing avenues for growth and inspiration. In essence, the BC Achievement’s Judson Beaumont Award for Applied Art and Design is not just a recognition of my past efforts; it’s a springboard for future endeavours, empowering me to continue pushing boundaries and making meaningful contributions to the world of ceramic art.

How do you balance the artistic aspect of your work with the practicality of creating functional tableware?

I balance my creative pursuits seasonally as the year provides chapters to accomplish various aspects of my practice. There are seasons in the ceramics industry when different aspects of my practice take precedence, for example, Fall is notoriously busy production time leading up to the holidays while I fill wholesale orders and fulfil custom orders for personal gifts. 

Winter follows as a quiet recharge offering spaciousness in my schedule to experiment with painting, sculpture, or personal projects. Usually, in Winter I also like to travel for an artist residency. Wholesale orders wake up again in Spring. Summer is a time for gathering raw materials while the soil is thawed and soft. My kiln schedule dictates and structures most of my working days. While a firing is cooling, I have the freedom for painting and life balancing self-care time.

Could you share any anecdotes or stories behind particular pieces that hold special significance to you?

Receiving the BC Achievement award was an incredible honour, and what followed was truly extraordinary—a special commission from renowned artist Douglas Coupland and curator Sheila Hall to create funerary ware for the late founder of the BC Achievement Foundation, Sam Carter. 

For tens of thousands of years ceramics has evolved anthropologically as vessels of memory and tribute. To imbue these creations with a sense of eternal connection, I devised a glaze using human cremains—a symbolic fusion of art and life, memory, and material. 

Through this innovative technique, each piece became a tangible embodiment of Sam Carter’s legacy, a vessel to hold the essence of a life well-lived and the enduring impact of his contributions to the Canadian design community.

Collaborating with the BC Achievement Foundation must have been exciting. How did this collaboration come about, and what did it entail?

Dr. Carol Mayer, head curator at Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology, nominated me for the Judson Beaumont Award for Applied Art and Design after she visited my atelier for a ceramic exhibition I hosted as part of the Canadian Clay Symposium. 

It was a pleasant surprise to receive the recognition that acknowledges my personal journey with ceramics but also highlights the collective impact of the artistic community in shaping our cultural landscape. I am humbled to be part of a tradition that celebrates creativity, innovation, and the transformative power of the arts. It’s through collaboration and the exchange of ideas that we as artists continue to evolve and push the boundaries of our chosen mediums. I accepted the award with immense gratitude knowing that it comes with a responsibility to continue elevating the art form and fostering connections through my creations.

In what ways do you see your ceramics contributing to the cultural economy of the province?

As a mentor, I pride myself on fostering employment opportunities and providing specialised training within a niche industry. My business’ focus lies in the creation of handmade ceramics, a craft that not only produces exquisite functional art but also serves as the epitome of a locally sourced product. 

By harnessing the rich resources of our province’s soil and other raw materials, we transform natural elements into captivating pieces of everyday utility. These ceramics embody a unique fusion of craftsmanship and locality, as they are lovingly shaped by skilled hands and imbued with the essence of our region’s natural beauty. Through our dedication to this timeless craft, we not only contribute to the local economy but also celebrate the inherent connection between art, community, and the history of our province.

Can you discuss your experience exhibiting at various galleries and venues? How does each exhibition space influence the presentation of your work?

The work transforms contextually depending on the gallery, the restaurant, the dinner party, or the café and shop. I have particularly enjoyed collaborating and exhibiting with Wil Aballe Art Projects (WAAP), for two past solo exhibitions. This upcoming summer, we are planning a 50 person dinner party at his new gallery, Addition, located on the seawall in Vancouver. 

I will create a spectacular table-scape to be plated by a visiting chef. Plating gourmet food is the highest presentation of the tableware and I love working with chefs to create custom dishes.

What advice would you give to aspiring ceramic artists who are just starting their creative journey?

Make time for your practice every day. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually, you will have a body of work.

Are there any artists or designers who have particularly influenced your work? Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Kate Metten Ceramics?

Edith Heath and Lucie Rie are strong influences on my throwing and ceramic design. Personal relationships with my mentors Gailan Ngan and Heather Dahl have impacted my creative journey immensely. 

As I pivot my studio model, I am borrowing some Heath approaches by industrialising my processes like adopting slip casting. Future aspirations include travel abroad for artist residencies to explore personal projects. I am constantly juggling the balance between experimental artistic expression with the demands of commercial production.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

I recently returned from Mexico City for Art Week, which was an exhilarating immersion into the vibrant and colourful metropolis. The city’s streets pulsated with energy, galleries showcased inspiring exhibitions with an eclectic mix of contemporary art and traditional craftsmanship. 

From the awe-inspiring ancient ruins to the intricate beauty of indigenous pottery, the city’s cultural tapestry captivated my senses and fuelled my passion for artistic expression – I can’t wait to go back!

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

Pots live and die in use – Don’t be afraid to take the special ones out of the cupboard!

Where can people follow you and find out more?

Visit my website www.katemetten.com Follow kate_metten on Instagram.

Image credits / photographers : Francesca Albertazzi, Dennis Ha and Kezia Nath

As we conclude this enlightening conversation with Kate Metten, we invite you to explore more inspiring interviews and stories on House of Coco. From visionary artists to innovative entrepreneurs, each feature offers a glimpse into the world of creativity, passion and inspiration.

Meet Qiya Ng, the visionary founder of Kompactfaen, a wedding documentation company like no other. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for capturing the essence of love, Qiya embarked on a mission to redefine the way we perceive wedding photography and videography.

Armed with creativity, empathy, and a penchant for delving deeper into the emotional intricacies of relationships, Qiya and her team at Kompactfaen have been crafting unforgettable moments that transcend the traditional boundaries of wedding documentation.

Join us as we delve into Qiya’s journey, where every click of the camera and frame of the video tells a story of love, authenticity, and the beauty found in the unscripted moments of life’s most cherished celebrations…

kompactfaen

What inspired you to found Kompactfaen, and how does its philosophy differ from traditional wedding documentation companies?

There’s a magic about low-key lighting, about the way it showcases details and highlights emotions. It is probably also the reason why we’ve been obsessed with the cinemas (films), and paintings in the Renaissance and Baroque period, where low-key lighting is often used and emulated. We were wondering why something like wedding documentation doesn’t adopt the use of low-key lighting.

Relationships are something so multifaceted, so complicated, with layers and layers of emotions to unveil. Somehow wedding documentation seems largely focused on just the one aspect of love with joy magnified. Nothing wrong with that as love is a wonderful thing and happiness does come from love, but it felt like something in the narrative of wedding documentation was missing.

We wanted to bridge this gap—making wedding documentation creative, non-conventional, raw, and real at the same time. This is where “delving deeper” came about. With the style of low-key lighting and its ability to represent layers of narratives, we wanted to dive deeper into the more complicated parts of a wedding and of a relationship.

Instead of having your wedding works just showcasing the happy, sometimes staged, part of the day, what if they could also represent the relief, the triumph feeling of being through obstacles before the wedding day, and the mixed feelings one actually feels through the day itself.

What if your wedding works could actually encapsulate your real thoughts and feelings at that time, serving as a time capsule in years to come when you need a reminder of what your choice and your relationship were all about?

What if wedding works are not just an immortalisation of a moment, but a portal to promote understanding in your relationship? With “delving deeper,” the wedding works will not just be a recap but an opened door into something deeper that couples can revisit and relive. Wedding works become timeless and way more personal in that sense—a couple’s thoughts and vibe contribute greatly to the wedding works instead of just standard “typical” wedding photos and videos.

Can you share a memorable moment from a wedding shoot that perfectly encapsulates Kompactfaen’s approach to capturing emotions and connections?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one moment as every couple is different and we genuinely do enjoy every shoot that we have. We love seeing people in love, we love documenting love and honesty. Couples that come to us usually want to dig deeper into their marriages, into their relationships, and their weddings.

So, every shoot gives us different insights into different relationships, and we learn so much from all the couples we’ve shot. One of our personal favorites is the first wedding we shot in Hong Kong. It was held in the high school where the couple first met.

Friends and families flew in from different parts of the world for a reunion, for the celebration of the couple. The day wasn’t packed with events after events, but instead, lots of time for friends and families to mingle, to have conversations, to talk about and with the couple, and to simply be present to bask in the love for the pair. Instead of putting thoughts into how the wedding should look, the bride took note to ensure that everything at the wedding meant something to them; jotter books, flowers they love, name tags, old school photobooths etc.

Even the emcee of the wedding was their receptionist back when they were still in high school. During the wedding reception, speeches were given by many of their friends and families to talk about the struggles they overcame and how everyone loves them as a team. Performances were done not by vendors, but by their friends and families.

With a setup that’s simple but so organic and intimate, there were many tears shed and laughter shared that night. Everyone was comfortable enough to showcase their emotions abundantly and poured out their love to the couple. It was truly a celebration of love from deep within, and we felt like we got to know about years of the couple over the span of a few hours.

It was truly delving deeper into how love is not just about two persons, but the people around them. How love is not just good moments, but struggles, support, and triumphs.

How do you ensure that your team maintains sensitivity and empathy while documenting such intimate moments during weddings?

We have two lovely ladies working with us for years, and it’s been such a wonderful journey with them. Before starting to shoot for us officially, we had many chats with the team on the ethos of the company—we’d never want to interrupt or repeat any moments just because we didn’t capture it.

As much as possible, we’d educate ourselves on the proceedings of the wedding, understand the rationale behind every event plan through meeting with the couple, understanding their emotions and objectives of the wedding, and take it upon ourselves to anticipate the moments to come.

Couples should be focusing on each other, on their guests, and on celebrating their love during their big day, not on voices of the photographer and videographer. Being aligned in this manner within the team and with our clients, it helps us observe more, document more, and be more attentive to the littlest moments. We maintain sensitivity and empathy in this manner.

What role do darker and moodier tones play in your visual storytelling, and how do they enhance the portrayal of emotions in your work?

We can always use light to draw focus to a particular scene within a photo. This gives us a little more creative freedom in trying to highlight emotions and/or details we want people to focus on. Darker and moodier photos leave room for imagination. The use of neutral colors also adds elegance and sets the unspoken mood without overwhelming the audience. Interestingly, we’re hence more reflective when looking at darker and moodier images.

When a scene is slightly darker, we can have a peek at how a couple looks and how they are emoting but it’s not exactly shown directly in your face. This leaves room for interpretation, for us to understand an image via our understanding of the world, and that allows us to connect with the images a little more.

Could you walk us through your creative process when conceptualising and executing a wedding shoot?

It often starts with meeting the client. We’ll try to understand their story, observe their interactions, figure out and expand on their objectives for the pre-wedding and/or wedding shoot. With that, we’d roughly have a visualization of how they’d be during a shoot and/or a wedding day, and we work around that. The process is very personal.

Even though the wedding works are consistent in terms of the shooting and editing style, the content (the photos and videos themselves) are not. We’ll never know what we’re going to get with each couple. This makes every set of wedding work unique—we combine our artistic style with the values of each couple. This hence makes the wedding works at Kompactfaen relatable and unique. Every couple is different and has a unique dynamic, no two persons move the same way.

We sometimes get new ideas and/or poses just simply photographing a couple in their most natural state. The creative process becomes a collaborative effort and we’re glad we’ve been meeting great couples who understand that ethos, and work closely with us to make their wedding ideals come true.

In what ways do you strive to make each wedding documentation sincere, personal, and unique to the couple?

As much as possible, unless we’re doing artistic shots purely for visual purposes, we try our best not to pose couples too much. The entire planning process (mentioned in the previous question) is hence really important. We need to be sensitive in understanding the couple, knowing their boundaries and being in tune with their objectives for the union.

Instead of directing the couple on what to do in a straightforward manner, we’d think of activities that can prompt the couple to interact. From there, capture their interactions, conversations, and chemistry. This way, the photos and videos mean so much more to them as well.

How do you balance capturing authentic moments with respecting the privacy of the couples you work with?

When we do feel like a private moment is needed, we do leave the couple alone after notifying them gently. It’s a constant struggle between the need to stay when a moment is really intimate so that we can capture everything, and letting them really own the moment that they’re having.

However, we realized that photos are nothing without having the experience of really being in that moment—that instance when a couple is alone and exchanging intimate thoughts is what makes the photos from the particular hour precious. After shooting weddings for 6 years, we’ve learned to balance our thoughts and stand in couples’ shoes through the day, feeling what they feel, hence knowing what they need; if it’s us being there, or us being away from them for a bit.

It’s about the sensitivity and being in sync with the couple’s thought processes. This is why we do a lot of inner work and prep work before each shoot—it is important to have our minds be clear, focused, and empathetic during a wedding shoot. It is also important to understand the couple’s objective for their wedding, and have the team be on the same page as that.

Can you share any challenges you’ve faced in conveying emotions through imagery, and how you’ve overcome them?

There are times when a couple isn’t as emotive and/or their love language for each other doesn’t compromise physical touch. It can get tough trying to capture their emotions for each other, or to capture interactions between them. We try to give them some space, and figure out a set of activities for them (based on their personalities) to be engaged in while we step away with the cameras so that they feel a little more at ease, and open up to each other a little bit more through the activities, before we slowly step back in with the cameras.

What advice would you give to couples looking to make their wedding documentation more genuine and meaningful?

Don’t overthink it. Be confident in yourself that you, your partner, and your relationship will have an interesting story to tell. Focus on that, and the celebration of that for your wedding, while you find a photographer and/or videographer who understands that. It’s your wedding for yourself, just once in this lifetime, so don’t focus on how it’d look on camera. Leave the job to us while you focus on yourself, and focus on enjoying the whole wedding process.

How do you incorporate storytelling techniques into your visual work to create a cohesive narrative of a couple’s special day?

As how a film has a plot, characters, setting, highlight and resolution, we try to replicate such elements in our wedding works. While taking photos and videos of the day, we always keep in mind these details that we need so that we don’t just shoot the day like any other event. Instead of just a recap, the wedding works instead piece together to form a narrative of the wedding day.

What trends do you foresee in wedding documentation in the coming years, and how is Kompactfaen adapting to these changes?

To be very honest, we don’t really look at trends that much as the way we document weddings are really personal and focused on the craft. It’s hard to create such intimate works if we were to follow trends so this is quite a difficult question to answer! We do notice more and more wedding photographers exploring low-key lighting so we’re super glad to see that! It’s something we really love.

Could you share an example of a project where you’ve pushed the boundaries of traditional wedding documentation to create something truly unique?

More often than not, wedding shoots are very constricted to the locations they’re being shot at. In a city as small as Singapore, everyone ends up going to the same places. However, we always believed that wedding photos and videos shouldn’t be location-based, but the focus should be on the couple themselves. Location does matter to a certain extent, but it’s not everything.

We hence did shoots in the void decks of public housing in Singapore, and unpopular opinion, we really love it. These are areas that the couple walk past every single day—so many conversations and things happened in that space. It may seem unassuming but, the results of shooting in a void deck always surprises us.

How do you approach client collaboration and ensure that their vision is accurately reflected in the final product?

We’d always have a chat either over coffee or a call to see if we can find a common ground in wedding documentation. It’s important that we’re able to chat, and have a conversation with one another so that it becomes a collaborative effort where the couple is the story while we tell it. We also try to understand their thought processes to see what their values and objectives are—this really helps us in accurately reflecting them in the final product.

What role do technology and digital media play in shaping the perception of wedding documentation, and how do you leverage them to enhance your work?

With the usage of social media, and short-form content, it’s definitely easier for us to reach out to the mass in showcasing our works, and our ethos in wedding documentation. It sometimes also gives us ideas on how we can better our storytelling skills.

Instead of just the old school storytelling techniques, which we still love very much and follow thoroughly, it’s good to explore new ways of representing a day (e.g. with an introduction with a hook) to see how we can better our wedding photos and wedding films.

Can you tell us about a particularly challenging or emotionally charged wedding shoot you’ve experienced, and how it impacted you and your team?

There really isn’t a shoot that was challenging per se. The thorough pre-planning gives us a good foundation to anticipate things on the day of, and to maneuver around any possible difficulties. Personally, I’m a very emotional person and I often tear up and/or cry when I see someone being emotional, whether I know them personally or not. It’s hard to keep still while shooting a video, or capturing a moment, while trying to wipe tears off my face.

It’s also slightly embarrassing as guests will see me being all emotional (as I’m standing up and they’re seated down) while trying to be professional and pull a straight face while working. However, this does help me in remembering the moments that I felt the most, and pull these images and/or footages out when I’m editing after the wedding.

How do you maintain authenticity and avoid clichés in your storytelling, especially in an industry saturated with traditional tropes?

Personally, I don’t really look at the works of others or Pinterest. Instead, I visit museums, watch a lot of films and try to draw inspiration from everything else that’s not related to photography and wedding.

What motivates you and your team to continue pushing the boundaries of wedding documentation despite the challenges you may face?

As creatives, it’s always satisfying to know that you’ve created something, and not copied something. Though the process of coming up with new things is difficult, and to be very fair, it takes time for people to accept and to get used to something that’s different.

The process is often tedious with a result that’s seemingly unsatisfying at first. Not everything we create is going to be popular during the first try either. But when you see a new work taking off, that satisfaction is really something we love. When couples come to us, telling how the works are still great after years of looking at them, sometimes even telling us how looking at their wedding works resolved certain problems in their marriage as they remembered a moment and/or a conversation during the shoot, it keeps us going because we know that the work we do matter, and is timeless.

How do you ensure diversity and inclusivity in your portrayal of weddings and couples in your work?

We don’t say no to anyone, unless what they’re looking for in wedding documentation is completely different from how we see and do wedding shoots. To us, love has no boundaries, love is genderless and love is simply, a choice of commitment.

Love is just love.

With this belief, we celebrate every couple as they are and we celebrate love with them. It is evident in the things we post and write on our website and our social media platforms. Couples come to us hoping to get their emotions immortalized and their stories told, we hence have shoots for couple of all kinds and we’re so blessed to have lived through so many love stories as their photographer and/or videographer.

Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

We’re currently doing a brand refresh, after 6 years! This is to better communicate our ethos to new couples who’ve found us, and also to change the idea that couple shoots can only be done with the event of a wedding. We hope to better communicate the love lessons we’ve learned from each couple we shot, and spread more love to everyone around through our digital presence. We’re really excited about that!

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

It’s hard to name one country as there are just so many places to travel to. But I’d definitely love to visit the Middle Eastern countries, and even do shoots there if possible. I’m lucky enough to be pretty well traveled, but that’s a part of the world that I’ve not visited.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

They can find us via @kompactfaen on most social platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Also, you can view more of our works at http://www.kompactfaen.com/.

Finally, what do you hope couples take away from their experience with Kompactfaen, beyond just the photographs and videos?

We hope that they find out more about themselves and their relationship through the entire process with us, and always remember how their photos and videos are representation of their promise to each other in their own ways. For us, we always learn new life and love lessons from each of the couple we shoot, and from their friends and families whom we’d meet during the wedding day.

We bask so much in the best parts of humanity during our work and it’s something we truly value. Thus, “delving deeper” became the guiding light of the company—we want to explore more about love, and have couples understand each other’s’ thoughts better through doing shoots with us. We hope each couple end their shoots with us feeling more in love with one another than before the shoot.

As Qiya continues to push the boundaries of wedding documentation, her dedication to authenticity and meaningful storytelling remains unwavering and you can follow her via her personal Instagram too. Through Kompactfaen, she has not only captured countless love stories but has also touched the hearts of couples around the world, leaving a lasting impact that extends far beyond the lens.

If Qiya’s story has inspired you to seek out more tales of passion, creativity, and innovation, look no further than House of Coco. Explore our magazine to discover a treasure trove of inspiring stories from visionary individuals like Qiya, who are reshaping industries and leaving their mark on the world.

Introducing Vanessa Murnane, the brilliant mind behind Amorcito Jewellery. Vanessa’s journey is one of passion, creativity and unwavering dedication to her craft. As the sole designer of Amorcito, she brings to life a stunning array of demi-fine and fine jewellery that defies convention and celebrates individuality.

Since founding Amorcito over a decade ago, Vanessa has stayed true to her vision of creating pieces that are playful, exceptional in quality and distinctly unique. Her background as a certified gold and silversmith infuses her work with a level of craftsmanship that is unparalleled.

The name ‘Amorcito,’ translating to ‘little love,’ perfectly captures the essence of Vanessa’s creations, each piece a manifestation of her own ‘amorcitos.’ With inspiration drawn from the beauty of women, nature and diverse cultures worldwide, Amorcito jewellery reflects a profound appreciation for the world’s wonders.

Vanessa’s commitment to ethical sourcing and responsible practices further underscores the integrity of the brand. Through partnerships with organisations such as The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund and Greenspark, Amorcito is not only a purveyor of stunning jewellery but also a champion of environmental conservation and community empowerment.

In this chat, we celebrate Vanessa’s unwavering dedication to empowering women to embrace their beauty, share their essenc, and discover many little loves along their journey.

Join us in admiring the artistry and vision of Vanessa Murnane and the beautiful world of Amorcito Jewellery…

Reflecting on your journey with Amorcito over the past decade, can you share a pivotal moment that defined your approach to jewellery design and business philosophy?

Absolutely! Earlier on, I tried catering to every fleeting trend, shaping my jewellery to other people’s tastes. So my pieces were technically well-made but lacked soul. By doing this, I essentially robbed myself of my creative edge and authenticity, which ended up feeling quite sad and depressing.

I finally woke up and realised that if I did not love and believe in my designs, I couldn’t feel proud of my work and there was no point to any of it. So yeah, I went back to my truth and created only what spoke to me and brought a smile to my face. That was a turning point that gave my brand the identity it was in desperate need of and eventually aided in the business’s growth.

As a certified gold and silversmith, what draws you to the hands-on process of crafting each piece personally? How does this hands-on approach contribute to the uniqueness of Amorcito’s designs?

Well if you ever have the opportunity to melt metal with a torch, you will understand the obsession that comes along with jewellery making. It’s all fun when you’re beading and wire wrapping. The creativity is cute and safe. But then you start working with materials that are next to impossible to mould to your whims and that’s when the real fun starts.

It’s a powerful feeling in knowing that you can manipulate something so non-interesting into something really beautiful. Each creation is always going to be unique because the creator has their very own style and way of doing things. There is never just one way to get to that end design. I think that is what makes my pieces unique. Because I am always the first person to sketch, solder, polish, set the stones and make any necessary tweaks to the designs. They all contain 100% my personality on a good day or bad.

Amorcito is translated to ‘little love.’ How do you infuse love and happiness into each piece you design, and how does this philosophy resonate with your customers?

Every piece I create has such meticulous attention to detail because I personally would never wear uncomfortable accessories, so I wouldn’t design them either. If the design does not cater to all the little but important details, it just doesn’t make the cut. I find that all of the care put into my line speaks to the idea that with a little love, we can all be something truly incredible. It’s all love at Amorcito.

Nature plays a significant role in your designs. Could you share a specific instance where a natural landscape served as direct inspiration for a particular collection, and how you translated that inspiration into your designs?

Yes, of course! My favourite landscape inspiration has been my milkweed flowers in my backyard. I have become curiously obsessed with the raising of monarch butterflies. And because the butterflies lay their eggs onto this flower, I get to spend most of my spring in awe of them. They are everywhere around my shop. You can see throughout many of my designs, I incorporate this flower. It has even inspired all versions of the Amorcito logo. Butterflies mean a lot to me and I use them as inspiration in many aspects of my personal and business life. They are a symbol of change and resilience. That says it all.

Amorcito pays tribute to diverse places and cultures worldwide. How do you navigate the fine line between cultural appreciation and appropriation in your designs, and what steps do you take to ensure authenticity and respect?

I can only design what I understand and that means that everything tends to come from my own life experiences. Sometimes those experiences come through travel and seeing and experiencing other cultures which means the fine line between appreciation and appropriation is always lurking nearby. I just have to trust that my respect for people and places I don’t understand will keep me honest, aware, and far from that area of ignorance.

Amorcito Jewellery

Your commitment to ethically sourcing materials aligns with a growing trend in the industry. Can you elaborate on the challenges you’ve faced and the importance of maintaining this commitment in the competitive world of jewellery design?

Sometimes it feels like there are so many areas within my business that could use more improvement and attention especially when it comes to ethically sourcing materials. You have the actual product material and all of the components to create the finished piece. You have the tools to make the piece and the conditions under which it is made. You have the packaging and shipping efforts.

There is so much you can control and so much you cannot. For me, this process has been a huge learning opportunity. It takes a lot of thought and commitment but when you pay attention to the little details and areas of which you can implement ethical practices, it forces growth and that always equals success in the long run. The jewellery world is competitive but mostly in the department of honesty. There are so many corners that can be cut. If you don’t cut corners, it always pays off. You win that way.

The partnership with The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund and Greenspark reflects your dedication to environmental causes.

How do these partnerships align with Amorcito’s broader mission, and what impact do you hope to achieve through these collaborations?

Just the fact that every Amorcito purchase helps plant a tree and rescue plastic from the ocean is enough for me to feel as if I have already accomplished what my conscience required. I have always loved jewellery and making it is so fun and fulfilling but I wanted there to be a really good reason for it all.

Now I have that and working with these charities has given me that sense of accomplishment and I hope to continue to be impactful in positive ways for the environment and be an example and inspiration for my young daughter. I hope to establish my own charitable events when I gain a bit more free time. I have ideas like ocean cleanups, highway adoptions, fundraising, milkweed planting parties… the list goes on. It’s going to be fun.

In your opinion, how does jewellery empower women to move with confidence, own their beauty, and share their essence? Can you share a customer story that exemplifies the transformative power of Amorcito jewellery?

In my opinion, most times, it is not the actual design, style, brand, or overall look of the jewellery piece that inspires confidence. It’s the sentiment behind it. And if that jewellery has a purpose and that purpose is philanthropic, I think that can make any person feel confident in their beauty because it’s inside where their true beauty lies. And even if that belief lies deep below the surface, every woman recognises this to some extent.

The challenge is accepting this belief as truth. I also think that jewellery often represents a phase in someone’s life. Or it could be a memory or a person too. I think if you are treating your Amorcito jewellery the way it was made to be treated, (as if it will be passed down through generations), then the jewellery will always contain the capacity to make a woman feel confident and special because she knows she is wearing something that tells her she is seen and heard and loved. Those feelings can inspire confidence in anyone.

Your designs often incorporate indigenous stones and materials. How do you ensure fair and respectful collaboration with local suppliers, and how does this contribute to the authenticity of Amorcito’s creations?

I do have a lot of trust and comfort in knowing that the suppliers I work with are all part of the same family network. This family sometimes feels like my own when we check in with each other. There is a real sense of understanding and trust between us and there is never a hesitation when they are asked to provide any type of materials, namely certificates and test results pertaining to the integrity of their business practices.

I did work with another company for a moment while I needed a backup supplier and I quickly became aware of how desperate people can become when trying to make a living. It was sad and quite heartbreaking when I got down to the root of it all but even though I felt empathy towards the situation, I didn’t want to be a part of the perpetuation of the problem. I admire and appreciate the honesty and fairness my suppliers have always provided me with and my customers benefit in knowing that their purchase aids in creating change for the better. It’s small but it’s something.

Amorcito has been a woman and Latina-owned company since its launch in 2012. How has being a woman and Latina shaped your entrepreneurial journey, and what advice do you have for other aspiring women in the industry?

Well, it’s certainly inspired confidence in myself. My mother is very artistic as well and even though she does not own and admit her artistic talent, I know that it exists and I know that my own talent comes from and was inspired by her. She is from Panama. She moved to the states very young and between all the obstacles of raising a family and trying to learn another language, she did not take much time to teach us much about her life growing up and what being a Latina meant to her or even what it should mean to my siblings and me.

Her roots were all very ambiguous to me but somehow I felt this power from having a Latina background and being Latina myself. When I chose to name the business Amorcito, it opened me up to an entire network of Latina women and the feeling that came from this felt like finally coming home. The Latin culture has all of the really good stuff that speaks to my soul and there is this really intense dedication to cheering each other on when they find their path and feel a sense of success or accomplishment.

Not having much of a foundation and network of support built up for myself to grow a business was really scary but I found a lot of safety and security in all of the countless stories of Latina women working their way to the top and taking charge of their lives. I always say that everything is mental. You can’t control where and how your story begins but you can control where you story goes. So I would tell this to any aspiring woman in the industry. If you want it. Well…take it.

Looking back, is there a particular piece from your collections that holds a special place in your heart? What makes it so memorable for you?

Yes. The first ring I ever made was a simple wire letter ring that spelled the word “love”. I made 100’s of these while trying to perfect my skill and this ring was actually the catalyst that pushed me into starting this business. I made too many! I needed to get rid of them! So every time I see someone wearing that ring I get a little emo.

Amorcito’s tagline is “Find many little loves – your amorcitos along your journey.” Can you share a personal story of a ‘little love’ you’ve discovered along your own journey, either in business or in life?

Oh man, can I?! Don’t get me started. I mean from the friends that dedicated their time to helping me grow my business here in California to little old ladies across the ocean taking me on treks to discover the best materials, this business has taken me to places and placed me in front of people that I never knew would be such a big part of my journey.

They are all my Amorcitos. But my original Amorcito was found in the comfort of my home base, San Diego, California. That was my husband. He is and always will be the original Amorcito. I have to say, one of my favourite Amorcito discoveries was a little, not-so-little sweetheart named Amber. She was an elephant in Thailand. I still plan to go back and visit her at the rescue mission she resides in one day.

It may sound funny but connecting with all sentient beings in this human experience is what I define as the meaning of finding your many Amorcitos. There are so many places to see and feel love. It’s all love at Amorcito and there can be nothing else. That’s my motto.

As a founder, how do you balance staying true to your initial vision for Amorcito while also embracing evolution and growth?

Never questioning my intuition. I have begun to look at this type of questioning as almost something sinful and to be ashamed of. Your gift of intuition is always there and it can never be disregarded. That is the constitution I live by and that is how I stay true to my vision.

Your commitment to community is evident in encouraging customers to join the Fun-girl community. How has community engagement influenced the direction and evolution of Amorcito?

Well, this will definitely sound a bit inflated but I just follow my instincts. The voice in my head is always asking “Would I wear this?” If the answer is “no”, it’s probably not substantial, heavy, quality enough and the design is possibly too cheesy for me to get on board with. My style is really all about something very nice quality but not boring so the balance in my designs usually happens pretty effortlessly. I could be wrong but it’s all very subjective in the end, isn’t it?

How do you see the intersection of fashion and jewellery evolving in the coming years, and how does Amorcito plan to stay at the forefront of these changes?

Hmm. Well, I don’t really have a clue. Honestly. It seems to go so fast these days with social media. The lifetime of a trend or style direction is short so I just plan to ride whatever wave comes and be a little more flexible when doing so. Sometimes I don’t want to get on the ride and that’s okay but when it is something that speaks to me or it’s a direction I feel a need to influence or even possibly light the path for, I’ll be there for it.

Your designs are described as “boldly unique.” How do you encourage individuality and self-expression through your jewellery, and what role do customer stories play in shaping the brand narrative?

Listen, when I see a girl walking up to me with some big floral Amorcito earrings styled with a messy bun, no makeup and a bright lip shade or something else just as brave, you’d better believe that whole look will be influencing my choices and the direction of the next season’s creations, the look of our models, the entire brand’s aesthetic eventually.

I think it has always been and will be this way. Amorcito isn’t one type of woman. Our customer base varies so much that I am always surprised by what type of woman I see wearing Amorcito next and I am always very pleased and inspired. Even if I try to niche out the brand and just market to a very specific demographic, it does not work. Women of every age like to feel youthful and fun and full of life. Amorcito is just that.

Can you share a behind-the-scenes moment in the workshop that epitomises the creative process at Amorcito?

Of course. It’s always all about the friends and family in and out of the workshop. I remember when I had just begun working with a major retailer and had a lot of success on our new campaign. I had so many orders to fulfil. Our team pulled it all off and as we were getting ready to make our drops at the shipping office, my daughter (2.5 years old at the time), wandered in and started pulling packages out of their organised bins and ripping them open, putting them in the wrong bins and even taking a few pieces out of their packaging. She put one customer’s ring on and ran out the door laughing.

This is real life at Amorcito. It’s usually cute and calm with zen music playing in the background in the pink office but out of nowhere, a storm hits and everyone is clamouring to keep up. It’s always hilarious and we always pull off little miracles. I love it.

As a business owner and designer, what has been the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned along the way, and how did it shape your perspective on entrepreneurship?

That failures are constantly happening. They are never-ending and you are confronted with them on a daily basis. You have to get used to this and learn to never take anything personal. It’s usually a lot of small losses and really big wins that balance everything out. And you have to celebrate every win because if you don’t, you will always be working towards something nonexistent and that is the trap. There is never an end, there is only the present.

Looking ahead, what excites you the most about the future of Amorcito, and what goals do you hope to achieve in the next chapter of your journey?

Meeting people. Traveling. Learning new skills and insider trick and tips. It’s all such a fun and interesting journey. I hope to achieve contentment and full gratitude in my next chapter. For a long time, I put myself down because I didn’t believe that I was enough or my company was enough. That was all just a construct I made up to keep myself safe from judgment and negativity. My skin is so much thicker now and I welcome all of the support along with all of the criticism and disbelief in my work. I can’t wait to just keep rolling with the punches.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Hmm. Well, I guess that even on days where I do not feel like being the “fun girl”, I still pull it together and try to find the humour in most situations. I think it is this sense of “whateverness” that feels safe and helps to create a community bond. Especially between women. Women just love having fun. It’s undeniable. Sometimes you need a little push in that direction and that is what I have tried to influence with my platform.

When lacking motivation, what’s your go-to quote?

One thing at a time. Not everything needs attention.

Where can people follow you to find out more about Amorcito Jewellery?

You can always head to the site for extra information on our cause and to see the entire line – www.amorcito.us and of course, Instagram for all current happenings and sneak peeks of new releases – @amorcito_jewelry.

Vanessa’s story is just one of many inspiring journeys featured on House of Coco. Dive into our collection of interviews to uncover more captivating stories of creativity, passion, and empowerment. Visit our website today and discover the extraordinary individuals shaping the world around us.

Introducing the whimsical world of ceramics through the talented hands of Emily-Kriste Wilcox.

Join us on a journey as we dive into the vibrant and enchanting realm of pottery, where each piece tells a story of nature’s beauty and artistic passion.

From coastal hues to garden greens, Emily’s creations are more than just ceramics—they’re a celebration of creativity and the joy of bringing the outdoors inside.

Get ready to be inspired and delighted by Emily’s playful and imaginative approach to clay, as we explore her story…

What initially drew you to the world of ceramics, and how did your journey from Bath Spa University to establishing your own studio in Birmingham unfold? 

I was first introduced to ceramics at school, through projects that incorporated both painting and ceramic outcomes. A degree course quickly followed, where I specialised in 3D Design: Ceramics. It was here that my independent thought and drawing developments were encouraged, and I was introduced to a wide variety of techniques in both construction and surface treatment.

A move to Birmingham after graduating led me to seek ways to incorporate these skills into a career. I eventually found a small space in the city to start, and although I have since moved premises, I remain working in the area.

Your collections, such as “Coastal & Lake” and “Garden & Bloom,” evoke strong connections to nature. Can you share some insights into how the natural world influences your creative process? 

Yes, this is something that has evolved over the years and is now an ongoing theme across all of my collections. Every group of work is hand-built here in my Birmingham studio with a large emphasis on bringing elements of the outside world into your homes.

It began with Coastal & Lake, where I focused on soft blues and greys reminiscent of the ever-changing skies and seas. This collection has grown to include both paintings and pots. From deep navy blue tones to pale, subtle blue-whites, I find so much variation within this limited colour palette.

Once this direction was clarified, the other collections quickly fell into place. Categories were defined, and titles chosen to provide not only a concise description of the items within but also an additional soft rhythm when read or spoken.

Your vessels are celebrated for their painterly qualities. Could you elaborate on how you translate the essence of landscapes onto clay and the techniques you employ to achieve this? 

When developing the ‘essence’ of each collection, I spend time studying the corresponding aspects of the landscape through drawing, painting, documenting walks, and taking photographs of my surrounding environment.

Back at the studio, I refer to these notes as needed. I’ve found that brushes with soft bristles work best to achieve the finish I desire. Additionally, the use of transparent glaze enhances the decorating slips applied underneath.

Your work often reflects a sense of place. Can you discuss specific locations or landscapes that have profoundly inspired your creations? 

Places such as The Lake District or areas of Cornwall that I regularly visit provide a great sense of space. The expanse of sky and sea when looking outward on a coastal path walk can be very refreshing. However, there are also areas within Birmingham and its surrounding regions that can have just as much impact. Hedgerows, woodlands, park planting, or my own fondness for gardening, for example, are equally informative to me.

How do you balance individuality within each piece while ensuring they harmonise when grouped together, as seen in your collections? 

Each of the four collections I currently make hold many overlapping characteristics, enabling them to be easily mixed and matched. Some vessels are built taller, others wider, but each deliberately remains consistent in both construction process and overall aesthetic style.

I feel this continuity in my approach helps when displaying items together, whether for a gallery, exhibition or individual client.

Can you walk us through your creative process, from conceptualisation to the finished product? How much does each piece evolve during this journey? 

Each shape I design usually serves a specific purpose, whether shallow enough for a mantelpiece or tall enough to hold a few stems from the garden. Often, one piece’s development leads to another, slowly evolving the collection over time. Keeping a balance of how the painterly surface relates to the constructed form remains an essential part of my practice.

Your accolades include “Ceramics Studio of the Year 2022” and “Best Artisanal Interior Décor Products 2019.” What do these recognitions mean to you and your craft? 

These accolades provide validation within the industry, acknowledging the interest in my work and the level of skill involved. They also offer a platform to reach a wider audience, but ultimately, it’s the customers who choose to incorporate my pieces into their homes that keep my business thriving.

Could you share some insights into the significance of the V&A tea caddies in informing your exploration of form and mark-making? 

The oval form of the tea caddy I’ve selected creates a gentle curve from the flat panels, with slender elegance reminiscent of Neo-Classical architectural design. This shape has influenced the oval vessels I create, where the story or view travels around the panels with a flow of movement. Using repeated shapes and controlled edging has become a feature, acting as a frame for the painterly section.

How do you approach the balance between tradition and innovation in ceramics, especially considering your emphasis on hand-building techniques? 

Traditional hand-building techniques form the basis of my practice, giving me an understanding of shape, profile, and balance. Striving for craftsmanship is important, as is protecting and celebrating handmade processes. However, I also keep an eye on trends and customer behaviours, incorporating contemporary influences into my work.

As a selected professional member of the Craft Potters Association and a full member of the Gloucestershire Guild, how do these affiliations impact your work and professional growth? 

Being a member provides opportunities to exhibit and sell work, as well as access to a support network of fellow makers. This helps me maintain high standards and continue developing my practice, while also reaching wider audiences through group exhibitions.

In what ways do you see your work evolving in the future, both in terms of technique and thematic exploration? 

My work is always evolving, with new shapes and variations constantly in development. While I can’t discuss specific yet, I’m excited to continue pushing boundaries within my signature style.

Can you share some memorable moments or milestones in your career that have shaped your artistic identity and trajectory? 

2025 will mark the 20th year of “Painting in Clay” for me, a significant milestone that I’m planning to celebrate.

What advice would you give to aspiring ceramicists looking to establish themselves in the industry? 

Practice is essential, as it helps you develop your own style and understanding of the material. Keep experimenting and pushing boundaries within your work.

Keep experimenting and pushing boundaries within your work, remembering to maintain a personal authentic direction.

How do you stay creatively inspired and motivated, especially during challenging times or creative blocks? 

I maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude, focusing on finding ways to make progress even when faced with obstacles. Movement, whether that’s in the physical sense or in terms of moving a project on to the next stage – it’s all progress.

Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list? 

Venice is on my list for its architectural beauty, but I also enjoy returning to cities like Paris, Amsterdam, or Copenhagen for their rich cultural experiences.

What’s your go-to quote when you’re lacking motivation? 

Right then, let’s get on with it’.  Continue to move forward as any progress, however small, is still progress.  And it’s important to remember you are not where you were yesterday

Lastly, what message or feeling do you hope viewers take away from experiencing your ceramic pieces? 

I aim to create pieces that bring elements of the outside world into the home, whether through coastal colours or a focus on greenery. I hope viewers appreciate the aesthetic function of my work and find joy in incorporating it into their living spaces.

Where can people follow you and find out more? 

You can find more about my work on my website www.emily-kriste.co.uk and on Instagram @emilykriste.

Feeling inspired by Emily-Kriste Wilcox’s magical journey? Dive deeper into a world of creativity and adventure with House of Coco magazine. Discover more inspiring stories, travel tales, and lifestyle tips that will ignite your imagination and fuel your passion for exploration.

Meet Jazmin Meneer, the visionary founder behind Slow Living Studio, where the art of pottery meets the philosophy of mindfulness.

Her journey is one of passion, dedication, and a deep-rooted commitment to infusing tranquility into everyday life. With each piece crafted by her hands, Jazmin weaves together the essence of slow living, drawing inspiration from the serene landscapes of North Cornwall and the simple joys of daily rituals.

Join us as we delve into her inspiring story, exploring how she transforms clay into vessels of peace and mindfulness, enriching lives one pottery piece at a time…

How did the idea for Slow Living Studio come about, and what inspired you to start a business that focuses on mindful living through pottery?

Slow Living Studio started quite organically, I fell in love with pottery my first moment on the potter’s wheel, with a ball of clay in my hands, and my mind was instantly quiet. I loved this wholesome addition that seemed so in balance with the other aspects of my life. When it came to selling my pottery and turning my new passion into a business it made sense to me to make pieces that give that same sense of mindfulness that pottery gives me. Slow living is what I wanted to invoke in my work.

Can you share a specific moment or experience that solidified your commitment to the slow living philosophy and influenced your creative direction in pottery?

I suffered from anxiety for years until I started committing to daily meditation, exercise and time in nature. I quit coffee. I completely stopped drinking alcohol, gifting myself every slow Sunday. I added yoga and sound baths to my week. But even with that, at the beginning of last year I still found myself completely burnt out from my job. Every other aspect of my life was aligned to me except my career. Leaving my job and starting my pottery business was my solidifying moment. To truly be intentional in all parts of my life, making my morning routines non-negotiable and prioritising my peace. Now I’m working a job I love, where I get to add slow moments to other people’s lives.

Slow Living Studio is based in North Cornwall. How does the local environment influence your creative process and the essence of your pieces?

The colours and textures I see everyday here definitely inspire my work. I’ve always been drawn to earthy, muted tones. From the rugged coastline to moorland, or serene waters on pebble beaches. The inspiration here seems endless.

Your pottery draws inspiration from small, daily rituals and simple pleasures. Can you elaborate on how these elements manifest in your work and contribute to the overall ethos of Slow Living Studio?

I started pottery as a business to be able to live a balanced, peaceful life. It made sense that my work also reflected my reasons for creating the business in the first place. And that begins with the small moments like daily rituals. For me, every day starts with lit incense and a matcha tea or latté – so I started with matcha bowls, cups and incense burners, then moved to other sized mugs for the coffee and tea drinkers. Then I started making vases that are minimalist, with muted tones. I feel like our homes and the interiors of our homes are so important for creating that sense of calm, and I want my work to contribute to that in some small way.

What challenges did you face when establishing Slow Living Studio, and how did you overcome them while staying true to your vision?

The biggest challenge was choosing to take the financial risk in the first place. The equipment alone is very expensive and I knew to make my vision work I needed to go all in with it. Which meant leaving a stable income. But I truly believed that it would work, as long as I stayed true to myself and my vision, and that I was always authentic. I think all business owners have to have a strong belief in themselves and their vision and not have limitations on what it can grow into.

Can you share a memorable story or customer feedback that exemplifies the impact your pottery has had on someone’s life or perspective?

For me it’s seeing people’s videos and photos they share online. How they implement it into their routines, or how it’s been styled inside their home. It becomes this full circle moment for me, where I enjoyed the mindfulness in the creation of their piece and now they are mindful in how it’s used. It’s these little moments where I know I’m adding small elements of joy into people’s daily lives and routines. That’s pretty fulfilling for me.

Slow Living Studio places importance on embracing the present moment. How do you stay present and connected to your craft during the various stages of pottery creation?

My studio has become my sanctuary. It’s a shepherd’s hut, in the Cornish countryside, overlooking fields with horses in. When I’m working it’s like I’m existing in my own little world, with just the sound of nature outside. I set myself up in the morning by lighting my log burner, lighting an incense stick, making a tea and putting on some calming music or a podcast. My phone is set on silent for the day. This gets me out of my head and into the present moment. And then the pottery itself – whether it’s throwing pots, trimming or glazing – it’s such a mindful process in itself that you can’t help but be present and there in the moment.

What role does sustainability play in the production and ethos of Slow Living Studio, and how do you ensure that your pottery aligns with environmentally conscious practices?

An amazing part of pottery is knowing that you’re making something that’s come from the ground, essentially earth, and it can be endlessly recycled. So if you mess a piece up, it just gets recycled and then you try again. Even finished pots that break can be made into mosaics, or you can use the art of kitsingu to repair a pot, or you can even grind them up to add to future glazes. I’m also always researching different environmentally friendly packaging options, and ways to source clays and glazes more locally to me.

Can you share a specific piece from your collection that holds a special meaning for you and embodies the essence of slow living? What inspired its creation?

My matcha bowls. When I first started taking pottery lessons, it was what I wanted to make. Matcha had been a part of my morning routine for some time, and I wanted to add a handmade bowl to that ritual for added intention. When I decided I wanted to start selling pottery, I worked on the matcha bowls for months, trying out different sizes, shapes, glazes… Trying out each one until I got the feeling I was after. It’s also what I use in my daily life – it gets used everyday.

As a creative entrepreneur, what advice do you have for individuals seeking to integrate slow living principles into their own businesses or creative endeavours?

So much can be gained from slowing down. Even if it’s just a short, ten-minute meditation every morning or having your coffee without the distractions of phones or the internet. It’s in these quiet moments that the mind is clear and I find from that you can gather focus for your day ahead. All my best ideas have come to me during my meditation practice. I believe that it’s from those moments of stillness and reflection that we grow creatively.

In what ways do you continue to learn and grow as an artist and business owner, and how does this continuous evolution influence the direction of Slow Living Studio?

Everyday I’m learning, in both business, as an artist, and as a human. With pottery, mistakes or accidents are made constantly. To be a potter you need to be ok with failure, and that’s such a learning lesson for life. As they say, we are never starting again from scratch but from experience. If you take lessons from every failure and constantly question yourself, that is growth. I’m also a big reader and I love podcasts. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there and I try to either read or listen to one podcast every day on a topic that I can grow from, whether that’s a podcast from an inspiring, successful business woman, or a book about mindfulness written by a monk…

Your pottery is known for its unique and personal touch. How do you maintain authenticity in your craft while meeting the demands of a growing business?

I avoid following trends. I want my work to be timeless and for it to have meaning. I’m constantly questioning as to whether my work is still authentic to my message and to the meaning behind my work. I use muted, natural tones as I believe they have a sense of grounding and calmness about them. It may mean that it doesn’t stand out or follow particular trends, but I’d rather work within that longer process, and discover people who really connect to what I’m selling. I feel like that’s a more authentic way to work, hopefully fomenting a business with longevity.

Slow Living Studio’s creations often evoke a sense of tranquility and mindfulness. Can you share any specific techniques or rituals you use to infuse these qualities into your work?

When creating a new piece, the space in which it will sit and how it might be used is always in the forefront of my mind. I have a mood board in my studio with photos of interiors – very minimalist, calming spaces. I always look at that and think, “does this piece belong there?”, “How is it going to add to someone’s daily life and rituals?”, “What feeling do I get from it?”.

As a founder and artist, how do you balance the business aspects of Slow Living Studio with the creative aspects, ensuring that both flourish harmoniously in alignment with the slow living ethos?

I’m intuitive with when I create – when I’m feeling inspired, I get in the studio and start making or sketching out new ideas. Days where I’m not in a creative mindset, I’ll focus on the marketing side of the business, the admin, ordering and packing. I try to give both sides equal time and energy. The creative process is important, but the business side is what’s going to get those pieces sold. It’s also about knowing when it’s time to rest and slow down and being in tune with my mind and body to keep that balance.

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

Evolve or repeat. I love this quote. It’s a reminder that every day is an opportunity for growth, and that life will continue the same unless we do something about it.

What destination is at the top of your bucket list?

I love to travel and there aren’t many places that aren’t on my bucket list. But right now Nepal is there at the top. I’m going there this October, it’ll be the perfect chance to slow down before the busy Christmas period. I’m planning a lot of hiking, visiting temples and yoga. It’s been a dream of mine to see Mount Everest, so I’m hoping to do a scenic flight so that I can see it up close.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

You can find me on instagram @slowlivingstudio, or visit slowlivingstudio.co.uk

If you’re hungry for more stories of passion and resilience, be sure to explore House of Coco for a treasure trove of interviews with inspiring individuals like Jazmin. From entrepreneurs to artists, each interview offers a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of human experiences and the boundless potential of the human spirit.

So, why not delve deeper into the world of Slow Living Studio and discover the transformative power of mindful living?

Step into the world of fashion innovation with Maximilian Rupp, the dynamic founder of Hacoy. In this lively interview, get ready to dive deep into Rupp’s journey from the captivating realms of business psychology to the vibrant landscape of fashion brand management.

With a dash of charisma and a sprinkle of entrepreneurial flair, Rupp shares his exhilarating adventures, weaving tales of inspiration, resilience, and sustainable fashion practices.

Join us as we uncover the secrets behind Hacoy’s unique vision and discover how Rupp is shaking up the fashion industry, one stylish stride at a time!

What inspired your transition from business psychology to fashion brand management, and how did this shift influence your approach to entrepreneurship?

It’s not merely a transition, as business psychology remains integral to fashion brand management. This connection manifests in various aspects, such as understanding the psychology behind consumer behaviour, influencing purchasing decisions, and adopting effective leadership styles.

My inspiration stemmed from recognising fashion as a form of communication. A vibrant shirt can serve as an icebreaker, a leather jacket instills confidence, and a hoodie provides comfort. I sought to delve deeper into the multifaceted world of fashion, understanding its nuances beyond mere clothing. This shift significantly impacted me, emphasising the importance of immersing oneself in an industry to truly comprehend its essence. Had I not pursued studies in fashion brand management, I might have ventured into creating just another fast-fashion brand. This realisation underscores my commitment to thoroughly educate myself in any industry before venturing into entrepreneurship.

As a founder, how do you navigate challenges and setbacks while staying true to your brand’s values and vision?

Maintaining a positive mindset is arguably my greatest asset. I endeavour to find the silver lining in every situation and adhere to the adage, “es kommt alles zurück im Leben,” meaning “everything comes back in life.” I’ve consistently witnessed the reciprocity of goodwill—doing good often yields positive outcomes, albeit not necessarily in expected ways.

Could you share a pivotal childhood moment that you believe shaped your entrepreneurial spirit and drive?

At the tender age of six, I inaugurated my first “restaurant” within the confines of my bedroom, with my mother serving as my sole patron, humorously purchasing overpriced tap water. Her unwavering support from an early age instilled in me the belief that I could pursue any endeavour with her backing. Growing up in such a supportive environment fortified my confidence, fostering a belief in my ability to achieve anything I set my mind to.

How does your brand prioritise the well-being of both people and the planet throughout the entire lifecycle of your products?

Prioritising People’s Well-being:

Ensuring fair treatment of everyone involved in our clothing production process, including fair wages and appropriate working conditions. Utilising natural fabrics like linen, providing clients with non-allergenic materials that are gentle on the skin. Prioritising the Planet’s Well-being:

Implementing a circular approach through our Circular Orbit program, which encompasses renting, repairing, upcycling, and repurchasing clothing items, thereby extending their lifespan. Emphasising the use of natural resources to minimize the environmental impact of our production processes.

Reflecting on your journey from Zurich to Florence and founding your brand, what lessons have you learned about resilience and risk-taking?

Self-reliance became evident early on—I realised that success necessitated my personal efforts rather than relying solely on external support. Stepping out of my comfort zone, exemplified by relocating to a new city for a different field of study, underscored the importance of embracing discomfort for growth. Additionally, understanding that relationships, whether personal or professional, are transient taught me the significance of resilience in the face of loss.

Can you share a recent example of how your brand has positively impacted the lives of your customers or community?

Recently, a group of students reached out to interview me for a school project comparing fast and slow fashion. Our engaging discussion provided them with valuable insights, which they incorporated into a podcast for their project. Witnessing their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about sustainable fashion reaffirmed the positive influence our brand exerts on shaping a more conscientious fashion industry.

As you strive towards becoming a 100% sustainable brand, what specific initiatives or innovations are you most excited about implementing in the near future?

Implementing a Traceable Supply Chain to enhance transparency and accountability regarding our materials and environmental impact. Continuing to source natural resources and repurpose leftover fabric stock from other brands for our clothing pieces. Enhancing our Circular Orbit program to further promote a circular economy within the fashion industry.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs passionate about starting their own ethical and sustainable fashion brands?

Seek feedback for your ideas but remain steadfast in pursuing your vision. Rather than reinventing the wheel, strive to refine existing concepts. Consider forming a team to leverage collective strengths and expertise.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future of your brand, and how do you envision it making a lasting positive impact on the fashion industry and beyond?

I aspire for consumers to recognize the true value of ethically produced clothing and choose our brand as a beacon of inspiration in combating fast fashion. Additionally, I aim to forge partnerships with sustainable hotels globally to amplify our vision. By encouraging individuals to adopt mindful consumer behaviors and supporting circular economies, such as our Circular Orbit program, I envision creating a lasting, transformative impact.

Can you discuss the importance of work-life balance within your company culture and its contribution to your team’s success?

We prioritize granting our team autonomy and trust, believing that these foster a positive work-life balance. If a team member feels disinclined to work for any reason, we respect their autonomy without question. Our flexible approach, coupled with our commitment to challenging the fast-paced fashion industry, cultivates a happier, more fulfilled team.

Could you share insights into your approach to eco-friendly shipping and its role in reducing the fashion industry’s carbon footprint?

We proudly partner with DHL’s GoGreen program, which offers carbon-neutral shipping options to minimise environmental impact. By investing in climate protection projects globally, this initiative offsets emissions associated with transportation. This aligns with our broader sustainability strategy, from sourcing eco-friendly materials to implementing energy-efficient practices. By prioritising eco-friendly shipping, we take significant strides toward reducing the fashion industry’s carbon footprint, paving the way for a greener future.

Where can people follow you and learn more about your brand?

You can connect with me on LinkedIn: Maximilian Rupp’s LinkedIn profile

Follow our brand on Instagram: Hacoy Brand’s Instagram

Lastly, our readers love to travel. What destination tops your bucket list?

Morocco with my partner, Anne-Sophie. I yearn for its picturesque landscapes, vibrant architecture, and the opportunity to immerse myself in warm waters.

Feeling inspired by Maximilian Rupp’s journey? Dive into more captivating stories and discover a world of inspiration on House of Coco magazine. Whether you’re passionate about fashion, travel, or entrepreneurship, you’ll find a wealth of uplifting narratives to ignite your imagination and fuel your dreams.

Paola Amador, a Mexican fashion designer with an unwavering passion for creativity and entrepreneurship, embodies the essence of empowerment and self-assurance in the world of fashion.

Her journey began with a profound realisation: “As a woman, I know that many of us don’t have the perfect body, but we can find the perfect swimwear.”

Inspired by the vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes of her native Mexico, Paola embarked on a journey fuelled by her love for design and adventure. Despite facing challenges in her pursuit of employment after completing her studies in Fashion Design, Paola refused to be discouraged.

Instead, she embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and took charge of her destiny. Through her distinctive style and relentless determination, Paola made a significant impact in the fashion industry, resonating with individuals who shared her passion for wanderlust and unique fashion.

Her brand, Paola Amador Swimwear, became synonymous with elegance, versatility, and inclusivity, offering women of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to feel confident and beautiful. Paola’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that with passion, creativity, and resilience, we have the power to turn our dreams into reality and leave an everlasting mark on the world…

What initially drew you to the world of fashion design, and how did your background in Guadalajara influence your creative vision?

I’ve always been drawn to creating my own pieces. It was frustrating to go shopping and not find what I wanted. So, I began working with a seamstress when I was around 12 years old. I designed my first beautiful dress, perfect for my age, and from there, it became addictive. I continued designing dresses and tops for myself.

When I turned 19, I moved to Guadalajara to study fashion. After completing my studies, I struggled to find work and couldn’t find the clothes I wanted. This necessity led me to create my own brand. Initially, I focused on dresses and tops, but I saw potential in the swimsuit market. In Mexico, there weren’t many swimwear brands, so I recognized an opportunity for growth in my country and also in England.

Can you share a pivotal moment in your entrepreneurial journey that solidified your decision to pursue your own swimwear brand?

The pivotal moment came when I uploaded pictures of my first swimsuit designs on Facebook. The response was overwhelming; many girls wanted to connect with me, and my inbox was flooded with messages. Even though the initial photos weren’t professional—just mannequins against a white background—the interest was immense. This experience highlighted the power of social media, especially in today’s era where it’s crucial for brand growth.

How do you infuse elements of both London and Guadalajara into your designs, and what challenges or advantages does this duality present?

I strive to create a versatile brand with a wide range of designs, knowing that everyone is different. London and Guadalajara offer unique inspirations. London, being a diverse city, exposes me to various styles and preferences. Guadalajara, on the other hand, influences my designs with its vibrant colors and rich cultural heritage.

However, adapting to the preferences of different beaches worldwide presents challenges. For instance, while thongs may be popular in Portugal, they might not be preferred in Mexico. Hence, I offer customisation options, including colour variations, to cater to diverse preferences.

Your brand celebrates wanderlust and travel. Can you tell us about a specific destination that has profoundly inspired one of your collections?

San Carlos, my hometown beach, holds a special place in my heart. Growing up there, I have countless fond memories that inspire my collections. I’ve dedicated three collections to this beautiful beach nestled in the desert. With its golden sands and breathtaking sunsets, San Carlos continues to influence my designs profoundly.

In a competitive industry like fashion, how do you maintain the authenticity and uniqueness of your brand while also staying relevant to changing trends?

I focus on creating timeless designs that transcend seasonal trends. By designing pieces that remain stylish regardless of the season, I ensure the authenticity and uniqueness of my brand. Additionally, staying connected with my customers and understanding their evolving preferences helps me adapt while maintaining my brand’s identity.

What role does sustainability play in your brand’s ethos, particularly in sourcing materials and manufacturing processes?

We prioritise sustainability as a core value. Our brand follows a slow fashion approach, with handmade processes and made-to-order options to minimise fabric waste. We also offer eco-friendly textile choices and ensure fair wages for our manufacturing partners. While we currently manufacture in our home country, we aim to expand to Portugal in the future to further enhance our sustainability efforts.

As someone who started selling designs on social media platforms, what advice do you have for aspiring designers looking to leverage digital platforms for their businesses?

Don’t limit yourself to one country; leverage the power of social media to connect with a global audience. While the journey may be challenging, it’s not impossible. Consistency and perseverance are key. Additionally, engage with your audience, listen to their feedback, and continuously refine your brand image to stay relevant.

How do you balance the creative aspects of design with the practical considerations of running a successful business?

Balancing creativity with business practicalities can be challenging, but my passion for my work keeps me motivated. I wear many hats, not just as a designer but also as a mother, marketer, and entrepreneur. Despite the demands, I find inspiration in every aspect of my life, driving me to maintain this delicate balance.

Can you walk us through your creative process, from initial inspiration to the final product hitting the runway or store shelves?

For me, inspiration often strikes during travel, especially when I’m by the beach. Each collection begins with a burst of creativity, usually during flights or moments of relaxation. Once I have a concept in mind, I start sketching and refining designs.

From there, it’s a collaborative process involving pattern-making, fabric selection, and meticulous craftsmanship. Finally, the collection is unveiled, whether on the runway or in-store, ready to be embraced by our customers.

What aspirations do you have for the future of Paola Amador Swimwear, both in terms of design innovation and business growth?

My dream is to expand beyond swimwear and establish a haute couture brand. I envision Paola Amador Swimwear becoming a global phenomenon, representing diversity, inclusivity, and quality craftsmanship. I’m committed to pushing boundaries in design innovation while maintaining sustainable practices.

How do you stay inspired and motivated amidst the challenges and pressures of entrepreneurship?

I focus on the positive aspects of my journey and draw inspiration from my family, especially my children. Their presence reminds me of the importance of perseverance and resilience. Additionally, staying busy and engaged with different aspects of my business keeps me motivated and driven to overcome challenges.

What is one lesson you’ve learned along your journey that you wish you knew when you first started your brand?

Believe in yourself and your vision. While external opinions may offer insights, ultimately, trust your instincts and stay true to your creative vision. Don’t let doubt or criticism deter you from pursuing your dreams.

Your swimwear brand caters to customers of all colours, sizes, and styles. How do inclusivity and diversity factor into your design philosophy?

Inclusivity and diversity are at the core of our design philosophy. We strive to create designs that cater to all body types and styles, ensuring that every woman feels confident and beautiful in our swimwear. By offering a wide range of sizes and styles, we celebrate the uniqueness of every individual and promote body positivity.

Can you share a particularly memorable interaction with a customer that reaffirmed the impact of your brand on their lives?

Many customers have shared their stories of empowerment and confidence after wearing our swimwear. One memorable interaction was with a mother who expressed gratitude for our designs that allowed her to comfortably conceal her post-Caesarean scars. Such interactions reaffirm the impact of our brand on women’s lives, motivating us to continue creating inclusive and empowering designs.

How do you see the future of fashion evolving, and what role do you hope Paola Amador Swimwear will play in shaping that future?

I envision the future of fashion becoming increasingly inclusive and sustainable. Paola Amador Swimwear aims to lead by example, inspiring other brands to embrace diversity and prioritise sustainability. We strive to be a beacon of change, promoting inclusivity, diversity, and ethical practices within the fashion industry.

Beyond swimwear, are there any other avenues or industries you envision expanding into in the future?

I’m passionate about digital marketing and AI and see great potential in these fields. While swimwear remains our primary focus, I’m open to exploring opportunities in these industries to further expand our brand’s reach and influence.

As a founder based in both London and Guadalajara, how do you navigate the cultural differences and business landscapes of both locations?

Navigating cultural differences and business landscapes in both London and Guadalajara requires adaptability and perseverance. While I’m well-acquainted with the business landscape in Guadalajara, establishing myself in London has been a learning process. I’ve had to invest time in research, language learning, and networking to build a presence in a new environment. Despite the challenges, the diversity and opportunities in both locations enrich my journey as an entrepreneur.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those looking to break into the fashion industry?

Consistency, patience, and belief in your vision are key to success in the fashion industry. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance and support from mentors or peers. Stay true to your unique voice and values, and never underestimate the power of hard work and determination.

How do you cultivate a sense of community and connection among your customers, both online and in-store?

While we don’t have a physical store currently, we prioritise building connections with our customers through digital channels. We engage with our audience through social media, responding to inquiries, sharing behind-the-scenes content, and celebrating our customers’ stories. Additionally, we offer personalised sizing consultations and ensure a seamless online shopping experience to foster a sense of community and connection with our brand.

If you could collaborate with any other designer or brand, who would it be, and what kind of collection would you create together?

My dream collaboration would be with Balmain and designer Olivier Rousteing. I admire his bold and luxurious aesthetic, and I believe a collaboration between our brands would result in a stunning collection that merges his high-fashion sensibilities with our swimwear expertise.

What’s your go-to quote when lacking motivation?

“My kids are my motivation. I always try to have plans with the family.”

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Japan is at the top of my bucket list. However, I also highly recommend exploring the beautiful beaches of Mexico, as we have some of the best in the world.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

You can follow us on Instagram @paolaamadorswimwear, find us on Facebook at Paola Amador Swimwear, and visit our website www.paolaamador.com for more information and updates.

As we conclude this inspiring interview with Paola Amador, we are reminded of the transformative power of passion and perseverance. Paola’s journey from a young fashion enthusiast to a successful entrepreneur is a testament to the limitless possibilities that await those who dare to dream and take action. Her story encapsulates the spirit of empowerment and self-belief, inspiring us to embrace our uniqueness and pursue our aspirations with unwavering determination.

At House of Coco magazine, we are committed to sharing stories of remarkable individuals like Paola who are shaping the world with their creativity and resilience. We invite you to explore more inspiring features and discover the extraordinary journeys of entrepreneurs, artists, and innovators from around the globe. Join us as we celebrate the diversity and ingenuity that make our world a vibrant and exciting place.

Visit House of Coco magazine today and embark on a journey of inspiration and discovery. Because behind every great story lies the potential to ignite our passions and ignite our dreams.