The question I get asked the most is NOT about tricky interior design problems or the latest trends – but how did I become an interior stylist for tv and magazines? Thought it would be helpful to share my rather chaotic career path here. If you’re thinking about becoming an Interior Stylists then think of this as a rough guide on how to become one too.
Shall we start right at the very beginning – waaaaaay back in the 1990s.
After finishing my degree in English and Politics, I did a journalism MA in Leeds. This course included doing work experience and so contacted all the magazines that I loved reading (most don’t exist any more) and I got a two week placement at a fashion magazine. Although I was mostly clearing out the cupboard and opening the post, I was hooked. Six months later – and a lot more work experience under my belt – I landed my first job at Period Living magazine as their office junior.
As part of my job (apart from making the tea), I assisted freelance stylists and I love it so much – all the luscious fabrics and thrilling props. This was way before the days of the internet, so everything we did was by phone or fax. It was really old school – we had to call everyone to to arrange to pick up props – and I met some great friends that way from chatting to all the PR`s and little shop owners.
Below is a cover shoot I did for Period Living many years later
That First Big Break
One day, I cornered the style editor on Elle magazine in the office lift and BEGGED her to give me a chance – and she gave me my first break (thank you Susan Ward-Davies!) to look after the interior shopping pages for her. I used to do my normal job and then in my lunch hour, run down three flights of stairs, and help her put together the interior’s pages. I was living and breathing home style at this time as I was working for a traditional interior one by day and a contemporary interiors one by night.
Joining an interiors magazine
After 3 years hard work, I joined House Beautiful (my fav interior title ever) in their style team. This is where I really fine tuned my style skills. I got to shoot my first cover, I’d be styling two large decorating stories each month. This is where I discovered that styling is about 95% organising, and 5% actual styling.
Below is a shot from my days at House Beautiful magazine
What interior styling job acutally involves
On a shoot, I’m the one who is responsible for calling in all the props, getting them to the location. As well as booking the location, photographers and set builders, as well as organising lunch and making sure all the props are carefully looked after.
A career that will take you around the world
After five very happy years, I took the leap to go freelance – and I’ve not looked back – shooting out in Cape Town, Sydney and New York. I’ve shot covers for Country Homes Magazines and my makeovers and style shoots appear in at least two magazines a month. I’m now asked to shoot for high street clients like The White Company, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Tescos…They find me through my on-line portfolio website which you can see here.
The best parts of my job
Another big part of my job is finding beautiful homes to appear as magazine features. This has to be THE BEST PART OF MY JOB. I get to snoop in the house of real people who I find through Twitter, Facebook or through friends of friends. I have met so many interesting people and have travelled all over the country in my tiny car with a bunch of flowers and an iron in the boot of my car.
This is a shoot I did for Country Homes + Interiors
Moving into TV styling
Then about six years ago, I started working as a interiors stylist for a TV company in Brighton. That took off – and I have been the stylist for all of the Change Rooms team (remember them!) as well as for characters like Louie Spencer for This Morning (who wanted me to style his home).
I’ve worked for Amanda Lamb’s Selling Houses, CowBoy Builders and for a brand new show with George Clarke for Channel 4 just this month. I’ve done makeovers for deserving families renovating their bedrooms, gardens and living rooms – and I’ve been on screen too – a bit sweaty as I have been up since the small hours set up the rooms ready for the cameras to roll.
Launching an interiors blog
The latest project I have taken on has been WeLoveHome. For years, friends and family have suggested that I started a blog to share all my style knowledge. Not being the best speller, I’ve not had the confidence, until I thought, sod it – it’s only spelling! So I launched this blog. It has expanding my career – now I do videos for my clients for their social media which I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing! As well as styling lots of mini projects just for me which I can share on here. It’s given me a lot more freedom to take on projects that are more ‘me’.
If you want to know more about me – click here for my about page.
The best career ever
It’s all be very random. Some of it has been luck. Mostly a lot of hard work. I’ve done some crazy things as part of my job – from spray painting vintage furniture until 1am, to trying to track down Christmas Trees in the middle of the August.
That’s the short story. I’ve had a lot of great times working as an Interior Stylist. It has hard hard work. The long + short of it, my tips on how to be an Interior Stylist – you have to be very resourceful – and a great networker. Tones of work experience – don’t forget that. Don’t expect to be paid sadly for quiet a while. You have to have good people and put people at ease (especially if you are photographing their home). I’ve learned how to take a good photo and what makes a great shoot just from practicing.
How you can become an interior Stylist
If you want more tips on what skills you need to be an interior stylist – then you have a long at my blog post on it here on How to Become an Interior Stylist. And I have done a little vlog here on what a Stylist needs in her kit to take on a shoot.
Yes, that’s me ironing a rug for a shoot!
Want to break into interior styling? Read on.
If you want to read more about my career, see my styling work, and pick up tips for your home -then you need to take a look at these post which will help you:
Become an interior stylist
Behind the scenes on my style shoots
If you fancy trying your hand at interior styling have a look at?
These posts are great for reading with a cup of coffee