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The Art Deco house of dreams

If there’s one overriding feature I noticed about Eltham Palace, it’s that you can feel the parties in the walls. Not just because of the whole Dry January nonsense currently being observed in this house or because English Heritage has set Champagne and glasses on one of the sideboards to fix the mood of a soiree and designed an audio tour to make you feel like a guest. The feeling is just strongly present.

The famous building earned its reputation as a party pad in the 1930s under its socialite and philanthropic owners Stephen and Virginia Courtauld who, when not travelling the world, had politicians, stars and royals over in their 100s at a time (450 not uncommon apparently). Virginia also kept a pet Lemur here called Jongy who she bought from Harrods. You get the picture.

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In the first of our new series: Meet The Makers, we celebrate women makers inspired by botanicals. From gardeners, textile artists to writers and embroiders, today we talk fashion, inspirations and designers with Magali Elali, writer and stylist of Greenterior.
AA: We love COFFEEKLATCH – how did you get the idea to start the project?
I first collaborated with my partner and photographer Bart Kiggen when I was working as a Fashion Editor for an online magazine. Together, we did a series on the graduates of the Royal Fashion Academy in Antwerp, where we interviewed them in their ateliers. We really liked the idea and working in duo, we decided to translate the formula and shape it into something of our own. That’s where the idea of an informal chitchat over coffee, the concept for Coffeeklatch came from.

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A lovingly restored home in Johannesburg

i began following Chloe O’Doherty sometime last year, in the midst of those early all-consuming baby days – when i found myself stalking as many mothers as I could on Instagram. it was a way for me to silently connect with women going through the same thing as i was, trying to figure out life with a new baby while balancing whatever else is thrown at you.

Chloe’s daughter Ava is a few months older than Axel, and they moved into their newly renovated home in Johannesburg’s Parktown North just before she was born. we also moved into our own old house right before Axel’s birth, so i found myself connecting to Chloe in more ways than one. i got a few glimpses into their place through her various Instagram Stories, and eventually reached out to ask if she’d care to share their home on the blog.

i would usually take these kind of home tour photos myself, but being that i’m 1400km away in Cape Town proved a bit of an obstacle. luckily for me, and you, Chloe is a photographer. she and her husband Patrick run KISS KISS, specialising in family, birth, newborn & pregnancy photography. their motto is ‘real is more interesting than perfect’, which i think applies pretty perfectly to their home, too.

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Do you know we have never paid to place an advert? In the beginning, it was simply because we didn’t have the funds; every spare penny went on products (it still does). These days consumers actually want to be stimulated and choose for themselves what they want to buy into. So, lucky for us, everything has changed. You can totally have a marketing strategy with very little budget nowadays.
Here are my top tips to marketing on a shoestring:

Create a blog with passionate, quality content that reinforces your brand, your mission and your values.

Create an Instagram account and upload photos and videos that again, personify your brand.

Have a Twitter feed and also update daily, with competitions, giveaways and new products.

Honestly, the tips above will help you start building a community and therefore build your business. It’s hard work, but if you really want to make a difference you need to stand out with consistent engagement and community building activities.

Creating oodles of regular content showcasing your brand will build awareness and followers. I happen to believe when it comes to content you are writing or doing something worth talking about. It doesn’t matter how much money you fling at something, no one will give a damn. That all comes back to passion and obsession.

I’ll leave you with this point – please don’t be put off – building a brand takes years and years of consistency. You won’t instantly gain a community, hit the big time or take record sales, you need to work hard and social channels are great free tools to spread your wings – it certainly has helped ours.

Main image above is from the lovely @kinfolk magazine.

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Whitechapel’s The New Road Residence – peaceful colours and pantry-styling

Apparently Craft Week has been a thing since 2015 but this is the first year I’ve gone to things at it. I say things, I have been to one thing and then raced home again to write this blog post. The New Road Residence is a Georgian guesthouse and former linen-drapers house that has been around for – maybe a year? It belongs to Redchurch street fashion boutique Hostem and I have visited it online more than once to drink in its Spitalfields-style rooms and gorgeous murky colour palette. It’s actually in Whitechapel just off Commercial Road, a road that instantly took me back to New York’s Lower East side circa 15 years ago when I spent hours roaming its unlikely urban/suburban streets looking for some hot concept store of the moment, hidden between eclectic corner shops.

This week The New Road Residence is open in honour of Craft Week and it’s worth making the effort to go.