Always having a passion for oriental design, Diane Hill launched her interiors brand in 2016. After working as a senior designer at Fromental Wallpapers, where she created unique, bespoke designs for a prestigious client base including high-end interior designers such as Helen Green Design, Candy & Candy, Wynn Casinos, as well as celebrities including Lady Gaga, Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few, Diane now creates her own decorative wall designs.
Here we talk to Diane Hill about her journey in more detail, her challenges, lessons learnt and the mission she has for her brand.
What has been your journey so far that led you to designing and creating your own products and Diane Hill brand?
During my textiles degree course at Manchester I fell in love with wallpaper, and began painting my own designs. There was a strong emphasis on still life painting, particularly of flowers and plants. I was desperate to work in a design studio, if the companies philosophy was hand-made, I applied! I particularly fell in love with the Chinoiserie wallpapers made by Fromental, although at the time I knew nothing about Chinoiserie, the scenic designs really caught my attention.
I managed to wangle a work placement for a week, and thought ‘I need more of this in my life, I am not letting this one go!’ I tried my best to keep in touch with the design director, and even sent her a hand-painted personalised cushion. Soon after that I was offered a job! I became their senior designer, travelled globally, was trained to paint in China and worked in some of the worlds most exquisite establishments. After a beautiful six year career unfortunately things didn’t work out.
This was largely due to having had my second child, but I also feel I had achieved all I could at Fromental. I had often been asked by clients why I couldn’t just come and paint the designs straight on the wall, this led me to begin creating my own hand-painted murals with a strong emphasis on Oriental style art and Chinoiserie.
What is your mission with Diane Hill?
My mission is to create beautiful interior paintings that turn heads, to offer a high end luxury service and to turn my clients ideas into specially tailored unique designs. I offer a very personal service from start to finish. I love to spend time with my clients really understanding what it is they want, I allow them to become part of the design process and this is key to creating something wonderfully unique. I am also not confined to walls, if something can be painted – I will paint it!
What has been your biggest business challenge so far?
Honestly, It has been juggling a family and the business! I started this business when my second baby was 12 months old, I also have another 8 year old daughter. Starting up the business meant we did not yet have the income to allow for childcare, so my husband and I had to work out ways of allowing me to attend meetings or projects on site. Even now that I have childcare, it is still sometimes hugely challenging to orchestrate the kids drop off and pick up times, plus the clubs and play dates!
How did you overcome the fear of failure and any insecurities you had?
Great question! It was a tonne of will power and constantly reminding myself that I knew I would succeed, there was never a chance I would give up on this. I knew that my work was good enough and I have the drive, determination and willingness to succeed. For the first six months things were so hard, I had very little business but every day I continued to paint relentlessly for my Instagram feed, slowly growing a following that eventually led to real business.
What would you say to anyone who is thinking about setting up a business in the interior design industry?
Whatever goals you set yourself, never give up on them. Determination will get you where you want to be. Use Instagram wisely – it can be one of your greatest tools to allowing you to connect with a huge audience globally. Form strong relationships with people in the industry, keep in good contact and you will soon find that those relationships lead to more opportunities.
Interview by: Athina Bluff
Diane Hill website: dianehill.co.uk
This article was first published in ESTILA Vol3/2017.
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