So I know Louise from the healthcare communications world and she is a fabulous communications director. I've always admired her drive to be innovative, try new things and modernise the way we work. I was even more impressed when I discovered she is running her own side hustle, Considered Living, sourcing glorious vintage homewares to liven up interiors. This is right up my street so couldn't resist asking Louise to feature in the blog.
Considered Living - Louise Thompson, Owner
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Considered Living is an independent business offering handpicked vintage homewares and thoughtful interior styling, designed to bring your home to life. We help everyone create a meaningful backdrop for their life at home.
The homewares range focuses on lovingly sourced vintage goods from France and the UK.
What inspired you to set up your business?
I love France and I love interior design, having studied it a few years back. And now I'm thrilled that I get to bring my twin passions together in business.
On our regular holidays to various parts of France, I have always been really inspired by the lifestyle and the aesthetic. For example, the washed out pastels of the Ile de Re, the vintage shutters on every house and the well worn ceramics that form part of the fabric of every meal. I got addicted to exploring vintage stores, and local "brocantes", basically vintage pop-up sales of household items that happen every spring and summer in every community and every pocket of France.
It got to the point where I was bringing more stuff home than I could handle in my house! So I began thinking about how I could share these wonderful finds with others that may appreciate them too. And sourcing, photographing and curating these goods was also a wonderful stress relief from my busy full-time job in Corporate Communications.
Finally, it was a business idea that felt authentic to me. My father sells vintage goods (of a completely different type) and I genuinely have many of my products in my own home. I'm also known among my family as a real Francophile. Authenticity is a guiding value for me.
What gave you the final nudge/ push to go for it?
I changed jobs during both 2018 and 2019, having moved from a fixed term contract to a permanent role, and my daughter started school too. So I was looking for something that could help ground me amid all this change and give me an opportunity to do something for myself, outside of all the chaos!
Most working mothers will tell you that self-care is usually the last thing on the list, and even though running a small business is busy, it helps me find that elusive state of "flow", which is when you feel connected to and immersed in what you are doing. This is self-care to me, as it feels joyous to invest in yourself and to build something of your own that is authentic and meaningful.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
It's a cliched answer, but time is what I struggle with most. What I love about my business is that all the goods I sell (at the moment) are personally sourced form my travels to France, and they are all unique. But that means a lot of work behind the scenes to get each piece ready to list in the site and on Instagram. I've found though that finding pockets of time is the way to go (you can read more about this in Emma Gannon's excellent book, "The Multi-Hyphen Method"), rather than getting frustrated that I can't spend an entire day or weekend on something.
The other challenge, linked to time, is visibility. It can be hard to stand out on platforms like Instagram as a small brand, and my plan this year is to carve out more of those pockets of time to do more marketing and perhaps even start selling at vintage events, so I can continue to build my audience and scale the business.
Describe your greatest success/ the thing you are most proud of.
I was super proud to sell my first piece! It was a beautiful Moroccan style serving bowl from France. Any business owner will tell you there is nothing like making your first sale or securing your first contract. I also gain a lot of satisfaction from having overseas clients - knowing my small business can reach people in Thailand or the United States feels huge to me.
I'm hoping to do more interior design consultations this year, so I can help others bring that authentic aesthetic to their home.
What motivates you to keep forging ahead with your business?
I love what I do, so that's my motivation. And I will never get tired of exploring France to source more products - to me, it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There's nothing like the thrill of finding that perfect piece and then someone buying it for their home. It gives me so much pleasure to think that other people get joy out of what I find for them. That's really special.
Thank you so much to Louise for sharing her story with us here at Cat's Pajamas. We always feel inspired hearing about the journeys of others.
If you would like to find out more about Considered Living you can visit:
Facebook - @ConsideredLiving
Instagram - @Considered_Living