Abigail Ahern http://www.abigailahern.org Blog Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:03:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Crossing the pond with my Design School http://www.abigailahern.org/design/crossing-pond-design-school/ http://www.abigailahern.org/design/crossing-pond-design-school/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:03:17 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8422 Abigail Ahern

I'm taking my ultimate one day design class Stateside to LA and NYC!

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Abigail Ahern

I am hugely excited to announce I will be taking my highly acclaimed Design School to America early next year with classes in LA and NYC. Yeehaw! I’ll be crossing back and forth quite a bit as I’ve just been signed to a very cool agency (more on that another day). We’ve been a little ( actually a lot) blown away by our stats Stateside, especially since Gwyneth wrote such kind words so it seems like the perfect time to launch the school. The classes take place at the end of February and spaces are I hate to say extremely limited.  The early part of the year is a bit of whirlwind for me with the Paris launch of our own label, my book launch and trips to the Far East, booked and scheduled in, so they are for one day only!

This is the ultimate one-day class for anybody who wants to decorate a little differently, not to be gimmicky on trend or weird but because when you think out of the box and push a few boundaries you’ll get to create spaces that will make jaws hit floors. Simple as that! So I’ll be sharing all the tricks I use, along with my insider knowledge of where to source the coolest stuff, decorating secrets and so much more.

Cannot wait, click here to book

designschoolslide

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5 simple tricks http://www.abigailahern.org/design/5-simple-tricks/ http://www.abigailahern.org/design/5-simple-tricks/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 04:58:53 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8413 Abigail Ahern

5 tricks that's all it takes to turn a room around

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Abigail Ahern

I don’t know about you guys but I want my living areas to feel extremely lux. Sophisticated and glam but also relaxed, which isn’t the easiest look to pull off. So in my pad you’ll find incredibly deep seated velvet/mohair sofas, little marble occasional tables, baskets of wood and lots and lots of little table lamps from posh ones (mouth blown glass) to flea market finds for a few bucks. I’m calling this look “lux relaxed modernity” and here are all the elements you’ll need to pull it off.

A subtle palette

Weird me saying that now, but seriously these days I am less about bright pops of colour and more about things pinging out at you through their texture. Think rough, think shiny, think opulent that kind of thing. I still use the odd isolated colour pop but they are so much more restrained these days. I’m not saying you have to colour match everything, I’m merely saying the more restricted you are with the palette the more sophisticated your pad will feel – simple as that! Plus it’s easier to mix when you’re only dealing with a couple of colours.

Oodles of black

I know I know, I’m forever banging on about black and I’m at it again, but this time I’m praising black accents. Plop something black into a room and it will lend your pad an air of sophistication that literally no other colour can do. I’m talking pieces of furniture, objects, artwork – anything really.

Laid back elements

Add them in abundance. All the things that evoke relaxed living so think baskets of logs, sheepskins on chairs, softly woven cushions, slubby rugs. These elements allow my room (and me!) to relax.

Country-esque flowers

All our flowers look like they’ve just been picked from a meadow. Fat headed blooms that are inspired by the Dutch masters are what Gem and I gravitate towards, so once you plonk a vase of meadowy flowers on a mantle or side table you’ll immediately give it a laid back vibe. Game changer!

Add a sense of fantasy

I do this by super-sizing things but you could also do it be using some tantalising hues, surreal artwork, anything. Anything highly decorative for that matter so think chandeliers, sculpted urns, mirrors, tiered sconces. These will all do the trick nicely!

It’s the combo that is so magical for me. A bit of glitz and glam partnered with some more relaxed elements will give you a space that you come skipping home too. I know that I do!

5

 

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Clear the diary our online retail class has just gone live! http://www.abigailahern.org/biz-column/clear-diary-online-retail-class-just-gone-live/ http://www.abigailahern.org/biz-column/clear-diary-online-retail-class-just-gone-live/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:43:25 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8371 Abigail Ahern

The ultimate retail online class for anyone wishing to launch a biz or make the one they have way more successful!

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Abigail Ahern

It’s clear the diary time!  We’ve just launched the ultimate Online Retail Masterclass for anyone thinking of launching a business or wanting to make their existing business even more successful! Inspiring, insightful and realistic this is a course for anyone who wants to push their business further or start one from scratch.

Myself and Graham will be sharing all our unique knowledge and insight into how to create a successful retail business and brand giving you guys the opportunity to learn about  both our principles and practices that has propelled our biz so successfully around the globe. From the coolest trade shows to buy from, to merchandising, PR and finance this is the ultimate course for anyone who is looking to change career and start a new one or push their business further.

My store has been heralded as one of the coolest in the country and with a product range that is sold by retailers around the world our brand has received global acclaim. From this one store I’ve written 2 books ( a third on its way) produced an extensive own label collection, lectured around the world and fronted a prime time TV series. This course gives you the tools to take your business where ever you would like it to go..  In a nutshell I’ve bundled up all the knowledge we’ve gained from things we’ve done right to things we’ve done wrong and demystified retail giving you the tools to run a super successful biz.

As I mentioned earlier places are limited so do book early if interested.  The course starts on the 27th October and runs for three weeks but you don’t have to undertake it in that time at all.

Look forward to having you guys on board x

retailslide

 

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How to get cosy for Fall + BIG NEWS http://www.abigailahern.org/news/news/ http://www.abigailahern.org/news/news/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:11:02 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8359 Abigail Ahern

News on our latest online classes + how to get cosy outside for Autumn.

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Abigail Ahern

Today we are launching our first ever ONLINE Retail Class, which now means no matter where you reside in the world you can take the class in the comfort of your own home. Due to the amazing amount of emails generated through my Biz Columns we’ve decided to turn the class, should you not be able to get to the one in London, into one that is not only interactive, but it lists everything we have done right and done wrong that has gotten our business where it is today. From the coolest places to buy from, to how to how to get your biz in the press.  It’s basically the ultimate course for anyone thinking of launching a business or wanting to make their existing one even more successful – whether that happens to be bricks and mortar or online.

The downside is places are limited,  as we want to be able to answer emails or questions should anyone have so in order not to be swamped we are limiting the spaces. More details on of all that this afternoon once the course goes live.

Let’s talk outdoors. We are having an amazing Indian summer here in London. Warm days, slightly chilly evenings I am loving it.  Yesterday we pottered around the garden, picked quince, watered the plants, made a dish in the slow cooker, a super relaxing day. I happen to think just because summer is nearing its end doesn’t mean we have to close the doors to outside for 6 months.  I use mine year round, in fact nothing better than a chilly eve wrapped up in a throw sitting by our outdoor fire, in my opinion that is. G and the 2 M’s will disagree with you but there you go. I thought I would talk a little about how to autumn-fy your outdoor space. Now I’m not going to bang on about rethinking outdoor lighting because I have been waxing lyrical about that forever and its the biggest trick for turning them around. Here are my other top tips for making your outdoor space an area that you can use right up until the deepest, darkest days of winter.

Add fire

You might not have an outside fireplace like moi but how about a fire pit. Think toasted marshmallows, jacket spuds – nice!

Go autumnal with plants vegetables

Nothing shouts fall like boxwood, pumpkins and squashes to me. I’ve replaced all the summer herbs in pots with wintery more robust ones like rosemary and thyme so nothing looks bare. I’ve added squashes to the outdoor kitchen and also my kitchen counter (butternut squash curry being my fav autumnal food right now, super healthy as you use red lentils, it’s coconut-y and totally yum.

Add throws

I am a sheepskin fan so if I’m sitting outside on a nippy afternoon or eve I plonk a sheepskin over my outside seat or some chunky wooly throw that will cosy up my furniture and me nicely!

Chin Chin

Ditch mojitos for an old fashioned or warmed mulled cider, yum yum, must do this for my autumn/ winter design class pupils.

I happen to love autumn and rather than lamenting summer’s passing I tend to look forward too and enjoy the various seasons, even winter (unless it goes on too long).

See you later with all the details of the retail online class x

outdoors

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Best of the blog: week ending 26th September http://www.abigailahern.org/uncategorized/best-blog-week-ending-26th-september/ http://www.abigailahern.org/uncategorized/best-blog-week-ending-26th-september/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:18:28 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8354 Abigail Ahern

Hi all! In no particular order, here are the most popular posts this week.

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Abigail Ahern

Hi all! In no particular order, here are the most popular posts this week:

Heaviest-hitting decorating trends for AW14 – I’m not usually a big follower of trends. All that in or out, hot or not is such a faff! But I’ve been through all of the new seasons finds, and these trends are the ones worth noticing – definitely the coolest stuff out there this A/W.

Meet the Travelling Gin Company – no surprise that this one was popular! Quick Q&A with the geniuses behind TGC, including their favourite spots in London, and best new cocktail recipes. I’m totally obsessed with the Travelling Gin Company, who will bring you your G&T… on a bike. What’s not to love?

Glam stationery – Inspiration to make your desk or office a bit less drab, a bit more fab! Plus another £75 gift voucher is up for grabs, for people with the most stylish work spot. Just add #AbigailAhern75 to your photos, and send them in to my facebook, twitter or instagram to win.

Colours that will change your life – Colour has magical powers, and can completely change how you feel in a room. These are my top 4 for making a space cooler, edgier and uber glam.

10 minute decorating challenge – tricks to transform any room in your house super quick. Try some out on Sunday morning!

 

 

best

 

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6 tips for creating the coolest logo for your brand http://www.abigailahern.org/biz-column/6-tips-creating-coolest-logo-brand/ http://www.abigailahern.org/biz-column/6-tips-creating-coolest-logo-brand/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:33:12 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8347 Abigail Ahern

Logos are the face of your brand. Here's how to get it right!

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Abigail Ahern

A little earlier than norm, for today’s biz column I wanted to concentrate on logos. Logos are key when it comes to your business. Not only do they serve as an instant reminder of your company, but they also provide a point of instant connection for customers. It’s a visual representation of who you are. This is the scary bit… in that one single graphic or font type that logo should incorporate all of your business ideologies in one hit. No pressure then!

If any of you guys have been following us you will know that recently we have been through a big rebranding exercise. Why you may ask, well because we are now producing our own label collection not just to sell in our store but we’ll be wholesaling out to other luxury brands around the globe. Seriously exciting stuff! We’ve already got a waiting list racked up, just from a few sneak peaks I’ve posted on Instagram. So potentially our brand could suddenly be catapulted to stores around the globe from Sweden to Australia, and our graphics just didn’t cut the mustard! I have big future plans for our own label. By the end of next year I want at least 80% of the products in store to be our own, so no more trade shows for buying other people’s stuff and no more copy-cat imitators! Yay hay to that.

Ahem. I digress.

We had cool fonts previously, but the logo didn’t say anything about what my brand is about, and that really is the whole point of your logo. If you look at the slide above you’ll see that our new logo (which I am pretty obsessed about) shouts luxury, heritage, tongue-in-cheek fun. Us to a tee!

The question is in a age where everyone has their own website, how do you create a graphic that stands out, that’s original, different and immediately nails your brand. This is what we did:

Make it distinctive

The most effective logos are ones that stand out: think Apple, WWF, Chanel. So you’ll be wanting to create something that is super distinctive and memorable.

Keep it simple

Being distinctive is all very well but in order for your logo to be instantly recognizable it will need to be simple. It will have to be downsized and used as a tiny image quite often too, so simple is key!

Make it versatile

You’ll see from our logo above that it’s a pretty versatile design. It will work across our whole product range from candles to plants to cushions. It’s also scalable; we could blow this up onto huge walls and windows and scale it down for labels that go on t-lights.

Make it Timeless

Make your logo future proof. Something I really didn’t want to do was create a logo that in a year or two would be out of fashion. I wanted ours to feel classic with an edge, not crafty, quirky, silly or homemade. Beautiful, eclectic but still rocking a little something which is what our brand is all about.

Make sure your logo communicates your brands position

It’s not purely about creating a pretty graphic. Your logo has to nail what you stand for. If you don’t think yours does – rebrand. You can do this at any time. If you’re not sure what exactly your business stands for, grab a glass of wine, pull up a chair and compile a dossier (very CIA, although I’m guessing there is no wine involved when those guys compile dossiers).  Ask yourself questions like who are you, what do you do, what’s your USP, what’s your message, what’s your demographic. Your logo should communicate all of this. Actually, this should inform every element of your biz.

Chose you typography carefully

Like your logo, your font has to say what your brand is all about. You don’t want to be changing it up all the time, because that’s not very professional at all. I veer away from anything too fashionable or too handmade. Nothing worse than a gimmicky font if you ask me, steer well clear of them. Not only are they not professional they don’t send out a good brand message. Look at your competition, drill down into what other brands have done and write down why you like it. Also remember this:

Keep the logo strong

Keep it memorable

Keep it effective

Also don’t forget to make it international, should you wish to take your business global that is – or just in case! Our logo is going to be used worldwide so its super important that it works in all cultures, stands out and reinforces what we stand for.

The biggest tip I can give is outsource the design of your logo. You should certainly brainstorm ideas and have a concept. No good having no ideas, because it’s your business after all and you should know about it more than anyone. So do your research, and take into account everything I’ve said, but then outsource. Trying to create something yourself when you’re not a graphics person is a big bad mistake I say. I know it may seem like the easiest way to avoid the cost of going to a professional design firm or a freelancer designer, but these guys will be able to take your ideas and make them even better. It’s their job.

We have an amazing graphic designer that designs all the graphics for everything we do across the brand, from the blog, to mail shots to the website. Plus if you’ve got an idea in the first place you’ve already cut the costs in half. Do the donkeywork, then spend the cash where it’s actually needed.

When you actually think about it your logo is basically the face of the brand and the foundation of all your promotional materials. Not worth skimping on I reckon!

 

Check out the weekly biz column archives for more tips and business advice.

For retailers, start-ups and budding entrepreneurs, why not try our London Retail Class, or sign up for the Online Retail Masterclass?

This is our ultimate A-Z guide for anyone thinking of starting their own business, or looking to take the next step in building their retail empire.

business

 

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Tune into the animal trend http://www.abigailahern.org/design/tune-animal-trend/ http://www.abigailahern.org/design/tune-animal-trend/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 05:33:47 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8337 Abigail Ahern

From rugs to lights the animal trend is gaining momentum, and has never looked better. Cute, wild or exotic, take your pick!

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Abigail Ahern

The animal accent trend is one that isn’t slowing down anytime soon, which I find fascinating because trends are so transient as I mentioned yesterday. In, out, sneered upon cheered upon yet this one seems to be gaining continual momentum. Interesting because animals have been used in decoration for centuries. Think stately homes and hunting lodges all over the land, only now they seem to be gaining new heights. The reason is simple animals instantly cheer up a room, raise the spirits and make one smile which is why I am such a fan. Interiors can be a snooty old business something I for one cannot stand. Plonk an animal on a table and you’ve lifted the spirits and made yourself smile at the same time. Clever no?

Choices are endless, think luxurious animal shaped rugs to ethnic prints and patterns found on cushions to my animal lights. There are so many ways you can accessorize with them. The big trick is in moderation otherwise your pad will end up looking like some kind of safari park and who wants that? The trick is to balance them and use in isolation. This will prevent them from overwhelming a room but at the same time allow them to make a statement in their own right!

You can opt for an earthy palette or a shot of high impact colour, I’ve gone for both. Since watching The Real House Wives of NYC (don’t judge me) on the way back in the plane from LA I have become obsessed with Carol Radziwill’s tiger couch I just adore it. It’s so clever how something like that just turns her room around making it feel edgy and cool. Long live the animal trend I say!

All images are from my latest Debenhams’s collection which I am delighted to say are some of the company’s biggest selling homeware products! I’ve got a meeting in town at lunchtime so I’m whizzing over to Debs Oxford Street after to go and look at them all. It’s funny designing them a year out they become such an intense part of your life for a period then you sign them off wait and year and forget just how cool they are. What’s more Debenhams have a 20% sale on so the bison, dog and bear lamp are all coming home with me today!

Talking of sales we have some big final reductions over on the Flash Sale.  I’ll be back later with the biz column. See you in a bit!

dog

cushanimalbear

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Shop Glam Stationery http://www.abigailahern.org/shop/shop-glam-stationery/ http://www.abigailahern.org/shop/shop-glam-stationery/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:15:09 +0000 http://www.abigailahern.org/?p=8313 Abigail Ahern

Because we spend so much time at our desks, they really have to make us happy. There are lots of little ways to make your workspace less drab and corporate and more fab and inviting.

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Abigail Ahern

I’ve been pulling some seriously long days at my desk recently. It’s super busy at HQ at the moment, what with planning the new label, getting new stock into the store, a dozen different projects, oh and writing my next book! I feel like I’ve been sitting at this desk forever and ever but somehow the book still isn’t finished?

Because we spend so much time at our desks, they really have to make us happy. Whether you’ve got your own office nook set-up at home or you work from an office, there are lots of little ways to make your workspace less drab and corporate and more fab and inviting.

& if you want to perk up your office, show me pictures of your glam desk space to win a £75 gift voucher! Just share your photos on twitter, instagram or facebook with #AbigailAhern75. Love seeing what you all come up with!

To get you inspired, these are my favourite treats to instantly glam up your workspace, and make it a place you actually want to spend time in.

 

UntitledConcrete large tape dispenser

It’s chunky, hefty, and very pretty. This tape dispenser fits right in with the oversized industrial vibe I often try to incorporate into my pad, and definitely wouldn’t be found in your average boring office stationery cupboard.

£30, Areaware

 

1Heirloom paperweight

I hate clutter and mess all over the place, but sometimes paperwork piles up unavoidably and it’s beginning to creep all along my balcony too. Plonking one of these beautiful, hefty paperweights on top would almost make me forgive the piles of paper left lying around in the studio. Almost!

£10-£16, Anthropologie

 

 

 

2Garden & Forest Infusions candle

Sometimes I find that I just need a really nice, soothing environment to have the headspace to really work on a project. I’m trying to get my head down to write my book at the moment, so each morning I stick some cool tunes on the Sonos system, light a scented candle and get in the zone – procrastination no more!

£37.50, Abigail Ahern

 

3Dalmatian stapler

This cute little chap is just so much fun, which isn’t something you ever normally say about a stapler, right? This is even pretty enough that I could have it out on display on my studio shelves (unlike the printer, which is ugly so has to be banished and hidden three floors away from the office).

£20, Anthropologie

 

 

4Brass clips

These are pretty and glam enough to make to-do lists and clippings look classy, and you could even pop up magazine tearings and postcards to make an impromptu moodboard too. Or mix up favourite photos, prints, or kids’ artwork for an instant art gallery.

£4.50, Present & Correct

 

5Bud vases

I love to have flowers and plants absolutely everywhere in my place, and the desk is no exception! Even a single flower will perk up your workspace and make it seem so much happier and more inviting, I swear. I go for a big blousy hydrangea for mine.

£5.50, Abigail Ahern

 

6Bookends

I think these cool flocked bear bookends are pretty nifty. I know I would say that, but I always love animal accessories for being able to bring a bit of fun and quirky humour, even to functional old office items. And every room should have at least one animal! Looking round quickly at my place I have 11 (2 real-life snoozing ones!).

£45, Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams

 

Limited edition leather notebooks

Stationery doesn’t get much glammer than Smythson, which is always super-luxurious. If you’re looking to treat yourself, these limited edition “Sinner” or “Saint” leather notebooks are fab! Which one would you go for?

£155, Smythson

 

 

8Brass scissors

Present & Correct is a great shop for stationery lovers, neat freaks, and all us slightly OCD people. Everything they do is not just useful, but beautiful too! Even the basics aren’t overlooked, like these gorgeous brass scissors.

£10, Present & Correct

 

 

 

glamit Stationery

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