You might already know them by their inspiring Instagram feed — @HouseofHawkes and @LiveloudGirl are after all, at the top of the design influencer pyramid in the UAE. Both have been credited by design lovers and brands alike for ushering the Scandi-chic design wave in the region and one would assume, that with a similar creative point of view which, the two would be in competition.
Far from it; Kathryn Hawkes and Linda Dekkers, who have consistently collaborated behind the scenes since they first met in 2014, have come out with a new interiors brand — Fronteriors, offering the region’s design enthusiasts the opportunity to upgrade their Ikea basics into unique pieces.
“As stylists, we often found ourselves using Ikea frames to create bespoke furniture pieces for clients,” explain Hawkes. “With Fronteriors, the idea is to create a timeless piece of furniture that reflects one’s personal style and transcends affordability, but more importantly offers a stylish solution to the very real issue of unconscious consumption.”
Ikea hacking is nothing new. For years, DIY lovers have been having a go at it themselves and there is a global economy offering everything from legs and knobs to fronts and tops. The first to bring this concept to the Middle East, Fronteriors brings a cost-effective and eco-aware sensibility to the mass-produced furniture market in the region. “Particularly in transient regions, people don’t always look at furniture as a long-term investment, especially something from IKEA,” says Dekkers. “We are looking to subvert that thinking by offering people the opportunity to truly be a part of the creative process and own one-of-a-kind pieces without breaking the bank.”
Key to this model is the inclusion of the local industries and makers. From the marble tops and painted fronts, to the brass legs and powder-coated knobs, everything that will go on top of a shop-bought Ikea frame is made in Dubai. The rest is quite simple. Get your Besta or Billy case you want to upgrade. Then choose from the available finishes from the Fronteriors website, or contact the duo to explore custom finishes.
From social media influencers to design entrepreneurs with a fast-growing brand, Hawkes and Dekkers success offers the holy grail for those looking to translate their social media reach into a full-fledged business. “Your audience is not naive anymore,” warns Hawkes. “Only those who have an authentic point of view and can stay true to their own style without falling for trends or lucrative but random sponsored deals stand the chance to meaningfully capitalise on their social media worth.”
ADVICE FOR BUDDING DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS
Neither of their individual businesses or Fronteriors started with a business plan. For both Kath and Linda, it was about passion and recognising a gap. Here they share some tried and test tips for those looking to go on their own.
• If you have the idea, get working on it. Stop saying you will start one day — just start. There is no day like the present
• Share your vision — not only will you receive valuable feedback, people will start looking out for you and help you build your network
• Get out there and sell yourself. If you don’t believe in your product, no one else will
• Having your own business means that you will be at it 24/7. If that does not excite you, then maybe it’s time to press reset.
STYLE YOUR GRAM
Arguably there is no one better equipped than @HouseofHawkes and @LiveloudGirl to help you sort out your Instagram feed.
• Less is more, so remove the clutter. A simple shot works so much better than a busy one.
• Understand lighting. Natural light is the best you can get so try to make use of all those sun hours we have in the region.
• Work with products you love yourself, that also makes it a lot easier.
• Place products of other business owners in your shots to help promote them, and in turn, they may post your image as well.
• Try and use the same filter if using any at all to give your shots the same look.
• Vary between detailed, overview and personal shots. It will keep your feed interesting.