Christmas seems to cast a spell on everyone. Throughout December, the world gets blanketed in an atmosphere of warmth and cheer, and all we want to do is deck the halls with gold and glitter. Then there are brands like Stylodeco that shower our social media feeds with lust-worthy vignettes, sending us straight into a Christmas shopping bender.
Today, we introduce you to Helene Denaiffe, the founder of online marketplace — Stylodeco. She’s a self-starter who lunged into the entrepreneur arena with a desire to gather the world’s most stylish and affordable home furnishings into an online catalogue of chic.
Simply attuned to the pleasures of decorating and redecorating one’s home, Stylodeco helps home stylists in their quest for unique and affordable home furnishings. Filled with visual entrapments to rival your Pinterest feed, Stylodeco inspires even the laziest decorator with a thoughtfully curated selection of homewares and furniture. Once figments of pure fantasy for Asian homemakers, coveted European brands such as Bloomingville, House Doctor, Madam Stoltz and HK Living are now easily available to customers in Asia through Stylodeco’s webstore. From comfortable Scandi minimalism to tropical and even vintage, Stylodeco stays ahead of the curve with its always trendy and on-point wares.
We share Helene’s elegant approach to life, business and decorating for Christmas!
Could you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I grew up in France, mainly in Paris and its suburbs. I studied Japanese together with International Business at university and graduated with an MBA degree in “Luxury Brand Marketing and International Management”. I worked 12 years in Marketing and Communications for luxury brands such as Audemars Piguet and Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse. We moved to Singapore 4 years ago.
What prompted you to start your own home décor business?
There were simultaneous events that made me start my own business. First of all, I was missing my family. Having a full-time job in a small yet fast-growing company was very exciting but did not allow me to see my kids at night at all. I wanted to spend more time with them, which meant being able to manage my daily schedule as I wished. The ideal scenario was for me to be home to welcome them from school, help with homework, take a day off when they are on holiday and do some family activities together. The only way for me to spend more time with them was to start my own business.
I had just reached 35 and felt I had accumulated enough experience to launch a business on my own. I did not have to think long; I knew already what I wanted to do! I have always been passionate about home styling.
When we arrived in Singapore four years ago, there weren’t many options for stylish home furnishings available. Try as I might, I could not find my favorite European brands — the ones I used to buy back in Paris. Moreover, all I could find were mostly very expensive. It was then that the idea started — to offer a selection of trendy and unique home décor accessories at reasonable prices. The price was, and still is a key factor to me. I usually price my products exact to how they’re priced in Europe. Because I am online and my infrastructure costs are low, Stylodeco’s offering is really competitive and unique.
What were the challenges?
We are based in Singapore and opening a store here is challenging. Rental prices are so high and I did not know back then whether my business would work or not. I was not ready to take that risk. So I decided to go online. But then again, the online business being very new in Singapore, getting a name out there in the web isn’t easy. The main challenge is to shout out Stylodeco’s concept as much as we can to get even more awareness. Travelshopa and other media are helping a lot!
Best moment of your career so far?
I am very lucky to have had so many ‘best moments’ during my career (‘career’…doesn’t it sound like I’m an old lady…)! There isn’t any ‘best moment’ in particular, just a lot of nice memories, especially when I was into F&B, working with chefs in Paris and Singapore.
What has been the biggest lesson so far?
Launching my own business was definitely a good choice!
What does a typical day of work involve for you?
I start working at 8:30am and end my day around 7pm. Packing online orders, updating the webshop, creating communications content for social media, writing blog posts, sourcing new products, dealing with freight forwarders, uploading products, doing fairs and events, shooting products, paying invoices, meeting people, helping my kids with their homework… It’s still a one-woman show so there’s a lot to do! And I enjoy it.
What are you currently working on and what are you looking forward to in the near future?
This coming year, the main target is to dramatically expand the online offer. We will continue to carry a wide range of international brands while bringing in more successful Singapore-based brands. Indeed, a few successful local businesses have joined or will be joining the e-shop in the coming months. We should be able to offer a selection of more than 5,000 products before the end of 2016. And thanks to this wide selection, I hope we can reach out to many more people in Singapore and Southeast Asia (Stylodeco ships throughout Asia from Australia to Japan). There are one or two side projects I am working on as well, but it is too early to share them with you. We’re looking at exciting times ahead for sure!
Where do you see Stylodeco in 5 years and is a physical store on the cards?
A physical store might be a next step indeed. It is not on the cards right now though. In 5 years, I want Stylodeco to be the one-stop shop for effortless chic home décor and furniture in Singapore, offering shipping throughout Asia.
How would you describe your style when it comes to interiors and home décor?
My style is effortlessly chic, casual yet elegant. I love welcoming homes where family and friends build lasting memories. I also veer towards good-quality materials, minimalist lines and chic details while mixing different styles.
Where do you turn to for creative inspiration?
Print and online magazines, successful European e-shops, travels and Pinterest.
Which Stylodeco products can we find in your home?
What are your tips for decorating on a budget?
What I like when decorating my home is mixing styles and budgets. For example, I have found lovely and very affordable cushions to match my bamboo sofa. In our living room, the Eclipse lamp stands next to an old Chinese porcelain jar that we bought for nothing at a flea market 4 years ago. There are also things that we do ourselves — my husband and me — like this wooden cabinet we bought last year in Singapore. We spent hours chipping and painting it in a dark grey color. It was a lot of fun, and we now have a very unique piece of furniture at home to show for it.
Could you paint us a (mental) picture of how you would decorate your home for Christmas?
I’ll deck the tree in white, silver and gold Christmas ornaments. I’ll hang white and black paper stars from the ceiling, light candles and light garlands, and use tree branches that I’ll place in vases here and there.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I love making desserts (I am a sweet tooth), reading and travelling.
Which other local creative people do you think are doing cool things?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you don’t try, you’ll never know, so go for it!!
What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
Travel the world, there’s so much to discover!
View Stylodeco’s collections online.