“My lightbulb moment came one day whilst sitting at my desk working for another business,” explains Louise Perkins, founder of creative design studio Villa Styling. “I thought, why am I not doing this for smaller businesses, working for myself and helping small businesses launch themselves? Being so creative and passionate about what I did, I was desperately seeking the creative freedom to really push the limits and create beautiful imagery for clients.”
That freedom only came when Louise started her own wide-reaching business, which now sees the Brisbane-based creative take on clients for photography, styling and interior design. Despite more than 20 years in the creative business, with clients like Alabaster Traders and Queensland Homes Magazine, Louise can’t fight the fact that small business ownership can sometimes be a beast.
“The most challenging part has been doing everything myself,” she admits. “From creative direction, to sourcing, to communicating whilst being out and about prop- or location-sourcing, actually styling and shooting on the day.”
But no matter how hard the work, Louise insists it’s been worth it.
“Wearing many caps at once can be very challenging and exhausting, but every shoot has always come together and creates a beautiful outcome,” she confirms. “I have learnt many lessons the hard way on my journey; it has been trial and error with planning, but I’ve enjoyed every minute and continue to perfect and hone my process to ensure everything runs smoothly.”
If you’re hoping to transform your home or office, take a leaf out of Louise’s book – here are a few rules she sticks to.
1. Don’t be afraid to curate
“I’ve always managed to stand out and grow my following by being true to my own style and maintaining my brand. I only choose to promote certain projects I work on through my Instagram; only ones that I feel will be well responded to,” Louise explains. “I do many projects in a year for commercial, retail, small or large clients, of many different looks and styles – as a stylist I accommodate and can do mid-century, modern, boho, tropical, coastal… but through my Instagram, I like to channel my love of the tropical, beachy vibe, and as often as I can in the natural light aesthetic, which everyone has taken to.”
2. If it’s a collaborative effort, lead in an inclusive way
“I like the clients to feel like they have contributed to their own project in their own special way,” she says. “In the end, the result is more personal and more loved because the client can see their own choices. In many cases, clients just need me to give them guidance and direction to keep them on track and true to their own style. I never force a particular style or look on any client, I always work within their style and budgets.”
3. Have an idea of what it feels like to hit the brief
“The project is finished when I feel the space feels good, is harmonious,[and] feels inviting. It’s knowing when all the boxes are ticked and it just feels good to be in.
“In my opinion, if you walk into a space and feel relaxed or the space sings to you, it’s beautiful. If it takes you away and reminds you of Bali or Morocco, the countryside, New York or being on holidays on the coast, it’s beautiful to you.”
4. Know when to keep things simple
“A simple refresh can be as easy as replacing your linens in your bedroom, changing your dining room chairs, adding plants or fresh flowers, a simple new vase or even as small as a new book or two can help get you towards refreshing a space.”