Interview: Helene Denaiffe, Stylodeco Founder
The French entrepreneur talks about her ideal home, where she gets her inspiration and what sets Stylodeco apart from other home furnishing companies.
When Helene Denaiffe isn’t busy taking care of her two kids, she’s often found curating furniture and homeware for her online home and décor start-up, Stylodeco. She’s no stranger to the world of luxury too – the French entrepreneur has more than a decade’s experience in Paris and Switzerland as a marketing and communications specialist for Hermes, Audemars Piguet and Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. She then moved to Singapore to work as marketing director for a group of restaurants before starting the chic online home furnishing marketplace. We speak to Denaiffe on what inspires her, her ideal home and some of her plans for the future.
What inspired you to start Stylodeco?
I moved to Singapore with my family more than four years ago, and while we were shopping for home furnishings for the new apartment, I couldn’t find what we were looking for. There were stores selling beautifully-designed pieces and antiques, but at astonishing prices. I could not find a store with a selection of stylish home furnishings at reasonable prices. Hence, this idea came about when I realized there was a market for such a store and I decided to launch Stylodeco after.
Stylodeco is big on celebrating individuality and creating a cosy, homely environment. What is a cozy environment in your books and what do you think is the most important aspect of decorating a living space?
I am indeed passionate about cozy, effortlessly chic interiors. I like perfectly imperfect, laidback and welcoming homes where friends and family are entertained and build lasting memories together. A cozy home to me is decorated with taste and passion in a way that supports your everyday lifestyle; it should not be a stiff or staged living space. I personally like to keep my home chic and simple with a neutral color palette because I feel it makes it easier to live with. I also like mixing styles and eras – for example, integrating modern artwork with antique furniture. I also add a few unique objects from around the world for a personal touch. I play with fabrics (curtains, cushions, etc.) to make it more comfortable, and I don’t mind having my kids’ toys stored in a stylish basket in the living room.
How receptive have people been to Stylodeco since its inception?
Since its launch in September 2014, sales have been growing rapidly via our webshop and at the showroom. We have been collaborating with various highly supportive interior designers as well as chefs and gained a lot of exposure via press articles, social media and blog posts. To celebrate our two-year anniversary, I am happy to announce that we will be launching a new blog this September, called Perfect-Imperfect and I will share tips and inspiration for the home, DIYs and free printables (gift tags, cards and other useful printable resources) on a weekly basis. On top of it – and this is probably the most exciting part – we will be launching our own interior design services: e-design and interior styling. We have teamed up with an interior design firm to assist our clients with styling their homes. So, exciting times ahead for Stylodeco!
What is your curation process like?
I read a lot of magazines and international blogs, browse Pinterest and follow European trends when it comes to the product selection. I select each object with care, thinking about my clients – imagining what kind of pieces they’d like to have at home, whether it would be useful or simply pretty. There are also pieces that I bring in just because I love them. I wouldn’t mind not selling any and keeping them for myself instead, but these are usually the pieces that sell in a heartbeat!
With big name competitors such as Ikea, how do you keep up and what sets you apart from these corporations?
It is indeed very important to set your company apart. I select products for their good quality, stylish designs and uniqueness – I make sure no other brand is selling these products in Singapore. My clients do not want the same dining plates or bed linens that everyone else has; they want something special, stylish and of good quality at reasonable prices.
How would you describe your perfect home?
Effortlessly chic, bright and airy. Perfectly imperfect, laidback and welcoming, with kids running and friends laughing.
Who inspires you and do you have any favorite interior designers?
Photographers, designers and manufacturers of all kinds inspire me a lot. I am a visual learner. Here are a few names:
Designers: Frères Bouroullec
Manufacturers: Objekto, manufacturer of the Paulistano Chair and the Eclipse Lamp
I’m sure you have a very busy schedule. What do you enjoy doing during your downtime?
I spend time with my family, read, cook, do flowers arrangements, entertain friends, travel and style my home.