Chasing Design

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Michelle Halford, the New Zealand based interior designer, stylist and the woman behind the popular blog The Design Chaser, talks business building and her love for Nordic design.

What was the inspiration and journey behind The Design Chaser?

My love of interiors was ignited while working for a large magazine publisher here in NZ. I became obsessed with the home magazines and when I left to start a family I started reading interior blogs. I remember saying to my husband that I’d love to start a blog one day. In the meantime, I joined Pinterest which helped me hone in on my love of Nordic design. Surprised to see my following take off, I also gained confidence seeing my style resonating with others. The blog felt like a natural progression where I could put my voice to what I was sharing. When we embarked on our home build I started documenting the journey on the blog, carrying out my own styling and photography to share on Instagram. My audience responded really well to seeing my interior design plans come to life and brands started reaching out to collaborate. Styling has now become my favourite arm of the business.

Do you think a certain amount of naivety is helpful when starting out on your own?

I’ve never thought of it that way but yes, probably!

I didn’t set out with any high expectations but I absolutely loved what I was doing, and blogging became very addictive. I worked really hard and put in some crazy hours around looking after my young boys. Seeing that I was inspiring others was hugely motivating and before I knew it, it had morphed into a business. I still get excited when opportunities come along, big or small.

Listening to my gut and staying true to my brand and aesthetic is really important. As is taking time out to recharge the batteries.

On reflection, what has been your biggest lessons?

Working from home on your own can be quite isolating so it’s important to take the time out to meet up with other creatives to discuss work and bounce ideas off one another. Keeping up with the blog, social media and collaborations is a big job for one person and I have learnt the hard way with burnout. I am now learning not to overcommit, and to say no. Listening to my gut and staying true to my brand and aesthetic is really important. As is taking time out to recharge the batteries.

What creatives are you most inspired by?

Because most of my inspiration comes from Scandinavia, I look to the leading interior designers, stylists, product designers and architects in that region for direction and inspiration. Too many to name!

Who are your favourite homeware brands?

Danish design, in particular, is a firm favourite. This was further cemented last year when I travelled to Copenhagen courtesy of the renowned Danish furniture brand Erik Jørgensen. Other favourites include Menu, Montana, Muuto and &Tradition.

What is life like at the moment?

Busy but fun. I’m working with some great local and global brands and I have several shoots coming up which I’m excited about.

Five years from now, what will the Design Chaser look like?

A bigger online platform and a physical studio specialising in interior styling and photography services