Kelly Hoppen MBE transformed the world of interiors with her innovative neutral colour palette. Since then she has designed homes for, among others, David and Victoria Beckham, become a trade ambassador for the UK government and sat in the hot seat on Dragons’ Den. The Best You caught up with the designer.
Q. After two series, you’ve quit Dragons’ Den – what’s next?
A. What’s next is actually the reason I had to leave my seat on the Den, and that is a lot! I am about to leave for Shanghai as part of my role as a GREAT campaign ambassador to celebrate the Festival of Creativity. I will also attend Maison & Objet in Singapore with Apaiser, and this year I am celebrating my 40th anniversary in the industry. I am extremely busy at the moment but I also need to find time for designing, which is still my first passion.
Q. What did you enjoy about being a Dragon?
A. Having the opportunity to help entrepreneurs is what I love the most about the show. It also great to witness so much creativity and drive from building business entrepreneurs, and we shared some good laughs as well. It was a fantastic experience.
Q. You have received numerous awards during your career, including an MBE. How important are these recognitions to you?
A. Being recognised for your work and passion is exceptional. I am proud and thankful for all the awards I have received but the MBE is undoubtedly the greatest honour of my career to date.
Q. You work hard as an ambassador of The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise, and with UK Trade & Investment, supporting the government’s GREAT campaign – what is the appeal of these projects, and how do they enhance your own business?
A. It is a pleasure for me to take part in such amazing associations, the resources invested to help people are impressive and the results truly inspiring. To see so many British companies thrive thanks to the GREAT campaign’s advice or young entrepreneurs supported by The Prince’s Trust achieve their objectives is something I am really passionate about. Working with entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and evolving in different industries is an opportunity for me to learn new skills and it gives me a different point of view on my business which is truly rewarding.
Q. You’ve spoken of your struggle with dyslexia in life – how did this impact your early business career, and what advice do you have for others to overcome adversity?
A. My struggle with dyslexia was impactful at many levels of my personal and professional life, but it made it especially difficult for me to deal with the financial