Spotlight on Hend Krichen
Beautiful Handcrafted items for you home, as you will see thorough this post, come from Hend Krichen, a London based designer who makes these products in collaboration with artisans from her home country, Tunisia, along with other “rich” cultures. The materials Hend has chosen to work with keep the authenticity of the country in which they are made, yet the products are beautiful in their simplicity and would fit well into any modern home.
Hend is running a pop up at Mediterranean Inspired Modern Objects on Saturday 1st December (6-9pm). This event is running up until the 9th December (10-7pm) at 230, Portobello Road, London, W11 1LJ. If you can’t make it, you can shop the collection here or sign up to Hend Krichen's newsletter to find out more about product launches and events here.
With products that regularly feature in the interior press, read on to find out what drove Hend to start her business.
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
I embarked my higher level education back in 2006 where I completed a Diploma in Foundation Art & Design, then went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in 3D Design in 2010 both at Loughborough University. Following this, I completed an MA Course in Product and Space in 2012 from Kingston University, London.
The Arab Spring revolution took place in 2011/12. This happened to take place at the same time and therefore I had a strong need to go back to Tunisia; to explore my roots became even greater as a result of the revolution. I felt a sudden urge to go back to Tunisia, because I wanted to help contribute to the revival of Tunisian Handicrafts industry. I knew that having a far greater purpose to pursue my passion was going to make the journey far more enjoyable and meaningful for me.
2. How did you start up?, kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
I started by working from my own kitchen. I spent most of the time in Tunisia getting to know my manufacturers and developing the collections very closely with them. Now I rent a studio space in East London.
3. How did you fund your business?
I funded my business myself, then family was helpful in getting things off the ground and then I had to apply for external funding.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
The most difficult part at the beginning was good advice. There are lots of business advisors out there and places you can go to get valuable information, however it’s finding the right person who understands your particular market and your product very well.
5. What went wrong in your first year? Few months if you haven’t been trading that long?
I wouldn’t say things went wrong, however it was definitely tricky and a real learning curve, when I first started working with the artisans in Tunisia, in the first couple of years. I think it was the fact that I was trying to ask them to perfect the quality of the work, because I was expecting a very high standard of finish.
I knew that the collection had to be produced at the best standard possible, and as they are artisans, there was certainly a lot of miscommunication and a lot of trial and error. Happy to say now, that we have together overcome all those issues. We are certainly on the same page.
6. What have you learnt?
It’s impossible to list what I have learnt, because I have learnt a lot from this. However, I have learnt how important it is to get people to trust in your brand and to want to buy your product. I have learnt that doing something with a purpose and greater meaning will allow your passion to keep going.
7. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
The most important piece of advice for someone starting their own business is dig deep, don’t start a business unless you really are willing to sacrifice everything for it; because the idea really means a lot to you. Otherwise it will be so difficult to succeed and sustain it. Make sure you are passionate enough about it that if you needed to, you can do it for the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice.
8. And what do you enjoy the most?
I love receiving samples of different materials and finishes- finding ways to put them together. It’s the research stage of a project.
9. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business?
That’s a difficult question to answer, because some days it feels easy and you know what you are doing, some other days you really are thrown in the deep end. But that is the joy of running your own business, is that each day is different. It’s not mundane and its not boring!
Nicola says “Hend’s passion for what she does shines through this post, and she is right, you absolutely need to love what you do and be driven by a passion, a purpose to want to start a small business, because the sacrifices you will make. need to be worth it, to you personally, your time away from your family and home life and the commitment to work as many hours as it takes.”
The Girl with The Green Sofa