A BIG Announcement!

07.05.17

I’ve been hinting that there’s been something exciting brewing behind the scenes here at Avenue for a while now, something that has been all encompassing, scary, thrilling and at the same time calming. Today, finally, after months and months of scheming, organising, analysing and planning, I can share my news with you. I have a business partner! I now share Avenue with Hedda Pier, an interior designer who is not only highly skilled but has been one of my best friends since living in The Netherlands and someone who has unwaveringly offered me support, inspiration and encouragement. That there are now two faces behind a business and brand that has become almost a personal extension of myself is both thrilling and terrifying, for both of us, but I have never felt more calm, creative and in control as I have since we merged in January officially as Avenue Design Studio.

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The past two years has been incredibly fast moving for me work-wise and I have grown in leaps on both a personal and professional level. I have split myself between the two sides of Avenue – designing for projects and photographing for magazines and brands – while having two interns who work every day (from the studio in my home), as well as maintaining the blog and social media accounts. I have travelled for work, which is always wonderful but also puts a strain on the work load back home not to mention family life, and have at times been overwhelmed by the fast pace of my working life and the impact the last year of juggling has has on the things I aspire to be doing more of – shooting projects, spaces, people and places, creating original content for the blog, creating and seeking out inspiration in new forms, building new relationships and having fresh new experiences. At the end of the day, if you’re constantly running, there’s little time and energy for creativity and making strategic plans to ensure goals are met. I have big goals and only one set of hands. I see potential in the business I have grown, but have at times felt paralysed with fear to take risks (big and small) and have felt a missing element for a long time. Someone to share the ups, downs, accomplishments, epic fails, inspiration and experiences with. Someone who shares my passion and dreams. I am a people person and solo enterprise can be a lonely thing, I can tell you. And while I regularly collaborate with other creatives, I have intrinsically felt this void for a while.

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Hedda ran her own successful interior design business for 6 years, working primarily residential projects and managing large scale renovations and interior design projects. We met in early 2012 when I was working as an editor for an online local magazine. She had just launched her business and was interested in writing a column about interior design directed at the many expat internationals residing in the area. Smart move, I thought. And as someone who was deeply interested in interiors, I thought it would be fun to meet up and explore the idea more. We hit it off immediately, there was something very familiar and easy-going about her and the way in which we chatted. We talked for hours. In fact, we talked about everything else except her column in the space of about 4 hours over lunch and coffee. We chatted mostly about interior design, how she started out, about our backgrounds and I told her about how much I wanted to branch out into a more creative line of work but was afraid to take the leap. That day, she encouraged me to go for it, to sign up for an interior design course and basically just take a leap of faith. I received a text message on my way home from that meeting that read: OWN IT. That evening I signed up for a course, set some goals and got started.

While building her own business, she played a very supportive role, encouraging my photography skills, being my go-to when client/project related questions arose, and basically just being very instrumental in my growth over the years. In fact, Hedda’s own home was the first interior I photographed when I started my column on decor8, which was a big deal for me and a leap forward in the blog/photography world. She understood what it meant for me to have my work recognised by one of the most respected blogs on the internet and as I apprehensively and nervously ambled my way through that first and very pivotal shoot (with my semi-pro first camera, no tripod or editing abilities – shock horror!) she encouraged me and never judged. After decor8 ran that feature, I received interest from my first photography agent, which first contacted Hedda and was directed to me. I now have three agencies who represent my interior photography work, all of them have come through Hedda. With the risk of sounding cliche, Hedda has been the wind beneath my wings. Yep, I just wrote that. But from creative and professional standpoint, her input, guidance and support throughout the growth of Avenue has been so valuable. There have been so many times where I have felt that we would make an awesome team because we are similar in so many ways but also have our own unique qualities to bring to the table. While we separately explored ourselves and navigated our way through the industry, we often played with the idea of teaming up but couldn’t commit to the idea for a long time because it’s hard to know how to go about a merge, particularly when we were both very invested in our own enterprises and were also too saturated to entertain the idea. At some point around October last year, we finally had a real conversation about it and actually started to explore our options and how we could make a partnership work. We came to the conclusion that a merge under the Avenue name and brand made the most sense.

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On the 1st of January this year we made it official, deciding to register under the name Avenue Design Studio and at the same time we also found ourselves an external studio space to work in together. Obviously running our business from home was no longer an option!

I am literally bursting with excitement about the new space and am dying to show it to you, so later this week I’ll be sharing a full studio tour. I thought you might like to know a bit more about Hedda so tomorrow you’ll be hearing more about our partnership and she will introduce herself!

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Here are a few sneaky peeks of our new studio space, which Hanke Arkenbout beautifully captured on film a few weeks ago for us. It is a creative space which allows us to focus on our core business, which is interior design, styling and photography. We are based in a beautiful building in The Hague with the most spectacular architecture. Talk about a pleasure coming to work each day! We are based on the top floor of a former oil company headquarters which now functions as offices and flexible working spaces for professionals from all sectors. The coffee is incredible, there’s yoga studio in the building, a lovely restaurant, bicycles we can borrow when nipping into town and if that wasn’t pretty damn awesome in itself, this is the view from the elevator…

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Like an orchestra, with all the separate elements working together in perfect harmony, the merge has all come together beautifully. We have been settled in the new space for a few months now and are already working projects as a duo. We have literally been running through life since this all started – you may have noticed I have been a tad absent from the blog and social media as a result while I have navigated my way through all the new impressions and internal changes. With setting things up internally (tax office, bank accounts etc.) and getting the studio all set up and functional for us and our two interns, the merge has been a full time occupation alongside an already busy schedule of existing projects.

One of the best moments I’ve had since the merge was my 31st birthday, which took place at the end of March on a normal working Tuesday. I opened the door to the studio at 9am to find Hedda and the two interns shouting ‘Happy Birthday Holly!!!’ bearing gifts and cheesecake and I realised in that moment that this is what I had been missing all this time. A real sense of teamwork and support. People to share the milestones (however personal or professional) with and happy, smiling people to share my zone with. Good times!

So that’s the news. I hope you are as excited about this new development as we are! Back tomorrow to share more about the in’s and out’s of the merge, and to introduce Hedda to you all. And on Tuesday, we will be revealing the full studio tour so keep your eyes peeled, and have a happy weekend!

Holly and Hedda (eeeek!)

x

|| Photography by Hanke Arkenbout 

20 Responses to “A BIG Announcement!”

  1. Sandra says:

    Hi Holly & Hedda, what exciting news indeed!! I wish you all the luck in the world making Avenue Design Studio a huge succes, but I’m sure you’re not going to need any success, it all sounds great! Best wishes, Sandra – http://www.morriesblog.wordpress.com

    • Holly says:

      Thank you so much, Sandra! We are very excited about the future of Avenue and can’t wait to share our journey on the blog with you. Thank you so much for reading, H & H x

  2. Elisheva says:

    How exciting! Working alone can be so, well, lonely! Good luck to you both, can’t wait to see the work you put out!

    • Holly says:

      Indeed, Elisheva. Work is so much more fun when you have someone to share it with. Thank you, and I so appreciate you stopping to write. Holly xx

  3. Nienke says:

    Always an inspiration! So proud of you. Love, Nienke.

  4. Yay! It’s finally official 🙌🏻 So delighted for you both ladies. Excited to see where this new adventure takes you both, the skies the limit! Wishing you both all the best for this new chapter xx

    • Holly says:

      Thank you, Ciara! The sky certainly is the limit, we just sometimes need someone to lean on when reaching so high. Fun times ahead for us all, much love xx H & H

  5. Caroline says:

    Fantastic news-huge congratulations to both of you-an amazing achievement. Have a wonderful journey! Xx

  6. Sarah Alderson says:

    Having worked many years ago with Hedda in London I can testify that she is the best colleague! It was awesome fun sharing an office with her and yours looks amazing. Happy creating and much success to you both!

    • Hedda says:

      Sarah! Thank you for your ongoing support, and for being such an Inspiration to follow your heart. Looking forward to getting my hands on that place in India / Bali / Ojai wherever… Big love, Hedda

  7. Sylvia Ledya says:

    Congratulations Holly & Heda for the big step. Wish Avenue Design Studio a great success. I have been following Holly articles starting from Houzz and later via Avenue lifestyle blog. I am not an interior designer just one among others who adore your creative works and inspirational ideas.

  8. Wow Holly congratulations! And ofcourse Hedde too!
    I am so proud of you that you’ve made this choice and I wish you a lot of succes and most of all, fun and inspiration!

    Liefs Souraya

  9. Yaella says:

    Congratulations, Holly and Hedda! I’ve been a longtime silent reader of Avenue and your work brings me constant inspiration. I’m currently in architecture school and looking to expand my perspective on interior design since it’s something that I haven’t learned much about in school. I would love it if you could share some books and websites that helped you as you were starting out–either from an inspirational or practical side. Thank you for this great blog and good luck!

  10. Jelena says:

    So exciting Holly, lovely to see it on here! Look forward to seeing the things you create together!xx

  11. Vicky says:

    Oh wonderful Holly !!! this is a new phase for your project so enjoy it!
    kisses from Argentina 🙂

  12. valentina says:

    Dear Holly, I am very happy for you both! By reading your words I have recognized the thoughts I have had for several years and the same feelings. Creatives must share experiences with creatives, when you find the right tuning. It’s a natural path, I believe. It’s a way to be strong and happy at the same time. So many congratulations and good luck for your team!
    Valentina

  13. Hedda says:

    Thank you everyone for the love and support! It feels wonderful to be part of such a warm and welcoming community of readers! Looking forward to sharing this space with you guys :). XHedda

  14. Anine says:

    Congratulations to you both! Very exciting news… xx

  15. […] Some of the portraits I took for Avenue Lifestyle who is now owned by not only Holly Marder but also Hedda Pier. I am so excited for these ladies to merge into 1 rock solid business. Taking (business) portraits is a field of photography I enjoy very much. This location Spaces in The Hague is a dream! Check out the full story here. […]

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