HILLARY THOMAS // HILLARY THOMAS
Hillary Thomas Designs is an interior design, product and lifestyle firm that embodies a “Vintage Chic” style. This style is rooted in the 1950s which found a group of curious people with means and a fixation with style – the ‘Jetsetters’ – engaging new cultures like never before.
Was there a moment in your life when the light bulb went off and you just knew what you were going to do?
I knew I had design in my blood the moment I rolled out my pink Laura Ashley bow wallpaper and matching bedding in my freshman dorm room. My roommate probably thought I was crazy but that didn’t stop me!
What is the Hillary Thomas aesthetic and how did it come to be?
I’ve always been inspired by a love and reverence for the past, specifically the jet-setting, glam world of the 50s and 60s. They had a fixation with style that was layered, worldly, and sophisticated. I’ve tried to bring that same “Vintage Chic” (as I like to call it) aesthetic into my interiors and product collections. I also have a great appreciation for the little details of design, which is what inspired me to bring back products like lamp finials but with a modern twist.
Once you knew you wanted to do interior decorating and later a blog and shop, what steps did you take to make that a reality?
I really just decided to go for it. After having my kids, I decided to launch a full-service interior design business that eventually lead to opening a shop and designing my own products. I always loved vintage lamp finials and had the idea to start making them in a fresh & modern way. After that it all came together naturally. I think you have to take risks in life and follow your passion and things will take off from there.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
Never order anything without a client’s approval first. So many designers I know (including yours truly) have made that mistake and get stuck with unwanted items in the end. But I guess that’s what One Kings Lane is for!
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
I never imagined that I would get into designing and manufacturing products. It’s been a huge learning curve working with vendors to turn my ideas & visions into a reality. It’s challenging but also really fun.
What hardships have you had along the way?
I’ve been very fortunate to have not experienced many hardships. I think the biggest challenge for me was learning to balance having a family and my career all at the same time.
What do you wish you would have known going into this?
How much paperwork there is!
What have you found works for you as far as organizing your business and time?
Delegating is key. I have a fantastic team that really understands my style & vision and help me to execute everything. It’s very important to divide and conquer! I’d also be nowhere (literally) without my iCal which keeps me on track between kids, work, and travel.
Highlight of your career so far?
Reintroducing the lamp finial in a fun inspired way and being recognized for it.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Photos by Patrick Cline
Behind the Biz takes a deep dive behind the scenes with business owners and entrepreneurs.
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