Good morning! It is Friday and we are having breakfast with Karen Birchenough, founder of luxury homeware concept store India May Home. If you love my blog then I am sure you will love India May Home with its perfectly curated selection of ethnic pieces, each lovingly hand crafted by skilled artisans all over the world.
Here Karen talks to us about her journey from Sales Manager in the luxury travel industry to running her own online interior business.
Can you tell me a little more about who you are, what is your background?
I love to travel and I worked as a Sales Manager in the luxury travel industry for nearly 16 years. I was lucky enough to journey abroad often in my job and to see a good part of the world. After I got married my husband and I moved to Belize, Central America, for his work. During the two years we spent there, we embarked on driving expeditions through Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Volcanoes, Mayan ruins, waterfalls, lakes, jungles, hummingbirds, bamboo beach huts, vibrant markets, moles, mojitos… it was a melting pot of inspiration!
We then moved to Brunei, and travelled to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Laos and India. I was in my element of ‘East meets West’ style.
“Whilst travelling, I was inspired by so many global designs and cultures. In my free time I would often be in the depths of a souk or handicraft market collecting items for my home, and I always had a weakness for tribal statement pieces and jewellery.
Creativity has always been my true calling, it is when I feel the most connected to myself and happy, starting India May Home was a natural progression on my journey.
When we moved to Brunei, a restlessness stirred inside me, I knew it was the right time to embark on a new chapter. Interiors was always my first love and there was a market for high-quality homewares within the expat community and this is where India May Home was first born. I began visiting India and importing handpicked homewares into Brunei.
After having success selling products in Brunei, I was ready to embark on launching the website once we returned to the UK. There are so many hats that I have to wear, but it’s all driven by passion and I love every minute! I’ve embarked on a new path in my forties and I’m proud to be having this adventure.
What draws you towards the Ethnic/Scandi Style?
My personal style has always had a bohemian element to it. However, I enjoy the calming balanced qualities of a neutral home. I appreciate more sophisticated, pared-back schemes, and this is where the Scandinavian influences come in. I enjoy a relaxed look that still feels luxurious and timeless, but with accents of interesting artisan pieces to evoke a sense of bohemia – I tend to describe it as Scandi-Boho.
Who / what inspires you?
My inspiration is often found on my travels to India, Morocco and Scandinavia. There is so much to be inspired by, an endless overload of the senses. I am also inspired by nature – the Scandinavians are the best at botanical living, using nature to decorate their homes and bring the outside in, especially at Christmas time.
Do trends influence your choice of products?
No, I do not really follow trends and I try not to be too influenced by this. India May Home has a Bohemian spirit, a collection of individual timeless pieces… when I choose a product is it more about the story and it’s journey.
What’s in store for the next 12 months?
I have just launched my ‘Nordic Noel’ Christmas collection. I also have some beautiful natural Moroccan baskets with metallic work incorporated into them that will be available soon. Our Moroccan tribal rugs and cushions are in the pipeline along with our new black&white Moroccan Fez Poufs. I am working on so many new ideas with my Artisans, the process is long as I always test the samples first before I commission them to be manufactured. Manufacturing takes at least three months because of the hand made nature of each product. The process is slow but worth it for the final outcome and there is certainly so much to come…
Finally, as it is breakfast time, what is your favourite first meal of the day?
My favourite is a Moroccan breakfast that consists of semolina pancakes and Khobtz breads…served with butter, honey, freshly squeezed orange juice and mint tea!
Check out the full range of products available from India May Home , I love them I’m sure you will too!
Sample product were gifted to me and financial compensation may have been received but all opinions expressed here are my own. Products and services provided free of charge to Kate Young Design are only mentioned in a post if they are a natural fit with my content.