STUDIO TOUR: HELLO GERONIMO
I’m so happy to introduce you to modern design studio Hello Geronimo today. Founded by interior designer Vicky Kieldsen, they make colourful modern artworks and stationery, hand finished with cool embellishments and witty humour. They first made a name for themselves at renowned design fair Top Drawer with their personalised map pieces which are made from tons of buttons and bespoke badges to highlight special locations. Now they have a great range of children’s prints and cards, typography cockney rhyming cards, and much more. I popped in for a chat and as you’d expect, Vicky’s studio is as colourful as her work…
Name: Vicky Kieldsen
Company: Hello Geronimo
Tell us a little about your business?
We’re a modern design studio based in South East London that likes to play with colour, texture and humour to create three dimensional artwork and stationery. A lot of the pieces we create have a nostalgic feel to them that can relate to a lot of people. Our aim is to create work that provokes happiness, be it through memories, colour, wittiness or personalisation.
How did you get started in the industry?
I have a degree in Interior design and worked in that industry for about 7 years after I graduated. I then left and went to work at Livingetc magazine, which was an amazing experience and I really think working there shaped my business. It made me see things from a different angle. I was exposed to amazing products and it just made me want to be creative in a way I’d never been before. I’d always been passionate about design and definitely think that’s my strong point, and had I not worked at Livingetc I’d have never understood how trade worked, or PR.
What do you think has made your business successful?
I think the fact that my maps can be personalised is probably the most successful part of my work. I must have made over 500 UK maps now, and I’d say a good chunk of them have been bespoke to work with the customers requirements. Selling my work to The Festival Terrace Shop at the Southbank Centre has been invaluable too. The amount of orders I get from people saying they saw my work in the shop is incredible. A lot of people don’t realise that there’s extra detail in my work and when they do see the content and appreciate the amount of research I do for each map it makes everything all worth while.
Where do you work & how do you make sure your space stays inspiring? I work in an old Pye Electronics building in West Dulwich which overlooks a very beautiful, but slightly eerie cemetery and I share a studio space with another Graphic Designer called Floppy Toast. Our studio has massive windows and great natural light. We have amazing coffee downstairs which is essential! We moved here just over a year ago, my son was only 6 weeks old and I wasn’t fully able to enjoy the place but now I’m back and it’s such a lovely place to work.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting their own business? I think it would have to be pricing your products correctly. Too often people don’t charge enough for their work. It’s so hard to get right, but if you launch and then realise that you can’t sell to trade because you have to put your prices up steeply to allow for this then it could cause a problem. Of course, not everyone wants to sell their work to trade so it doesn’t matter but for me that was always my first thought. I think people forget to add their time onto the end product which is a shame, or they don’t charge for their time enough.
How would you describe your style? I don’t think my personal style reflects what I design with Hello Geronimo. For work, it’s all about bright pops of colour, quite crafty, experimental and fun, whereas personally I’m really drawn to monochrome graphics, greys, stripes and quite simple style and design. Our home is a mixture of contemporary style but in a period property and I like contrasting the two styles. I love mid century design and my favourite piece of furniture is our Ercol spindle back bench that we got for our wedding. If I had money to burn, I’d buy the Taraxacum light by Castiglioni and some beautiful Wishbone chairs by Hans J Wegner. One day!
What trend predictions do you have for 2016? I’m quite obsessed with certain materials at the moment, and I’m so pleased that minerals will be a trend for this year along with layering of metallics. I am hoping to launch a new jewellery range this year, which is a brand new venture for me, and they are heavily based on layering of materials, in particular golds and I’m hoping to tie it in with some beautiful marble buttons I have.
What challenges have you set yourself for the next 12 months? I’ve decided to launch about 5 new ranges this year, including some limited edition runs of my UK maps, children’s prints and cards, jewellery, some Christmas cards and if I can manage it another range of prints inspired by texture. I’ve got a lot to do! Coming back from maternity leave has given me a new level of enthusiasm for my work and so I’m literally putting everything I have into it. It’s come as quite a shock as I wasn’t expecting to feel so motivated, quite the opposite, but I think a break was definitely needed. I’m exhibiting at Top Drawer in September for the 3rd time so I’m really looking forward to launching all the new pieces then.
Tell us 5 things we don’t know about you…
- I have a 1 year old son called Henry.
- I am actually an interior designer, and spent many years designing hotels before doing my own thing.
- I once got Carbon Monoxide poisoning from a rented flat.
- We had to suddenly postpone our wedding 2 days before. Long story, but it did mean we got 2 cakes! All was fine in the end!
- My family bought a small hotel in The Cotswolds a few years ago. I was involved in the early stages of concept and design but then had my son so wasn’t around. But my very good friend from university, Jordan Littler designed it and it’s awesome – The Old Stocks Inn, Stow on the Wold.
- Photography: Fiona Kelly