Courtesy of Cockpit Arts Photographed by Alun Callender
7.30am - 9am
My boyfriend and I start the day listening to French radio, whilst I check what’s happening on social media. Breakfast is also very French - Black tea, fresh bread - always with Bonne Maman jam and slightly salted butter
I take a quick shower and, unless I have an important meeting, I usually throw on something light and casual to wear to the studio. At the moment my ‘go to’ jeans are Levis Curve ID. I picked them up at Century 21 on a trip to New York. They have been designed to flatter female curves and fit like a dream whatever your shape.
Paris Half Marathon
I recently completed the half marathon in Paris and while training I would usually start the day with a run, but today I’m enjoying a leisurely 30min walk to work. This is time just for me - to think or listen to an inspiring podcast.
9am - 1pm
Cockpit Arts Copyright Action Space
Kouamo is based in a shared studio space at Cockpit Arts in Holborn, an incubator supporting creative businesses. When I arrive I make myself tea then check my emails and gantt chart. As a small business I’m juggling many priorities and the gantt chart has become a lifesaver. It helps me see where I am in the big picture and set specific goals for the day.
Ubud in Indonesia
Each year I create a new Kouamo print collection and my next one will draw on inspiration from my travels in Indonesia. I loved photographing the temples and lush vegetation however the real highlight of the trip was a workshop in Yogyakarta, to learn their very specific and skilled batik style (pictured below). I’m incredibly excited about combining this beautiful technique with digital processes - but today I have other goals to achieve!
Batik Workshop in Yogyjakarta
This morning I need to map out a storyboard for my CrowdFunding video. Some companies have a big budget production however I’m creating this film myself, with a little help from a friend. I like a challenge!
Producing a new collection is a big undertaking, and I hope that the CrowdFunding campaign will give me the lift I need to get things started. It is very daunting but I’m excited about the potential to involve those who already know Kouamo as well as spreading awareness further afield. It has been fun coming up with colourful ideas to reward my funders. Watch this space!
1pm - 2pm
Lunch today is a homemade salad and I eat together with Maya, the talented fine jeweller who I share my studio with. I always finish with dessert, another French tradition. Every now and then I’ll meet a friend for lunch in Lambs Conduit Street. I particularly like La Gourmandina and Tuttis. The People’s Supermarket is also great for fresh produce.
2pm - 7.30pm
Rina, seamstress at Autumn Down
The collaborative spirit of Kouamo is important to me and I want my CrowdFunding film to showcase some of fantastic people who help produce my designs. In the afternoon I make arrangements to film at the family run company Autumn Down and also Heba Women’s Project, a great Social Enterprise I work with.
With some good progress made on the CrowdFunding film, I focus on the rest of my to-do list: preparing orders, scheduling my social media, liaising with customers about commissions, packing deliveries and checking in with stockists such as CultureLabel and Shopcade. I always aim to complete my list, clear the decks and finish before 8pm.
7.30pm - 11pm
Twice a week I play Volleyball after work. It was a great way to make friends when I first moved to London and our team, Malory Eagles, now competes nationally. Tonight though I’m off to the Hoxton Hotel for a talk by Jane & Lucy at Rockett St George with stylist Lucy Gough. I really like their eclectic design philosophy and afterwards we have a lovely chat over a glass of wine.
Jane Rockett during her talk at the Hoxton Hotel
I always eat dinner late. My group of girlfriends meets for dinner once a month in central London and we sometimes head to one of the V&A Lates. There are usually about ten of us and it is always a highlight. Often though i’ll just pull together a simple meal at home or, when he has time, my boyfriend loves to cook something more extravagant. We recently discovered Deliveroo and if we’ve had a hard day we’ll treat ourselves to a food from Isarn.
Bami Chair photographed by Lilian Blot
Our home is very open plan and we eat together in the living room. This is my favourite space as it brings together so many of the things we love and share. Centre stage is a Kouamo Bami chair and a brilliant print by photographer and friend Lillian Blot. The shelves are a library to my boyfriends recording equipment and vinyl, our travel books, novels, exhibition catalogs and lots of boardgames which we play with friends.
I usually head to bed at around 11pm and manage to read a few pages of my book before dropping off. I’ve just finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, a beautiful story by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez.