This week's favourite female entrepreneur is Aase Hopstock (@houseofhopstock), founder of House Of Hopstock.
Aase designs bold and vibrant illustrated prints that are placed onto luxury homewares and accessories.
" If there is nothing that you would rather do, if it consumes your everyday, then go for it.There is nothing worse than regretting something you didn’t do."
Is her advice to the new female entrepreneurs.
Let's meet her.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? I am the founder of House of Hopstock, where I create bold and vibrant illustrated prints that are placed onto luxury homewares and accessories.
- When did your journey start? I have a background in costume design and shoe design, but my first love was always illustration. Designing always came from my passion for putting pen (or pencil, ink, or paint) to paper. I continued doing fashion illustration freelance throughout, and I wanted to be able to get back into it full time, to fully immerse myself in my own aesthetic universe. So you could say I’m living the creative dream right now.
- What’s the idea behind your business? The desire was to create a maximalist aesthetic for everyday products. I wanted to fill my life with playful glamour, bold colours and vivid patterns. I might be Norwegian, but I’m certainly no minimalist at heart. I like clean lines, but I can’t live without sumptuous textures and bright colours. When I started House of Hopstock minimalism and rustic simplicity was still the norm, and I wanted something to jutt up against this. Now you see a much bigger trend for colour and texture, so I like to think I have impeccable timing.
- Do you have a personal life motto? Not really. I’m not really a motto kind of person. I simply keep carrying on with what I love and what i want to create. I have wanted to create since i was very young, and always been very focused and ambitious about it, there was never a plan B, and there still isn’t, which is great for sharpening the focus. I’m not sure if a motto would change anything in terms of how I do things, but I’m always curious about people who live by certain words, about what that means to them.
- What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs? Ok so this is my long answer. To be honest, and I feel lucky to say this, I’m not sure if being female has created any obvious struggles for me that I wouldn’t have encountered if I was male. Growing up in Norway and partly New Zealand, with their progressive outlook on gender equality, also helped, and the creative industry is very supportive for all sexes/genders I feel, which is wonderful. The more I speak to women in business these days the more I think the struggle is sadly sometimes more about the limitations we place on ourselves, the doubts and fears we might unconsciously feel as women because of the baggage we are still made to carry, the lingering sense of being less still. Personally I feel this more in the UK than I did in Norway or New Zealand. It wasn’t that long ago that our voices were left unheard, our opinions not deemed serious, our capabilities seen as less, and our ability to own anything or vote for anything was non existent. Our current liberties and rights are a blip in time in the grand scheme of things, and the baggage still weighs on us. So i think perhaps the struggle is still centered around conscious or unconscious self doubt, about struggling to both truly feel and believe that we are as capable and deserving as men, and acting accordingly, and not creating a self fulfilling prophecy where we fail only because we feared we would. So we need to be kinder to ourselves and each other, which is why I’m adamant that all women in business support each other no matter what. Perhaps that is my motto.
- How do you overcome it?
The struggle comes in waves I suppose. Which is why you need to surround yourself with great people, and ask for help. You also have to know your sh*t, you have to be able to hold your own. But having a great support network, whether that is friends, family, mentors, your suppliers, retailers, co-workers or all of the above, whoever it is, they are key. I am fortunate to have great support.
- What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur journey? Simply staying in business during these trying times is a daily achievement. To see my products out there, with my name on them, being bought by strangers who lovingly bring them into their homes, that is a genuine and continued joy. - What was your biggest personal achievement? I sometimes feel that my greatest personal wins are in the small everyday achievements. Persevering when you face yet another obstacle or learning yet another lesson the hard way. The small wins can sometimes feel enormous, and they keep you buoyant. Having created a business from scratch, with no prior experience of this specific industry, sourcing a supply chain and bringing the product to market, i sometimes look back on the journey that i took to get here and I feel immensely proud and fortunate. I try to make sure I give as much back as I can by being available for work experience or help and mentoring over a cup of coffee. I constantly rely on others kindly sharing their hard earned wisdom with me, so I make sure I share mine too.
- What is the greatest lesson you've learned from being an entrepreneur? Probably resilience, and that I truly love what I do. The life of an entrepreneur is all consuming. The lows sometimes feel much more frequent than the highs. But I wouldn't want to do anything else. I love it. I really do. It is work, a whole lot of it, but i would never call it a job.
- How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals? Inspiration never was an issue, haha. I think my problem is having to keep telling myself that I can only pursue so many ideas at a time. I can’t draw if there is a mess around me, and I need a cup of coffee with hazelnut and coconut milk, and a certain pencil. Oh, and i always wear a Tiara when i draw!
- Who’s the female entrepreneur or leader that you admire the most and why? I have a few. Michelle Obama for being, well, herself. For making it cool and amazing to be strong and clever. For making that before mentioned baggage weigh a little less. Dita Von Tease for making a huge commercial success out of a created version of herself. Marina Abramovich for being incredibly brave and true to her art. Iris Apfel for doing what she loves close to a 100 years old. Sensational women that unapologetically paved their way to success doing what they loved. - How do you advertise yourself as an entrepreneur?
This is not my strength, but i grab as many fleeting opportunities I can to cross-pollinate, to network, to collaborate, to mentor, to showcase. But it requires constant work, and is something i constantly wonder how I can do better.
- How did social media help you to promote your business?
It helps get the story across to our customer, it allows them ‘behind the scenes’, and it allows them to be part of our journey. It is also vital in terms of the aforementioned cross pollination, and working with other brands and influencers is key to get the brand across to a wider audience. - Do you have any advice to give to the new female entrepreneurs?
If there is nothing that you would rather do, if it consumes your everyday, then go for it. There is nothing worse than regretting something you didn’t do, they are the regrets we really truly feel. But make sure you have a good support network, whatever that may look like. Because even if you run it like a one-man-band for a while, you still need help. There are great free mentoring programmes out there, networking events, even work experience that might help. And once you’re on your feet, make sure you mentor or help someone back. Keep that help going.
Thanks Aase! Discover more https://www.houseofhopstock.com/