reflections on 2017


When I think back over the past twelve months in my business, two big things stand out: the launch of Brand Brilliance and the very first Brand Stylist Retreat. They've kind of eclipsed everything in my mind, and perhaps rightly so. Both were pretty epic events, but I know that there was a lot more to my year than that. And in the interests of reflecting on and marking what I've achieved this year, I wanted to explore things in a little more detail. So I took to my Instagram, which as it turns out, is a pretty helpful visual diary of how the year panned out. There were so many moments from last year that deserve to be celebrated, in however small a way. And I wanted to share them here, as a post I can refer back to for those days when I'm struggling to see the wood for the trees. Or those days when I wonder whether I'm moving forward fast enough...


my 2017 highlights

January was all about the production of Brand Brilliance. Styling, shooting, designing and editing was an absolute joy this time around, thanks to the immense support of some pretty fabulous people. So thank you to Matt Pereira, Elizabeth Cairns and my mum! Hot on the heels of the book was the redesign of The Brand Stylist website - another epic project which took until April to launch! Big love to BWeb for committing to dot every i and cross every t in the build.


Designing the gift boxes for the launch of Brand Brilliance was a definite highlight of the year. Finding new ways to create delight and build an experience is one of my most favourite things and I loved applying this process to my new book. Lots of love to Sarah Thorne, Century Studios and FE Burman for making this such an absolute pleasure.


The Brand Brilliance launch was pretty incredible. The party in London blew my mind - thank you to each and every one of you who attended. And every single one of you who left an amazon review, wrote a lovely instagram comment and shared with your friends. I'm so proud of this book and to see you guys respond so well to it means everything. Wow. Thank you. And thank you to Steph, Duncan, Elizabeth and Ange who made the party go with a bang.

The week after the Brand Brilliance launch party I jetted off to Majorca for the retreat. My goodness, what an event. Each and every one of those ladies was an absolute inspiration and I cannot wait for next year. And those photos... Katie, you surpassed yourself.


June saw the first of two collaborations with the wonderful Sophie Robinson. We launched our very first Colour Psychology for Interiors workshop at Papermill Studios in London and had an absolute ball. Flowers were epic as always, Steph and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with Saima of Hampstead Kitchen.


Finally, just before the summer holidays I launched my very first online workshop, Colour for Creatives. Phew. That's actually quite a lot achieved in six months, isn't it? No wonder I needed to take six weeks off!


September was all about settling the little one in to school and working out how I wanted to move forwards as a mum with three children at school. It really felt like very little got done in September and October but behind the scenes I was busy working on my Design for Go-Getters online course which, predictably, took me much longer to produce than I'd expected. Lots of love to Duncan, Katie, Elizabeth and my mum (again!) for helping me get this live.


November saw a couple of workshops: our second Colour for Interiors event with Sophie and Focus and Thrive which was just incredible. To see the ladies on that course completely elevate their visions for their business and properly embrace what was possible was mind-blowing. I can't wait for our February event.


Client work was kept deliberately low key this year as I was conscious that I needed time to focus on my own ventures. But I did work on a couple of really lovely projects and I'm looking forward to opening my books again this year. Collaboration is really important to me, as you'll see from above. Even those projects I work on alone are usually a collaboration of some sort and that keeps things inspiring for me.

I also love to speak, and really enjoyed presenting at the Chapel Designers Conference as well as various online summits. Oh, and the Me and Orla podcast was a ton of fun. I'd love to do more podcasts next year - maybe I'll even get around to launching my own?!

I travelled a little this year: Switzerland and Majorca for work, as well as the Loire, Dordogne and Ile de Re regions of France for pleasure.

Next year I'd like to travel lots more. I'd dearly love to run another workshop in New York or California but I'm at a loss as to how to find the right visa to make it work. From all the research I've done, it doesn't seem to be possible, but if anyone has any inside knowledge I'd love to hear it.


Hopes for the new year

I'm yet to sit down and properly plan out 2018 - and my goodness am I jealous of those ladies who took part in our November Focus and Thrive workshop who already have this stuff down... I'm going to need to do a proper planning session with Elizabeth over the next few weeks to create a truly powerful vision, but in the meantime, here are a few of the ideas that are percolating for me.

This year won't be quite such a 'big' year as last, but that's ok. No book launches planned. No 'firsts' in terms of retreats but I'm going to enjoy quietly consolidating and taking things to the next level.

I've adored working on the online workshops and would love to do more. But I'm also conscious that I need a mix of projects to keep me inspired and my work relevant. So I won't be racing to launch anything new, but I'd like to think that towards the end of the year a new online workshop had been launched. What do you think? Do you have any special requests?

Most excitingly, I have some truly incredible client projects to kick off the new year with. I'll be working on a luxe skincare brand, an agroturismo in Italy and the design and creative direction for my friend Elizabeth's new book. And that's just up till half term! I literally can't wait.

What are you celebrating from 2017 and what are your hopes for the year ahead? I'd love to hear from you. Here's to a year of health and happiness.