Christine Dovey – of the beloved blog & brand, Bijou & Bohome – is one of my design icons. Whether we’re talking about her adorable family, her dedication to her business, her sense of taste and style in a world that is both eclectic and entirely edited – I love every last bit of her. So needless to say that I am over the moon Christine agreed to sit down and talk all things B&B shop with us.
SMP: What’s your favourite quote that describes your creative process?
Christine: “Don’t be like the rest of them, darling” I’ll borrow from my design muse, Kelly Wearstler and say that my biggest inspiration and intention with my work is to be original….to give my clients something that doesn’t feel mass produced or copied. I want everything I do creatively to feel special, very much of my own voice and even somewhat daring.
SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
Christine: I was convinced for pretty much my whole life that I was meant to be a wedding planner. I was always so fascinated by the detail and splendor of it all. I still often think this is a job I could do well and love. I’ve also always wanted to be an author and think penning a book is still my ultimate dream goal.
SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel that your blog was going to thrive?
Christine: It was about 6 months after my blog started that a few really well known bloggers posted photos of my house on their sites…my readership in the months that followed really started to pick up and I felt pretty good about where things were going. Following that, I was lucky enough to have some of my work published in magazines (both online and print,) that really helped solidify my hope that the blog would prove successful.
SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
Christine: I wish I knew! I’m honestly struggling with balancing everything each and every day. I guess my thoughts on that one for now are to take advantage of the time that doesn’t fit neatly into the definition of traditional work hours. Because I have young children who need my attention throughout the day, I tend to do my design/online work in the early morning or after they’ve gone to bed. I also do a lot of sourcing or client meetings on the weekends, when I have my husband’s extra set of hands to help with the kids. Really, it’s all about taking advantage of every moment you can, both in terms of work and life….little minutes here and there, all added up, can be pretty important/impactful.
SMP: What is the one piece of advice you’d give a blogger just starting out?
Christine: I’d say be true to your own voice. Own it and love it. Don’t be afraid to post about your own work because that’s what will get you noticed…people can find pretty pictures anywhere but what they can’t see anywhere else is what you can do. If you create original content, the readers will come. Also, ‘do onto others’ as it were. If you want comments on your blog, take the time to reach out to others. If you want people to be encouraging of your work/process/creativity, be so with theirs. It sounds so simple and obvious but trust me, kindness and positivity goes a long way.
SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to bloggers everywhere, what would that message be?
Christine: Take the time to really listen to your gut…learn to trust that you already know what it is you’re good at and meant to do. Follow those whispers in your own heart, even if they’re scary. Trust that if you are working at what you love, success and happiness will follow.
SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business that you’ve learned?
Christine: This is one I’m still working on…truthfully, it’s the actual business part itself that I find difficult. My brain is definitely hardwired for creativity, which sadly leaves the financial/operational side of everything I do on the sidelines. I’m just not wired to know how to really think in terms of hard business. I’ve recently hired a bookkeeper and accountant just to help me wrap my head around that side of things. I’d also love to work with a business coach so that I could set a plan in place for where I’d like to really see my company going in the future – figuring out this side of things has definitely been a lesson I find difficult and one I’m most certainly still working on. Aside from that, these past few years of working as a design blogger/stylist/decorator have also shown me that “it costs money, to make money”…all this designing and re-designing of my own home has been expensive! Thankfully, it’s starting to pay me back in a way that’s financially rewarding…thank god…it’s very nice to finally feel like what I’m doing is moving beyond a hobby to something that’s actually a real job.
SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
Christine: This is a tough one because I’m a firm believer in fate and a larger ‘plan’ as it were. I also think that every decision we make impacts how things unfold and can definitely alter our final path and god knows, I love my life and feel so blessed. The thought of screwing with that in some way or imagining how things could be different, well, that’s more than a little terrifying…especially when I think of my family. But, when I think back, there are a few things that strike me as things that if possible, I might change. For one, I wish I had figured out earlier that design was what I really wanted to do. I spent 12 years as a teacher before really following my dreams and often wish that I could have sorted this all out earlier…though again, if I hadn’t been a teacher, I never would have met my husband or had my beautiful children so would I risk this change? NEVER! The only other thing I can think of is that I wish I could have married and started a family slightly earlier. I was 31 when my first was born and 38 with my last…I often compute my age when they’ll reach certain milestones and that honestly, sometimes makes me sad…as I said before, time is a fleeting thief and I can’t help but focus on how fast it’s going.
SMP: What colour do you think will stand the test of time?
Christine: I’m truly biased on this one and have to say pink (blush specifically), though honestly, I don’t think it will stand the test of time in terms of design. I just love it too much to not give it as my answer! If I had to say truthfully what I think on this specific question, I guess I’d say black…goes with everything as it were…a true staple.
SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?
Christine: Great, original art that you moves you in some way.
SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?
B&B: Oh…tough one…either a Kelly Wearstler Souffle sofa or a painting by Petrina Hicks called ‘Venus’
SMP: Any guilt pleasures?
Christine: First and foremost, wine…I adore it. Apothic red and white are my current faves, they’re like buttery candy. What else? I love streaming TV on my computer – there’s something so decadent about being able to watch a pile of episodes all at once…in solitude. Also cheese of any variety and frozen Lindor balls…preferably with that wine I was talking about.
SMP: Stranded on a desert island, what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
Christine: If I couldn’t have wine (because not technically a cocktail I suppose,) I’d take a mojito.
SMP: Some words to live by…
Christine: “Live in the moment for in a second it will be gone.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that time is fleeting…in a blink of an eye it passes and perhaps what I’m working on most these days, is to appreciate and savor the little things that make each one so infinitely special.