A conversation with Kiln Home
This month is #ShopSmallSeptember and so we wanted to shine a light on some of our favourite small businesses that are killing it at the moment. We caught up with Emily from Kiln Home, your go-to destination for beautiful, antique pots.
1. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START KILN HOME?
In 2020 I was furloughed from my job as an interior designer and used my time to start sourcing pieces for our new home we were shortly completing on. I came across an image from a magazine cutting of the most beautiful cottage garden with a huge garden olive pot and went about sourcing one. I’d never owned a garden before and it was just as important to consider the design for our outside space as it was the house, but the only antique olive pots I could find were 4 figures which I couldn’t justify. I had also began noticing during my time as a designer that there were so many more influences coming over from the States and these pots in all shapes and sizes were featuring all over my Pinterest but as a designer wanting to take inspiration from this look it was not accessible within the UK. Reproduction “antique-look” pots were beginning to emerge from highstreet homeware stores but to me nothing compared to the authentic, naturally aged pots and I just hoped that there would be others out there who felt the same. I went about sourcing pieces with the history and character but at a price that would be more affordable, and luckily for me things just fell into place.
2. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE ETHOS BEHIND KILN?
I am passionate that Kiln is solely focused on extending the lifespan of pieces that have had a former life, a story to tell and because of that have beautiful authentic, age-worn charm. Just like the nature of Kiln products, it’s important to me that where possible we reuse what already exists in the world, so when it comes to Kiln’s packaging, I reuse boxes and packaging.I try and apply a slow living approach to my home and feel Kiln pieces lend themselves to this more considered, timeless method of design which encourages our homes to be a collection of pieces we have a connection to, with every object introduced into the home being special, and having meaning.
3. WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU'VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING KILN HOME? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH YOU KNEW THEN THAT YOU KNOW NOW?
I have a website for Kiln which is purely transactional, but as a one-woman business, what I love most is the community gained from the Kiln Instagram account. In the early days I hadn’t realised how important this would be for me as much as for the promotion of my brand. It took a while to learn that Instagram is a platform where I can personally represent my business by sharing more of me and taking a more relaxed approach to my marketing. I can be informal, silly and honest whilst remaining professional, I’ve found that makes me/Kiln more relatable, better understood and that generally makes every day more enjoyable. To say I have made friends as well as customers through the account is something I am very proud of.
4. YOU'RE CURRENTLY UNDERTAKING A HUGE RENOVATION OF YOUR BRISTOL HOME. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEBODY LOOKING TO TAKE ON A HOUSE RENO?
Ah yes! Tackle one room at a time – the bigger picture is always so much more overwhelming. And slow down! Live with your home before you start making changes, there are things I have learnt from living in our home the past year that I hadn’t considered in my original plans.
5. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ROOM AT HOME AND WHY?
Related to the above answer, my favourite room is our temporary lounge. It will eventually be our dining room but we have been living in this room since the reno works started on the actual lounge. And I have found it such a light and bright room, in the centre of the house off of the kitchen, so when we return it to a dining room, we now plan to make it a multifunctional space and make room for a sofa area. Completely tongue in cheek, I’m calling it the morning room.
6. WHAT'S THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED?
7. WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO HOME DECOR ITEMS THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE?
Haha, I’m going to have to say antique pots! I love how individual and interesting they are to look at. I also love that unlike vases you don’t necessarily need to fill them, empty pots on their own are beautiful! I’m also a huge fan of little bowls, both decorative and purposeful. Also coffee table books for layering – just don’t forget to actually look through them as much as look at them. Oh and cushions, I have an obsession with mixing textures and simple patterns, I luckily have a lot of window seats in my farmhouse so a great excuse to buy even more.
8. YOU'VE GOT A LOT ON YOUR PLATE WITH MANAGING A FULL HOUSE RENOVATION, RUNNING A BUSINESS, PLANNING A WEDDING. DO YOU HAVE A DAILY RITUAL YOU SWEAR BY TO KEEP YOU SANE?
Nope, I’m just far from sane!! I started to keep a to-do list at the beginning of last week and I’m already two days behind.
9. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SMALL BUSINESSES YOU THINK OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Oh there are so many! Focusing on vintage I would say @broomhill_antique_rugs if you love that vintage American design vibe I was talking about earlier. For homeware bits the @theprimitivehomeltd is a new business and Lizzie is sourcing some absolute corkers. And if you’re a bride to be, @amare_bride is another new small business that owner Lyndsey was just destined to do, she was faultless at helping me to find a dress.
10. WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU AND KILN HOME?
Wedding next Summer! A finished lounge hopefully! With so much going on I’m not aiming to build an empire with Kiln, I want to keep offering the pieces that seem to be so loved. I have a few other ideas in terms of remaining true to the original aim of Kiln to bring affordable pieces. And I have a few pots that are destined for another purpose in life which I will be announcing over the coming months!