A chat with Katy from Haykin

Hello! Today I get to share one of my favourite posts – talking to small creative businesses about what inspires them and how they keep creative. I love exploring this topic; if nothing else, to give me ideas on how to remain creative and how to work efficiently in my day job. Even if you don’t have a business of your own (or a desire to start one), there’s something for everyone in learning how people work and how they motivate themselves.

Specifically today I’m talking to Katy from Haykin; I think I found Katy through her friend Lisa (quite a while ago now!) and I remember falling in love with her Instagram feed and blog all because we both have the same yellow armchair in our home; it’s all about the small things!

Haykin is an independent online store featuring a vibrant collection of homewares and style finds. The shop launched in February this year and I was struck by the simplicity of the products featured, as well as the glorious range of co-ordinated colours that feature throughout.

So let’s sit back, put up our feet and find out more about Katy and how she runs her creative business…


A chat with Katy from Haykin about creativity, goals and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


Hey Katy, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off by a little introduction to who you are…

I live in Ilkley, a spa town in West Yorkshire, quite near the Yorkshire Dales. I share a Victorian terraced house with my husband Tim and our seven year old English Springer Spaniel, Boris. I was born in Perth, Scotland but moved (or should I say my parents moved!) to Yorkshire when I was two. After leaving school, I ventured over the Pennines to Manchester for university and it was here, after completing a degree in linguistics, that my career in PR began, as a press officer for Manchester Camerata.

Your background has been in PR; how did you go about making that leap from PR into the world of home interiors?

I think it was just over a year ago now that I felt I’d reached a career-crossroads. I’d been working in PR for over 14 years – a mixture of in-house, agency and freelance roles – and although it was a job I was both comfortable in and capable at, it wasn’t a job that was firing me up anymore. When I gave it the ‘five-years-from-now’ litmus test, I knew it was time to shake things up a bit.

Owning my own shop and filling it with timelessly-designed, colourful wares had always been a dream but the lure of a steady salary and the familiar had always won. But, following a handful of perspective-giving family and personal events, which made me understand (finally!) the meaning of ‘living for now’, I decided to take the plunge and make a go of it. So with an enormous amount of support and encouragement from my husband, family and friends, as well as a few nail-biting meetings at the bank, I threw myself into creating and developing Haykin full time.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Haykin, how would you describe the brand and products?

Haykin is an online store that features a carefully-selected collection of homewares and style finds sourced from designers, makers and small brands across the globe who all share a similar aesthetic: one which is big on colour yet simple and timeless by design.

Contemporary ceramics from Italy sit alongside pastel-hued paper art from San Francisco, and bright, bold cushions from Folkestone nestle with clever, colourful kids storage solutions from Paris.

The shop is also a celebration of my personal fascination with colour and pattern which I’d say dates back to my late teens as an art student

In terms of the brand’s inspiration, I’d say this is two-fold. The shop’s name, Haykin, is a derivation of my late grandfather’s first and second names, Harry Wilkinson, who was an industrial designer by trade but a hugely accomplished artist in his spare time. A combination of his eye for strong, functional design and his appreciation for fine art and a happy aesthetic, is something I’ve tried to incorporate into Haykin.

The shop is also a celebration of my personal fascination with colour and pattern which I’d say dates back to my late teens as an art student: I loved the work of artists like Kandinsky, Mondrian and Yorkshire icon, Hockney.


A chat with Katy from Haykin about creativity, goals and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


The shop opened at the end of February – how has it been going since launch?

Really well! The feedback I’ve had from friends, colleagues, media and people I’d never even met before, has been truly fantastic and hugely encouraging. It feels great to be fully submerged in something I get so much enjoyment from.

It’s still very early days though and there’s an enormous amount of work to do to share the Haykin love and build a community around us. I’m learning new skills all the time and learning, also, from mistakes so it’s a labour of love for sure but I wouldn’t swap it for anything!

The website describes products as clean and simple in design, but with added vibrant colour – how have you gone about sourcing and selecting designers and products? Could you share with us how that process works?

I began my search for suppliers last summer by attending a number of trade fairs. First up was Formex in Stockholm which was a wonderland of minimal, functional design; next was showUP in Amsterdam where I met some fantastic independent designers and makers from the Netherlands and Belgium; then I made my debut trip to Maison et Objet in Paris which was overwhelmingly awesome and hugely inspiring, and finally, I spent a couple of days at the London Design Festival in September where I met some British designers who are doing incredible things.

Running alongside the buying trips, were (and still are!) Instagram and Pinterest marathons in search of goods of colour and simplicity. I also keep a keen eye on design blogs too to learn about new designers and of course, new trends.

It’s probably the PR in me but I think it’s important to see beyond the products sometimes and where possible, try bring the brand alive through the personalities of the people who created it or work for it.

I think a combination of heading out to meet suppliers personally, whether through trade shows or studio visits, and constant desk research is, for me, a good way to find the work that’s right for the shop. I like to chat to designers, find out a bit more about them, learn what inspires them etc and it’s trickier to get a feel for this via email. But, if you find a designer or brand on the other side of the world (hello Odd Pears in Australia!), then you have to just go with your gut and trust that what you’re seeing online is as awesome in real life – which in the case of our Odd Pears socks, is definitely the case!

Over on the Haykin blog I have just started a series called Haykin Introduces which is essentially a Q&A with our suppliers. It’s designed to give our customers and blog readers an opportunity to get to know the people behind the brands a little better. It’s probably the PR in me but I think it’s important to see beyond the products sometimes and where possible, try bring the brand alive through the personalities of the people who created it or work for it.


A chat with Katy from Haykin about creativity, goals and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


What’s next for Haykin? Do you have any exciting plans you can share with us?

One of the things I’d love to do is collaborate with some of our brands and designers to create something completely unique for Haykin. I was involved in creating our own-brand colour block cushions and really enjoyed the process of selecting colours and fabrics and watching the products come to life.

Opening the shop’s doors to overseas customers is also in the plan for this year. We work with suppliers all over the world so why not open up the offering to customers globally too!

But I guess my biggest hope for Haykin is to see it grow and succeed in an organic, honest way and for us to develop a community which grows with us. Just to continuing doing what we love and for it to make sense is more than I could wish for at the moment!

To anyone reading this and thinking about starting a business, what’s the one piece of advice you’d offer them?

I guess first of all, if you have a business idea or a vision for one, and it’s all you think about day and night, my advice would be do everything in your power to make it happen. The idea of regretting a decision that WAS in my power to influence, is something I really struggled to get my head around.

More practically though, I’d say the one thing I’ve learnt over the last 12 months is that it’s totally OK to ask for help! It’s impossible to be good at everything (and quite frankly, we don’t have enough hours in the day to be good at everything!) so my advice would be to know and focus on your strengths and for the things you’re not so hot on, find professionals who will do the work brilliantly and save you a tonne of headaches and worry!

For me, accounting and web development were things I knew I would struggle with so with the help of QuickBooks, my logically-minded husband now handles all the number crunching and on the web front, I have the wonderful Kim Lawler to thank for expertly building my website!


A chat with Katy from Haykin about creativity, goals and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


I guess first of all, if you have a business idea or a vision for one, and it’s all you think about day and night, my advice would be do everything in your power to make it happen. The idea of regretting a decision that WAS in my power to influence, is something I really struggled to get my head around.

What’s the key to a happy life for you?
  • Good health
  • List-making (case in point!)
  • Creating a calm, happy home-life with my husband, Tim, and our Springer Spaniel, Boris
  • The prospect of travel
  • A chilled glass of crisp white wine at 6pm on a Friday in our local pub
  • Making time for friends
  • Dogs, all of them
  • Planning to have no plans at the weekend every now again
  • Finding work that you love but being OK with the fact it won’t always be easy
And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive)?

Am I allowed more than one person?!

  • David Hockney – one of my all-time design and colour icons (plus I love his Bradford/LA accent)
  • Caitlin Moran – because she’s just plain brilliant: funny, intelligent, eloquent, thought-provoking, thought-leading and a wonderful champion of women
  • Casey Neistat – a New York-based daily YouTuber who’s energy and creativity is contagious and really flipping inspiring
  • Coco Chanel – she changed the face of women’s fashion and I can only imagine that took serious balls and vision. Plus I’d love to ask her opinion on my outfit or wardrobe choices 😉
  • Michael Palin – oh my, he’d have so many wonderful stories to tell, I’d never want him to shut up! And I have a friend who worked with him on a PR job once and she said he was the nicest bloke she’d ever met – which isn’t a surprise at all!
  • Sheryl Sandberg – I just want to listen to everything she knows

I feel like I’ve learnt so much from Katy’s interview – thank you Katy, I’m now subscribed to Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel and might have to get myself some Odd Pears!

A big thank you to Katy for her time today! Haykin have kindly offered a special discount to readers of This Little Space of Mine. Add the code TLSMSHIPFREE when ordering and you’ll get free shipping! This discount is valid until 11th May 2016 and the code can be entered at checkout. Pop over to the shop now.

You can also catch Haykin over on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

If you fancy catching a previous ‘A chat with…’ here are a few links for you –

Thanks for reading, and here’s to a good week! Next month I’ll be back and sharing more business and creative insights… this time from an old friend of mine who has recently launched a business with a little help from Instagram. Can’t wait to share, so be sure to pop back this time next month (if not sooner!).

Leanne x

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