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May 16, 2017

A Conversation with India Hicks: Founder of Growing Lifestyle Brand

By Laura Byrne

India Hicks is a name you may hear more frequently around town as her lifestyle brand of affordable luxury products make their way into the homes of your friends and neighbors. The former model and descendent of British and design royalty (her godfather is Prince Charles) launched her brand in 2015, partnering with women around the world whom she calls Ambassadors to sell her products as independent consultants.

The mother of 5 who calls Harbour Island in the Bahamas home says her children have been incredibly supportive as she helps women find the ‘second chapter’ in their lives. She recently visited South Tampa to meet with her Ambassadors like Angier Miller and Susannah Matthews, but also to connect with those who are fans of her brand and even the curious, like us, who simply wanted to learn more about her fascinating story.

India-Hicks-Tampa- Photo-by-Brian-Adams

Tell us about the India Hicks brand–what inspires your designs?

When designing the IH collections I draw on a variety of inspirations. Living on a tiny island in the Bahamas for the past 20 years, I find inspiration everyday whether running on the pink sand beaches or stopping to admire the Wild Spiderlily – a robust white flower that blooms in the sand and withstands the fiercest of hurricanes. That particular scent inspired my first fragrance for the brand and an accompanying Bath & Body Collection.  There is a great deal of travel-inspired pieces, as I am always on the road promoting the IH business across the USA, which then makes me start to think about the practical needs of modern women, which then takes me back my life in England and a certain sartorial sensibility that is inherent to my upbringing.

India-Hicks-Tampa- Photo-by-Brian-Adams Why was it important for you to take the route of hiring independent consultants to promote and sell your brand?

Knowing I wanted to launch a lifestyle brand, it was suggested to me by my partners that we should look at selling back in the heart of the home, not through shops and boutiques but back around the kitchen table. That was not a route that had ever occurred to me –but when I began to dig a little deeper, I suddenly felt that there was a huge opportunity here, a white space that could be filled. No one was telling a lifestyle story, no one was concentrating on affordable luxury, and no one was addressing a vast group of smart savvy women who had once had successful careers but had given it up in order to raise their children but were now ready to take on something new again, but doing it on their own terms and in their own time. I met with several of my own girlfriends who were frustrated by the fact that they had given up careers to raise a family – which they had found extremely rewarding, of course – but now with their children slightly older they wanted to do something again with their lives, something meaningful but they didn’t want to invest their own personal capital or write a business model, they didn’t want to have to have the endless sleepless nights of creating a start up. I also found there were many young mothers, with new born babies or toddlers still at home, they too were looking for a new career but something that meant they could work from home, be a hands on mother and work their own hours. So, the two came together at the same moment: the idea of direct sales or person-to-person sales or what ever we want to call this, and recognizing that there was an audience looking for something entrepreneurial. It was rather like the perfect storm. And now I’m here, and I couldn’t think of myself in any other place.

We love your book, ‘India Hicks: Island Style”. Your home is beautiful! How can we achieve a similar level of effortless design with kid stuff everywhere? 

india hicks island styleLike many traditional Caribbean homes Hibiscus Hill sprouted additional rooms, and verandahs, as our family grew. There was no grand scheme. New rooms just seemed to evolve as children arrived and as our piggy bank waxed and waned. As a result of this and the five children, three dogs, two cats and 6 love birds, plus one tortoise, our home Hibiscus Hill is brimming with treasures, art works, children’s pottery, travel tokens, artifacts gathered over the years. Every corner bears evidence of our fascination with stuff, always in a constant state of movement and endlessly reimagined. I am however a virgo and the grand daughter of  an admiral, as a result I am extremely organized. Cupbaords and chest of drawers hide much of the clutter and we encourage our children to tidy up after them selves as much as possible although this is rather a loosing battle. My father, a great designer, always believed that one mediocre object on its own became something of interest when joined by others to form a collection. So we will gather objects of similar color and texture and make a ‘table-scape’ out of them.  We will hang straw hats along a wall, and display plastic bath toys under acrylic display cases as though they were a pieces of art. David and I recognize that we suffer from compulsive collecting but its these collections of stuff that remind us of the wonderful times, the rough patches and all the bits in between.

You excel in table top decor. What is your secret to creating an inviting family kitchen?

Our kitchen is the command and control headquarters of Hibiscus Hill, center of all chaos and the place where we congregate. The kitchen table was designed by me many years ago and has the original stainless steel which has now been snubbed so often its taken on an entirely new patina. the table is normally creaking with titanic sized bowls of tropical fruit, not just because we try to persuade our children that fruit tastes nearly as good as chocolate but because we love the way the fruit looks, inviting and decoratively fab.


India Hicks Ambassadors share:

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“For decades we have admired India Hicks – her design aesthetic and style; we care so grateful for her mentorship and business partnership.” –Angier Miller and Susannah Mathews (Senior Directors and first India Hicks Ambassadors in Tampa Bay)

 

 

 

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“I’ve never sold anything in my life but I saw India Hicks’ beautiful collection and I wanted every piece, so when I got to meet her in person, this beautiful and down-to-earth member of the British aristocracy, I felt like I had to join her company and be a part of the glamour and excitement…bonus that I can easily do it as a mommy from home.” -Dina Sheridan (pictured on the far right), new India Hicks Ambassador

 


Some of our favorite things from the India Hicks line:

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Indi Token: $39-$45, Essential Chain (adjustable): $48

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Flat Stanley Pouch, Count Your Lucky Stars: $68

India-Hicks-Tampa- Photo-by-Brian-Adams

The Beetle Bag: $35

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The Siren Scarf: $58

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