Work and Life
We asked Linda Dekkers, mother to two gorgeous blondies and creative mind behind Live Loud Girl to fill us in on how to take the plunge and make a passion a job, nailing the perfect work-life balance and what it’s really like to emigrate as a family of four. Read on to get inspired…
You’re the founder of Live Loud Girl – a creative agency with a strong focus on interior styling consultancy, lifestyle and entrepreneurship – what sparked the idea of going into this field and how did you begin to set the wheels in motion?
Before Live Loud Girl, I was a marketeer (first in The Netherlands and later in New York) but it was my passion for, and keen interest in design and interiors that pushed me to start up my current business – back then, it was just a hobby and didn’t spring to mind that I could pursue it as a potential avenue of work.
Moving to Dubai with my family felt like the right time to turn this passion and ongoing daydreaming of mine into something real. It really was a matter of ‘right time, right place, right drive’, so I started a blog (without actually knowing what a blog was!) in order to share my interior inspiration, and after publishing a few photos of my son’s bedroom online and on Instagram, a client approached me to do the same for her son. So that’s how my passion became a full time job.
… and how much has the business grown over the years?
Today, Live Loud Girl does so much more than just focus on interior styling of kids rooms: we’ve a much bigger team now and our project sizes are a lot larger and more in depth.
What do you love most about your job?
The thing I enjoy most about my job is that no day is the same. Our projects are very challenging, so our creative brains need to work extra hard. Coffee helps and for the rest, we browse Instagram, other creatives’ work, and the opportunities our region has to offer for some inspiration.
You’re a team of three strong, stylish females with a passion for making magic when it comes to interior design – talk us through each of your backgrounds.
Barbara has been living in Dubai for four years and has four boys. She has a strong interest in art, aesthetics and design. She joined the team three years ago as a stylist and is now an indispensable member of the company.
Roos has been with me for over five years, now – from right back to when I decided to really start growing the business and needed someone to help me put my thoughts onto paper. You won’t see her too much during installations as she moved to Cape Town three years ago. She now takes care of Marketing, PR and content creation.
What does a typical day look like for you?
All three of us start our day by preparing breakfast and then making the school runs. Once we arrive at work, we immediately place our Live Loud Girl thinking caps on and the working day begins. I also run another company – Fronteriors (a furniture company that makes customised fronts, tops and sides for IKEA furniture) from my Dubai based office.
The Fronteriors studio is a creative hub made up of two interior stylist teams and the Fronteriors team who work alongside each other.
We have coffee and then talk, chat, email and meet until it is time to do the school run again. Like with any working parent, it is always a juggle and the to-do list is never fully checked. But it is so much fun and we would not want it any other way.
What was your reason for relocating to Dubai and did it take time for the family to adjust to being in a totally new environment?
We’ve moved around for my husband’s work quite a lot over the years and it’s meant that I’ve needed to push myself to find work wherever we happen to find ourselves at the time. When we moved to Dubai, I decided to start Live Loud Girl – which was just a name and an idea scribbled into a notebook at the time – and this eased the challenging aspect of moving countries which, though hard at times, is hugely valuable. The kids were still young enough to quickly adapt but it took quite a while for me. I was used to living in New York City which I absolutely loved and Dubai didn’t seem to have that same buzz and vibe; the fact that we went from living on the 63rd floor, Downtown to a compound in the suburbs made that stark contrast a little harder to digest! Luckily, I met a great group of people and Live Loud Girl soon began to take off. Although Dubai doesn’t excite me as much as NYC did, I am grateful that it gave me the opportunity to build my company into what it is today.
You have two sons, Jack & Sam – if you could sum each of them up in three (ish!) words, which would you choose and why?
Jack: Kind, happy and football lover
Sam: Creative, funny, and the biggest hugger
What do they think about what you do for work and have either of them displayed any early interest in interior design?
Sam definitely understand interior design. He will be the one to tell me if something looks good or not and I often listen to him and trust his opinion. Jack understands fashion. He will happily participate in a shoot and give me great input for settings and shots. So both boys have a creative side to them which I love.
When shopping for outfits for the boys, what do you usually look out for and what is their go-to brand?
When shopping for the boys I focus on materials, comfort and colors. Cotton is the most comfortable fabric to wear in the Dubai climate: airy t-shirts and shorts are the most breathable and I love basic colors like blue, grey, white and denim. Our favorite brands are Bobo Choses, The Animal Observatory, UNAUTHORIZED, adidas…
Your favourite piece of the season?
For this season we wanted to get across a kick a** swimming pool look. I love the colors and quality of the Acne Studio t-shirts; such great basics. The same goes for the UNAUTHORIZED t-shirts although here I went for the pastel colors. Boys in pink is always a good idea. For swim shorts I went for graphic. Soft Gallery and Sometime Soon have a cute selection, too. This all together with some sliders will get the boys looking ready for some poolside fun in no time!