Chatting with the founder of award-winning styling and interiors website, Style Curator, Gina Ciancio tells us how the platform came to be and how sustainability will be a focus for her this year.
Gina, many people would be envious of how you have made the leap from a corporate job to a creative one! How did you do that?
I worked on Style Curator at night and on weekends while working full-time. It was exhausting but I was committed to turning it into my new career from the start. I also purchased 4 weeks leave from work where I could dedicate a big chunk of time to creating content ahead of time which lessened the strain (there’s only so long you can stay up until 2am every night working!).
Once I built up an audience, I began monetising the blog and after 2 years, I was able to take a part-time wage from Style Curator which was enough for me to take the leap.
I suppose my advice for anyone wanting to leave the corporate world would be to stay focused, be willing to make sacrifices and back yourself! It’s easy to fail before you really start if you fall into the trap of comparison or self doubt.
When and why did you choose interior design and styling as a career path?
I can’t say I ever chose it as a career path… it’s more like I fell into it. I decided to start Style Curator as an online hub of interiors inspiration where I profiled experts in various industries, shared other people’s design projects etc. But as we were knocking down our 70s home to make way for a new build, I blogged about the journey. Once the house was finished, I continued blogging about how I was furnishing it and that’s when I started to hone my personal style – and readers resonated with it! Before I knew it, I was styling products for brands and eventually doing personal interior styling consultations for clients. It all evolved organically.
How did you discover your passion for design?
My father was an architect so it’s in my blood. I spent after school in his design studio and weekends on site visits. From a young age I had the importance of passive design and other architectural principles drilled into me!
How would you describe your style or design aesthetic?
I call it contemporary Australian with a minimalist slant. Mostly I stick to neutrals and introduce colour through artwork, soft furnishings and décor.
Are there any particular people or places that have influenced your style and what you want to present through Style Curator?
I find inspiration all around and I’m forever snapping photos or taking screenshots of things I’ve seen, whether it’s a tile used in a café or a project by an interior designer. I love discovering new ways of pairing colours or materials, incorporating greenery into spaces and arranging décor.
What is it about Style Curator that you think resonates with your audience?
Mostly I think it’s the attainable style we present. I love glossy mags as much as the next person but it’s hard to relate when you see a vase for over $300! My approach is luxe for less and the finished look is always liveable.
How do you come up with all the ideas for the blog?
It never ends… sometimes I’ll be chatting with a friend who shares an interior struggle or important decision they need to make, perhaps I’ll find a new product that I want to try, often readers will write in requesting advice on a particular topic. Many blog ideas also come as a result of brands reaching out wanting to work with me.
What do you see as the key to creating a beautiful interior?
Authenticity. A beautiful interior is one that looks good, is liveable and reflects the people who live there. Rather than creating a showroom aesthetic, I look for ways to bring the personality of residents through.
With apps like Pinterest, online magazines and inspiration generation from areas like your styling challenges, do you constantly have to resist the urge to redecorate your own home? How do you find your own style in amongst all of that?
Ha ha, trust me, I redecorate often! I like experimenting with different looks and then seeing what works in my home and feels right. Over time, that’s one of the best ways to hone and define your individual style.
At Two Design Lovers our focus is on finding the balance between style and sustainability. Do you have any tips for sustainability conscious decorators? (eg upcycling, repurposing, etc)
Sustainability is a big focus for me this year. Some ways to be a more sustainable decorator:
- Shop smart: I love a bargain as much as the next person but whenever possible I look for items that are made locally, or made from sustainable materials.
- Upcycle: you don’t always need to buy new. Some of my favourite furniture and décor pieces are ones that I’ve upcycled including the dresser in Alexander’s nursery and the long desk in my office.
- Reshuffle: the most sustainable way to redecorate is to simply move items about in your own home. It sounds silly, but I’ll constantly move furniture, artwork and décor around to breathe fresh life into spaces without spending a cent.
What is your favourite piece on Two Design Lovers and how would you use it?
Ohhh tough question but I’d say the Emu ‘Heaven’ outdoor setting! Seriously, so dreamy. I would use it to create a seating area nestled amongst the garden – the perfect spot for enjoying my morning coffee.
Images have been printed with the permission of Gina Ciancio.