Jen Bishop: Interiors Queen
Jen Bishop is all about carving your own path in the world – even when it comes to decorating homes. “I don’t really believe in trends,” she says. “I believe you should buy less often and only what you really love.”
It is this “do what you love” ethos that led her to exploring her true passion of interior decorating, despite starting out in the big, bad world of journalism. “I have always been a journalist, mainly in news. However, later in my career, I was editor of a business magazine. I loved it but the subject matter wasn’t exactly riveting, although I did find interviewing entrepreneurs who had carved their own careers really inspiring,” she says. “I started the blog, on the suggestion of my husband, as a way of getting all the interiors stuff out of my system and writing about something I loved. It was a nice, creative escape and I really never thought anyone other than my friends and family would read it, let alone that it would become a business and my full-time job.”
And this love runs deep, dating back to Jen’s childhood days in the UK. “I’m not sure what started it, but I always remember loving homewares and having an opinion on interiors, even as a child. I also tell the famous story about painting our living room Wedgwood blue one evening while my Dad took a long bath. Seriously, what kind of teenager does that?” she laughs.
This dedication to her decorating cause resulted in Jen living and breathing the blog in the early days, before taking the plunge and pledging all her time to it. “I had a full-time job too but in my spare time, my lunch breaks, my evenings and weekends, I was really getting into the Australian interiors industry and the people behind it. I left my magazine job 18 months after starting the blog, and that was when I decided it was now or never. Everything got a lot more professional and I now have advertisers to keep happy, as well as almost 100,000 readers. There are also other people working in the business; it became way bigger than just one person could handle.”
In a world packed with filtered photos and scheduled posts, Jen credits the authenticity of her blog as her main avenue to success. “As I mentioned, Interiors Addict wasn’t started with the intention of being for the general public. But once it became clear that was the way it was going, I think what appealed to people was my non-snobby approach to design. Having a stylish home can be for everyone on every budget and it can be fun.”
Her enthusiasm for the work she does is palpable and that is quite clearly the point of difference that has propelled Interiors Addict into the hearts of readers everywhere. “I think we’re quite proud of our mainstream approach in that we have something for everyone,” Jen says. “We also publish a lot, at least twice a day, and we like to really keep in touch with our readers through events and social media. Our followers really feel like they know me and I like to be very approachable and keep it real.”
With this in mind, I ask Jen what a day in the life of one of the country’s most admired bloggers is like – and in typical entrepreneur fashion, she juggles a million tasks on an everyday basis. “I love that running my own business allows me to have flexibility. In the mornings I’m mum to our son Sebastian and you can find us at the park, playgroup or music class. In the afternoons, we have a nanny and I get my work done,” she says. “A workday could involve anything from writing content, interviewing someone for a story, meeting with an advertiser, attending a launch or other event or styling and shooting some products in my own home. Every day really is different!”
With so much on her plate, how does Jen handle the intricacies of balancing it all, while staying true to producing excellent content? “By employing great people who you trust to support you. Delegating is key. I also benefit from having a very supportive husband, Damian,” she explains. “We have no shortage of great new products and trends being sent through to us to share with our readers, but it’s about curating what we think our readers will like best or find most useful.”
The tactic has obviously paid off, with Interiors Addict garnering more than 77,600 Instagram followers and 68,859 Facebook page likes to date. Jen is quick to credit social media as playing a massive role in the popularity of her blog. “Social media is my way of connecting with our readers that will always be important to me. I enjoy it too,” she says. “In my own experience, I think not being afraid to be a real person whose own home and life isn’t perfect, is important, and something my followers appreciate. I think social media should be authentic and not too pre-planned or scheduled.”
With various achievements under her belt, Jen has trouble picking and choosing the highlights of her career thus far. “There are just so many,” she exclaims. “I am proud and grateful every day that I have created myself a job that I love and that allows me to spend a lot of time with my family. A couple of years ago, I ghost-wrote renowned interior designer Greg Natale’s book, The Tailored Interior, which was an amazing experience. And two years ago we launched a second blog, Reno Addict, which is going strong.”
Having accomplished so much already, what’s on the cards for Jen and Interiors Addict? “I never stop reassessing the site and looking at what we can do differently, making changes and experimenting with new things,” she stresses. “This year, expect to see more video and podcasts. We’re also buying a new home which will no doubt need renovating so I’m looking forward to sharing that journey, and its highs and lows with our readers.”
Jen’s Top 5
Favourite piece of furniture or decorative piece?
I have a bone-inlaid bar cabinet from West Elm which I really love and know I will have forever
Three things that every stylish home should have?
That’s a tricky one. I don’t think a living room looks finished without a coffee table, a rug and some art
What you need to instantly freshen up a space
A coat of paint, fresh flowers or foliage or the increasingly trendy house plants, new cushion covers and a great rug
Jen’s decor wishlist
I love the Willow buffet from GlobeWest
I can’t live without
Cushions, of course, lamps for ambient lighting, great rugs (the bigger, the better), fresh flowers at all times and statement decor pieces in metallics and ceramics
Words: Manveen Maan