Interview with Rachel Simpson // Founder of Hunter & Holden

What do you do? 

I have two online websites. Studio Wallcoverings ( that is a competitively priced wallpaper online retailer. The second is that I’m the owner of ‘Hunter & Holden’ which is also a specialist online retailer, offering a large selection of high quality wallpapers, wall murals and soft furnishings.

How would you describe your working life?

Really good! I have a good balance of work and family life. I mainly work from home, which gives me the opportunity to spend lots of time with our two little boys who are Hunter and Holden. Yes, I named my business after their first names. I could never go back to work for anyone now that I have so much freedom, and my family are everything to me.

Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today?

I’m Originally from Darwen – where the machine printing of wallpaper was first invented in the 19th century – I grew up in a family immersed in the creative business of designing, producing and marketing of wallcoverings. During school holidays I would accompany my parents to studios and wallpaper factories in France and Italy, where my interest in the endless possibilities of interior design was first nurtured. From this background, it was not surprising that my first love in interior design was wallcoverings, and my first career step after leaving University was to sell wallpaper and wallpaper pattern books to independent retailers. This gave me a deep understanding of how customers could simply transform their homes through inspirational display ideas and practical advice.

Describe your morning routine.

I wake up to Hunter…my 2.5 year old. He normally wakes me up by coming into our bedroom around 6.30am tickling my face or stroking my hair. If Hunter doesn’t wake me up like this, it’s the noise of giggling…Hunter has climbed into Holden’s cot (Holden is 18months), and they are jumping up and down in it being silly. We all then get up as a family and have breakfast together. Neil is in charge of cleaning out the cats, feeding Layla (our Australian Labradoodle) and making the STRONG coffee! I’m in charge of feeding our other animals…Hunter and Holden!! At 8am our nanny Emma arrives and I head to the gym for an hour, before starting work at 9am. This normally involves turning on my computer and going through emails, writing a blog, checking social media, and of course processing orders from our websites. 

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive? 

EVERYWHERE!!! I’m constantly getting inspiration from every day life activities. I’m constantly snapping photos with my mobile phone. I get a lot of my ideas when I go running. It’s a chance to really think about what I’m going to do that day. It gives me time away from the chaos of having two toddlers, and not getting distracted by the billion of jobs I have to do that day. If I’m in a shopping centre, a restaurant or a bar I take the entire décor in, noting colours and styles. I’ve always loved fashion, and accessories and I see interiors as an expansion on this.

When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track?

You know what-this happens to everyone! Everyone can get in a rut and put things off. I say face things on head on and this then never happens. If I feel like my brain is getting a bit cloudy, I grab my coat and take Layla for a walk, or I’ll ring one of my best friends and go for a coffee. I’m lucky to have some really lovely friends currently in my life. A lot of them have their own businesses and they often bash out ideas with me, and will often get back on track. 

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle?

The freedom. To do what I want, take holidays when I want and spend time with my husband and our two little boys. You get given one life in this world, live it! Do what you enjoy, be with people you love, laugh, eat amazing food, go dancing with the girls and live life to the full. I try to have a good balance when it comes to lifestyle. I’m definitely a work hard, play hard kind of girl.

If you could do something else for the day- what would you do?

I would love to be a Hollywood actress, or a popstar for the day. That would be awesome!!

How do you overcome any challenges in your working life? 

Honestly, ring my husband. He’s my rock. If I’m struggling with anything, he is my first port of call.

How do you celebrate your successes? 

Wine, Food, Silliness! Always in that order.

Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without?

Tools…hmmm my Mac computer, my handbag that is like Mary Poppins' handbag for what is in it! Rituals – I don’t really have any rituals, maybe a couple cups of coffee through the day.

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend?

I used to read loads of books, but unfortunately I seem to now never have anytime. I used to read loads on holiday, but now that we have two boys I don’t get two minutes. The last book I read was ‘Girl on a train’ which was good. Ask me about films…I’m a big film buff!

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready?

Shower, Hairbrush, skinny jeans, Hair bobble, Handbag, mac lipstick. Car keys…where did I put them again?!?!

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Ignore the haters. Ignore the teachers who put you down. The boys that don’t fancy you now…they end up ugly in later life. Don’t stress about exams, you pass them! Finally, I would say, don’t worry about which path your going to take, you take the right path… that is amazing, and all your dreams do come true.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

I’m happy right where I am. Maybe another baby and my husband to work a little less and be at home with us a bit more. Live for now.

Do you want to start a business, change direction or get more of what you want?