Following six months of assisting with Greenhouse Interiors’ Julia Green, Alana Langan is now happily running her own styling business and online homewares store, HUNT & BOW. Here’s how she did it…
Alana studied an interior styling short course at Central Saint Martins in London in 2011 and then spent six months assisting Julia Green in 2013. “For me, hands on experience was a priority rather than qualifications; I think you can learn a lot about a profession by jumping in head first and learning on the job, ideally in an assistant role. I think it also depends on your career direction. I always had the intention to have my own business so gaining this experience was a priority.”
She started Hunt & Bow, originally as an interior styling business, in 2012. Last year she added the online store string to her (pardon the pun) bow. “I’d always wanted to have my own business doing something creative, so I took the opportunity to develop the business plan during my maternity leave and then went for it. In early 2013, I was lucky enough to secure an assisting position with Julia Green which was instrumental in my career. Not only did I learn the art of styling, but also important business and industry aspects that go hand-in-hand with it.” After six months, Alana felt ready to venture out on her own, and she’s loved every minute.
“My days are often varied, which I love. They can include sourcing vintage or modern products for the online shop, photographing stock and updating the website or working on creative ideas for upcoming shoots, running around town collecting props or meeting with clients. It’s a complete mixed bag!”
Alana’s interest in interiors started early. “I grew up in a home that always had some kind of renovation happening and was encouraged from a young age to get involved. When I was 12, I painted my bedroom and refurbished my first piece of furniture (a Queen Anne side table I decoupaged!) so it’s always been a part of my life and something I’ve loved doing. It wasn’t until I reached my 20s that I discovered being a stylist could actually be something I got paid to do!”
The best part of the job is getting hands on at a shoot. “Being on set and in the flow of the scene you’re creating is just so much fun. Plus, it’s great being part of a creative collaboration with the team (photographer, client, assistants etc.). It’s a real group effort and when things are working well, you can really feel the energy buzzing around. There’s nothing like it!”
Working for herself however is sometimes quiet and a little lonely. “Thankfully though, I’ve built a great network who are really supportive and are always there whenever I need to bounce ideas around or just have a chat.”
Great as the job is though, if you think it’s glamorous, think again! “There’s lots of furniture re-shuffling, running props back and forth around town and heavy lifting! Plus, a reality for me is being wiped out at the end of a long shoot. It’s non-stop work on set and it can be physically and mentally exhausting come wrap time.”
Alana’s top advice for getting into the industry is:
- Get an assistant role to really learn about the job and the industry
- Get yourself on Instagram and start practising your styling
- Make a career plan of action and stick to it.
In five years’ time she’d love to still be doing what she’s doing, but perhaps with the addition of a bricks and mortar store in Melbourne. As a working mum, she continues to be inspired by women who run their own businesses and juggle the demands of motherhood. “They’re both the toughest jobs in the world.”