Huset - A Scandinavian Jewel!

Friday, January 27, 2012

When given the opportunity to visit and speak with the owner of this charming little store on Abbot Kinney, I was ecstatic. For one thing, it sits at the end of one of my favorite shopping blocks, just a stone's throw away from my own house. And for another, I was genuinely curious to learn about Scandinavian culture, something I admittedly knew very little about. 
It's on these occasions that I truly love what I do, especially when I can pick the brain of a self-started entrepreneur like Huset shop owner, Holly Hallberg.
First, let me just say and get out of the way, that Holly is fabulous. She was sporting the most stunning green leather pants I had ever seen, and her flaxen blonde hair was loosely braided to the side as if to say "I care, but not too much" in that cool, sort of relaxed way.

I was given the chance to chat with Holly about her start-up and successes, while browsing the racks of some  gorgeous clothing and accessories, exclusive to the US from Huset.
Such intricately detailed pieces, including this ostrich feathered skirt and handbag, both by Malene Birger, and both available at Huset online here and here.
The dinner and glassware had me swooning, while I simply could not take my eyes off of these two little guys, staring me down from a shelf full of goodies. 
Turns out they're called "Mood Birds" and their tiny heads can be turned or tilted in several different directions to express any mood from happy to sad, to curious and alert. Hands-down, my favorite item in the shop. (Get them here at!) A-DOR-able. 
The rest of this brightly lit and colorful store offers an array of furniture, gifts, clothing and accessories, not to mention, ridiculously cute and modern kid wear and toys. 
It definitely won't be my last visit... But until then, I'll just obsess over my favorite looks at Huset online and try my best to curb my new Swedish appetite. 
And now... a little Q & A with Holly Hallberg and a little bit of inspiration for all of our entrepreneurial hearts... (remember ladies, you can do it all!)

Your husband is Scandinavian and you had traveled there before, but how did the inspiration strike to create Huset? Since I grew up with a house designer/builder father and a architect/designer mother, I was surrounded by design from an early age. I've always been interested in beautiful design. I was always a huge fan of Bau Haus style and early modernism. It was a natural fit when I was introduced to Scandinavian design. Early in my and my husbands relationship I had said that I would love to eventually find an outlet to share this newly found design aesthetic that I discovered through my relationship with him. 

Did you always know you wanted to work in design and fashion? I must say that I never thought of myself as working directly in the design industry, but I did own a childrens accessory brand in my early twenties, but I think it was more about being an entrepreneur and doing my own thing more than working directly with design. As I matured in my career and clearly after my Scandinavian discovery, I definitely wanted to share this wonderful aesthetic with others, so again it was more about the idea and concept about it, than wanting to work in the design or fashion industry. Luckily I think my upbringing helped with making it so appealing.  

You have devoted followers all over the world who were ecstatic to learn that you were opening a physical store for them to shop in, in addition to - How did you choose Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach as the destination spot? Before my husband and I were married, he lived in Venice and so I was very familiar with Abbot Kinney and I've watched with much excitement as the street has developed and become such a hip shopping destination. I knew long before I ever opened the store, let alone thought of opening a store, that Abbot Kinney was were I should be. Also, I've studied the demographics for this area and the fit was perfect for us. 

You travel two to three times a year to collect all of these wonderful designs we see in the store, do you select based on what you personally like or what you feel best represents Scandinavian design? I think the answer to this question is a little of both. Most of the items in our store are things that I personally find appealing but I must admit that there are a few things that we have which are for a wider audience.

Being creator, buyer, merchandiser and owner of all things Huset, you wear many hats on a daily basis. What is your favorite part about what you do? Definitely the discovery of new design or designers. My favorite part of my job is traveling to Scandinavia and searching out new pieces for the store and our customers, I definitely get very excited when I return from my trips. I'm both inspired by what I see and feel such excitement to share my new discoveries.

Any advice for someone wanting to open her own store? Give yourself time to pull together your ideas, inspirations, write out a strong mission statement and stay true to it. I kept an idea book of things I loved, was drawn to and thought were very unique. By the time I started to think about opening the store my book was two inches thick. It was a great way to keep my focus sharp when you start second guessing yourself and the anxious feelings start creeping in. When I first started Huset, my main objective was furniture, textiles, housewares, lighting and other design related items. The fashion was an after thought after one customer requested some items from a Swedish fashion brand. The fashion side of our business really took off and I found myself learning more and more about Scandinavian fashion brands. So another piece of advise I would give would be to always be open to widen your business within your original mission statement. You may find a little "jewel" you didn't know about earlier.

Huset... a jewel indeed. Thanks, Holly! xx