The Taste Makers – 15 minutes with Stephanie Bateman Sweet
I have been SO excited about sharing this weeks taste maker feature with you. I have never met Stephanie in person, but some people you just know you would get along with. I hope one day I will be able to share a Saturday cardamom bun from the Hoxton Bakehouse with her. I have followed Stephanie for quite a while now on Instagram and I am constantly inspired by her photography and styling but most of all tempted by all of the delicious looking cafes she visits. Stephanie works as a stylist, writer and blogger, and undertakes a wide variety of creative projects for clients. Having graduated with a degree in textile design, Stephanie opened her own bricks and mortar shop selling fashion and interior accessories. She then moved into the world of magazine publishing where she became an interior and prop stylist. Having worked both in-house and freelance, she is often found on photo-shoots for high street brands, creating imagery with the next season’s homewares for look-books, advertising, websites, POS and PR material. She also has a love for writing, which led her to start her blog, The Lifestyle Editor, back in 2012, and has subsequently renewed her passion for photography.
1. What started you on this journey?
I had just finished a maternity contract as the Deputy Editor on Grand Designs magazine, and was back in that category known as ‘freelancing’! When you are working in-house on a magazine you develop a close working relationship with so many PRs, and marketing departments, and I wanted to keep up those important connections. The trouble was they would invite me to fantastic launches, send me great books to review, and new products, but I had nowhere to put all this information. I felt I needed a platform…somewhere I could be my own Editor in a way, and thought maybe a blog might be the next move. Fast forward four years, and I am still creating content for it!
2. Who or what inspires you?
I am often inspired by people who have strength of character, and passion for what they love and believe in. As I have got older, I have realised that our careers can often go down many different roads, instead of staying on the same one until we retire! I admire people who have created and carved their own path, and their story inspires me to think a little out-of-the-box, and not be afraid to take risks in going out of my comfort zone, and maybe trying some other creative avenues.
3. When you were little you wanted to grow up and…?
…be an air stewardess! We lived abroad quite a lot when I was very young because my Father was a diver on oil rigs and we would often relocate. This was in the days when BOAC airlines existed, and my brothers and I would go and visit the pilots in the cockpit, and have our little logbooks signed! Security was so very different back then. I thought working for an airline would be a great career to enable me to travel…the irony is I am a bit of a nervous flyer, so would not have enjoyed that job at all!
4. What makes a home?
When I was young, I remember our family home was always filled with music, candles, freshly baked cakes, flowers, and friends and family popping in. A place where parties and celebrations were often held, guests staying for weekends, and just a lovely laid-back and relaxed feel to it. I have always hoped that now I have my own home, that I have created a space that is just as inviting and welcoming. That is not only a relaxing sanctuary for myself from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living, but also a place where my own friends and family feel equally ‘at home’ in. I also love cats and dogs, but sadly lost the last of my four cats at the grand age of 21 this year…pets bring a very special level of love and joy to a home.
5. Describe your ideal day off?
It would involve a delicious brunch, a very wonderful spa with a good all over body massage treatment, and a facial too, followed by a relaxation session. A walk on a beach, plus a swim at some point, and finally finishing with dinner outside by candlelight, jazz in the background and a good movie! Oh, and great quality chocolate would definitely feature! But throughout the day, doing it with people I love being with, who make me laugh…that always makes a day perfect for me.
6. What is your favourite part of your job?
I think it has to be crossing paths with so many passionate people, tastemakers, designers, artisans, and all-round creative folk that I have been fortunate to meet, since starting my blog, and throughout my career. I also love the feeling that hopefully, in some small way, I am helping to share their brand, or book, or products with readers, and to help generate business for them. I am also an interior/prop stylist and have been doing this for many years, and I still get a buzz being on set with a photographic crew and creating visual content. Every shoot, every location, every client and every photographer are different to work with, and that is what thrills me the most I think, there is no routine! Being fortunate to work with people who trust you, and give you total creative control…that often makes for a dream job for me.
7. What are you most proud of?
With regards to my work, I think I would have to say the fact that despite a few set-backs, a couple of redundancies, and the constant questioning whether I am on the right career path, that I am still doing what I love! My blog is one area that I feel incredibly proud of, as it has been a total personal commitment, and created with 100% dedication and passion. It has motivated me at difficult times, and pushed me in the beginning to engage with social media, an area I had never got involved with before, and now love! Personally, I am most proud of the relationship I have with my nephew…he is the son I wish I had, and I couldn’t be more proud of the compassionate, loving and wonderful young man he has become.
8. What’s your biggest weakness?
If my friends answered this for me they would say being pampered! I love nothing more than enjoying a good massage treatment, reflexology, or a facial! I am quite a product fan, and will happily spend a long time trying out lotions and potions in the beauty departments! I also have a sweet tooth for any delicious patisseries, desserts or chocolates!
9. Instagram is a very powerful tool, has it changed the way you do business?
I absolutely love Instagram for many reasons, and most recently because it has reminded me how much I love to take photos. I use it as a research tool, and have found many brands, creatives, and companies around the world that I have featured on my blog. I find it visually inspiring as there are so many talented people doing beautiful work on it, and it has connected me too with so many like-minded souls, which I think is vital when you are freelance. I find myself advising people I meet who are not using it, to start engaging with it, as it provides a perfect visual platform to showcase your products, and interact with potential customers. Social media has brought me some lovely opportunities recently, and I have been asked to be the Instagram Editor for @catkinandpussywillow, a beautiful artisan florist. I am also a UK contributor to @the_shopkeepers, which profiles independent online, and bricks and mortar shops around the globe, it is a great website to be a part of. Instagram has made me realise that I would now love to buy a good camera!
10. Which designer would you like to meet and interview?
I would love to talk to Sir Terence Conran about his fascinating design career. He opened Habitat in London the year I was born, 1964, and then The Conran Shop in 1974, and has had a prolific career ever since spanning many facets of design. He also started Benchmark in 1984 with Sean Sutcliffe, based in the Berkshire countryside, with a dream of creating a craft based workshop designing affordable furniture with an environmental conscience. His ethos throughout his career seems to have been simple functionality and considered design…which I think is exactly what we need more of in our lives.
11. Paris or the South of France?
Oh no this is not fair…I love France, and love both places for so many different reasons! I have spent so many memorable and wonderful years holidaying in the South of France, that it will always hold a special place in my heart. There are some beautiful, and picturesque, hilltop villages just outside of the glitz and glamour of St Tropez, that are full of rustic charm. Plus you cannot beat swimming in the warm Mediterranean! Paris, on the other hand, I have been fortunate to call a second home for a short time, and I think it is one of the most beautiful cities. I also love travelling on Eurostar, and love the ease of leaving London on a train and stepping off at the Gare du Nord in the 10th arrondissement a couple of hours later! As much as I am a sunshine girl, I am also a city dweller at heart, so guess I’ll have to say Paris!
12. What makes you laugh?
Often situations whereby I am not meant to be laughing! But for me, it is often the general irony of life whereby I find myself saying, “you really couldn’t make it up” to unexpected situations. These can sometimes be made all the more better with a good dose of laughter, and think we need to do more of it! I am also blessed with very witty friends!
Thank you Stephanie! here are links to Stephanie’s blog, website and social media accounts – go and check them out right now.