United in a vision to create, transform and to breathe new life into old concepts, Wayne Hemingway and his wife Gerardine are the power couple and brains behind the brawn of one of the UK’s largest design companies – House of Hemingway. Built from humble beginnings, they thrive on the philosophy to improve the things that matter in life and cut through the ordinary with powerful and visionary design. It is this clear cut ethos alongside a desire to succeed and a relationship filled with encouragement and creativity that has contributed to their success. From selling second-hand clothes in a London market to owning the popular Red or Dead and becoming the Co-founder of House of Hemingway as well as numerous other projects along the way, there is seemingly nothing Hemingway can’t do.
“When starting your own business, I would advise to make sure you love what you do, then you will never work another day in your life”
Wayne Hemingway’s latest project has been to forefront one of London’s hippest springtime events – Urban Village Fete. Offering an alternative and contemporary twist on the traditional summer fete, it is an event to attract the Peninsula’s pioneering residents and all Londoners. Since its inaugural event in 2015, 2016 and 2017 continued to thrive, offering a free day out of curated designer marketplaces, street food vendors, workshops, pop-ups, art and music right in the heart of Greenwich Peninsula. Whilst nothing is as of yet set in stone, a 2018 revision is being planned and it is set to be even bigger and better than before. (You can find out more here.)
We caught up with the Wayne Hemingway to find out about his greatest career influences, how he finds it working alongside his wife and his favourite places to go in London…
Interviewing Wayne Hemingway
What has been your greatest influence throughout your career?
Throughout my career, the biggest influence has been my wife and my family, of which are involved in our current business. I met my wife when we were both just 19 and 20 and we recently celebrated 25 years together. We believe the secret to success is old-fashioned hard work and I strongly believe this is why we are where we are today.
How do you find running a design company with your partner? Do you clash sometimes? How do you decide on things when you disagree?
I believe running a business with your partner should be fun, however when it comes to clashes (which do happen sometimes to every couple who work together) is that it all comes down to compromise. It’s important to listen to each other’s points of view and reach a decision together.
You started your career by selling items from your wardrobe in Camden Market, did you ever dream you would be as successful as you are now?
When we started out, we were selling our second-hand clothes and Gerardine’s self-made clothes in order to find rent. It was such a success that Gerardine opened a stall in the Kensington market, selling clothes she produced from a sewing machine there and then! We started from nothing and seeing our business grow from this has been a real achievement. When we set out we had no real idea what was to come other than unleashing our creative sides and covering our rent along the way!
What is it you most love about Urban Village Fete?
I love that it is a bit different – it takes the best bits and traditions from the ordinary village fetes, but is creative-arts led and very forward looking. I personally love listening to the gospel choir on the Sunday morning, it really is beautiful!
Explain to us a little about your lifestlye?
I wake up at 4am each morning to go for a run before starting my work. I believe in starting early and find my brain is much more awake after a brisk morning run. I try to stay relatively healthy and gave up drinking at the age of 25.
What are some pieces of advice you would give to someone starting up their own business?
I would advise to make sure you love what you do, then you will never work another day in your life. Also, be prepared to make sacrifices, not everything is smooth sailing and there will be very tough choices along the way. It is also very important to be a nice person, people remember you for being nice.
Where is your favourite place to go in London?
I like the outdoor life, so one of my favourite things to do is to walk the dog in one of London’s beautiful parks with the family.
The next Greenwich Peninsula event with HemingwayDesign will be SAMPLE, which will take place over the first weekend in September. You can find out more about this here.