The entrepreneur who turned a passion for clutter-free spaces into a business

The entrepreneur who turned a passion for clutter-free spaces into a business

Posted: Thu 15th Oct 2020

Caroline Caron Dhaouadi had a successful 14-year consulting career in Paris, New York and Singapore before settling in London.

After dedicating several years to raising her family and once her children were in school full time, she decided to revive her entrepreneurial spirit.

Caroline combined her love for interiors and design with a passion for clutter-free spaces to launch Homefulness, a luxury home organisation and styling company.

To boost her business skills, Caroline took part in a bootcamp for service businesses and accessed free e-learning as part of the Amazon Small Business Accelerator.

She explains what she learnt on the bootcamp, how she has adapted her services during the coronavirus pandemic and what tips she has picked up from the e-learning programme.

You have over 9,900 followers on Instagram. What is your strategy for using it to promote your services?

We have a real 'brand' on Instagram. All our posts are photos of carefully curated spaces, where home organisation meets style and design. This corresponds very precisely to our business tagline. Each post is accompanied by a clear description on how to achieve such a result, with the help of our company.

We'll be reaching 10,000 followers in a few days, which will allow us to request Instagram verification and use the 'swipe up' feature. We'll then be able to contact brands providing boxes, bins and containers and we expect a significant increase in followers, which will expand our reach.

This 'swipe up' feature will also make it easier to direct followers to our website, without having to click in our bio.

What tips for using Instagram would you offer to other entrepreneurs?

You need to define your visual identity before posting anything. All posts must be in line with that identity. Filters must always be consistent and stick to your visual identity.

Followers must know what to expect from your brand, and yet be always surprised. Each post has to be unique while belonging to the same visual identity.

This 'swipe up' feature will also make it easier to direct followers to our website, without having to click in our bio.

What impact has COVID-19 had on your business?

COVID-19, particularly during the lockdown, has had a significant impact on our business.

I used to spend my days with clients and suddenly I had to stay at home. Launching online consultations is not something I was considering.

I'm a very hands-on person and I really thought that it wouldn't work for us but the unexpected happened and we had to react quickly. After a few weeks of online consultations, I can say it was a success.

All our processes had to be adapted. Even now, we are still facing new challenges as the products we use for our clients' homes are not always available or take longer to be delivered.

With fewer choices available on the market, we have to arrange spaces differently. We've also implemented several 'COVID-proof' measures such as working with masks and gloves or a having fixed team of organisers.

Why did you decide to apply for the Amazon Services Bootcamp?

During lockdown, we had more time to focus on all those admin tasks that will help us get back on our feet once this crisis is over: website design, search engine optimisation, social media growth etc.

Being a very hands-on person, I do it all by myself and the more I do it, the further I go into details and the more I need to learn.

The bootcamp sounded perfect: a place to find all the answers I needed to grow these sides of my business, without having to spend hours surfing the internet looking for information that might even not be accurate.

What were the key benefits of the Amazon Services Bootcamp?

I have learned many small tips that I'm sure will be important for my social media presence, SEO features of my website and the legal aspects of my business. I now have a precise roadmap of things I need to work on and implement for my brand.

What tips did you pick up?

The session about social media was amazing (as Instagram is such a major source of clients for my business). During that session, I learned the importance of having a social media schedule, and to stick to it. I understood that planning upfront was key to ensure consistency on social media.

What actions did you take after taking part in the bootcamp?

I now use a scheduling tool for Instagram. Setting one up for Facebook is still on my to-do list but I'm getting there! I also made a deep review of my legal terms and conditions.


What tips have you picked up from the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme?

The session on 'Pay-per-click advertising and measuring return' was perfect for me. I've been paying for a PPC ad for a few months, but only understood how it really worked thanks to this session. I've now adapted my Google AdWords and targets and I believe that my PPC is now much more efficient.

What are your tips for how businesses can deal with the current crisis?

Never give up! There is always a way to pivot your business, even when things are really slow.

And if there's really not much you can do (hello, lockdown and economic downturn!), stay close to your clients and spend time on all those admin tasks that will help you get back on your feet once the crisis is over: website design, search engine optimisation, social media growth etc.

Don't give up on your clients and followers. Free help and advice is always more than welcome and will ensure your brand is not forgotten.

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in 218 bitesize videos.

If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your learning dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free.

After a successful 14 year career in consulting that brought me to live in Paris (where I was born), New York and Singapore, I settled down in London 6 years ago. I bought a home in Fulham where I live with my husband and our two children, Inès and Noé. After dedicating several years to raising my family, I decided to resume my career as an entrepreneur, once both my kids were in school full-time. I founded Homefulness to combine my love for interiors and design with my acute sense of organisation and affinity for clutter-free spaces. I am convinced that a better home, organised with style, is a valued component of balance and wellbeing.

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