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Inside the stylish life of Joanna Berryman

It began in the wilds of the fashion cupboard at UK Elle magazine, I then became fashion assistant at Elle Girl, after which I decided to venture it alone as a freelance fashion stylist. I worked on a campaign for Levi's and styled various up-and-coming bands. I also opened up a cute stall in Portobello Market that sold customized tees and home made jewelry. This stint at the stall inspired me to set up a boutique called Jezebell, an emporium for established and new designers as well as vintage and lifestyle items. After two years in business, I had to close it down, and it broke my heart. I had just given birth to Nico and was in the throes of a marriage breakdown. It was a tough year.

Jo with her husband Encycle CEO Philip Bergkvist and two daughters

I decided that fashion was too fickle an industry for me. I yearned for a more soulful occupation, it felt like an organic progression to use my honed, magpie's eye to curate and create beautiful sets, homes and commercial spaces. I garnered some acclaim for my own home. My very first client came about after they read about me and my home in a fashion glossy. She literally carried around a picture of my bedroom in her handbag for months. Almost a decade later I have a thriving and successful, international practice. I have to pinch myself sometimes—I can’t believe it! I am so fulfilled by the work I do right now. 

Joanna inside her eclectic living room

On her design studio and aesthetic:Love vivid, live vivid is my mantra. Color is everything and I apply it to schemes with giddy abandon. If I were to distill the aesthetic into words, it would be 'irreverently functional’ and ‘futuristically classic.’ I believe that spaces should evolve and grow with you—static homes are dull ones. My style reflects this: It's changeable, dynamic, and regularly shifts with the seasons.”

One of Joanna's interior design works - a clear reflection of her design aesthetic

On the challenges she faced: “A startup in any creative field is a huge risk. Since it’s so competitive, I somehow developed a serious case of imposter syndrome. I literally broke into a cold sweat at the prospect of presenting my ideas to clients. Mindfulness techniques and exercise helped ground and cement belief in my capabilities. Now I'd happily talk about what I do and how I do it, in front of a paid audience.” 

On who inspires her everyday: “My daughters are my heart. I endeavor to lead by example daily. Running a business and having passion for what I do is significant messaging for my girls.” 

Jo with daughters Romy and Nico

On her definition of success: “Success is not about financial gain or celebrity. It's about balance and authenticity. A successful life is one lived wholly and authentically.” 

On what's next: “A wave of exciting high-end, residential properties in London and L.A; an iconic listed, Georgian building in Cavendish Square; some interesting textile collaborations; and I’m also developing a book idea.” 

A glimpse inside Jo's enviable effortlessly styled room and closet

On what it takes to make it in London: “London is an unfathomable metropolis at the best of times, which means competition is fierce yet opportunities are plentiful. In order to stand out you don't necessarily have to be the best but you do have to be distinctive. Many work hard and have the skills to design by numbers but few are authentic. This takes courage.”

This feature originally appeared in Metro Magazine September 2016 and was repurposed for Metro.Style
As told to Anzenne Roble
Photographs courtesy of Joanna Berryman