I discovered Harriet's gorgeous work online when shopping for the February collection and fell in love with the moon face trinket dish. I was hooked on her sculptural and minimalist aesthetic (despite being the ultimate maximalist!) and immediately ordered her work to be included in our first launch.
Harriet was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about her work, what made her start Kali Home, and how she finds inspiration.
Arielle: When did you first start working with concrete?
Harriet: I started working with concrete in the summer of 2020 during lockdown as it was easily accessible and I loved the rustic look, however, after some research, I realised it wasn't the most environmentally friendly option on the market, so I looked into alternative options. I found a fine casting mineral-based material that is strong, durable and a little kinder to the earth. It also has a quicker setting time and is much easier to colour than traditional concrete.
A: How long did it take to master it?
H: Concrete was so hit and miss! The water ratio and the air humidity played a huge factor in the strength of a product, but the eco-concrete is a lot easier to work with. I was a little eager at the beginning and did not measure the water to powder radio correctly and a lot of the first pieces came out not strong enough due to too much water in the mix. I have joined a lot of Facebook groups dedicated to concrete crafts and am always learning something new!
A: What kinds of inspirations drive your aesthetic?
H: I love neutral earthy tones paired with abstract shapes and a pop of pink! I'd say it's coastal Scandi meets boujee Bali villa! I love clever modern practical designs that are a delight on the eye too!
A: Where do you look for inspiration when you're in a rut?
H: When in a rut, I'll go for a walk, and see if I can find inspiration in nature, whether it's a colour palette, shape or scent. I love looking through old travel photos and being inspired by other cultures that I have previously experienced - the pop of pink in my work has been inspired by the Rajasthani city of Jaipur, and the earthy tones by beach towns in Australia and Bali's cafes and villas.
A: How long have you had your business?
H: I launched November 1st 2020, having returned home late march from living in Australia for 2 years. I was looking for a position in an experiential marketing and live events agency but live events were not allowed at that time. I waited and waited, doing odd jobs in the meantime and finding things around my house and in the loft to sell, thinking it (the pandemic) will all blow over soon, but it didn't, so I started experimenting with candles and concrete in the summer and launched in time for the Christmas rush. I'm so grateful for all of the support that's allowed me to continue on this journey ever since!
A: What inspired you to launch a creative business?
H: I've always been creative, and even before I came home I had a million business ideas, from a platter and grazing board catering service to preserved flower bouquets, zero waste products and an upcycled fashion brand ( which I would still love to pursue in the future), BUT...launching my own business as a career was not intentional.
I had severe imposter syndrome when applying for jobs as I'd travelled so much in the past my work experience was 6 months here and 8 months there and I couldn't imagine why any employer with hundreds of applicants would choose me over candidates who have more relevant UK based experience. So I actually started the business in order the grow my Instagram account and use it as a case study to add to my CV in order to apply for creative marketing jobs! But for now, I am happy creating and running Kali and have not applied for any other jobs.
A:What's your favorite part of the process?
H: Most probably de-moulding. (Removing the set item from the mould) No matter how many times you do it - it's so satisfying!! Bonus points for the first casting of a brand new mould. It's no wonder de-moulding reels do so well on social media!
A: What's your least favorite part?
H: Definitely the sanding and sealing! (or cleaning the moulds!) I'm fortunate enough to have a studio to operate out of but I still do not have enough shelf space for everything to dry out and then dry after sealant, so it's a constant game of rotation!
A: Is there something you wish people knew about your products?
H: Each item is entirely handmade and takes several hours across multiple days, allowing for drying times in between, to complete!
Harriet Coombs is the one-woman band behind Kali Home. Inspired by both ancient sculptures and modern architecture, the brand was born mid pandemic from a desire to create and a passion to curate.