Lili Halo Decoration
The name Lili Halo has a special place in the hearts of everyone at Little Otja. A frequent collaborator and one of our top fans since the start, this creative visual storyteller—photographer, art director and mother of two—shares her story and her experiences with home decoration, creative work and more.
OUR FOLLOWERS ALREADY KNOW YOU WELL; BUT COULD YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF FOR EVERYONE JUST JOINING US?
I live in Zagreb, Croatia, and am a mother of two wonderful boys. I work in IT and I started my own little studio — Studio Tomas — two years ago. I work on a ton of creative projects for digital businesses. I also create content for myself; I publish most of it on my blog, but some I just don’t manage. ☺ It’s because my kids and family come first. Work comes second and I spend a lot of time working from home. I love it — it’s fulfilling and makes me happy.
I’m a very persistent, brave and decisive person. People don’t always like this, but I know what’s right and don’t waste my time and energy on unimportant things. I actually believe that the content we consume (meaning the places we visit and the people we communicate with) shapes our personalities. So I’m very picky about how I spend my time. I’m creative, I love daydreaming and creating beautiful things around me. And I’m really happy when it makes someone else happy too.
HOW DID THE STORY OF LILI HALO DECORATION BEGIN? HOW DID YOU START WITH INTERIOR DECOR AND WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING A BLOG?
11 years ago (oh my, how time flies), I was pregnant and had to keep still, so I was very bored. ☺ I’ve always looked at beautiful interiors, bought magazines online and on trips. At some point, I decided to share some photos of my apartment — and that’s how this whole thing started. I couldn’t come up with a name and that was slowing me down. So I wrote Lili Halo, because that’s what they called me when I was little and added Decoration, as in Lili Halo decorates. Today I think it’s a bit silly but it has become some kind of a brand so there’s no point in changing it.
You can get Lili’s lovely mug in our shop
As time went on I got approached by Ikea Family from the UK — they were just entering the Croatian market and wanted to use some of my photos for inspiration. I almost fainted at that moment (laughs), it was unbelievable that someone even found my blog (let alone Ikea). There were moments where I didn’t even believe that anyone reads it regularly and honestly, I didn’t even look at statistics back then. I would be really surprised every time someone asked me: “Hey Lili, when’s the next post coming?”
These are all little things that give wind to my sails. I love remembering them, I know who my followers are from the beginning, and today Ikea is one of my favourite clients.
HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON YOUR JOURNEY? YOU ARE CONSTANTLY PRODUCING BEAUTIFUL AND INTERESTING THINGS THAT A GREAT NUMBER OF YOUR FOLLOWERS APPRECIATE. SPEAKING OF WHOM, WE HAVE NEVER MET SUCH A GROUP OF SWEET AND LOVING PEOPLE LIKE THIS COMMUNITY…
My hobby has become my one and only job and the response has been great. I create quality content for clients and provide so-called 360 services. That includes everything from the initial idea to styling, photography, blogs and social media posts. Sometimes I even find my self in the role of a model (laughs). One of the things I love doing is making digital catalogues.
Besides my work for clients, I create content for my blog about all the things my heart finds beautiful; such as decorating spaces and making wallpapers.
I always like involving other people in my projects — my intuition tells me that it’s good for me as well as the other person. That’s how I included Little Otja into the Canon project and the results were fantastic! I simply visualise things in my head and go to work. That’s how my first mug in the Sisi house of style collection came to be. I created it very fast and I knew exactly what I wanted to say and how it should look.
I don’t want people to get the wrong idea of me: that I make a living by being an “influencer”, as they often do about anyone who has a social media presence. My profile will always be available on different platforms, because I think it’s good for creatives. First, it was Facebook, now it’s Instagram and who knows what comes next. ☺ The digital age has enabled me to connect with soul mates all around the world.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DECORATING A KIDS ROOM? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER?
First and foremost, it depends on the age and needs of the child — that’s the number one thing. Kids grow fast, so in our house their room is always changing. We’re currently on the brink of a new transformation. ☺ Whether it’s a room of mine or a client’s, I always begin with a conversation and a mood board. Once we have a mood board, everything becomes clear. After that, we have to make sure that we have all of the necessary materials. When I work for my own family, I usually work at night. I remember one time my son had a high fever and I couldn’t sleep. I was looking after him and passed the time by painting a wall.
Now we have a different problem. We own a large number of toys and they’re not all appropriate for my youngest son. So I have to organize the space and synchronize all of the interior colours. I want my kids to have everything tidy and organized because that way they’re more productive and creative. ☺ Currently it’s pure chaos and I need to work on it. I want to make it calmer, so it will be better for play and development. ☺ And every time we redecorate the room, the kids are thrilled. I’m can’t wait to show you our latest project. We’re running late because I’m still looking for an OK handyman for a particular piece.
YOUR BLOG AND INSTA PROFILE ARE FILLED WITH BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS. WHAT IS IT THAT DRAWS YOU TO PHOTOGRAPHY? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO TAKE A GOOD PHOTO?
Taking photos relaxes me. I’m really happy when I create an album of memories for my kids or an album full of great photos for a client. ☺ My advice would be: wipe the lens and, if you don’t have any good natural light, go somewhere you will.
For everyone who wants to learn about cameras, you have to be motivated enough to read the manual that comes with the camera and then proceed to learn online.
YOU ARE A REAL INSPIRATION TO MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING OURSELVES. ☺ WHAT’S YOUR INSPIRATION? WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR MOTIVATION AND BEAUTY?
I keep a reading list in my bookmarks. I’m a big fan of certain web sites, blogs and magazines. I take some time to enjoy such content in peace and quiet. This relaxes and inspires me. In order to be creative, I need some peace and I need to be relaxed. I believe that all creatives like being alone for a while, to feed this part of ourselves. I find it funny when someone says they don’t like being by themselves, because I look forward to such moments; I find myself in them.
Once I get an idea of what I want to do, I like having my kids and family around. More often than not I include them in my projects … but now we’re moving out of the conceptual phase and into execution. ☺
WHICH SHOPS FOR KIDS DO YOU LIKE? #PROJECTKIDSROOM
There are so many, really, a lot! If I start listing them all, I’ll never stop ☺ Or I’d forget someone. I really like what Katya Sinka did for Mushie. She’s the creative director and I totally like her work and way of seeing things. I see the same thing with Little Otja, you have your own story and you’re very recognizable.
As far as local shops for kids go, I love Mali Zakladi, they’re such a sweet team and are always looking a few steps ahead. They made my dream come true when I designed a digital catalogue for them. I think their content really turned the standards up a notch. Bravo!
And naturally, Kinderfeets. I run the social media for their main page and a couple of EU countries, and I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful a story this is. From the way their products are created to how much effort they put into assuring quality.
As far as kids’ stores outside the EU go, I really love Gathre. I mean, really. Inside the EU it’s Smallable and Archive store — it was my dream to visit them both and I managed.
If you asked me a few years ago, my answer would probably be based around scandi countries, whereas today I can say that I really love Poland. It’s a fantastic place and I really want to visit some stores there.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS — BESIDES PLAYING DIXIT? ☺
Dixit is a very cool game. ☺ I spend a lot of time with my kids; I make it a priority because I want to be with them while they’re little. We go for walks, to the park, we ride bicycles. But what I love the most is just being with them, laughing, tickling, dancing and goofing off. That’s what I like most and I feel they do too. This emotion of being present for one another. It’s such a wonderful feeling that I have trouble putting it into words.
HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR KIDS? WHAT VALUES DO YOU WANT TO PASS ONTO THEM? WHAT KIND OF GROWN-UPS WOULD YOU LIKE THEM TO BE?
Although we live in a material world and I have nothing against things — on the contrary, I really appreciate all the great things people create — I try to teach my children that these things are not really important, that we can live without them. I want to teach them about the intangible. Even though they’re kids, and they want toys and things like all the others, I can see that we’re having some success with learning. I want to teach them how to be just and diligent, as well as how to stand up for themselves, how to think with their heads and their hearts and how to listen to intuition. I’m very sure the latter is very important, if we want to live this life right and find our way. I want them to be able to recognize good opportunities for themselves and their friends. I want them to find themselves as individuals instead of fitting into someone else’s imaginary moulds. And I want them to be gentle and caring; I believe they will be because it is what they are receiving from me and my husband.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE SOME “ME TIME”?
I dance. ☺ I take time to do it a couple of times a week, for at least half an hour. I regularly do pilates too, two or three times a week, depending on the season. If my body isn’t in need of physical activity, I look at pretty interiors and blog. ☺
Like I've said before, I like being alone very much.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU THAT THE PRODUCTS YOU USE ARE NATURAL, ECOLOGICAL, ORGANIC, ETC.?
It’s very important to me, be it products or food. I take a lot of time to look into things, but honestly, it can be a real burden because we can’t control everything (at least that’s what I keep telling myself, ha-ha). I think it’s best to find people and stores that we trust and buy things from them. We are a part of nature — it’s important to be aware of it. Naturally, I have nothing against science, to the contrary, I truly appreciate it and it had saved our first child. But I think when everything is OK, in our day to day lives, we have an obligation to choose natural products. We owe it to planet Earth and to ourselves.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LITTLE OTJA?
Everything! When I first found out about Little Otja, I was sure it was a brand from northern Europe. From the products, quality, design, web and the whole story — well done! You are truly special! And thank you for a lovely collaboration during the year(s). It really means a lot to me.*
*It means a lot to us too, Lili ♡. You can learn more about Lili on her wonderful Instagram page.
All photos ©Lili Halo