Susie Coelho: Founder, House of Sussex

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My Native Admission Statement: I first started out as a Ford model in New York and then moved to LA to be an actress. I always loved fashion and now coming back to my roots. In the meantime I was an actress, television host and entrepreneur. I created the trendy celebrity eateries “Bono’s” (with then-husband Sonny Bono), then went on to create the fashion boutique “A Star is Worn” on Melrose Ave, which sold celebrity collectibles. I later became more well known in family living rooms for more than a decade as the host of two of HGTVs prime time series (Surprise Gardener and Outer Spaces) and as a regular contributor on “Today”, “Oprah” and “The View”. In my spare time I wrote four lifestyle books! :) -

How did you get into the industry?

My energy and passion for fashion and art combined with my entrepreneurial savvy and success has led me to create a new brand, “House of Sussex’. We started by creating a unique line of backpacks inspired by the brilliance of street and tattoo art. I am very excited about this venture as I have been collaborating with incredible graffiti and tattoo artists, some of whom were at the forefront of graffiti art in the 80’s and now have installations in major museums.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

After moving to New York in 2010, I reconnected with street art which had now become fine contemporary art. The art district in Chelsea where I lived was filled with works by Bansky, Basquiat, Lictenstein and Harring. I’ll never forget when Banksy’s “pop up show” came to NY and the city… was all a buzz. It was one of the installations that popped up right next door to me on 24th and 10th Ave and I ran out to see it, wondering if I could get a glimpse of this “secret artist”.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I think that anyone carrying our backpack or bumpack and wearing any of our jewelry or jackets would feel stylish and fashionable as they are all “on trend” items. Anything “streetwear” is considered hot right now. All the top brands are aligning with the trend from Fendi to Balenciaga.

Career advice to those in your industry?

If you want to start a business you need to know some of the main elements that need to be in place to be successful. You need capital, public relations and marketing. Of course you need a production, finance and other divisions. You need to have the same divisions in operation whether a small company or a big company.

Also, you never know what inspires you and what you become passionate about…but always be on the lookout and listen to your instincts and they will always guide you in the right direction! 

What do I do best?

I would have to say my creativity is where I shine and I follow my instincts which has been successful for me. People would say that I am very focused and driven but it’s my energy that is my best asset. I’m rarely tired and I can stay focused on one task for hours until it gets done even if it means the wee hours of the night. Others might find it tiring. I find it exhilarating!

My Motto?

Believe in yourself and your thoughts and ideas and then work like crazy to implement them. That is the joy of life!

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Paris! I grew up there and so it’s like my second home.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love Yamamotto and Comme des Garcons. I love fashion that have a theatrical flare!

A Day in My Life:

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Sleeping unless I have an early flight! Everyone needs their beauty sleep.

10:00 AM - Around 8:30 I go to Cardio or Spin or Yoga class. I like to start out the day boosting my metabolism so that I can burn high all day long!

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? I rarely go out for lunch. I feel it makes me too lethargic to eat a big meal mid day. I often just make a fresh salad and eat it in my studio.

7:00 PM - thinking about making dinner or going out with my husband to dinner. Often working until 8 or later.

11:00 PM - Starting to think about winding down. Although if I’m writing a book I’m writing in the evening.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I don’t drink coffee or caffeinated drinks. I like sparkling water with fresh fruit and mint.

What should everyone try at least once?

Indian food!

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