Ever since I was a child all I wanted to do was draw and write. I remember running around the house desperately trying to find a pen and paper as fast as I could, because I felt like the urge to draw was going to burst out of me. My mum called this an ‘art attack’.
Somewhere along the line though, this became a faded memory that I buried away. Society had convinced me that I would never be able to make money as a creative; that to pursue such a career would be financial suicide and I would end up poor and frustrated.
So I found myself in my late 20s in a comfortable job in swanky Knightsbridge in a beautiful building working with lovely people.
All sounds great, right? Well it was, to begin with.
After 3 years working there, I felt like my soul was dying. The job was 9-5 paper pushing, admin-based work. I was still a creative person at heart and in that job, there was very little opportunity for me to express that.
One dull January morning at work, with all the seasonal glumness that month brings, I asked myself, “what can I do to fill this gaping creative hole in my life?”
I browsed the internet for something fun and creative to do, and I stumbled upon a ceramics painting course. 30 minutes later I was enrolled in a module on traditional tile design on the World Arts degree at Birkbeck University.
Tuesday evenings became my favourite time of the week. I would immerse myself in a world of beautiful Islamic art and tile design, and nothing else mattered. So much was my immersion that the then Prince of Wales was standing outside the study room and I didn’t even bother to catch a glimpse of the future king! (Something I do actually regret now he is on the throne!)
I realised that something was seriously wrong with my life and career path. I was getting more and more unhappy. I couldn’t sleep, I put on weight, I was EXHAUSTED.
Then something incredible happened. An advert caught my eye, for a one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for only £90! It was too good to miss. My heart told me to just buy the ticket.
So I did, and a plan to go travelling was born.
Over the next 5 months, I visited Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Nothing but beaches, adventures, eating and drinking, every single day. Bliss!
My goal while I was out there was to finally figure out what I wanted to do, and seek a different way of living to the ‘9-5’.
Sure enough, while staring out of a bus window in Vietnam, I had my ‘a-ha!’ moment.
I knew that I needed a creative career, using my creative design eye every day to help others. I was so inspired by the beautiful architecture and interiors I encountered while I explored the world, drinking in all the styles and decor that were so different to back home.
When I came home, with no money and only half a plan, I wrote to a hand-painted tiles company that was targeting interior designers, and I got a job as their Marketing Designer.
I gave them a rebrand, designed tiles, websites, adverts, brochures, newsletters and signage. I got to travel to Italy and source beautiful tiles each year. Every day was different and not only did I get to work in the interiors industry, I also got to use my two best creative talents – designing and writing – on a daily basis.
But the recession had a different plan. After 2 years working there, they were suffering so badly they laid lots of people off, and reduced my hours. My boss suggested I go self-employed and find other clients to supplement my income. So I did.
Little did I know, that choice my boss made for me led me on the path to becoming a business owner.
I started working a couple of days a week for a friend who runs a design agency. He was my mentor for about a year and a half, during which time I accumulated more and more of my own clients. I was becoming a business owner in my own right, and it was all by happy accident!
Fast forward to today, I have a small but growing team around me helping transform interiors businesses with beautiful branding and marketing.
I am passionate about helping other women in business, helping businesses grow, and supporting sustainability-focused businesses with a conscience.
Every year I try to travel somewhere new and take my business with me. In the past eight years I have run my business from Thailand, Sweden, Burma, Italy, China, Spain, The Philippines, Malta, California, Tenerife, Madeira and Greece.
My ultimate goal is to level-up interiors businesses from abroad at least 3 months of the year, every year, and have a team of jet setting, digital nomad creatives making a difference all across the globe.
Louisa of Ilona Design interpreted our brief in a way that exceeded our expectations. The services were professionally and expediently delivered and feedback was sought through the stages of the design. Various options offered and all in all, a great experience.
IIona offers a personal service tailored to the needs, and understanding of the client. At all times a pleasure to work with they delivered on time and kept us informed of their progress on the project. Highly recommended.
Louisa is absolutely fabulous to work with. Great ideas, Adobe knowledge and a keen eye for detail.
I’ve worked with her on a number of projects over the years including designing and maintaining our catalogue and product cut sheets.
She’s great on the communication front too. I’d highly recommend.
Working with Louisa on my marketing strategy has transformed my business! After just one session I gained complete clarity over my business direction. Louisa talked me through the “ideal client profile” which was the key that unlocked years of preparation into a solid plan of action. Louisa is insightful, knowledgeable and good fun to work with. I highly recommend working with Louisa if you are ready to take your business to the next level.
Louisa Wheeler is a super star; her ability to cut to the chase in terms of identifying the essence of a brand is beyond compare. I am a notoriously difficult customer, but Louisa cut to the essence of McGuire Mitchell’s new vision for law. Her insight, intelligence, and creative flair is unusual.
You will not be disappointed, as she has an inimitable creative verve.
Louisa is absolutely fantastic. She really understood and articulated our business values and reflected that in a set of brand images that has way surpassed our expectations. Fantastic result and fantastic service – thank you!
I’ve worked with Louisa on a number of occasions now and each time she has done a great job.
She is a very good designer, she listens to what I want and she gives me good advice when I need it.
I will definitely be using her again.
There are not many website designers who can do branding, logo design, copywriting and all the technical side of website design and do it all so well and in such a joined-up way.
Louisa is not just highly-skilled, I felt that she cared about the result of her work.
Ilona Design provided a very good service and I love my new website. It really hits the vibe I was aiming for!
As a non-creative, I was very daunted before entering into this process.
However, I was very quickly reassured that I was in the right hands with Ilona Design. The whole process has been insightful and enjoyable and I knew we were on the right track following our first mood board meeting. I love the final design and I’m so happy with how the website looks as a result of it. Thank you again!
Very impressive! Brilliant, fantastic! The app design is absolutely perfect – you’ve got what I wanted to achieve brilliantly. I’m absolutely delighted with it. I luv it, luv it, luv it.
I see this highly professional app as the gateway to empathy and understanding for the hearing world – to appreciate what is one of the most complex invisible handicaps for any person to have to endure.
If you need any marketing advice, Louisa is perfect for the job and will 100% deliver.
If you want to take your business to the next level Louisa has the tools, knowledge and experience to help you on your journey!
Ilona Design created amazing wedding invitations for us and everything was perfect. The design was exactly what I was looking for, even though I didn’t know at the time. Louisa took elements from my Pinterest board and made something so perfect that I was amazed when I saw them. Nothing was too much trouble and Louisa kept me fully informed throughout the process.
If you want a design that is classy and gorgeous, then Ilona is definitely the company that you need.
The girls at Ilona Design are super friendly to deal with and are so creative in what they do.
So lovely to see the improvement that is taking shape with the work you are doing 🙂 Thanks for everything. It is great that your work can make an impact to help us reach more people.
I would highly recommend Ilona Design’s marketing services. I would like to thank Louisa and her team for all the hard work they have put into our business, the figures definitely reflect the effort!”
I chose Ilona Design to rebrand my business and design a new website as I was no longer happy with my current branding, it felt very amateur for where I was in my business journey. I researched the projects and designs that they had done in the past and was very impressed by the quality and uniqueness that was demonstrated.
I had also attended a workshop run by Ilona Design and was very impressed by Louisa’s knowledge and professionalism, so knew that she would bring that same level to my design and I wasn’t disappointed.
I would recommend Ilona Design to anyone wanting to design a new logo or website, I have been very impressed by mine.
Superbly efficient, personable and well worth the investment!
Thank you, Louisa, for truly connecting to what I wanted my website to be about, and the message I want to send out for all those who seek to work with me. You delivered in every detail.