Be Original in A CopyCat World

November 6, 2017

You might remember that Kelli, Stacie and I were at furniture market a couple of weeks ago.  Every day we would take a 40-minute bus ride from our hotel to market and then back again.    

Bus ride
Annie Spratt


While a bus ride might sound awful, I found myself totally engaged listening to all of the loud and lively conversations going on all around me from designers and other retailers.   

One conversation, in particular, has stuck with me.   A home store owner was advising another woman on her efficient market buying strategies.   She told her companion (who was just getting started in the design business), You only need to spend a day in town. You can cover all the showrooms that you need to go to by just asking to see their top ten best sellers.  Just order those.  No need to look at anything else.”

Huh?   I wanted to turn around and ask why would you use a copycat strategy to stock your store? Where is the inspiration in that?  

 Copycat strategy

And that leads to the question of why has copying what other people are doing become such a common practice?   We are born as an original...why wouldn’t we want to stay that way?

Copycat says

Copycat Chic has actually become a thing.   Okay.    Why on earth would I want my home to look like a knock-off of someone else's original room?    Weird.  

Copycat chic

I want my home to be full of things that are put together in a way that is uniquely my own.  To be original in a copycat world, there are a few things to consider.

Be inspired by good design or a particular style rather than copy it


Let’s face it.  Most designs are at some level a copy of another design.   And we all pay attention to the looks and things we admire and that resonate with our own personal style.    But instead of copying the look go deeper than the specific items that you see.   Try and understand what it is that you really like.  What is inspiring you?   Is it the color palette?   The particular style?   Cozy layers?   When you incorporate the ideas of others but express it in your own way, it will naturally become something unique and different...yours.  

Have we learned nothing from the Dorothy Hamill Hair Cut, arguably one of the most copied haircuts of all time?

Dorthy Hamill Haircut

An iconic haircut... But unless you have the right face shape, hair texture, and weight...this haircut will not make you look and feel as magical as Dorothy.

I really do feel for all of the hairstylists across the country who have to deal with all of us that bring in a picture and say….”I want to look like her.”   Ha!  Stylists are not magicians!  For a good laugh, there is a funny youtube video at (click here)  that deals with this subject perfectly.

I want to look like her

Actually, there isn’t anything wrong with clipping and saving looks for our home, wardrobe or haircuts.  They give us all clues to our own unique style and the direction that we want to go. But you just gotta keep it all in perspective.  

Know yourself and be true to yourself

When you know yourself well, finding your unique style just naturally falls into place. Right down three words that you think best describes you.   


Your personal style should be really wrapped around those ideas.  And should be reflected in the way your home embraces you each and every day and the way you choose to present yourself to the world.

My words?    The three that came to mind without thinking about it much was…

Strong.  Quirky.  Playful.  


And as I think of those ideas, my home pretty much exemplifies those concepts.  I have a strong look in my home, but my house is about comfort and not being too fussy about things.   I want my home to be absolutely beautiful (the strong girl in me demands) but I also want it to be playful.  I don’t want to care if one of my guests spill a cranberry vodka cocktail on my rug or upholstery (and yes, it has happened and, yes, I have lots of white in my home.)  Really, it cleans right up.   I promise.

Strong, quirky, playful


I think you can see these words in the way I like to dress as well.    I like strong, tailored clothing but at the same time I want them to be playful and interesting (quirky.)    As much as I admire the women that can pull off a trendy bohemian or super feminine look, I know it is not the look that is my one-of-a-kind unique brand or makes me look and feel my best.   





Be Careful of Trends

Notice that I said be careful with trends, not ignore trends.    We love some of the new and unusual pieces that are on trend and work very hard to find the ones that work well with K. Renee’s style aesthetic.   We know ourselves well and are very clear of our brand and what that means...K. Renee is all about casual elegance.   

Casual elegance

And one of our core (non-trend) principles is that good quality neutrals should serve as the foundation of your wardrobe and your home as they will ultimately provide you with more flexibility and sustainability.   

neutral foundation

At times, if it fits our design aesthetic, we have “on trend” furniture and clothing pieces but we are never driven by it and certainly don’t feel the need to copy what everyone else seems to be doing.   

On trend but classic

I was looking at 2017 trends (out of sheer curiosity) ...and I can guarantee we won’t be buying into a few of them and don’t recommend that you do either (unless you are okay with buying new furniture within a couple of years.)

 Round is in!

For example, apparently exaggerated rounded furniture is “in.”    Hmm.   Okay.    


Ask yourself if the looks created by big-box retailers are your best option in the long run

Big box retailers make their money by selling items and looks in volume.    The popular ( you know who they are) major online/retail fronts do a great job of creating “looks” that appeal to the mass consumer.    And at first, you might say to yourself, “Wow, that’s different.”   But the problem becomes... what seemed like a unique and interesting option today will all too quickly turn into a home design uniform.    A uniform look that you will see in more homes than you care to admit.  It can be hard to be original in this copycat big box world of ours!   


Did you see the story that hit the press this past September about the six women that showed up to a wedding wearing the same dress? And they were NOT bridesmaids.    Good thing they all had a sense of humor.   This takes who wore it best to a whole new level.  LOL.

Six dresses at same wedding

Moral of the story?   Shop small, shop locally owned for the best shot at being original in a copycat world.   It is our dream to offer wonderfully unique and casually elegant styles for every customer who walks through our door.  

Support small business

And last but not least,

Be wary of creating a PINTEREST (over) driven home

Pinterest is an idea cesspool which can certainly be an awesome resource for ideas.     But too many “cool” ideas in one spot (or home) can quickly turn into a hot mess.

Just the other day, I had a consultation with a client who is remodeling her home.   She had a collection of ideas found on Pinterest...concrete floors, barn doors, faux painting.    

Pinterest Driven Home

Yes, individually these ideas looked lovely on a Pinterest board but is it really the wisest idea to knock out a wall to install the mega on-trend rolling barn door?   Or to pour a concrete floor because it looked so good in a city loft?  These are hard and expensive missteps to unwind.

Yes, go ahead and peruse Pinterest all you want to see what inspires you but be warned that popular design trends tend to rule the boards.    Our advice is to rethink copying rooms that you see from floor to ceiling and to scale back on trendy, popular ideas.    Forge your individual look based on your own needs and lifestyle rather than emulating someone else’s on trend storybook style.

If you’ve been into our home store, you already know if the K. Renee aesthetic speaks to your own style.  We work diligently to create room scenes that are fearless, often surprising but always cohesive, comfortable and elegant

Our goal is always to help you create a home that doesn’t look like anyone else's but yours.     You were born to be original and we’d like to help you keep it that way.