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The rise of a Next-gen Multi-Talented French Designer

Conversation with Hélène Le Goff "Créatrice d'Univers", Art Director / Studio HLG CEO on building Brands & Business without borders

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Hélène Le Goff known as “Créatrice d’Univers” works both as Brand Designer & Interior Designer

She is the founder of Studio HLG, an independent branding & experience design company working at the intersection of marketing, design, and architecture.

Her goal is to create and develop powerful irresistible brands. She cultivates a global and transversal approach of design: She imagines, design and leads creative delivery across all channels including online and offline customer touchpoint. Her approach brings cohesiveness to every aspect of the brand.With the well-made design, you can develop global experiences, creating, therefore, emotions while developing long-lasting communities.

​​​​She works with all kind of companies, “anyone is welcome to work with me. I don’t have any geographic barrier most of my clients are from France and Europe but now I also work with the US.”

Where do you find your inspiration ?

​​I think that I take my inspiration in very unusual sources. I’ve always been passionate about beautifully engineered machines like racing cars or planes, industrial machines work too! I want my clients to feel the same thing that what I feel while being on a plane or in a racing car. It’s a powerful and beautiful sensation of freedom, you just feel empowered. But like my work, the experience is only one aspect of it. You have to overcome challenges, work on your skills while knowing all technical aspects of it. You can’t do that casually, it’s a day-to-day work. Even though I’m inspired by that kind of areas I like to create an organic and elegant design, managing space to create balance while incorporating that french touch that we all talk about.

What is your entrepreneur story?

We want to know more about how you did about building your business

​​Even when I was just a child, I was already into challenges, I wanted to do BIG things in my life. I was constantly pushing myself to become better, faster and stronger. I was fond of strategy games, artistic artwork, and managing projects.

​​While growing up my passion for art became stronger and stronger. First I started with drawing and dancing, then went into national music academy and then into painting and sculpture by my own. After graduating from high school in 2012 in art, I was both accepted to in the Fine Art Institute and Superior Applied Art Institute. The choice wasn’t easy but Applied Art become evidence, I knew that I wanted to develop an aesthetic approach, not for the beauty itself but to perform a specific duty: develop a work that combines strategy, business and aesthetic together.

​​​​This is where I began my studies at the Superior Institute of Applied Arts.

​​I began studying fine arts, through photography, logo and graphic design, packaging, interior design and architecture but also all connected areas like marketing, and sociology. A very big toolbox that will benefit me later, combining a human approach, product design, and art creation.

​​​​I put myself to work very hard in college and as a result, after an amazing experience in one of the finest interior design and product design studios in Sweden, then a few years later in Art Direction internship in the most awarded advertising agency in Scotland, I graduated major with an excellence award.

​​​​This award has been a key point of opening doors for someone like me who had no network in this business field.

​​After graduating, I was accepted to do a Master Degree in interior & global design but as a matter of fact, a company offers me my first project: design a 1 300m2 fashion event! I had to be available for 2 months, I had no degree in interior design as I was supposed to start my Master, but I have tons of ideas, and a LOT of motivation. So I canceled my master degree and went directly for the job, it was one of the best decision in my life!

​​​​This is how I started alone at age 21 from a blank page, with the 3 most important tools to succeed: energy, thousands of ideas, and unwavering determination!

​​​​From projects to projects, my planning has always been full since I’ve started in 2012 and in 2018 a big step: I need to have a bigger place to reach the next level and work with clients and my team in one place. I’ve found my dream place for my office but there was a lot of work to do in order to shape it to my vision, so I rolled up my sleeves and the work began. 150m² of the office that will become a year after the office and showroom of “Studio HLG – Créateur d’Univers”. I designed everything, from the ground to top. I worked on every small detail to design this very special place for me. A beautiful work environment for creative projects.

​​​​In less than 7 years, Helene helped more than two hundred clients to develop and create the projects they dreamed of. Her talent and commitment in her work begin to make waves across the US. She already has several clients in Paris and Europe, and in the next year she’s planning to extend her activities to New York.

Office of the Studio HLG — Interior Design — Helene Le Goff

What is your business model ?

How were you able to grow so fast?

​​My business is based on 4 pillars:

​​Being Adaptive

  • ​​When I began, I started from zero, I was someone answering a demand in a business context. The economy shaped my business model, I adapted contracts after contracts to create my own approach. I created everything from scratch : I did not work on a 100-page business model and then started my business. I still work this way to this day : you have to analyze, adapt and overcome challenges on your way, I have a final goal but not a definite road. I think that in my area, you have to constantly evolve on a day to day basis.

Client centric

  • ​​I work as a real partner with my clients and take their project with the same engagement as it was mine. Their project becomes my project. I spend a lot of time talking with them about it as I was an associate. It’s essential for me to listen to the client’s story, I ask them to participate in the process and to be a counterpart, address what they’re asking for and try to understand what they have in mind. This also establishes trust and forms a solid relationship with the client, which is when the best work is produced.

Lean Management x Design Thinking

  • The LEAN METHODOLOGY helps you become more efficient in everything, managing tasks and adding value when you work in a lot of fields like me is very important. Lean management is most well-known in industrial project management, but I think it useful for any company and I associate the Lean methodology to Design Thinking, in order to always keep innovation and continual improvement at the core of my business.

​​Unique Experience

  • ​​Being you, being unique! My work goes beyond becoming a brand, it’s about creating a singular experience. After working on the design and the brand I have to think about how and where the product is going to be sold. That’s why combining skills is important in my field, you have to think about the product and the experience as a whole, you can’t manage to think about them separately. This is why my clients like my work most of the time, it’s because I have a global vision about their products and not just the design aspect of it. Selling products in a Popup store it’s not the same thing as selling products in a hypermarket. You have to optimize your work on each project.

​​This is why my clients like my work most of the time : I have a global vision about their products and not just the design aspect of it. Selling products in a Popup store it’s not the same thing as selling products in a hypermarket. You have to optimize your work on each project.

​​Interior Design → Le Gendre idéal — Concept store

​​Can you give me an overview of who you are, what is your educational background?

What are some of your achievements?

​​Like previously said, I studied a wide array of fields, my educational background is connected with who I am. To give more context and to understand who I am, you have to know that I come from a family of painters (Ecole de Barbizon) and my parents have always been open-minded to all kinds of cultures, both passionate about Arts and Sciences. I think I take this sensitivity from them which allows me to see a project from very different angles. I started as a businesswoman with the main goal to use my creativity to be independent and feel limitless in the business possibilities. Now I rather become an entrepreneur to create value. I am gradually exploring new philosophies, methods of mindfulness and the occasional flying outings which help me always challenge myself in order to push myself forward.

​​​​Self-education is something I strongly believe in investing every year. It can be about e-commerce, inbound marketing, project management (PMI) or interior design, or even a new language. This is to “upgrade” myself to the next level and never let myself be still because I think a person is never really done with learning.

​​​​Achievements I consider most valuable are helping other entrepreneurs to reach their own dream. I help people grow their businesses by amplifying what makes them unique. Design and business consulting are a way for me to help people achieve their goal while bringing in the spotlight the best of them. It helps them gain confidence, fierce about their own work, it reflects on their lives and this is invaluable.

What have you learned through your experiences as an entrepreneur that can be used by aspiring business individuals?

​​Start whenever and wherever you are. Being an entrepreneur is not a simple task but it’s a beautiful journey. You have to surround yourself over the time with People that will make you grow up as a human and as an entrepreneur. Grow your network, go out, meet people, exchange, talk about projects. Being an entrepreneur is full of challenges and it’s not only a way to make money but it’s also an incredible social experience. You’ll meet persons that you would never ever think about when you began. It’s a constant effort but it’s a very rewarding one.

​​​​If there was something that I could tell to people it’s to not be blocked by fear, fear will create doubt and doubt will stop you from fulfilling your dreams :

​​​​“Take every chance,
Drop every fear”

​​​​What makes your business so unique and successful?

​I think before being a designer, I’m a businesswoman, my goal is to develop my client business, and use creativity as my tool to do it.

​​​​I’m a perfectionist, with high standards, attached to the details but… with the client ROI in mind at every single point. That makes a difference because it’s 100% client-centric.

​​​The second thing is fully custom projects. The shapes, light, lines, textures, rhythms, and motion animate my process of creation, for the artistic, branding, design, and decoration. A good example is an interior design: my work is not assembling items of furniture from a catalog, is way beyond that. My design projects include art creation, unique pieces designed especially for the brand and place where it takes places. I called it “Creation d’Univers” in french. It means creating unique concepts to make brands brilliantly attractive!

​​​​Branding & Packaging for Nicolas Bernardé, Winner of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” French Pastry Chef and World’s most Best Pastry Chef Awards

What have you learned through your journey as an entrepreneur?

​​Welcome detours and failures with open arms. I learned that what you might think is the worst thing that ever happened to you at that moment might actually turn out the project to be the best thing that ever happened to you. Never give up, be confident and open-minded enough to see that open door… Difficulties are an opportunity to reinvent the project in a better way. And that requires that you not stare at the closed door! Being adaptable is the real test. It’s how you adjust with creativity in tough situations on the fly that demonstrates your strength in leadership.

What skills and attributes make you as successful as you are?

​​I think I’m kind of open-minded and interested in the human being and human intelligence in different fields of his expression. You have to keep an open mind throughout the journey and not be afraid about learning new skills. But there is no secret about being successful hustle and hard work are the keys. Stop counting hours, start by having a vision of where you want to go and start going in that direction, don’t stop till you are there.

Another thing is ​​​Style. Style empowers you to be seen in the way you want and elevates what you do. I’m an unashamed aesthete, I have a sharp visual mind and I take great delight in making things look beautiful, always have done. I want to create everything and not create a composite but a pure creation

​​And last but not least, listen a lot. I like to think that the projects I do stand out because they’re unique to my clients. There’s a lot of energy, sweat and hours of thinking that goes into making something that’s really great for them and they will love because it reflects their uniqueness and personality.

Why are online business and marketing important?

​​The global market is a huge advantage. There is no need to be limited to a specific location or time zone. Your business can be open 24/7 to a global market, creating endless possibilities for engagement and revenue opportunities. The number of clients possible to reach is, to me, unimaginable, as well for building a new partnership. Social media is a real asset to every entrepreneur today : Instagram is a key point for me to develop my activities worldwide.

More Information:

​​Awards :

  • ​​2019 — Best Worldwide Architecture & Design Projects by RUBIO USA

​​​​Some of her clients :

  • ​​Nicolas Bernardé, Winner of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” French Pastry Chef and World’s most Best Pastry Chef Awards
  • ​​Méthodes & Pilotage: International Engineering Company
  • ​​SIAE / Paris Air Show — Bretagne Commerce International
  • ​​Marie & Marie, an innovative fashion brand: organic textile
  • ​​Good Fabric: they make fashion sustainable and fair
  • ESMOD International — Fashion Academy
  • SNCF & RFF — French National Railway Company
  • Saint-Cyr (ESM) — French Military Academy

​​​​Testimonials

​​“It was during the visual identity overhaul that we met Helene. What a beautiful encounter!

​​We really loved Helene’s work ethic and vision. She instantly got inspired while visiting our office in Paris, she really took her time to know us from top to bottom and designed a visual identity that fits perfectly our company. We were so thrilled by the new branding and “universe” she has created for us, that we asked her to do all the packaging design too which gives the perfect image we want to convey to our clients.

​​Hélène is very professional, she listens to what we want and has a high sensitivity in design.

​​Since that first experience, we enjoy each time we need to work with her, it’s such a welcoming feeling to work on projects with her, she always takes every new challenge with enthusiasm.”

  • By Nicolas Bernardé, Winner of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” French Pastry Chef and World’s most Best Pastry Chef Awards

​​​​Links

​​”I absolutely adore Instagram and you’ll find me sharing what I’m up to most days @blondandboss

Email: [email protected]

​​​​Linkedinhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/helenelegoff/

​​Studio HLG Website https://en.studiohlg.com

​​Studio HLG on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/studiohlg/

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