An evening with Kerry Lockwood and BoConcept Newcastle
“I never expected to be here talking to you.” I’m at BoConcept, on the second floor of Fenwick’s flagship store, where interiors blogger, Kerry Lockwood is in conversation with design manager, Emma Dickinson. The evening is a sell-out mix of interiors bloggers, influencers and Instagrammers, all eager to hear Kerry’s story. An interior stylist and content creator, Kerry has achieved what many of us can only dream of, and yet she still can’t quite believe her own success. With enough followers to fill Wembley, Kerry’s life today is a million miles away from life as a cabin crew member for Virgin Holidays. But, where did her interiors journey begin? “It all started when we had to re-locate for my husband’s job,” Kerry tells the audience, continuing, “I’ve worked on my Instagram every single day since.”
Posting regularly is all fine and well but engagement, Kerry notes, is the key to growing a loyal following. “You’ve got to engage with people,” she stresses. Mindlessly throwing a few words at the bottom of a post, however, won’t cut it. “I remember seeing a really heartfelt post and, in the comments, someone had written about how much they loved the lamp,” Kerry sighs.
The nods from the audience signal that Kerry’s experience is something we’re all-too-familiar with. I, for one, can spot a mile-off when someone has sat at their laptop, firing off the same phrase to every account they think might follow them. But it’s the genuine, authentic approach that’s rewarded by Instagram’s algorithm, and that resonates with the human beings behind the grid. For Kerry, this translates as catching up with her 72,000 followers via stories and, of course, letting us all into her (not-so) secret obsession: Jammy Dodgers. “It’s always good to put something quirky in your bio,” Kerry laughs.
I’m not surprised to hear that the Northumberland-based blogger works hard to achieve the perfect feed, spending hours upon hours coming up with styling concepts, faffing with accessories, and taking hundreds of photographs. One thing I am surprised to hear, however, is that the very home that fills my feed with dark and delicious decor is, in fact, rented. And has been for the past 10 years. “Everyone is always so surprised to hear that we rent,” Kerry laughs. “Renting a home doesn’t have to mean magnolia walls and IKEA furniture.”
So, what are Kerry’s top tips for Instagram? “If you want to grow your account, hashtags are a great way to do it,” she reveals, before advising that the top nine pictures on our grid are like our shop front - something I’d never really considered before now. It makes sense, of course. After all, we’re all so saturated with content that, if we don’t like what we see immediately, we aren’t going to hit the follow button. Kerry’s tip for achieving the perfect top nine? “Make sure your most popular room always features!” I take a quick look at my own Instagram account, and am pleased to see that my home office, which always seems to prove popular, features in my top nine. I’m doing something right, it seems.
Emma’s conversation with Kerry wraps up, with the winner of BoConcept’s lust-worthy Imola chair announced soon after. We’re given the inside scoop on the Danish design house’s key trends for Autumn Winter (hint: brown is back), before Emma opens the floor to questions. “How do you go about building a readership for your blog?” asks gin and interiors blogger, Beth Shehata. “It’s hard,” confesses Kerry. “But the main thing is to always link your blog content to your content on Instagram.” When asked by another audience-member whether it’s essential to have a blog, Kerry responds that brands prefer influencers to have one. A quick run-through on hashtags (read: don’t always use the same ones), before the evening draws to a close - but not before I make a beeline for the hilarious Claire Harwood of House of Harwood and Rose.
I felt incredibly nervous about coming to this event; after all, I’m never usually one for walking into a room full of people I’ve never met. But the moment I arrive, I feel as though I’m simply catching up with friends. From chatting to Claire about Ken the ghost to the warmest hug from Beth, discovering that Loren from The Debnam’s Home Diaries is only a short walk away from me to confiding with Kerry about my struggle with depression of late, it really does feel as though I’ve known this group of women forever. See, that’s the beauty of the home interiors community; everyone is so lovely. And by attending the Kerry Lockwood x BoConcept event? I feel more a part of this wonderful community than ever…
The Kerry Lockwood x BoConcept event took place at BoConcept Newcastle, on the second floor of Fenwick, 39 Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7AS. Learn more about BoConcept by visiting their website, here. And don’t forget to follow Kerry on Instagram @kerrylockwood_. All photography © Lee Gibbins Photography.