We had the good fortune of connecting with Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Russell and Jordan, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
We turn up. Everyday, we make sure to turn up and move something forward. Sometimes it’s pure pleasure and sometimes that’s harder but It’s not about perfection or even about productivity. It’s more to do with imperfect progress. Having grit is important to achieve success as there will always be difficulties, challenges and hurdles. Showing up for your goals is one way of actioning your intentions.
We often use yoga or a walk in the woods with our dog to start the day as this helps us to connect on days when turning up feels harder.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It feels significant to define ourselves as creatives rather than businesspeople.
Many would say we run a design business but we see ourselves as creatives first of all. Business is something that has to happen in order for us to be creative. We have always tried to choose who we work with based on whether we respond positovely to them as people and also whetier the project allows room for creativity. Sometimes the balance slips and you have to make choices that allow you to keep going and facilitate more creative options but largely we have tried to focus on the collaborations and projects that feel most open to a creative approach. This is something that has been hard to navigate and will always require focus. Compromise has been learned along the way, not least between eachother as we work and live together and often don’t agree on the best way forward so we have had to accommodate that conflict in our creative process.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We love to have friends over to stay and we especially love cooking and entertaining friends at home. So it would begin at our home for a lunch made by us. Including some vegetables from our garden and a vegan menu (we are both vegan). Then we would want to go for a walk in our local woods at Beckenham Place Park where we would get a long black or oat flat white as we walk our mini dachshund Buckley and enjoy a bit of nature. Then we would perhaps think about going into the centre of london for a bit of shopping perhaps at Coal Drops Yard followed by early dinner at German Gymnasium (their vegan schnitzel and organic Alsatian Pinot noir is a must), followed by some theatre either at the National on the south bank (a brutalist beauty) or the Royal court on Sloane Square where the best new writing happens. Then home for a nightcap and early night.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Russell – so many people have made a difference along the way. This one is so hard to narrow down. I had a teacher at school, Anne Joynes, who could see that I was struggling with my identity as a queer kid growing up in the closet and they were so kind and did not push anything, but managed to make me feel seen. They offered me a way to channel my confusion and hurt into creativity and introduced me to theatre. The lessons I learned in the theatre industry about collaboration and kinship and creating drama have been invaluable to me throughout my life in whatever project or career I have pursued.
Jordan – my mum has been such a passionate supporter of everything I do and she has never questioned my choices or tried to shape me. She was always so open to who I was and so encouraging and that has helped me to be confident as a creative and to follow my own path.
Many people have had positive influences on my career path but no one person has had as much impact as my mum, Becki.
Other: Our new book, Making Living Lovely – free your home with creative design, is out now, published by Thames and Hudson.
Photo by Megan Taylor, interior design by 2LG Studio