4 June 2024Written by Emma Woodward

A Day in the Life of Beni Kesh Founder Chàntelle Traficante

Scouring the globe for homewares that tell a story. Flying off for photoshoots in a Marrakesh riad. Chàntelle’s life might sound like the dream for any interior stylist or business owner, but it’s taken hard work, vision and passion to get where she is today.

Chàntelle is an ISCD alumni, interior designer, and the owner and founder of Beni Kesh, a homewares destination stocking “travel inspired artisanal homewares, curated with a luxe bohemian aesthetic.”  

It all began in 2017 with a trip to Morocco. 

“I already had a love to travel,” Chàntelle says. “I had travelled quite a bit, but this particular trip to Morocco, I guess I just fell in love.”

“The sights, the sounds, the smell, the people, it was just incredible. And there’s just so much to learn.”

“And it’s an extremely interesting culture, a beautiful culture. And, it’s definitely one of those places that you want to go to with an open mind and open heart, and I just fell in love.” 

“I just had a beautiful time, but, yeah, that’s where it started, just seeing all the textures and the homewares and watching the artisans with the ceramics and tiles.”

Back home in Sydney, things started to fall into place for Chàntelle.

With a love of travel, and family life that meant moving and change was a constant, Chàntelle began to dream of a business that could grow with her, wherever life would take her.

“Being online, you can do it anywhere.”

“That was the whole point, actually, why I sort of started it, because, with my husband, we moved a bit. So I needed to be able to do something for me that I could take anywhere.”

And with that, Beni Kesh was born. Chàntelle began to source and sell the rugs, cushions and other homewares that made her own soul sing, and found clients who relished having these ethically sourced and richly storied pieces in their homes. 

As Beni Kesh grew, Chàntelle suddenly found clients coming to her for pieces that they simply couldn’t find anywhere else.

“They reached out to me.”

“You know, they believed in what I was doing and they loved what I was doing.”

A Day in the Life of an Interior Stylist and Business Owner

Of course, the most glamorous part of Chàntelle’s job is when she’s travelling the world, sourcing incredible homewares for her clients’ interior projects, or completing photoshoots in idyllic locations.   

To make the most of her time in Morocco, Chàntelle has to fit a lot into one trip – sourcing products, building and maintaining relationships with the artisans who supply those products and scouting locations for photoshoots.

“So a lot of the time, I’ll literally source and shoot in that trip. So it’s crazy. Chaos.”

“I basically will source, and I’ll spend a few days sourcing and then, you know, playing with photoshoots in the riad that I’m staying in.” 

“So it’s working with the riads and the owners, but also the families that I work with that I source from, they help me out a lot.” 

And when it comes to crafting the photoshoots that really sell a brand like Beni Kesh, it’s important to bring everything together. 

“Styling an image for your home or a client, and then also styling an image for a business are two very different things.”

This is one of the reasons Chàntelle likes to shoot her products on location in Morocco.

“For me, you know, it’s all good to see a product that has just got a white backdrop, that just shows the product image, but I think it’s also really important to show your client or a customer, you know, you want them to almost feel that texture through the image.”

“I mean, you can get photoshoot locations and incredible ones here in Australia, but I feel like you just don’t get that authenticity, just with the textures and the colours and the quirkiness.” 

“You want the product to be the hero, but also still talk and show its character. So that’s a big part of my business that I really focus on because I think that really helps my clientele.”

“That’s where you want your customer or your client to get inspiration.”

“So that the client or a potential customer can go, ‘Oh, wow. I can style that pom pom blanket this way. I can use those cactus silk cushions this way.’”

“And I just think it’s really important to try and capture that authentic feeling, again, for your client or for a business.” 

Of course, those photos of a product on a white backdrop still need to be taken, and back home in Australia, it’s those day to day tasks that keep Chàntelle busy. 

“At the moment I’ve probably got, just in my studio at the moment, I’ve probably got, like, a hundred cushions sitting there that I need to photograph.”  

“Typically for me, I’m on emails, social media, I’m creating content, I’m, you know, checking what’s going on on the website from the back end, fulfilling orders.”

“And a big part… I’ve actually got my phone in front of me. I’m talking to people in Morocco every day.” 

“There’s always things to do, and there’s always things to improve, and there’s always things to learn. So, no day is the same. Oh, and then you’re probably talking to your accountant. I probably should do that more often.” 

Building Interior Design Networks and Relationships

Of huge importance to Chàntelle’s business has been the genuine relationships she has built with artisans overseas. Another important aspect has been the networks she relies on back on home soil. 

For anyone wanting to supply unique and authentic homewares, Chàntelle has this advice. 

“The best thing to do is physically go there and just start talking to people.”

“But basically I went there and just met people and talked.”

“Even staying in a riad, I remember saying, ‘Oh, you know, who would you recommend for this?’ And that’s how it happens, literally.” 

Allowing connections to flourish organically has allowed Chàntelle to build the kind of business that she has. It has also allowed her to grow that business, with repeat customers who keep returning to Beni Kesh. 

“And it’s also not just about building relationships in Morocco, but it’s also really important to build those relationships with your clientele and with your customers.” 

“I grew up in the hospitality industry. My mum owned a restaurant and I was making coffees at 12. And, you know, I just remember that customer service focus, and that’s really something that I have wanted to apply in my business and go back to that old school customer service by talking to people and finding out about them.” 

“They’re coming back because they trust me. So, you know, it’s that trust that comes with, I guess, the person. You’re not just dealing with a brand.”

Photoshoot at SOUL of Gerringong, a farmhouse lovingly restored by another ISCD alumni, Simone Mathews.

As an ISCD alumni, Chàntelle has also found that she has a ready-made network of interior designer friends and fellow entrepreneurs.  

“I had beautiful educators, so I actually remained friends with some of them. And I also thought ISCD was fantastic from a networking perspective.”

“So some of the girls that live in Sydney, we try and catch up. You know, it might be once every six months, because life happens, but yeah, it all around was a really beautiful experience for me.” 

“And that’s really important, as a designer or stylist, because if you want to start your own business it can be a little bit lonely. So it’s great to be able to run ideas off people, because you’re not in that office environment.” 

“So, yeah, I’ve got some really beautiful interior designer stylist friends where we sort of really bounce off each other in that aspect as well. And it makes you know that maybe you’re not going a little bit crazy. It’s okay.” 

If you’d like to learn the art of interior design and build your own rewarding career, just like Chàntelle, then you might like to check out our courses, or join us for a free online info session.

ISCD has a 40-year proven track record of producing leading Australian interior designers. We know design intimately, from colour theory, to furniture selection to the latest industry trends.

Are you interested in studying interior design or decoration? Do you want to know more about our online courses and where a career in interior design could take you? Connect with us today to learn more about our Diploma of Interior Design, the Certificate IV in Interior Decoration or any of our industry-focused microcredentials.

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