Quarantine Creatives: Dilly Carter

Dilly Carter

As a Queen in the organising game, Dilly Carter has already been labelled as “London’s Marie Kondo”. With global organisational dominance on the cards for Dilly, this visionary takes full assessment of a personal space and makes it work for you. My conversation with Dilly revealed her passion for helping people and making their life a little bit easier.

Dilly’s personal journey began when she was adopted at the age of three, from Sri Lanka, and began her life in the UK. She revealed she always had an intrinsic eye for space and organising. From a young age, “even in the orphanage” Dilly always helped with the tidying. As she told me more of her story, it became apparent that organisation was wired within her.

 Growing up, Dilly cemented the empathetic side of decluttering as she was helping her own Mother, who suffers with mental health issues. Tidying wasn’t just about “immaculate kitchen cupboards” it was about providing a space with functionality and making it work for different people.

“I used to hang around supermarkets waiting for my Mum to pick me up and I would help with people’s shopping, it’s always been around me somehow”

Whilst at school, Dilly was helping her neighbours and organising local homes as well as her own house. She didn’t always know she could make a career out of her skills and went on to become a personal assistant for sales directors and large companies following school. She continued to refine her knowledge by her experience in a small fashion boutique where she “learnt to fold and organise clothes”.

Working in various office jobs to then becoming a Personal Assistant for private families, Dilly applied her intrinsic skill set to some of her live-in situations. By simply suggesting ways for families to improve their home organisation, Dilly fuelled this organisation with function and still carries this ethos to her business today.

 “I really like organising, I really like tidying up”

Following a trip with a friend, Dilly decided that she wanted to use her skills to help other people and set up as a business. The brainstorming began! The brand name, Declutter Dollies, was conceived in 2018 on a plane journey and now has a growing client base and social media following (her dollies!). Still very much in the infancy of the business, Dilly began with local homes and using leaflets as a way to spread word about her services. As her platform grew, Dilly delved into the Instagram world and began explaining what she does.

Dilly’s social media presence is one that differs from other organisers, and is a big reason why I followed her initially. Her stories reveal a very open side to her, including insight into her family life and how she organises her own home. During Lockdown, Dilly cannot enter people’s homes, so has navigated her online presence as a way to continue helping people. From her virtual cleanses to daily Instagram live videos, it is recognisable that even with the current circumstances she is committed to her business. With Declutter Dollies still in the early stages, I know Dilly has this in the bag (a very organised one at that!)

“These are good times to be in our homes, to focus on our homes, to look at what we’ve got, assess what we’ve got and think how we can improve on certain areas…we’re never gonna get this time again”

Dilly can now help you even more with her new book, Create Space, and catch her on BBC One’s new show Sort Your Life Out where she is one quarter of a dynamic team.

Quarantine Activity: Shower Ritual

With Quarantine being primary to so many of our lives, thousands of us have turned to face mask after face mask to instil self-care and fill up the time we are spending at home. But there’s only so much masking that our faces can take, before our stock runs short along with our patience. If any positive is to be drawn from lockdown, is the chance to inspire splendid habits for the rest of our body.

Our body, as much as we hate to admit, often gets neglected and in the pursuit to feel amazing and give us something to do, I have put together some tips and tricks for some head to toe pampering alongside your shower routine.

READY SET SHOWER

Pre-Shower: Dry Body Brushing

We don’t often think about much pre-shower, but a fabulous way to encourage blood flow to our skin, reduce the appearance of cellulite and gently exfoliate is dry brushing. By implementing this simple step, you can encourage healthy skin over your whole body and take that extra minute to yourselves.

Dry Brushing is an ancient technique that is still used to this day to promote excellent skill health. By using a dry bristle brush, you brush upwards in a circular motion. By starting on the legs in and upward motion, using light strokes, right up to chest and arms you are preparing your skin for the next steps of your routine. The Botanics Exfoliating Body Brush an affordable tool to help with the texture of your skin and blood flow.

During Shower:  Massage and Lather

Showers can be a restorative process and when relished can bring a moment of wellness as well as body benefit. Before getting in the shower, let the shower run to a warm temperature – too hot can be drying on the skin. Following your full body brushing, your skin will love the rejuvenation of a purposeful shower. Using a massage tool in the shower can cement the effects of dry brushing and add luxury to your daily habit.

By using your favourite shower gel lather all over your body and use your massage tool in a similar way to your dry brush, upwards and in circular motions. The ribbed surface of an in-shower massage tool will stimulate the skin and encourage lymphatic drainage. Use this time to absorb the sensations of the shower, the sounds, the scent and allow yourself to relax. A public favourite massage tool is the Champneys Massage Tool.

Post-Shower: Moisturise

 Turning off the shower and giving yourself a moment to exhale before exiting the shower is great way to bring an element of mindfulness to your experience. As the pores of your skin are open and you body is still wet, it is primed to absorb the benefits of skincare products following. Use a towel to pat to your skin, not rub, as the moisture on your skin is ideal for the next step.

Grab your favourite body moisturiser or body oil and massage from your legs in an upward motion. Use this time to coat your body and take your time. Allow the product to sit for a few moments and then pop on your favourite pyjamas or your outfit for the day. Lush’s Tharapy Massage Bar is a luxurious plastic free and began product to satiate your skin.

Quarantine Creatives: Dan Khan

Daniyal Khan

Repping an Urban Panda hoody from the comfort of his living room, Daniyal Khan indulged me with an unfiltered conversation into his creative journey. It was apparent that confident energy and a fearless approach was primary to a lot of doors being opened for Dan. As the Brand Creator of Urban Panda Clothing, it became clear, that for Dan, clothing was only a piece in his creative jigsaw puzzle.

Born in Greater West London, Dan travelled back and forth between the UK and Pakistan and admitted he identifies more as a “Pakistani and a Londoner, rather than British.” Always the chatterbox, Dan favoured English and Drama whilst in school and used to relish in his grades even if they weren’t contributing to his final mark. This positive energy is something that I could see mirrored in his later years and was apparent throughout our conversation.

“Because of my upbringing, I was always polite, I was never a dickhead”

After making the decision to study outside of London, Dan went on to pursue Journalism in Sheffield. Choosing Sheffield Hallam over the University of Sheffield, Dan knew off the bat that a less traditional media approach is something he knew would navigate better. With an initial passion being sports commentary, Dan realised he wanted to encourage conversation and would later become primary to his ethos and business.

“If I score a goal on FIFA, I will fully commentate as though I’m commentating a game”        

During his final year at University, Dan began building the foundations for what was to become Urban Panda. By tapping into his natural entrepreneur, he realised that one of the quickest ways to be recognised and circulate a brand name was through clothing. The wheels got turning as a friend of his channelled his ideas into empirical designs. The band name, Urban Panda, came from a family trip to China.

Whilst in Beijing, a panda sanctuary sparked love for the animal. Being very aware that a panda is the animal of China, he didn’t want consumers to think the brand name was reflecting authentic Chinese style. By taking his interest for the panda, Dan added Urban at the front in order to “reflect the viewpoint of a Londoner or a major city in the west…Panda means pioneering, artistic, noble, daring and assertive”. With Panda initialling these personality traits, Dan wanted this to be reflective of his consumers and their engagement with Urban Panda.

P AN D A | L I F E

“You know pandas are the only animal in the world that are black, white and Asian all at the same time”

I tentatively asked Dan how he initially funded his ideas and his response left me speechless. Whilst at university, he saw the opportunity on Instagram called Rate me Please, a networking event hosted by Remel London which opened up a platform for budding entrepreneurs to win a cash prize for their pitch. With only £40 in his bank account, Dan halved that by making the trip to London from university. After getting some last-minute business cards printed, this Londoner was back on home turf ready to pitch. No product, no protype and no presentation, Dan used a rap to a panel of industry judges. From explaining the concept of Urban Panda to what he needed to progress Dan wowed the judges and won a sweet 10 grand… I know. Madness.

With the financial boost, he admitted he learned some life lessons about business and how sometimes baby steps are more effective than going whole hog straight away. With his primary focus being centred around wanting to start conversations, Urban Panda was the perfect platform to aid other creatives. From talking his way into Adidas launch parties, befriending Big Narstie to hosting phenomenal live events of his own, Dan utilised Urban Panda as a vehicle for development.

With Covid-19 putting many content creators and creatives in a different mental space, Dan is taking this time to reflect and not stress too much. His genuine energy is not only inspiring to other people, but I, myself, felt inspired from our conversation. With such faith in the South Asian community to grow together in a creative space spurred on the creation of South Asian Creatives networking event in Wembley. Once lockdown is over I will most certainly be present.