Kelly Searl – Pony Rider

When I had my little boy I just knew I wanted a room with a feel of adventure, but not with the typical kiddie look. I didn’t want big grand themes, just a nice room filled with beautiful things that later could grow up with him.

Then I came across Pony Rider. They aren’t a children’s brand by any means, but their homewares have some beautiful adventure vibes going on and were perfect for what I wanted. With beautiful sayings like ‘Born Free’, I instantly found a brand that was going to deliver on that room brief that I had in my mind.

From there I have grown to love Pony Rider even more, especially their unique imagery and so I was very excited when we got to interview its founder and find out all about their story.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Kelly Searl and I am the director/creative of Pony Rider. Prior to that I woke in the design industry in both advertising and fashion for about 12 years. At Pony Rider my roles flick between director, creative and office tea lady. 

When did you start and what made you follow your dream? 

I began officially about 7 years ago, unofficially about 8.5 years ago. It took me a while to build the brand to gear up the launch. I was somewhat forced by life into a position that enabled me some space to create something new. Sometimes what seems as a hindrance is a blessing. I really work to that all the time. I see change as a great opportunity and it somewhat excites me. 

What do you love most about what you do and why?

I love the people I work with, I love the spaces we create to drive community. I really enjoy working with people and I am a huge fan of slow living. I feel like Pony Rider is the study of interaction between product, environment, inspiration and people. What comes from that is what drives me.

When things have been really hard or challenging, how have you overcome those times?

Lay awake sweating all night. Haha. You think I’m kidding. I talk, I actually talk to my network the whole time. I do suffer from a busy mind and have done so since I finished my teens years.  That said it is always much clearer when you write it out after a good talk. I ask questions all the time and get as many good people around me as possible. Although, there is a line in the sand and eventually you really need to learn to trust your instinct even if at the times it feels a little crazy.

What has been your proudest career achievement to date? 

I think my proudest career move has been this year. To change the direction of a business, even though it has been successful was a hard thing to do. You haven’t seen the change on the outside but it’s coming. However the call for change has been so strong that I lay awake for hours. It really made me ask what drives success and what do I value. Sometimes what others perceive as success isn’t your own. This is definitely my proudest career move and my scariest. 

What does being wholehearted mean to you? 

Being wholehearted is commitment from within. Truth, drive and honest intent. I think when we steer away from this, issues start to rise up. Being wholehearted means keeping to your path and not following others.