Today we’d like to introduce you to Susie Coelho.
Susie Coelho is greatly admired as a successful entrepreneur and for being a true visionary and trendsetter. Susie’s multi-media lifestyle company, Susie Coelho Enterprises has had a wealth of variety in their portfolio, with television, publishing, licensing, and partnerships with other world-class brands. Many know Susie from her TV shows or her best-selling books or have eaten in her restaurants, shopped at her boutiques or bought Susie Coelho branded products at retail.
Now with her boundless energy and passion, Coelho is turning her entrepreneurial savvy and fashion sense to creating an exciting new brand; the “House of Sussex,” which marries Susie’s lifelong love of fashion and art! In Susie’s own words, “There is nothing more exhilarating than the magic of creation! I feel blessed to be able to create everyday, working side by side with such a gifted team and to see our vision become a reality!
Coelho first came to public attention as a successful Ford model and lived in New York in the meat-packing district and beat the streets daily carrying her portfolio from photographer’s to fashion magazines. “Being of ethnic decent, it was tough to break in,” she says. So instead of giving up… she did Alice Cooper’s fan mail to pay the rent until the jobs came in!
Then with her sights set on Hollywood, she moved to Los Angeles and started working in film and television. As an entrepreneur, she then created the trendy celebrity eateries “Bono’s” (with then-husband Sonny Bono), and then went on to open an innovative fashion boutique on Melrose called “A Star is Worn,” which sold celebrity collectibles.
Susie then moved into the lifestyle world and graced our living rooms for more than a decade as the host of two HGTV primetime series and became a regular contributor on the Today show and The View. She also becomes a best-selling author with four lifestyle books.
Her global sensibilities stem from her unique background. Born in Sussex, England of East Indian parents with Portuguese ancestry she grew up and was educated in Paris and Washington D,C. It’s clear that her drive, creativity, and sense of style is a distinct part of her exotic and eclectic upbringing.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
“I feel that the obstacle that many artists face is the need to be recognized for their work.” Often this can be unrewarding as you can wait and wait and it may never come. When it does, it can also be in the form of a comment or intention to get you to do something else, drop your dreams or become like everyone else.
Artists do what they do because they are bold and daring and need to create their art! An artist should keep their own counsel and not look for validation from others but pursue their dreams in their own creative way. It will be unique. It will be different, and it will work if you believe in yourself!”
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about House of Sussex – what should we know?
WELCOME TO THE HOUSE OF SUSSEX
ART + FASHION
From Gutter2Gallery and Street2Boutique, “House of Sussex” is making contemporary art wearable! Founded early this year, Susie is back in the fashion world collaborating with notable contemporary artists. Susie’s vision began on the streets of LA, NY, Paris, and London where she was inspired by the art surrounding her.
“House of Sussex” was named after her Susie’s birthplace in Sussex, England. Born a Brit but growing up in Paris, Coelho frequented museums as a young student, taking in the European art and culture. “From Impressionism to Modernism, from Egyptian to Renaissance art, it was all just a Metro ride away,” says Coelho.
Back in the States Coelho’s taste in art expanded when she landed a role in the movie Breakin’ II, Electric Boogaloo, now a cult classic, shot in East LA. Ironically many of the artists she now works with used those East LA walls as their canvas. “Graffiti was an outlet and a way for them to express themselves as they created a culture and a new artistic expression.
“I was inspired by this raw art while shooting the movie,’ Coelho says. I would go home and splatter paint on my jeans and jackets and then sell them in my clothing boutique on Melrose. It was the 80’s and a very interesting time for music, culture, art, and fashion.’
Later after moving to New York in 2010, Coelho lived in The Arts District in Chelsea which was filled with Contemporary galleries exhibiting Bansky, Basquiat, Lichtenstein, and Haring. “It was exciting when Banksy was popping up all over NY, and one of the installations popped up right next door on 24th and 10th Ave, and I ran out, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mysterious artist,” recalled Coelho.
So with that excitement, she decided to turn her passion and intrigue into a new business, collaborating with some of the top talents of this genre. “Always be on the lookout, inspiration is everywhere. Listen to your instincts, and they will always guide you in the right direction! Keep creating, that’s the joy of life.”
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
‘When you ask me what my most essential qualities are… I would have to say CREATIVITY and TENACITY as I feel they go hand and hand if you want to be successful as an artist or entrepreneur.
Creatively, the most important thing for me is not to worry about whether I know how to do something before I start. It’s a creativity killer! If I have to wait to learn something first and the learning curve is too long I move on to something else.
Generally, I just decide I want to create something and start. Trying to know it all and do it perfectly will stop me dead in my tracks. I just flow with it and learn and create and try things and fail and start again. I feel everyone has an artistic side, they just may not be able to implement it in the same way as others can so each person has to find their own voice. Their own route.
I have loved inspiring others through my books and TV shows, to bring out their creativity and I encourage people everyday to be willing to have things not turn out perfectly as that is all part of the creative process! ‘ You have to put yourself out there to be successful in life and often it’s scary. Don’t let the fear get the best of you!
Tenacity is just as important as creativity as it takes discipline to create art and time and patience. Tenacity is so important in achieving any goal. I push forward on my thoughts and ideas, and I try and follow my passions and not censor myself or stifle my creativity.
Erica Weitz, Matt Ordershook