Industry Leaders

The House Directory Story: An interview with CEO, Angel Tan.


In the world of interior design and home decor, The House Directory (THD) has true heritage and history as a resource for sourcing the very best suppliers and services. In anticipation of Decorex 2023, we interview Angel to hear her story.

How did you become a proud owner of The House Directory?

I first encountered THD about 15yrs ago when the founders were promoting their book and website at Decorex! I’d used THD when sourcing suppliers and services for private interior design clients and was then personally introduced to one of the founders, who is the mother of a friend of my former business partner. I then became involved with the business after my first son was born when one of the founders was looking to retire and it was good timing for me as my then business partner was moving overseas. Both founders have since retired, one at a time and the day-to-day running of the business has become my sole responsibility.

What attracted you to it?

The female founders of The House Directory were an inspiration to me. Their determination, passion and vision to turn answering a reader phone line at House & Garden Magazine into developing a valuable resource in three published books, then building a brand independent of the magazine and going online when websites were still in their infancy. All without knowing how to work a computer when they started out! I was also attracted by the chance to build and develop a business aligned with my personal values. Having started and run other businesses before, the opportunity resonated with me and arrived at the right time.


What’s the best thing about your role?

The best thing is being able to build positive relationships and to work with like-minded people. Also, developing strategic partnerships with events and businesses, like Treacle, as well as getting to know all the amazing people behind the brands.  Network and collaboration are pivotal to success in these challenging times and I enjoy brainstorming and being creative around how we can help each other to grow and thrive as a supportive community.


What does your normal day look like?

Every day is different. Weekdays usually start at 7:30am with the school run. Following that, I aim for a few hours of work which may involve attending press launches, meetings with our members, showroom visits or events, calls and emails and catch-ups with the team until 1:30pm. A quick lunch and preferably a walk outside if I’ve been stuck on the screen. After that, I may work on some content planning for the website or socials before picking up the boys. Sometimes there is an evening press event to attend.  Otherwise, at home, once the kids are in bed I might catch up on a few admin tasks and plan the week ahead, or have some downtime reading or watching a Netflix series. This week, however, you’ll find me manning a Stand at The Decorative Fair in Battersea Park from 11am until 7-8pm until Sunday, home at 9pm…I am a night owl so bedtime is usually midnight or later.


What are your creative inspirations?

I’m an architect and interior designer so I am very visual.  I love to travel and visit interesting new places to soak up the energy, art and culture. In London I enjoy days out to local galleries and museums. The built environment and interiors have a huge impact on wellbeing and I am inspired by anything I see or read that optimises health and wellness for people and the planet. I am also inspired by stories and you’ll often find me listening to podcasts or books on business and wellness.


Where do you see THD taking you next?

I see our community growing organically and membership becoming a coveted and recognised industry accolade. I see us moving into events with our upcoming bespoke supplier showcase next May at The Decorative Fair, as the springboard for future in-person events. I see us cementing industry partnerships and finding business-related suppliers (marketing, PR, strategy, branding, SEO, web design) to assist, enhance and elevate the brands, services and makers within our community. I also see us developing a voice and influence within the industry to raise awareness of the topics which align with our brand values and vision.


What are you looking forward to about Decorex this year?  Any top tips/who we should look out for?

I’m looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of our members at Decorex, as well as meeting new contacts and finding out about new brands. I’ll also be looking out for the “Making Spaces” section, where makers will be demonstrating their skills live.