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“I will survive this recession,” says Kelly Hoppen

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Hoppen had a killer 2008. Her design empire saw revenues of £18m and she received an MBE for services to the industry. "It was a brilliant year,” she says. The MBE was the icing on the cake. I’m over the moon about it!”

But how will the “Queen of Taupe” weather the year to come? Having already seen one recession, is Hoppen confident that she can weather a second?

“I’ve been lucky,” she says. “I have a lot of friends in banking; the successful kind, not the greedy, irresponsible variety. They told me six months ago that it was time to batten down the hatches, cut costs and sit tight. That’s what I plan to do.”

To diversify her revenue streams, Hoppen plans to reopen her design school in Notting Hill and bring out another book on design. “This year is not about doing anything new” she says. “It’s about doing what works.”

“The difference between this recession and the last one is that this time it’s global,” she continues. “Before, we could rely on other countries for revenue, but now everybody’s in it. I’ve had to swallow my pride and drop prices.”

This is a pretty big statement from a woman who reportedly never does a job for less than £300,000, but Hoppen explains that it was greed that got our economy into this mess, and only moderation will get us out. “The recession flushes out a lot of bad,” she says. “People are much more aware of what they’re spending. I’m currently re-evaluating everything I buy for my clients, trying to get a better price from my builders and upholsterers.”

But for some businesses, it’s too late. “I was really sad to see Wedgewood go under,” says Hoppen. “It’s one of Britain’s oldest potteries, with years of heritage. This is the great sadness of the recession – we’re going to lose great businesses.”

But not hers, however. Hoppen is adamant about that: “I’ve no idea how much money we’ll make this year,” she admits. “But, and I hope I won’t have to eat my words here, I will survive this recession.”

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