People in design: Carmel Allen, creative director of Heal’s

The creative director of Heal’s talks about her career in interiors, home life and the charity close to her heart

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What does your job involve?

It’s less about choosing products for the Heal’s stores and more about forming an inspiring environment for customers to create a signature style for their home. My focus, since taking the role in 2013, has been to emphasise the core Heal’s values – good quality, great design and functional pieces. Each day is different – a mix of meetings, developing future collections, finalising new designs and organising store events. Originally I worked as a journalist at Tatler and InStyle, but when my daughter Josephine, now 12, was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer, I really couldn’t travel, which is essential when working in fashion. So I moved on to homes and interiors titles and then into retail.

Heal's discoveries designers' dinner

heals designer sam lloyd and matthew elton a-frame shelf

Carmel's hammersmith home

How do you like to relax?

I enjoy running and cycling along the river, and going to the theatre and opera. Living in London, I like to make use of what’s on my doorstep.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I founded the Kiss it Better charity in 2004 to raise money for cancer treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. It is dear to my heart as I was able to turn the very difficult time of Josephine being ill into a positive. February is official awareness month; I have worked with cosmetics brand Clinique to create a product where the sales revenue goes to the hospital.

What’s in your diary for 2015?

I am working on the launch of an Ambrose flat in London, furnished with pieces from the range, where people can live for up to two weeks – almost like a social experiment. Heal’s Modern Craft Market was also such a success last year that I really want to do it again.

Featured image: Carmel with her daughter Josephine