Katherine Hudson, Founder of House of Hud

An artist that brings people together – creating connecting experiences through environments

At the end of every Burning Man Festival, they set fire to the effigy. It takes weeks to build, and yet it’s turned to ash in minutes. This makes the appreciation and significance of it much more powerful; you’ve got to relish it whilst it’s there. That’s what I love about my tents – they are transformative and transient. You can create any environment inside them, and then they’re gone…

When I first started running a café at festivals in the late nineties, I’d always be the first person to arrive on site and the last to leave. I didn’t sell many cups of coffee, but my tent was always packed out! I realised I had a talent for creating spaces that people wanted to spend time in.

Being debt-adverse, I didn’t want to go to university – and having fallen in love with parties, I decided I’d design the environments to accommodate them instead. At the time I had little experience, but I advertised my services anyway. (I believe in the ‘fake it until you make it’ philosophy; I never got anywhere in life without saying I could do something that I’d never done before!)

Over the past 20 years, I’ve been on a magical adventure through awe-inspiring countries to source beautiful, tantalising materials, furniture and finishing touches. I’ve grown my portfolio to include three businesses – the Arabian Tent Company, the Complete Chillout Company and the Pearl Tent Company, which I’ve streamlined under the umbrella brand ‘House of Hud’ and won many awards.

People call me an entrepreneur, but my driving force is art and design – not profit; that being said, I know my worth. One of my first customers told me: “Darling, I would have paid you double.” Lesson learned: people value what they pay for!

Having spent my twenties working my arse off, I now make the conscious decision to do only what I enjoy and am good at. Last year I learned to let go of fear and focus on the positives. You choose what takes up your attention in life, so make it life-enhancing!

I don’t look at my competition and I don’t want to be comparable. I am my own thing.

Arabian Tent Company