Francesca de la Fuente, co-founder of home décor brand Pomelo Casa, approaches at-home entertaining similar to how she started her business, with an effortlessly cool, laid-back attitude:“Just take the leap, don't worry if everything isn’t perfect and exactly in its place.”
Perfectly imperfect is the name of the game for this Angeleno (by way of Marbella, Spain), and this relaxed yet thoughtful perspective is applied to everything she does: from her gorgeous tablescapes that combine flea market finds with mix and match serving plates, to her own company which brings vibrant, handmade ceramics from Spain, stateside.
We sat down with Francesca to hear more about Pomelo Casa and her tips for making small gatherings at home feel a little more special (hint: it involves a lot of Fleetwood Mac).
Why did you decide to start Pomelo Casa?
I have a background in interior design and that still is my “main” job, but I wanted to have a passion project that felt authentic to me and my taste. These days, so many products are a copy of something else - they don’t feel original. I wanted to create a brand that had a product with history and kept a tradition alive.
Pomelo Casa works directly with Spanish artisans whose ceramics had never previously been exported out of Europe. How did you find the artisans you work with?
My mother has had these same ceramics at home, ever since I was a little girl. They’re made in a region of Spain very close to where I grew up, so I knew what area to research. I contacted all of the workshops in the region and after many months of convincing, one of them decided to take the leap and start this project with me. Nobody had ever exported these ceramics out of Europe before so it was brave of them to agree to it!
How would you describe the Pomelo Casa aesthetic?
Colourful, bohemian, relaxed, imperfect in a perfect way. I want you to feel like you can share, mix and match and have fun with your friends and family.
Do you have a favorite piece from one of your collections?
I love all of the pieces for different reasons but my favorite is the Casa Verde Collection. The ceramics are the original color that’s been used since the 16th century.
What was one of your biggest challenges with starting your own business?
Managing my time! When you have your own business and you're doing everything alone, there are so many different things to do - you could work forever! From accounting, photoshoots, contacting stores, packing orders...deciding what to do each day and in which order is hard because I want to do it all and sometimes it never feels like enough!
As an entrepreneur, what’s something you’re most proud of?
I’m proud that I had an idea and made it come to life. The product already existed and speaks for itself, but I’ve been able to give a new little life to a dying art.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who might be thinking about starting their own business?
Just take the leap, don't worry if everything isn’t perfect and exactly in its place - everything will work itself out in the end. The hardest thing is to start! It feels like a rollercoaster but at least you’re on the ride. Don't worry about making mistakes, you learn from them and in the end, you’re the only one that knows you made the mistake, nobody else will ever notice!
Your tablescapes are stunning. What’s your secret to making them?
I love mixing and matching. You don't necessarily have to have a whole set of the same plates, linens or glasses. Cutlery from the flea market, serving plates that bring another pattern to the table, linens with different prints. A recent little addition to my tablescapes is putting tea lights in our mini bowls. It’s lovely to have candlelight at dinnertime!
What makes a great hosting gift?
I love the pitchers as gifts from our collection, it’s so nice to have fresh flowers at home to brighten up your day.
Do you have a go-to playlist for special occasions?
I tend to just go with Fleetwood Mac radio...all year round!
We’re hopeful things will return back to normal soon, but for the time being, we’re celebrating special moments like birthdays and holidays virtually. How can people make their celebrations feel more intimate, as if everyone were together, in the same space?
Little cocktail parties with wine and cheese over Zoom can be fun. I also love to chat with my girlfriends over Zoom while cooking and having a gin and tonic. It feels like they’re keeping me company in the kitchen!