Empowered Women Empower: Meet Camille Clifton of Pompadour DC

Camille Clifton Pompadour DC empowered women empower

In this edition of Love Happens’ Empowered Women Empower series, Janet Morais, founder and CEO of KOKET and Lh, poses a series of inspiration-inducing questions to Camille Clifton, founder of Pompadour DC. Through her Metro-DC-based office and Aiken, South Carolina Cafe & Boutique, she offers interior design, short-term rentals, delicious food, and beautiful home decor. Camille is also the author of a Covid-19 relief photo book called HIATUS. Be empowered!

Meet Camille Clifton of Pompadour DC

Camille clifton in her Aiken, SC Boutique
Camille Clifton in her Aiken, SC Boutique

Janet Morais: The tagline for KOKET is “love happens”. I am a firm believer that you cannot achieve any level of success without love. When did your love affair with design begin? And how did it make you feel?

Camille Clifton: The love affair with design developed during my childhood by osmosis. My father was a US Diplomat and his assignments took us to a myriad of countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Living in official residences every 2-3 years, meant, of course, a new home, design and architecture, and living as a quasi-local.

By virtue of this exposure at such an early stage of my life, it truly set the tone for my background and influences in everything that I do and is the essence of who I am.

When we were living in Moroni, the capital of the Comoros Islands, I was 8 years old and I remember being mesmerized by the call of prayer and the splendid Old Friday Mosque that stands tall on the edge of the Indian Ocean. I truly believe that’s where it all began.

My parents having to fulfill their representational duties were constantly out to events, and when I had the house to myself (staff was there, so not totally alone), I would have a feast with my bedroom rearranging furniture and decorating. Often, I would accompany my French mother or our Chef to the open markets, and while they shopped fresh produce, I would venture off to the craftsmen and observe how they would manipulate natural fossil pieces and woods with very simple tools in making beautiful works of art. My eyes were peeled to them!

And you are correct, love is an essential ingredient with a sprinkle of passion!

modern kitchen Interior design by Pompadour DC
Interior by Pompadour DC

Janet: Pre-Covid the design industry was often unrealistic and filled with unsustainable expectations. The last couple of months for me were a time of reflection and resolution. What changes have you made in your company and personally? And tell us about your recent book!

Camille: The foundation of any business must be at its core, to be flexible and versatile. Being relevant is crucial to its success.

The first eminent change to my company was to cease hosting our clients in our short-term rentals in McLean and Tysons Corner, Virginia. Our clients are predominantly Business Executives and Diplomats coming to the area for meetings at their Headquarters or Missions. With Covid-19’s arrival and lockdown, travel was canceled. Our protocol was for our Clients’ and Team’s safety and health remaining our top priorities.

When Covid hit and we had a shutdown, it was surreal. My creative juices were ripe and I had an urgency to document the silence, fear, emptiness, unknown and got in my car and drove around, and shot photographs of Washington, DC.

I had been chatting with former high school classmates from Germany, that were scattered all around the world. We were an emotional support group. Some were in Italy, where Covid was hit really bad and the idea came to me to do this book, not only as historical documentation but as a means to help, by having proceeds of the sale for charities and foundations. (Global Giving, INOVA Fairfax Hospital, Doctors Without Borders, Conegliano Solidale Italia). The book is called HIATUS and the photographs are in black and white, to emphasize the historical content.

hiatus covid 19 relief book camille clifton black and white photography dc

Janet: I saw on your site you are taking a break from your ‘casual luxury short-term rental’ business, but I am very intrigued by this so can you tell us about it and why you decided to hit pause on it and focus your attention on interior design?

Camille: The pause button was only caused by Covid, as mentioned above, but soon we will be hosting again with a very different approach. I believe that our Clients will love our new concept and what we are working on.

Interior Design is an extension of the short-term rentals, as all of our units are designed and decorated by me. Focusing on Interior Design appeared as a natural transition for me to continue to offer my creativity and services. As more people spent more time at home, the need for Interior Design is significant and I’m here for it!

Janet: My mission in life is to empower through design and content, a goal I strive for thru KOKET by creating empowering statement pieces. If you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?

Camille: Tough one, because there are several pieces and collections that I’m crushing on! However, one is one, so I choose the Orchidea Console for its strong feminine lines and elegance meets modern. It just has the right amount of everything! I love the details of having gold orchids, as the handles. I find them exquisite. This piece is very powerful.

orchidea console by koket gold and black oval hall table
Orchidea Console by KOKET

Janet: What empowers you?

Camille: Actually, love empowers me. The whole sense of it, in all its shapes and forms, and the natural sense of unconditional love. The love for many people, places, things, feelings, and memories. Love is beautiful, ephemeral, fragile; yet so potent. We are nothing without it. Lastly, knowing that there’s beauty to uplift everywhere and all the time.

Janet: How do you empower other women?

Camille: First and foremost, I’m not aware that I empower other women; but if I am it is through compassion, love, and respect.

I’m a listener and the person in front of me is important. I will retain the information, but will never be judgmental, that is not my place.

We all have our specific journey and we all have our own lessons to learn. I will plant a seed for growth though, and speak frankly about my opinions. There are no gray areas with me, so if that’s empowering to anyone, I would like to thank you for honoring and validating my truth.

Janet: Who is Camille Clifton the Woman?

Camille: This made me smile because truly I think few ponder the question on themselves, at least for me.

In a practical matter, I would say that I am definitely a cosmopolitan woman. I have bohemian traits, as I’m a travel addict; but in contrast, I seek perfection, simplicity, and passion.

My loyalty speaks volume and my work ethics are proven by the hundreds of reviews and lovely personal letters and gifts I have received over the years from my clients. I’m easily touched by simple acts of kindness because I feel that they have karmic representations, that I’m receiving what I sent out, and that profoundly touches me.

Janet: Who is Camille Clifton the founder of Pompadour DC and author of HIATUS?

Camille: I am authentic and remain true to my commitment to delivering a high standard level of service and product. Precision, laser-sharp focus, and innovation persist in my driving forces to achieve my goals.

Hesitation does not exist in my world and I’m constantly prevailing to be relevant at all times and be in survival mode; because they are fundamentally essential.

Janet: What three pieces of advice would you give to a young woman starting her career?

  1. Listen to your instincts and act with love
  2. Be humble and grateful
  3. Trust the journey, as there are no mistakes, just other opportunities

Janet: Do you have any mottos you live by?

Camille: Love with all your heart and soul.

Janet: What’s next for Camille Clifton & Pompadour DC?

Camille: On June 1st, we opened a Cafe, Boutique, and Interior Design Studio on 116 Pendleton Street
SW, Aiken, South Carolina.

I’m working on two Interior Design Projects in the DMV. One is preserving and restoring a historic row house in Cleveland Park, DC, and the other is a beach house in North Beach, Maryland; a total renovation and turning the beach cottage from outdated 60’s to a natural, Mediterranean, modern vibe.

Other Interior Design projects are on the horizon and of course, I’m totally happy!