As an interior designer or brand, how has the pandemic affected your work?
New projects have been put on hold as clients are understandably holding back on spend; however, I am still supplying digital concepts and specifying FF&E. There is obviously a huge issue with access to properties and deliveries so there was a big push pre-lockdown to get existing supplier orders delivered. Some projects are sitting uncompleted but thankfully not affecting the clients’ use of their homes. I had bathroom tiles arriving from Italy that luckily left the factory a couple of days before it closed. They then had to be transported by train via a longer route, so the pressure was on before lockdown to get them laid in time. I made sure I had a backup plan for stock here in the UK.
Further to that, how have you responded to the challenges? What measures have you put in place to not only ensure safe practices but to safeguard your business?
I think still talking to clients is really important even if work isn’t progressing and we can’t meet in person. Keeping up conversations and strengthening relationships is a priority now. My work is very much word of mouth and communication is vital, so for me it’s about still being there for clients in the background. In terms of suppliers, if I am placing any orders, I check that items are in stock and delivery is certain to ensure my clients’ money is safe.
We are all trying to find silver linings to this crisis. Some are finding more time to be creative – with or without children! – to think about issues in a different way, to explore a new skill or to improve an existing one. What has been your experience so far in terms of creative thinking and output?
I would love to get more conversations going through social media, specifically Instagram. I am planning to share some knowledge/tips in any way I can. I have enrolled for an online camera confidence course with the intention of venturing into the world of IGTV! In between spending time with my children, I am using this downtime as an opportunity to step back and look at the business: my website content and design, my approach and my goals, as well as revisit some of the ideals I had when I started. Not having to rush around and constantly clock-watch means I can be more reactive to work and home life. I think it’s also important that we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves to have made huge changes to our self-development and our businesses when we come through this. There are days when we might lack motivation, when we’re worrying and missing being with people and that’s ok too.
Trying to stay on a positive note, we’d love to hear about any benefits you may have discovered amidst the difficulties?
Knowing that we are all sharing similar challenges and we are all supporting each other within the Interior Design sector is really comforting. The doors are always open to ‘chat’. Undoubtedly the support of Polly at Camberyard via the WhatsApp group, sharing the Webinars and being able to connect with other designers is invaluable. Most importantly, we are all benefiting from a great deal of kindness to one another and to ourselves.
Looking ahead to the future, when this pandemic is behind us, we’ve been thinking about how this enforced shutdown might be an opportunity to do things – personally, professionally and as a society – a bit differently. We’re thus interested to know how, if at all, you might take your own business forward in a new way?
I am looking forward to returning after this pause with a stronger idea of where I want to be business wise, what I can offer through my business, and with a new energy to get me there.
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