The Designers' Advisor Asks: Kia Stanford

Kia Stanford

Kia Designs

Kia Designs is an award-winning residential Interior Design Studio based in London. We pride ourselves on creating unique tailored designs for all our clients. Whether we are doing a redesign or a full-scale refurbishment we make sure that every detail is carefully thought through to give our clients a home that is truly their own. Clear communication is the key to every successful project, and we pride ourselves on our transparency. Running an entirely mobile, paper-free interior design consultancy allows our clients to be involved from anywhere in the world while maintaining an eco-friendly office environment along the way.

Kia Stanford
Photography by Carlos Adama

As an interior designer or brand, how has the pandemic affected your work?

Most of our suppliers are closed, or at least mostly closed with only office staff working, so manufacturing has ground to a halt. We have opted to close up for April and reassess following government guidance as we found that stopping everything was much less frustrating for our clients than providing a new disappointment daily as more workshops closed.

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?

In closing the business for a month, it allows us a stopgap to relook at back-end systems and processes and to focus on marketing over the next 12 months. It's also allowed everyone to use their furloughed period to do things that aren’t part of their normal work and expand their skills in other areas. Volunteering locally has given all our staff a big boost.

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 haven't delved into bread baking – yet! But the extra time has allowed me to focus more on reading and CPD. I've signed up for things I wouldn't normally have the time for or are a little out of left field. I'm also finding that writing content and helping other designers with back-end tasks has been a lot of fun.

Trying to stay on a positive note, we’d love to hear about any benefits you may have discovered amidst the difficulties?

I have adored having more time for yoga. Cutting out travelling time has meant that I'm now doing classes 3 or 4 times a week, which considering I'm 5.5 months pregnant has certainly been impressive!! I don't think I would have been able to do that if I added all the travelling time in. Also, our team are still doing check-ins and chatting almost daily, with no work we are all finding a lot more time to get to know each other which has been a really wonderful upside! We spent hours all looking through an eco-beauty website and building an impressive trolley each!! We are going to do reviews of all the products!

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 hoping that it means my team feel more comfortable working from home at least one day a week. It's something we have always offered but few have taken the opportunity. I will definitely be moving my one day a week up to two as we've found that internally, as a team, we work extremely well remotely. All our systems are already set-up for it, which has definitely given us more confidence in moving forward with remote projects.

Many thanks to Kia Stanford

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