My philosophy on running a design business
One of my all time favourite sayings is that life is a rich tapestry. The way fates throws things at you and your sink-or-swim reactions write our histories in ways that we sometimes have no control over.
As Sartorial Interiors hits a ten year anniversary, I look back over my journey and wonder at the ups and downs (and how I'm still sane! Mostly. Well, I think I am.....). I've had the pleasure of working with some of the most divine clients and I've also suffered through some absolute horrors, which I think is pretty par for the course for anyone running a business. Some of the projects have been an absolute joy and others have been torturous or unfinished for various reasons.
There have been times when I have been sooooooooooooo close to chucking in the towel, days where I've cried through the stress, days where I've battled crippling anxieties. I've doubted myself, procrastinated, felt like a failure. Then there are the days I've flown higher than the stars, burst with pride and felt like I'd absolutely nailed it all.
Reading as much as I can about interiors, constantly learning and finding the courage to push boundaries (mine and my clients') are essential to continuing growth; both that of my business and as an individual. I also believe in 'happy accidents' and I value resourcefulness.
I've focused on developing strong and enduring relationships with suppliers, finding excellent trades and craftspeople and drawing out the client's style to help them transform their homes into places they absolutely love.
For me, one of the most important elements in my business is building good will. I'm a natural giver and when I feel that's reciprocated, then I give my absolute all. Conversely, when I feel like I'm being used or exploited, I shut down. I strongly believe the best outcomes need true collaboration with each party bringing their strengths to the table and where there is not only benefit for everyone but enjoyment through participation.
How did I get here?
Ten years ago, I was made redundant from a corporate role two weeks before Christmas. I thought I was returning from maternity leave (how wrong was I!!!), it was the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and my baby had been very premmie (10 weeks early) and as a result was quite demanding. I knew I wouldn't get any part time job, and I began to worry!
But my husband (bless his cotton socks) said that it was a sign....that I should start my business in colour consulting. I had a Bachelor of Arts, I'd done a Diploma in Interior Design and through my painting (landscapes and portraits) I knew I was very good with colour. But I'd never worked in this area, had no idea how to price my services nor how to market them. But I felt I was up against an employment wall. Thus began the roller coaster of Sartorial Interiors.
I got little contracts for industry people here and there, landed some part-time work at a high end showroom, subscribed to every interiors-related newsletter I could find, went to free business workshops and seminars, networking opportunities, etc etc. Slowly but surely, and through trial and error, I built my business.
Since those early days, I've won customer service awards that I'm super proud of and a few months ago, I landed a designer gig on Foxtel's Love It Or List It. How amazing is that! I was read an article about persistence being one of the most important ingredients to a successful business. I think I'm the poster chick for that rule!
Where to now?
Where to, indeed! Well, apart from world domination (**cue evil laugh**) I want to continue working with great clients on fun and challenging projects. I want to write a book and expand my products line from the artworks I currently sell (see them here) and I'd love to do some collaborations. I guess these are pretty much the norm for a designer, but wow - wouldn't they be fun!?!?
I'm excited by what the future has in store for my business. I feel the future is bright. What more could one ask for?