In the second of new Career Profile series we speak with Interior Designer Ann Jones at Chapter Eight Design with a hope that you will find aspects of her career journey an inspiration for your own creative career.
What was your educational background?
I have a Degree in Textiles and a Masters in Fashion Marketing. While at university I was really interested in the interaction and influence of different art disciplines. Interiors were being more and more influenced by fashion and fashion was being influenced by interiors.
How did you start your career as a designer?
Following university, I wanted to use the blend of my academic experiences. I spotted a job advert for a leading show home company as an Interior Designer and the role seemed like the perfect job. My portfolio was textiles biased rather than interiors, so to impress and prove my skills I designed them a scheme for a show home including a quotation and presented it to them at my interview. I later found out this got me the job.
How did your career progress?
After 4 years at the show home company I then worked for a top central London interior design studio; designing luxury residential homes, hotels and show homes for leading developers for over 12 years.
What were your highlights during this period?
Designing, project managing and overseeing the installation of dolphin square Hotel. Designing luxury residential properties for private individuals including well know celebrities.
Are there any projects which were key to this part of your career?
Dolphin square was an exceptionally large project with over 300 apartments, spa, bar & reception. It provided lots of opportunities to develop key skills and work with diverse trades. It allowed me to hone my project managing skills and develop logistics tactics for large scale installations.
Why did you decide to set up your own interior design practice?
From a young aged I have always wanted to have my own design company as I am very motivated and enjoy all aspects of the job from meeting clients, design, project managing and installing the projects.
Do you have a design ethos or style?
We pride ourselves on not having an in-house style, not one person is the same so why should our designs be!
As a designer what sets you apart from your competitors?
We combine an infectious enthusiasm for design with a wealth of knowledge and a commitment to transparency. We have established strong working relationships with a range of trusted suppliers. As a result, we wow you at every stage of your project and bringing your vision to life.
What are your key goals?
Perseverance, success, and a good work life balance.
How are you working towards achieving these goals?
Working with like-minded people and being considered about the type of project work we undertake, allowing us to demonstrate our skill base at the highest quality.
Which projects have been key to establishing your business?
The cycling coffee shop Velusso in Bruges was a great start followed by and our recent feature in @25beautifulhomes with our ‘room to grow’ scheme. Although residential interiors is our foundation the variety of other work has been exhilarating.
Following on this year we have several other commissions underway and in September a revisit of the concrete house in Grand designs. This will give us a great foundation and platform for 2020.
What hurdles have you had to overcome as an independent designer/business owner?
There are too many I think for this article but some of the things that have been challenging are establishing an identity and being true to yourself, spinning multi plates and understanding the complexity of running all aspects of a business.
You have worked on a wide variety of projects, is it your intention not to pigeon hole yourself?
Yes, Our first commission was an award-winning coffee shop in Brugge and that presented very different challenges. Adapting our skills in different market sectors is stimulating and keeps things fresh.
Are there career ambitions which you are yet to achieve?
Collaborating with architects, creating simple and elegant interiors. Establishing our new studio in the vibrancy of the North lanes. A space that will allow us to grow as a business in a cool creative hub.
What is the next step for your business?
To establish our growing client base, build on the credibility of the latest projects in the publications @25beautifulhomes with our ‘room to grow’, the concrete house – featured on Grand Design and to build the reputation as an approachable & credible design company.
If you would like to feature in this series and tell our readers about your career journey please email firstname.lastname@example.org