I never intended to be in interior design – but an opportunity came up that I couldn’t refuse so I leapt at the chance. Early on in my career I started designing the furniture and lighting and was quickly promoted to the FF&E Director. This then evolved to Design Director where I was managing design teams and project schemes in London and New York. The experience was invaluable and I learnt so much about working at a thriving business but having that level of responsibility meant less time to sit down and draw things, which is something I’m really passionate about. Martin was keen to move into products too so we set up ‘And Objects’. It’s great to focus wholly on one item that you really care about.
As a Design Director I was meeting clients regularly, doing presentations and managing a growing team but now I’m one person doing everything – it’s just me in at the deep end now! It’s challenging that I don’t necessarily have a large team supporting me but it’s also nice that I can really focus on designing. I’m finding it’s a lot more creative and the number of emails has dramatically declined, and that’s always welcome!
You always hear, ‘Oh setting up a business is really easy’, but it’s all the background work that goes into it as well as the time that people take for granted. One of the biggest challenges is the multi-tasking, from sketching drawings and translating them into detailed designs to liaising with workshops and manufacturers. And then there’s the numbers side of things, as well as the PR and marketing. That’s been the biggest learning curve for me because those things haven’t necessarily come naturally.
I’m most inspired when I visit a workshop that is going to produce the items we’re making. I realise that doesn’t sound too inspiring to most, but I learn a lot there. Whether it’s a craftsman or a large-scale manufacturer, seeing the machinery and the techniques they’re using to make something really enhances my understanding of the whole process – even if it’s not directly related to what I’m creating.
You can read more about the launch of ‘And Objects’ here.
We’re looking at producing more lighting as it’s something that’s been very successful for us. We’re also speaking with several firms about a furniture collection, sofas and armchairs. At some point I would love to create some fabrics and even branch out into rug design. The weaving of the materials is such a contrast to working with timber, upholstery or metal. It’s a craft with an amazing history, but it’s something completely new to me – I’d like to understand it more and get involved in this area of design.
Eventually, I’d love to have a collection I can call my own. It’s great working with such well-regarded brands but wouldn’t it also be great to have a line I can truly call my own. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.
Thank you Nick for helping others craft their own career story.
This YourStoree interview was edited for the web.