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Decorex catches up with Polly Williams, multi award-winning designers’ advisor and founder of Camberyard – the UK’s leading interior design business development consultancy. Inspired by the belief that collaboration is better than competition, she formed the Camberyard Collective, a select group of like-minded designers, brands and creative professionals that meet regularly for workshops and events.
When asked how they were dealing with the challenges of Covid-19, designers and brands in Polly Williams’ Camberyard Collective were quick to respond. While acknowledging worries and frustrations, they showed tenacity, creativity and a desire to connect whilst looking to the future. Polly draws inspiration from their responses to offer some practical tips in times of crisis.
1. Embrace digital
An unexpected upside to the quarantine for many, both in the interiors world and beyond, is how remote working can function so well. By removing the travel element, virtual meetings (or simply a phone call) can save both time and money and, if well-managed, greatly increase efficiency. Save the in-person face-to-face for when it’s really needed.
2. Build your social media presence
Busy interior professionals may find their social media takes a backseat at times. Enforced downtime can be an opportunity to think more creatively about how to promote your brand by connecting with and increasing your followers. It can also be a chance to plan ahead. Creating a bank of images can be useful later when you’re inundated with projects and working to tight deadlines.
3. Create a 12-month marketing plan
Likewise, you might try to use the pause to think through your wider marketing strategy, mapping out an approach for the next year. Having a clear long-term game-plan can make a big difference in how well you reach and engage with new clients. To help inspire, many webinars are popping up, including Decorex International’s Instagram Live, featuring industry leaders from across the world discussing new initiatives and celebrating the coming together during this time.
4. Take stock of your strategy
Moreover, with many projects on hold, this is an ideal time to review your business goals and how you’re planning to achieve them. This might include honing your USP, better understanding your target market or revising your profitability and systems. Consider how you might change or transform your business or way of working. Is this the moment, for instance, that you take real steps to make your interior designs or brand more sustainable and kinder to the planet? Don’t be afraid to seek out professional advice to point you in the right direction.
5. Improve and learn new skills
While some are finding life even more hectic, others are discovering the lack of commute and pause on projects has given them space to seek out online masterclasses. Or perhaps to take up a new hobby or indulge an old one. Inspiration comes from many corners and, if you do have some space, putting thought into a different area may spark new ideas as well as expand your existing skillset. But don’t worry if you’re far from upskilling right now – make a mental note to pursue in the future. In the meantime, you may find talents in unexpected places!=
6. Get your house in order
While it’s not glamorous, during this lockdown there can be great pleasure and satisfaction in the mundane; ticking off small admin tasks. Take a bit of time each week to deal with those pesky jobs that always seem to get pushed down the priority list, but which will help ensure you run a tight and efficient business. Organising your papers will pay off in the long run.
7. Make connections with new suppliers
Sourcing products close to home has become especially important. Harnessing the power of technology, take some time to discover and connect with all of those amazing suppliers: artisans, makers, craftsmen and small businesses– they need your support more than ever.
8. Rest and take time out for yourself
With so much online content out there, so many jobs to get done as well as calls for your attention – virtually and in your home – it can be easy to fill up your days. Fight the impulse to overschedule your time. If you live with others, try to take time out for yourself – as well as for quality time with those in your household. Strong mental and physical health is more difficult if you’re exhausted. If you’re not working late to catch up from a day of home-schooling or childcare, try to take advantage of the lack of social engagements to go to bed earlier. Emerging from this feeling more rested would be a bonus!
This professional pause is a unique opportunity to connect with fellow creative professionals. Camberyard’s motto – collaboration is better than competition – is especially apt right now. Reach out and take advantage of some of the virtual initiatives or conversations popping up in the interiors sector (be selective to avoid online fatigue!). Camberyard, like other consultancies, has adapted its schedule of events to an online offering, continuing to provide opportunities for knowledge and connection. In these or similar events, you might just meet a new collaborator, colleague, or friend, or hear some helpful words. Support is out there – welcome it.
10. Stop, breathe, contemplate and give back
We’re all out of our usual comfort zones. On top of the day-to-day restrictions, you may be facing many uncertainties and challenges – it’s a very difficult time for many. Design Havens for Heroes present a unique opportunity for design professionals to lend a hand. Above all, be creative, be present, and you’ll find the strength and motivation to make the most of this time.
While this period of uncertainty has proved challenging, it has also highlighted the resilient nature of the industry and the resounding sense of community that is shared amongst us. Polly Williams’ practical tips will help you to leverage your brand’s digital presence and stay motivated during quarantine.
For further insight from Polly Williams, read 10 Things You Need to Know Before Launching an Interior Design Business or Brand