In her latest column on small businesses, Waltham Forest Business Network's Jo Sealy finds a designer with a lot to offer...
A distinguished career in the world of interior design has been turned into a flourishing personal design projects business. When award-winning interior de- signer Celia James took stock of her 30 years' design and build experience last year, the former director of the British Institute of Interior Design saw an opportunity to set up a brand new business: Pimp Your Home, offering small group workshop sessions from her studio in Leytonstone. "So much has changed over the years in the industry," says Celia.
"The rise of the do-it-yourself interior designer, the desire to express individuality in our homes and cuts in adult education, have reduced many part-time courses in interior design, offering an opportunity. "I decided that I wanted to use my experience and teaching skills to bring the basics of interior design to people who wished to create their own beautiful and functional spaces, so in January this year I took the leap and started the business." Celia runs the twice-monthly Saturday workshop sessions from a fully equipped studio. It's a place for students to focus their ideas, select colour schemes, experiment with room layouts, and choose from samples of fabrics and flooring materials with Celia on hand to share her knowledge and experience.
"Students learn to express their ideas professionally and in so doing reduce the risk of making big mistakes and wasting money," says Celia. "It was a great personal achievement to get my first bookings when I started in January. The number of students has grown steadily since then but it's still a challenge to spread the word about Pimp Your Home. Like many creative people I find it hard to promote myself!"
As Celia's business begins to take off she acknowledges that hard work, persistence, talent, and luck play their part, but it all can only work if you do something you enjoy.
"If you are passionate about what you do you most likely will be successful. One of the most satisfying things about running the business is seeing the students in the studio enjoying themselves, learning from me and each other, and I realise how much knowledge I have to share on so many levels. It makes sense of my working life."
For more information about Pimp Your Home:
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Waltham Forest Women in Business