b. is for business: Why your business space should reflect your style
Congratulations, you did it! Getting your first real business space is a massive achievement! Whether it’s converting your spare room into a dedicated office, a shared studio space or a boutique with your very own front door, getting your own space is a big step into the next chapter of your business story. But before you head off to Ikea and purchase everything you think you need for an office, take a step back and carefully consider how you need the space to function, and how you want it to feel. Oh, and read this post ;)
Having spent the past 10 years as a commercial interior designer, working with clients ranging from investment banks, to charities, to creative media agencies, it’s fair to say I know a bit about office design. While your brief will be very different from the corporate ‘stack ’em high’ mentality, it’s still important to get it right from day one and assess the needs of your business now and as it grows.
Your business needs ~
• A place to work
• A place for meeting clients / suppliers
• A place to be inspired
• A place to communicate your brand
The work space
First and foremost consider how you want to work. You may have been limited before to working in a certain way – perhaps on the dining table surrounded by household chaos?! What do you want to change? And what do you like about the way you work? Perhaps you thrive on the background buzz, and need a space where you can feel connected to other people, or maybe you need to be able to shut yourself away in peace and quiet to concentrate. You might need lots of natural light for detailed work, or just a place without glare on your laptop screen! Consider all these things when choosing the best place for your desk – do you like to look out the window while working or is that just a distraction?
What do you need close to hand? Perhaps it’s materials and price lists, maybe it’s files and manuals, make sure there is enough storage at your desk – but don’t place everything close to hand. Sitting at a desk all day is not very good for you – so getting up every now and then to grab a file is a good thing (and an excuse to make another cup of tea… as you’re up ;)) If nothing else, invest in a good chair. If you’re spending 6, 8, even 10 hours a day sitting down you absolutely must ensure you are supported and comfortable. I could write a whole post on the importance of the office chair, but I don’t want to bore you to tears, so if you want advice drop me an email with your budget and I’ll suggest a few options.
The client space
Do you need to meet clients in your space? And how? Are you selling a product they need to try on- with mirrors and dressing rooms, or do you need a cosy consultation space to discuss their wedding plans or showcase their wedding photos? Make sure the space is comfortable and spacious, and allow for more seats than you think – it won’t always just be the bride and groom but perhaps a friend, mum or children too. Do you need a table to display wedding albums, or rails for dresses, or a TV for videos, slideshows or sharing Pinterest – make sure everyone can easily see what’s going on! Are comfy sofa’s more your style, or would a beautiful table suit your purpose better? Make it your space inviting with homely touches and soft lighting – a facility for making tea and coffee is a nice touch!
Weddings are all about the pretty – whether it’s the latest bridal fashions, the most sumptuous bouquets, ideas for quirky poses or samples and swatches for moodboards, use your space to inspire not just your clients, but also you! Think about how you want to display your inspiration – are you likely to change it around often? Flexible solutions are great – shelves for displaying the latest bridal magazines, washing lines with pegs hanging samples, or washi-tape galleries – above all be creative!
I’m sure you’ve spend a lot of time, energy, and probably money, building your brand and what it says about you & your business. Your space, especially if it’s client-facing, is your window to the world – a place to communicate what you’re all about, your values and style. It might be carrying through your colour palette, a motif or logo, or a more abstract interpretation of your style. Think about the quality of the fixture and fittings, if you’re a luxury brand charging £££’s for your service or product, is an Ikea sofa creating the right impression? If you’re a modern, forward thinking company, should your space be filled with a mix-match of furniture salvaged from the family home? What do you represent – the best of vintage, stylish contemporary design, cool and quirky? Translate this into your space creatively – whether it’s creating a cosy space filled with your favourite vintage finds, or a clean and minimal space with pretty wallpaper and details, or funky furniture and wacky wall displays. Don’t miss the opportunity to communicate what you’re all about to your clients and visitors!
For more ideas and inspiration, check out my ‘Your Creative Space’ board on Pinterest.