Marie-Bernard is an Interior Designer who is passionate with turning houses into dream homes with the touch of sophistication you thought you could never have.
“My design reflects my cultural heritage, my travels and my eclectic tastes. My discerning eye and tasteful flair developed through my career while I worked for luxury brands such as Versace and Armani to name a few. I decided to pursue my passion for creating magnificent interiors, by achieving a qualification in interior design where I achieved a distinction.
My ability to understand client’s specific needs is my key skill in designing original, timeless style and inspiring homes.
My vision and philosophy are firmly grounded in my attention to detail, and the “Way people live”. Naturally empathic and culturally sensitive, I value client’s ideas and works closely with them to create the residential or hospitality environment of their desire. I treat all projects with equal enthusiasm, integrity and dedication. My aim is to offer unique interiors that work harmoniously with the client’s lifestyle. “
What was the catalyst that made you decide to go into business?
I always had the desire to start my own business. After working for a Design company, and being made redundant, I decided that it was time to take that leap of faith and face the challenge. The redundancy was actually the starting point of my journey with creating Marie-Bernard Designs.
What was holding you back from being an entrepreneur at the time?
I really believed that I needed a large amount of capital to start the business and that once I started, there was a massive fear of not creating a realistic income to live on. Then to make matters worse, I felt my lack of contact within the design industry would hold me back.
What was the best business advice you were given?
Know your market, take action sooner rather than later and be disciplined. Also its important to be realistic and stay focussed.
What is the most exciting thing happening in your sector right now?
Overseas clients from new emerging countries are investing in properties in London which means I am attracting a diverse range of clients. Therefore, political instability in other countries brings wealthy buyers into the capital that are looking to relocate for their safety.
The recession has created a trend, of people moving out from “exclusive addresses” to buying properties in other areas across London. Nevertheless they still want high end, quality interiors which means they want major refurbishments and extensions before they move in.
In addition, there are emerging opportunities abroad in countries like Africa, Brazil and Turkey where there has been a rise in the construction of small hotels and private residential projects.
What are your customers demanding more from you at the moment and how are you/the business responding?
Clients want to have the work done in their home done in stages which means the Design Consultancy service is becoming very popular. By being flexible and offering a personalised service they can be more involved in the process and this has proven to be very good for my practice.
The “personal shopping” experience means they can purchase what they like and with my expertise on board, they benefit from discovering new stores and meeting with my suppliers. This is always a blissful moment when the plan comes together.
What social media tool are you using at the moment?
Although I use a number of social media platforms, Linkedin is the most valuable so far. I have developed very valuable clients and leads across the world, which would not have been possible before.
What is your take on personal business failures?
As long as I am able to find a solution and don’t give up on creating my success, failure does not discourage me. There are many options available in business, if one doesn’t work there are still plenty more to try again and again.
What is the difference that is making the difference for success in business at the moment?
Being flexible and treat each client as an individual with integrity. Remain at the client’s disposal and never say no.
Who are you following on Twitter and why?
I am following Philippe Starckand Kelly Hoppen: They are the most influential designers of the last decade and it is always interesting to hear what they are talking about and to keep up with the current trends and news.
What book would you recommend for entrepreneurs?
All books from Richard Branson and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
What is your favourite quote and how are you applying this in your business?
“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts” By Richard Branson
Enjoying what I do means going the extra mile is never too much for my business and clients. This philosophy creates great relationships with clients and means I am more open to take up opportunities when they present themselves. I also believe, without creativity, it would be more difficulty to do my work well.
What next for your business?
I am now looking to add an online boutique to my website which specialises on offering bespoke household goods, objects and accessories for the home. I am also looking to design my first Boutique Hotel which would be an amazing coup.
For further information visit: www.mariebernarddesigns.com