With much speculation that 2017 will be a challenging year, some might argue it is perhaps not the ideal time to start a new business. Cabinet Maker spoke to Someday Designs’ Emily Mayne, who has done just that, to find out why, and how she achieved her goal.
It is very easy to become stuck in a rut in any job, how many of you have found yourselves wishing, especially at the start of a new year that you could set up on your own, sell some of those crafts you’ve been mastering, or write that elusive novel?
There is always a reason not to, and with 2017 having been heralded across mainstream media as a potentially challenging time, we could be forgiven for deciding to postpone any plans to that effect. Not so, however, for Emily Mayne, who has worked in the design and interior industry for around 15 years for a number of leading brands, including stints as a senior buyer for well known department stores in the UK. Towards the latter half of 2016 she decided the time was right to take those vital steps toward achieving one of her greatest ambitions – starting her own business.
But, why now? Emily explained: “An instrumental part of my decision was my two-year base in Sydney. There, I mainly worked alongside entrepreneurs who were eager to set up on their own or expand their new businesses into broader fields. They were confident in their own ideas and just went with it. It was an exciting time to make decisions quickly, implement them and see the results within a few weeks - very unlike working within the more corporate retail industry here. It is always inspiring to see others fulfill their ambitions and think, I can do this too.”
The other factor for Emily, who has a young family, was work life balance. “The lifestyle and flexibility that running your own company affords you is a key advantage,” she explained. “Yes, starting your own business is an all consuming job and at times proves very difficult to switch off, but that’s why it is so important to set up a business which reflects your talents, interests and experience. Having control over all the decisions, vision and strategy of the company allows you to work very efficiently and working within an industry you love provides the motivation and energy required to make it happen!
“It is always difficult to predict the industry and there will always be challenges to face,” she admitted. “In an ever-evolving commercial and competitive landscape, it is important to stay true to your core business concept whilst also keeping up with technology and customer needs. Being a small business means we can remain flexible and be brave enough to try different approaches, testing the market quickly and allowing us to pivot and adapt accordingly.”
The philosophy behind Emily’s new venture, Someday Designs, is to design, source and bring together unique and interesting pieces for the home. “We specialise in furniture, lighting and home accessories,” explained Emily. “Some of these items are created in house, others are sourced through collaboration with design partners from around the world.”
But with so many designers and manufacturers available, how does one go about whittling them down and choosing potential partners? “We only work with those who share our ethos - producing thoughtfully designed pieces which are sustainably sourced and made using the very best materials,” explained Emily. “Each piece we feature must also represent and compliment our brand vision, aesthetics, style and taste.
“We love to collaborate with design partners; meeting designers and makers who have an equal love for what they do and who create innovative and beautiful pieces, is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. We have We Do Wood who are passionate about sustainability and clever design solutions (pictured), Universo Positivo who make design accessible with their playful and affordable collection of lighting, storage and small furniture pieces (pictured). The integrity of Klippan who can trace the wool used on their blankets right back to the individual farmer and Hjem with their nature inspired range of textiles and small household goods (pictured).
The venture is online only, which Emily felt was the most advantageous channel for her: “Starting as an e-tailer offers benefits to both our brand and the customer. Without the overheads of committing to display stock and store rental space we can keep our prices competitive and pass on any savings to the customer. We want to make design accessible, without the prohibitive price tag.”
This philosophy is clearly a sensible one, as business is already going well, having only launched at the end of last year. “We are really pleased with the feedback and orders which are coming in,” enthused Emily. “There is still lots to do to improve our online visibility and we are only at the beginning of our marketing campaign so we are excited for what 2017 holds in store for us.”
Emily let Cabinet Maker into some of the trends she has seen taking shape in the last few months. “Scandinavian design has been topping interior trends for some time now. Whilst we think this simple and minimalist approach to living is set to stay, there is also a new, more opulent mood emerging. The increasing use of brass, walnut, marble and velvet materials is all testament to this.
“We’ve tapped into this trend and love the John Hollington lighting collection, which combines marble and brass elements. You can achieve your walnut fix with the Lavitta chair from Poiat (pictured) which is also a sculptural masterpiece! Our collaboration with New Works also provides this sense of luxury with their marble material pendant (pictured) or the bowl lamp with smoked glass and a raw or verdigrised copper base.”
With so much going on, we have to wonder how much time is left for new product launches, but there is no laurel resting for Emily, who revealed to us her latest project: “We are currently working on the prototypes for a new made-to-order sofa collection, all designed and made in the UK. Our aim is to launch the collection by spring. Each piece will be available in a carefully considered selection of fabrics and colours, with a choice of wooden leg treatments and we promise to only use the best quality fillers to ensure it is the comfiest seat in the house!”
And longer term? “There is so much we want to achieve! Our next plan is to promote and offer our design services for both residential and commercial projects. We can help with property styling, furniture packages and interior sourcing services. So anyone starting up a new coffee shop business or homeowners preparing for a sale or rental can get in touch with us, we’d love to get involved.”