Happy New Year!

Well hello 2019!  What a start to the year we’ve had.  From October to December last year we were busy working away on a new project, the first phase of which had a pre-Christmas install deadline….hence why no blog posts!  The festive period is always hectic anyway, but by pulling in a few helpers along the way we managed to get the majority of the install complete in time for the clients hosting their family and guests for a wonderful relaxing Christmas.  I then retreated into the sanctuary of our little cosy house with the wood burner on, a mound of blankets, Christmas movies on loop and a tub of chocolate at arms reach – heaven.

We reopened the studio on Tuesday 8th well rested and ready for everything 2019 has is store, and it’s going to be a good one!  I took some time over the holidays to draw up a (metaphoric) vision board for the new year, then made a plan of how to implement some strategies to hit our targets and smash our goals for the year.  Without a clear purpose and goals in mind, it’s easy to drift through the weeks and months just ticking along and before you know it, you’re in exactly the same place as you were the year before.  With the opportunities that are out there, you must go after them, because they won’t come to you.  It’s not a quick process, but nothing worth doing ever is.

Kicking off the new year with a little piece in the Marlborough Living magazine, we’ve had some great feedback already so thank you for your kind responses.  You can view the article online in this months issue here

Our focus word for this year is ‘community’.  Living out in the countryside, I’ve seen all too often smaller businesses lose out to larger nationwide or even global corporations in favour of a cheaper or faster service, but it’s important to bring the focus back to our local communities and keep British craftsmanship and suppliers alive before the high street becomes completely over run with chain stores, or worse, closed and vacant shops.  We’ve steadily been adding to our list of trusted local suppliers and craftsmen, going out to their workshops and studios to meet the team and see how they work.  It’s important to build these professional relationships because they become part of your team when working on a project and you all need to be on the same page to function well collaboratively.

We’re extremely lucky that we have a wealth of creative artists, bespoke joiners, furniture makers and textile designers within pretty much a five mile radius of Marlborough.  Some are well known brands such as Fermoie, Stuart Scott and Benchmark Furniture, and others are sole traders who work out of their garage or their spare bedroom, but all are passionate about what they do.  We often source further afield for products we know are handmade and of excellent quality, such as headboards from Wales, light fittings from Yorkshire and wool blankets from the Isle of Mull.  Although we also use suppliers from Europe, I’m passionate about British products and feel their quality standard is second to none.  If you’re a supplier or craftsman based locally, do get in touch we’d love to meet you!

As a local business owner, the surrounding community is important to me and I feel there’s more we could all be doing.  As my children get older it’s becoming more apparent that there really isn’t anything recreationally for them to do around here, so I’m aiming to get other members of the community and local business owners on board to throw around some ideas of how we can best serve our local children and provide them with a safe space to hang out or attend fun and engaging events.  There are plenty of venues around here that stand empty the majority of the time, such as the town hall or the scout hut, and with voluntary contributions from members of the community I’m sure we could come together to create something pretty amazing.

Also the design community is having a bit of a moment at the minute!  It can be quite segregated and competitive, but with new collaborations and groups popping up, such as the Camberyard Collective, the Pierrus Business Club that we’re a part of, and a new head of the BIID taking the community in a new direction, things are changing for the better.

Another big item on our list this year is the overhaul of our daily tasks schedule.  Studio time is precious and often it gets eaten up by the email inbox, then before you know it 6pm rolls around and not much has been ticked off the priority task list.  We now have a new system whereby the very first activity of the morning is a brain dump of all tasks requiring attention, then these get categorised and prioritised.  For the first 3 hours of the day we work on these tasks, without the distraction of emails or social media, and any calls taken are noted down for attention in the afternoon.  This way the most important tasks are dealt with and then the afternoon is free for replying to emails, making calls, meetings, blogging, social media and admin.  We’ve only been working in this way for two days but already it’s clear that it’s a much more proficient use of studio time and productivity is on a high.  The only downside (for you guys!) is that you won’t get a response to an email until the afternoon if you email us in the morning.

Our project schedule this year has been somewhat dictated by the wedding of one of my best friends, who is getting hitched on her farm in New Zealand – slightly too far to go just for the weekend!  So this April we will be closed for 3 weeks over the Easter holiday whilst we jet off to participate in the 2 day shindig in the wilds of Gisborne.  It’s been 10 years since I was last in NZ so I’m really looking forward to some breath taking scenery, kayaking down turquoise rivers and hiking amongst the giant trees.

The studio will also be closed for 2 weeks in the summer as I am running a course at the Marlborough College Summer School which I’m really excited about!  It will be my first official foray into teaching, but I’ve been working on the syllabus for the week long courses and it’s going to be so much fun.  You can head on over to their website here to book onto the course and join me for an Introduction to Interior Design.

Our website will also be getting a little refreshing update in the coming months once we have photos back from our current projects, so keep an eye out on social media for those being announced, there’ll be some beauties!

That’s all for now, check back next week for the second blog post of 2019, now go and create your vision board!

Jenny Quinlan
Director & Head of Design
Studio JQ Ltd

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