Each month in 2014 I will feature a female entrepreneur from Northern Ireland. I find these smart and creative women inspiring and I hope you do to. Last month I featured stylist and illustrator Sara O’Neill and this month it’s interior designer and owner of Jenny Bond Interiors, Jenny Bond.
You recently opened your first shop Jenny Bond Interiors. Was it something that was a long time in the making?
It was something that I had always hoped would happen at the right time, but that I hadn’t been striving towards. Sad circumstances brought about a decision from my old employer (Lyles Flooring) to close his shop. I was left with the decision to set up on my own or join the ranks of the unemployed and that really wasn’t an option for me. And so Jenny Bond Interiors was born (or re-born for those of you who remember me from the vintage fairs!)
It did take a long time to get up and running though. I had a difficult few months looking for a location but managed to remain in part of the old Lyles building.
It took a lot of hard work to get the shop the way I wanted it but I am really pleased with the final product.
What do you love most about having your own shop?
What do I love the most? Mmmm…….I suppose that fact that I am my own boss now and the final decisions lie with me. It was hard to get my head round this for a while and I found myself constantly asking people their opinions and seeking reassurance. I am also proud of the shop, proud I proved to myself I could do this by myself.
What is the most challenging aspect of the job you do?
The most challenging thing is probably trying to balance everything from designing to ordering, from invoices to cleaning! I am working six days a week at the minute and I do all my measuring and house calls in the evening. In between that my Mum and I do all the accounts and invoicing so it can get busy and time can be precious!
You are an accomplished upcycler of furniture, is this still a passion of yours?
I was involved in upcycling for a long time and it was something I really loved.
I was working full time at the time so it was a weekend and evening thing for me. I loved using bright colours and interesting fabrics and creating something really unique. I would love to have the time to go on the hunt for furniture for the shop but I just don’t get the time to source things never mind get the paint brush out!!
If you could decorate anyone’s home, who would it be and why?
This is an interesting question!! Would I want to decorate someones house because it realy needs some help?! Or maybe because I would love to work with them? To be honest I would probably put the emphasis on wanting to decorate a particular building because it inspires me rather than the person.
As part of my HND in 3D Design I did an historical research essay on ‘Florida Manor’ out towards Killinchy. I totally fell in love with the house and became obsessed with it and its story. The company I was working for at the time was doing some work for the owner and when I was offered a position elsewhere I was secretly gutted I wasn’t going to be involved anymore. I don’t think the house itself has been worked on yet, so you never know!!
What is your own personal interior style?
I get asked this a lot in the shop and am always reluctant to answer! People usually say “your house must be gorgeous”, but it might only be gorgeous to me! Interior Design is so personal and I get such a mixture of tastes in the shop – from very traditional to uber contemporary. I don’t like to push my own style on someone because I’m not the one going to be living with it. That’s why I listen to my customers and try to figure out exactly what it is they like. I feel like a psychologist sometimes, trying to read their style! But I find this is the recipe for happy customers. If they love what you’ve done they will come back to you again and again.
Who or what drives you to be successful?
It may sound a bit strange but I don’t necessarily strive to be successful. I am quite lucky in that I do something that I love and I think that comes through in my work and I hope that that will make me successful. I am happy doing what I do and that’s all the success I need.
If I can make a living doing what I love then I’m the most successful I can be!
How do you like to unwind?
I recently took up running and completed my first 10k in Lisburn. I aimed for under an hour and made it with 21 seconds to spare!! It clears my head after a long day and it keeps me fit. I also like to go to circuit training. When I get the time I like heading to dinner with friends for a catch up and try to get ‘home’ to see the family as often as I can.
Jenny Bond Interiors, 392 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 6GN. Follow Jenny Bond Interiors on Facebook.