Kevin White realised the benefits of studying through part time distance learning through the National Design Academywhilst he was employed by a stationery and furniture business.
When voluntary redundancy was offered, he already had the skills and confidence required to start his own interiors business; www.bluegooseinteriors.co.uk with a colleague and took the opportunity to move forward, along with continuing his studies to Higher Education at the same time.
“I was first introduced to the National Design Academy (NDA) through a friend, who also worked in the industry and said how interesting the course was and how much of it could be applied to our current business.
What seamed to be apparent to me was although I was very comfortable with space planning offices and project management there was a lack of Design within my skill base, and in order to address that I embarked on the Diploma in Professional Interior Design in 2009, which lifted my confidence levels to start the Foundation Degree in Interior Design in 2010. As these are studied part-time, online, I was able to fit my studies around work and family.
There were other factors with choosing the National Design Academy for the Diploma course, such as the progression route to BA (Hons) through the Foundation Degree. One of my pet hates is being asked by a potential client “what do you do?” I want to reply “well actually I am an interior designer” – with a degree I will be confident in my reply. Currently my business card reads Design & Sales Director which can be off putting as salesmen sell things and this can form a barrier between you and the client.
We are currently working on getting the business accredited to ISO 9002 which I think is key as we work in the public sector and the other area we feel will benefit the business is membership of the BIID (British Institute of Interior Design). Through the NDA we have been introduced to the BIID who seem to be making great strides to raising the game of interior designers. Membership of this body will assist us with developing clients in the creative sector as they like to associate with companies who are themselves creative. Finally there are the letters after your name which will assist us in the construction sector. People who work for larger companies in this industry look to using qualified people, Architects, surveyors, QS and PM all come with letters after their name.
Going forward it will help build a stronger business, and with all business plans there is an exit strategy in 8 to 10 years we would look to sell the business. The interior design degree will allow me to work independently or as a consultant or in a part time capacity after that sale.
The great thing about the course is it is very well constructed and managed. The tutors understand where they need to get their students to and are quite calm about it. The key thing is you get out of this what you want. For me it is a building block for my business which pays the mortgage and allows my family to live comfortably. I know what I need to do to achieve that every month. However, when you get the opportunity to meet up at workshops at the NDA with other students – then you realise they are looking for something different out of the course, so it’s important to know what you want – and go and get it. “