An Interior Design Fashionista who has combined a fantastic design eye, creative and business talents to open a brand new retail store!
Qualified designer and bespoke curtain-maker, she is accredited by the Guild of master craftsmen. Jane has been living the dream for over twenty years. She is a regular in local newspapers and has her own interiors column in glossy magazine Fine City distributed in Norwich and Eaton Waitrose.
Jane says, "I am one of the lucky ones as I love the profession I am in. I adore fabrics, good design and colour and the most satisfying part is nurturing a clients dream and turning it into a reality by creating a beautiful home."
She is the proud owner of a boutique interiors shop in the Norwich Lanes selling fabrics, wallpaper, giftware and mid century furniture. Jane also offers a service, which specialises in restoring and reupholstering designer furniture. She started the business in 1988 making curtains from her spare room, always inspired by fabric, colours textures and weaves. Jane Richards Interiors provides a full interior design service for all styles of property and specialises in bespoke curtains, blinds and soft furnishings and has created beautiful and stunning interiors for some of the most prestigious homes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Oxfordshire and London.
She comments, "My training started when I was a small child, I was raised by my grandparents and was taught old fashioned sewing techniques and skills, knitting, embroidery and designing and making my own clothes. As a teenager it was important for me to dress in an individual way and the only way I could wear what I really wanted was to design and make it myself. Looking unique was very important."
"When I married my sewing skills naturally led me to making my own curtains and home soft furnishings. Friends and family loved my home interiors and insisted I made curtains and soft furnishings for them. The business was initially formed by demand which has led to me creating an online business and I now run a bespoke interiors shop in the Artisan quarter of Norwich."
Jane's business is a great example of how the recession doesn't mean businesses have to put a halt to their expansion or growth plans. Jane successfully launched her first store earlier this year in Lower Goat Lane, Norwich.
She continues, "The opening had an amazing turnout with over 100 people attending. It started at 10am and finished at 8pm. We served drinks and had an open day to the general public plus special invitations for existing clients. We made some sales on the day too! Two of my oldest clients drove 35 miles to attend, and they are in their late 70s. Relationships with clients are all about trust and this proves I got this right!"
Joining Enterprising Women has provided Jane with a number of benefits to aid her business.
"I joined EW as I had the pleasure of meeting this incredibly vibrant lady called Bev Hurley. I was attending my local networking meeting and Bev was the guest speaker. She was so enthusiastic about EW I went home and joined immediately. I came away from that meeting feeling totally inspired."
"As a businesswoman, I met with some prejudice in the early years as I was a working mum and it did not suit everyone around me, but I ignored them. Becoming a member of EW has given me greater confidence, alongside training and meeting other like-minded women who face similar problems. I know EW is there when I need support and advice. I have learnt about marketing, advertising, communicating and the power of networking. The key is to keep on learning."
Jane's mentoring future talent:
Jane has been busy supporting new talent. Textile graduates have been offered the opportunity to design a range of screen-printed fabrics exclusively for Jane Richards Interiors. Recent graduate Tiffany Chase has used this opportunity to create a collection called Aporum that is now promoted in Jane's shop front. Jane believes, "Supporting graduates is a fantastic way to help them to understand how to cost and price their designs as retail goods. This will help them in future to understand how to commercialise their creative and innovative work."
Top business tip from Jane:
"Always listen and take the advice you think is relevant, but remember, nobody knows your business the way you do. Think things through carefully before you act upon them, mistakes can be costly. Attend as many courses in your field as possible and keep learning, you learn so much from like-minded people."