Interview with a career change mum – Donna Ford

Ruth Kudzi12

Today I interview the lovely Donna. Donna has recently started her own interior design blog.

She loves walking into a room and not only taking in what it looks like but how it makes her feel. That’s always her starting point with interior design and her own style draws on natural sky and landscape colours with bold shades to add extra drama to a room. 

She lives with her Director of Photography husband John and her two gorgeous little boys. As she continues to renovate her Neo-Georgian home she wanted her blog to advise and inspire and celebrate interesting decor and good design in South-East London.

1.     What gave you the idea to start up your business?

I think I always knew in my heart that I wanted to run my own business. Previously I worked as a freelance dance teacher and choreographer but lost my passion for this after my second child was born. I spent the whole year of 2016 in a hazy fog not sure what I was going to do. Then after reading a parenting blog I realised that what I had to do was set up an interior design blog!

2.     What did you do to prepare to start up your business?

I did a one-off coaching session with a friend who needed a guinea pig for her MA and some taster workshops which gave me general information and direction. I met up with friends of friends who had connections in the industry and started designing my own website. I asked a friend to design the logo so my start-up costs were very low. I’ve really enjoyed the whole process, especially the sense of achievement that I’ve done it all myself.

3.     Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?

The one thing Ruth really helped with was creating a positive mindset for the idea to grow into and also the importance of marketing. I know that’s one of Ruth’s favourite areas and something I’m not very experienced in but I’m trying to learn more so I can understand and target my specific audience. I think down the line I might need a bit more direction with SEO and social media marketing and some guidance in how to create a product so I can start earning money. I also want to get paid to blog so might need help in how to get sponsorship, create affiliate links etc.

4.     Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client.

Skirting boards and Chandeliers is an interior design blog that aims to inspire others to get going on their house renovations. My ideal client is someone like me who have moved a bit further out of London to get a bit more for their money but has ended up in a property that needs serious updating. It can be really hard to get started, especially if you don’t have any ideas or sense of what your own style is. Two other strands to the blog is celebrating places with interesting decor in South East London and meeting local designers and homeowners to find out what inspires them.

5.     What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?

I love the sense of ownership and responsibility, being creative especially with photography and writing the posts and being able to fit around the kids schedule so I don’t have to pay childcare costs.

6.     What has been the biggest challenge?

I think that I need to put quite a lot of hard work in before I start making money so I hope I have the motivation to keep going until then!

7.     If you could go back and give yourself some advice what would it be?

I think looking back I was really stressed and worried when I had no idea what I wanted to do but now I realise that every conversation I had with someone helped me to figure it out. So, I think I would say chill out! (I’m sure I am going to need this advice down the line!) I’m also surprised how much motivation I’ve had which shows me that interior design and helping others be creative is something that I am really passionate and is hopefully the thing that will help me to be successful and reach my goals.

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