March 23, 2021
This month, our OperationsManager Lewis Richardson celebrates 5 years as part of the Interiors By Design team. To celebrate we thought we’d give him a big shout out, and look back on his journey...
Walk us through the process you went through to get to where you are today
I began my career working atB&Q while I was at sixth form. I wasn’t quite sure on my next steps afterwards and I enjoyed the role so I took the opportunity to stay at B&Q.I initially wanted to put my grades to good use, and progress to University, but decided against it.
My development at B&Q helped me progress my skill set. I was working on the showroom side of things, in the small Hinckley branch, and was doing so well there that in my first month I was number 1 in my store, beating two full timers by nearly double net sales income. Shortly after I was transferred to the Coventry warehouse store, which is in the top 5 B&Q stores for showroom sales.
I was then given the opportunity to progress even further in my career, when I was invited to be part of a new bathroom showroom. This led onto a more bathroom orientated role in another company. I was one of seven members of staff who helped open this new store that took over half a million pounds after the first month! Eventually, I decided to leave this company, and go on to another role within the industry while I decided my next steps. It’s important to take some time away from the buzz of working life, and appreciate what’s important to you, for example spending time with friends and family.
How did you get to Interiors By Design?
Funnily enough, I got to know our Director, Mo Essajee, while playing poker with my friends down the pub! Spending time with friends is something I dedicated time for in this regular way, as it was a great to have fun. So, it was in a nice relaxed chilled setting that I got to talk about this potential role within this team. This was all happening around this time in 2016...so, yeah 5 years ago.
HAPPY 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! What have you seen happen in that time?
Year on year we’ve seen huge growth, it’s been fantastic to be a part of. In fact, we have grown so well and fast, that we had to relocate to accommodate. I have thoroughly enjoyed going through this journey with the team and I now know all of the ins and outs of Interiors By Design!
How did you progress from your Sales position to become Operations Manager?
As we grew, we had so much going on and I was managing every stage of the process. It was realised I needed to focus my efforts on the operations side and take a step back from sales. It always makes sense in a company, to promote those who have learnt the heart of the company, and to hire below them, so that the new hire has someone experienced to learn from, so this is what we did!
What does your role as Operations Manager involve?
Once a sale comes through, all information comes through to me. I do all of the purchasing, make sure plans are correct, or make any alterations to ensure the manufacturing team has everything they need. I also make sure the full fitters pack and workshop pack are printed, organising the diary to ensure the fitters know what needs doing when, so that they can manufacture in time. It’s important to inform every member of the team of everything they need to know. On the rare occasion there is an issue, they are quick to revert it, and work on it.
Being an Operations Manager definitely involves multi-tasking, with several things happening even while having this interview! It doesn’t faze me, it’s part of my job to take things in my stride and adapt to the situation at hand.
So, you are now looking for a Sale Rep to join the team?
Yes, we are looking for a Kitchen & Bedroom Sales Designer! Please visit our careers page for more details.
What do you love about working at Interiors By Design?
Before joining here, I had bounced around several different jobs gaining the experience and skills of the trade, but never feeling truly at home. Now I have found my place with Interiors By Design, I love it so much.
I enjoy making the sale. I love the pressure as it keeps me on point with the management process as my actions can have a huge knock-on effect on the rest of the team, and the customer.
What makes Interiors By Design special?
We have the unique selling point of having the factory, being bespoke and spending that extra time on the service rather than trying to hit figures. For us, the customer is a person, not a number. We are family. You feel like you have a voice here, your opinion is respected. My perspective is heard and really taken into consideration.
Just as we look after each other, we look after our customers. It’s not just about selling; it is so important to build that rapport with the customers. We want to ensure they feel supported from start to finish and that they get exactly what they want at the price and quality they expect.
The team here are very flexible and understanding of any personal situation, because there is mutual respect, you definitely feel appreciated here for your values and worth.
What do you do for fun?
I have a deep respect for my job, but it’s important to acknowledge the clear divide between work and home. Which can be quite hard in this current situation, but I try to find things that create a work/life balance. For example, when I get home, I love to listen to a funny podcast called Bad Friends, by Bobby Lee and Andrew Santino. You can check it out here. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but for me it's great switch off time.
Do you have any side projects?
I recently set up a limited company to provide personalised gaming set ups. Similar to at Interiors By Design, I work with the customer to get the perfect design personal to them and suited to their needs, here I offer the perfect desk shape, chair, mouse, you name it.
My role at Interiors By Design has definitely inspired this idea, because it’s another part of the home I am helping to personalise. Like Interiors By Design, the thinking behind it is ALWAYS the longevity of the design, to ensure that it’s safe and robust, as you spend a lot of your time here. Watch this space for more!
Finally, what’s your advice for someone looking to get into the interior design industry?
As an overview, there are two key ways in:
• University studying interior design, architecture route, etc
• Straight into experience a role like B&Q, Wickes, Howdens etc
From my point of view, getting the experience from an independent firm like Interiors By Design is definitely the best way to excel in your skills, as it’s not just about the sales, there is a definitive drive to look after the customer in the long run and there’s a lot more service and personality in the work. Plus, beating targets and achieving goals feels a lot more rewarding in an independent, as it’s massive for a small company, whereas it’s not considered that way in a huge firm. Bigger firms tend to view the customer as simply an order, but here they are viewed as a person with a home and family.
Don’t feel pressured to go to university, you can easily get the experience first-hand working in a firm, learning from experienced people. Once you get your foot in the door, it is a lot easier to develop yourself.
Interiors By Design is always on the lookout for exceptional talent to join the team, and to provide them with opportunities to grow with our business. If you are interested in working with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0116 288 2222.