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The Beginning of the Business

Posted on 8th July 2018

If exactly a year ago I thought about what my working life would be today, this isn’t what I would have envisaged.

A year ago today I was two weeks away from finishing the job I’d been in for four years in the construction industry, commuting to London everyday and eagerly anticipating the start of my new job working from home for a construction training company. We were a few weeks away from bringing our fur babies home, and life was good. New job, new kittens, I was excited.

Fast forward three months and I was hating life. The job didn’t turn out to be what I’d expected at all; I’d taken a job that was working from home and then been told I wasn’t allowed to work from home, my line manager was changed almost immediately to someone who didn’t understand what I’d been brought into the business to do, and I was horrendously lonely with just me and my manager in the office. In an attempt to cheer myself up, I started looking into interior design courses and signed up to a home study course in the evenings.

Work didn’t get any better and after a few tears and a few sums to work out the money situation, my boyfriend (Josh) and I decided it was best all round if I quit. We could afford for me to be out of work for a couple of months while I worked out what I wanted to do and search for a new job, and crack on with my course.

I was feeling pretty optimistic. I’m a huge believer in everything happening for a reason, and I knew I didn’t want to stay in the construction industry, therefore this was my chance to really work out what I wanted from my career. I’d always enjoyed interior design, so much so that when I was about 13 my best friend and I decided we were going to set up an interior design business together and call it Kaye (Karly and Faye... see what we did there??). Needless to say, at the age of 27 the grand plans of my 13 year old self were forgotten about, but a few months earlier I had set up my Instagram page Cloud Interiors. I’d set the account up as an outlet for all the interior pictures I kept taking of my flat, and, not being confident in my ability and whether the pictures were good or not, I wanted a separate Instagram account to keep myself anonymous from my friends. Unbeknownst to me, my email address linked CI with my personal account, and to my horror my friends found my account and started following me… so much for remaining anonymous! After a mild freak out though, I decided that they had actively chosen to follow me, and that I just had to get on with it. Steadily over the next few months, my following grew with friends and strangers alike.

My unemployment happened to coincide with Josh completing on his buy-to-let property, so we agreed I'd sort that out and spent a solid week traipsing around Ikea to buy all the furniture, giving myself blisters from building it all, styling the property and photographing it ready to advertise for rent. I loved every second of it. It was during that time that Josh and I both had a moment of clarity and thought this is it, this is what you need to be doing. This is the career for me. My Instagram had really started to take off more than we had expected which gave me a huge confidence boost, and we both agreed I had to try and make something of interior design. A week or two later we decided to celebrate getting the flat rented out and spent the day at the spa, and it was there, lying on a sun lounger around a pool that I registered Cloud Interiors as a limited company, and my business began...

Karly x

Comments:

    1. Thank you Abi, it was great chatting with you yesterday about your project, I can’t wait to get started 🙂

  1. Ah this is so inspiring ! I feel so unhappy in my job. I have always been creative and since buying my own home and beginning a course in interior design it’s a hobby I would love to turn into a career !

    1. Sounds like we are very similar Helen, it was buying my first home that really sparked the interest again for me too! Have a look at the course by Jo Chrobak, she runs the interior design business school course I did which is where my story follows on to after this one! X

  2. What a brilliant story and so so inspiring. I'd love to do this and would love to know a little more about how you went about choosing an interiors course - there is so many out there!

    Sarah

    1. Thank you Sarah that’s so kind of you to say! I’ll do a blog post about the courses I did soon and how I choose them 🙂 x

  3. Loved reading this Karly. So glad you bit the bullet and started up a business in something you are so passionate about. You're definitely my go to page for inspiration with my renovation! Can't wait to see you progress in your new career x

  4. Karly, having freelanced even in the legal arena (I love interior design as well!) I can well relate to your overall experience. While networking is obviously essential, I want to remind you that a project well done is indeed another form of very effective 'marketing' that literally speaks volumes for itself (!). Nothing beats a satisfied client that feels compelled to tell their friends, family and colleagues all about you. That said, I also learned along the way to not take anything for granted -- so it doesn't hurt to ask your satisfied clients outright to please pass your name along when the opportunity presents itself. There is zero margin for unhappy clients particularly when you're self-employed and I never wrap up a job and submit my bill until I am absolutely certain that I've at the least met -- and ideally, exceeded -- their expectation. End result: excellent form of marketing sans any line item in your budget! I never had a business card and I never advertised, but you can bet the kitty's milk money I always asked my clients for referrals AND to please refer me. Your infectious candor and refreshing forthrightness spell 'success' in whatever field you choose to focus your energy -- and in my experience those qualities contribute at least 50% to adding another satisfied client to your roster. 'One day at a time' was a self-soothing mantra I fell back on during those times I got to thinking that a project I agreed to do was more than I could chew. (And, of course, I prayed a lot, too!!) All the best, Karly -- I hope some thing I've shared is something you can embrace ...

  5. Great article. I visited the sight for the color of the light grey hallway pictured. Though, I missed the name and brand or it wasn’t mentioned. Can anyone share this beautiful shade. I am searching for inspiration to brightened two dark hallways with this color pictured. Thank you, so much!

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Hello!

I'm Karly, and I run Cloud Interiors - an interior design and styling company based in Berkshire, specialising in residential design for private clients.

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Reading based interior design company specialising in residential design for private clients across Berkshire and surrounding areas.
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