Métier Member Story | Have you met Sarah Latham?
This week’s Métier Member story follows Sarah Latham, founder of Etons of Bath (previously Latham Interiors). In 2010 Sarah started off on her own and now runs a team of 10, a studio, curtain workshop and showroom in Bath and a studio based in Guildford focused on classically inspired interiors. Read on to find out more about Sarah’s exciting journey from the world of branding to running a successful interior design business.
1. How long have you been a Métier Rendezvous Member?
Four years, how time flies!
2. What have you been most surprised about being a Métier Member?
The supportive, collaborative nature of all the members has been an invaluable support system, especially when it was just me! It was quite daunting and isolating finding my way through the business elements and processes of running an Interior Design business alongside numerous projects. We share our experiences of clients, suppliers, technology and professional practice and it has been amazing.
3. Who has been your most memorable Métier Rendezvous Guest Speaker to-date?
I loved the workshop with Hannah Eustace on specialist decorative finishes.
4. How different was your life / career before you set up Etons of Bath?
I worked as a Client Services Director at a renowned London branding agency, running creative projects within the corporate world. It was a lot of long hours, in a very fast paced environment. Moving into Interior Design enabled me to still work within a creative industry but from the comfort and ease of a studio at home. I did think (very naively!) that I would not work such long hours after my career change, however this certainly isn’t the reality. As the years have gone on, the business has grown and we now have a showroom and studio in Bath, as well as a studio in Guildford following a merger this summer between my interior design company Latham Interiors and Eton Design to become Etons of Bath.
5. What were the 3 things that happened in your life that made you realise you wanted to run your own business?
I had a baby and realised that I wanted to be flexible and be the mistress of my own destiny. It became clear that after having worked with creative teams in the branding world, that I wanted to be the creative myself. I couldn’t see myself working for others for the rest of my life – I’m ambitious to achieve something for myself.
6. Thinking back to long before you began your studies, what would you describe as your earliest memory of interior design? What inspired you to launch your own design firm?
My father is an architect, and whilst I never aspired to follow in his footsteps, I now recall being able to visualize spaces from quite a young age. Once I had that light-bulb moment that I wanted to retrain as an Interior Designer, I recognised fully how much of an influence my father’s work and creative talents had on me.
7. What do you think has been your biggest business obstacle or hurdle or business fear to date?
No matter what training you receive, you simply cannot substitute for experience. I found it hard going back to the beginning of a career when I’d had such confidence and knowledge in a field previously.
8. Knowing that sometimes the lines blur between balancing a work life and personal life – What are your own non-negotiables that you stick to in your business and home life?
I am a self-confessed workaholic so I am not really able to answer this question! Luckily I have a hugely patient and supportive husband who is an amazing cook. I need to work harder on my non-negotiables but I am inherently client-focused and I will always do whatever I can to ensure that their needs are met.
9. How would you describe your own design/signature style?
Classically Inspired. This can manifest itself in elegant English design or contemporary pieces, as long as there is a Classical influence. I am also very passionate about period architecture and in particular have a love for Georgian buildings. With client projects I always ensure to respect and highlight the period features.
10. When thinking about your favourite projects over the years, how would you describe your favourite clients to work with?
Clients with a passion for the project!
11. Looking forward into the next 3 years, what do you believe is next for Etons of Bath?
We certainly have exciting times ahead! We have recently opened the new showroom in Walcot Street and in Bath, we are working with some amazing brands to showcase their products as part of the showroom design. These include De Gournay, Silk Avenue, Brabin & Fitz and Porta Romana. We’re looking to develop into a hub of style and inspiration for people across the South West, saving them the trip to Chelsea as we have the largest collection of fabric books west of Chelsea!
12. If you won the lottery last week, looking at your own home that you have right now – what is the first room you would redesign? And what favourite long-wished-for item of furniture would you purchase first?
I am pretty happy with our house at the moment, having just finished a redesign of our bedroom. However, I’d love to design a beautiful window seat as a space to pause and contemplate. And that would satisfy both of these questions.
13. When you are in creative mode putting together ideas for your client – where do you like to take your inspiration from?
Pinterest is a great way to validate an idea once you have had one. I take great interest in my surroundings for inspiration – I live in Bath, surrounded by beautiful architecture which never fails to inspire me every day.
Watch this space for more Metier Member interviews and for more insights into the Interior Design industry.
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