Métier Member Story – Vickie Kirk of Studio K Design
Our next Métier Member’s story is that of Vickie Kirk, founder of Studio K Design. Today Vickie runs a successful interior design practice, but before embarking on entrepreneurship, she cut her teeth in the City as a senior HR professional. To hear more about Vickie’s journey to becoming an interior designer and her Métier Member experiences do read on…
1. Vickie how long have you been a Métier Rendezvous member?
Just over 5 Years.
2. What have you been most surprised about being a Métier Member?
In an industry that is quite closed off for sharing information and helping fellow designers get along, especially for newbies, Métier Rendezvous is the complete antithesis!
3. Who has been your most memorable Métier Rendezvous Guest Speaker to-date?
To be honest there have been so many great speakers that this is a hard one to answer. Mike Poulter of The Quoin Consultancy was probably the most informative (plus the one that scared/ taught us the most as there are so many regulations that we need to keep abreast of with serious consequences!)
4. How different was your life / career before you set up Studio K Design?
Before forming Studio K Design my career was completely different, working long hours in the City. As a senior HR professional my day was varied as it is now, but completely office based. Some days would find me on conference calls to Sydney head office at 7am or 10pm, through to running strategy meetings with my senior directors and dealing with difficult disciplinary cases.
5. Did your previous career help you launch your own interior design business?
I spent 13 years in the corporate world. This enabled me to learn some great transferable skills which really help with running my own company Studio K Design. And of course, the HR people skills are invaluable, in order to get to the bottom of what a client really wants.
6. Thinking back to long before you began your studies, what would you describe as your earliest memory of interior design and what inspired you to launch your own design firm?
This would take me back to my school days where I really enjoyed technical drawing, although my school was very traditional so we were all encouraged down a more safe career path. Nowadays I think I would have studied to be an architect. I’ve always also had an interest in fabric, decoration and colour and would always be doing up my own spaces. Thus, retraining at a later stage in my career made sense as I had the luxury of being able to do what I wanted. Setting up after that was a natural progression of the two careers.
7. What do you think has been your biggest business obstacle or hurdle or business fear to date?
The biggest obstacle and hurdle is the fear! ‘Will I be good enough, will I make it successful etc’. The business side doesn’t phase me due to my background, but ensuring that I deliver a client’s project so that they are happy is my constant worry.
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?
This is a tricky one as I’ve always let work blur into personal life! However, holidays are always important – you need time to switch off, let your brain recover and if nothing else, travel is one of the best inspirations that you can experience.
9. What were the 3 things that happened in your life that made you realise you wanted to run your own business?
Number one, many of my family run their own businesses and so for me it seemed inevitable that one day I would like to do the same. The freedom of your own business and control of how you work is extremely inviting. Secondly, I suppose I became jaded working in the City, with all the bureaucracy and rules, which over time I resented. Finally wanted to have a career in which I could feel proud of the creative endeavors. This is now rewarded with positive client feedback.
10. How would you describe your own design/signature style?
This is a hard one! I feel my signature style is constantly evolving but at the moment the core underpinning of the work that I do can be described as contemporary with classic twists. I like to incorporate a lot of texture and colour into my designs, but try to stay away from ‘high fashion interiors trends’, as they tend to date far too quickly.
11. When thinking about your favourite projects over the years, how would you describe your favourite clients to work with?
Studio K Design had a few different types of clients, however, I guess they mainly fall into two categories. The first are city professionals who are time poor. I’ve found the relationship works particularly well here, because we speak the same language from my previous career. They want creative projects delivered succinctly mindful of their time limitations. They are also extremely budget focused and appreciate our input over what elements are worth the investment and where we can save money.
The second types are creative themselves and have a real love of colour, pattern and texture. These are the fun ones to work with. For an interior design practice it is nice to have both types as this makes the job more rewarding and means we are constantly evolving.
12. When you are in creative mode putting together ideas for your client – where do you like to take your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from the client’s themselves. I spend a lot of time getting to know them and their aspirations for the project, this then forms the storyboard of colour and texture for the project, which is always personal to them. For one client, we got a true sense of his character and their lifestyle. So much so, that we ended up putting a picture of a very excited, happy Jack Russell bouncing on a beach in the centre of the storyboard. This was intended as a reflection of him. He didn’t get it until his family, amused, pointed it out to him! For colour and texture inspiration I have several Pinterest boards, which focus on travel, nature, fashion and animals, this is great for when I’m then pulling the storyboards together.
13. Looking forward into the next 3 years, what do you believe is next for your own business/brand?
Currently, Studio K Design is going through a period of brand change, as the design direction for Studio K Design is now being solely led by myself as my previous business partner had to leave for personal reasons. Over the next 3 years I hope to solidify our signature style, whilst also looking to grow the team enough to warrant an office space within a fun environment.
14. If you won the lottery last week Vickie, 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?
Oh, I think Studio K Design would have to address my Kitchen! Mine is currently in drastic need of some TLC, having not been updated for some time. The flat is a ground floor Victorian apartment with the ubiquitous long corridor, which the kitchen is adjacent too. I would knock the dividing wall down to open up the space adding much-needed light throughout and incorporate an island.
15. As well as the questions, above we would also like to know about your working day for ‘A Day In The Life Of Vickie Kirk, please could you share how your typical day runs?
Each day is very different and will depend on the projects and what stages they are at. The variety of each day is exactly why I love the job. Each week will always see an amount of business administration and every morning over breakfast I will attend to my Instagram feed. Project life could see me working at my desk on furniture layouts / joinery designs, through to scheming fabrics, finishes etc. There is always an element of sourcing at various shops and of course the Design Centre. Finally, there are the days with clients or overseeing trades at the client site – this is always such a fun stage as you see your vision come to life.
The Metier Rendezvous members are a friendly bunch of Interior Designers, so feel free to get in touch should you have any questions that you would like to ask about breaking into the industry – we have all been there and got the T-shirt, so would be delighted to share our words of wisdom.
Watch this space for more insights into the Interior Design industry.
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