Prepping For Change in a Covid Lockdown
Donna White has run her Interior Design practise from her Auckland home for many years.
“Covid-19 and Level 4 lock down in NZ were a shock to me, and the whole world. I knew, in fact, as we all knew, the world was going to change forever. Interior Design for me is about meeting, listening and engaging with my clients. I love the discussions, the banter and slow immersion into their lives, and their homes. I get the best results with face to face communication not only with my clients, but with my suppliers and manufacturers.
On the eve of Level 3 lockdown moving into Level 4 the next morning, I had a second meeting with a new client. Prior to confirming the meeting, we tentatively checked with each other on our health and possible contact with Covid-19 carriers. We walked through his home, discussed his brief in more detail, and even ended up at an antique shop in Parnell, Auckland. OMG, the good old days, because the next day and every day since, the restrictions of Level 4 Lockdown have been driven home.
What Covid-19 is doing to me, is making me embrace social media, something I have tentatively embraced – have you seen my Instagram? Now I have time and no excuses to adapt the way I operate. Of course, I am not alone in this.I am learning how to handle the Covid-19 and the Level 4 Lockdown impact by talking to fellow creatives. In fact, three of my professional interior design friends and I have thought about how to add value to our clients. We launch a Zoom chat next week on ‘What you can do to improve your living spaces during Lockdown’.
I have work to continue with pre-Level 4 Lockdown clients, both existing and brand new. What I am doing is thinking about what they need right now, and finding new ways to deliver from my little bubble. This is exciting, and positive. A looming question is how are we going to attract new business - all of us from Interior Designers to suppliers and manufacturers? Talking, and being kind will help, and E-interior design too.”
Amanda Neill is the lead designer in Designworx, has run a busy Devonport Studio for many years and is now based in the Bay of Plenty, working from her Design Studio there.
“The days leading up to lockdown was a race to try to complete as much as we could in amongst the uncertainty of what was to come. Once lockdown hit, there was almost a sigh of relief and a stillness that you just had to go with. Nowhere to be…. No time to be there….
We completed a client presentation over a 2 hour zoom meeting on the 2nd day of lockdown. It wasn’t an entirely new way of working for me as I had done a number of remote projects, but it was a new way of working with NZ clients. Everything then came to an abrupt halt as the industry closed its doors for all but essential projects.
The first week was spent sorting out my studio and catching up on all the tasks that had put on the back burner. It has been a time for reflection and planning.
The creative process has been flowing and my bubble has allowed me the headspace and time to think about how I can add value during this lockdown period. Working with 3 other design colleagues, we are going to run a series of webinars to help people with their interiors during lockdown and beyond.
The key will be adapting to use technology to work within the industry. Visual graphics will be very important to help our clients visualise a project. Like the below example of a project in the Isle of Man that we completed remotely.
Anna Cuthbert is the principle Interior Designer at Cuthbert Interiors a three-person team based in Parnell, Auckland
“Currently all working from home, my team and I are continuing to source and specify projects. The hardest thing for us is that a couple of extremely large projects have been pushed out as our teams of builders and tradies are unable to go to site, and other projects are somewhat suspended in mid air. The unknown is a little scary but with technology we have been able to adapt and continue to liaise with each other, clients and suppliers.
This confinement has given me time to work on my business, a luxury that I rarely have. It has also allowed me to catch up on technical webinars and learning which is neverending in this industry.
I believe that that most important thing I can be doing for my business is connecting with people. As we are all becoming so much more acutely aware of our immediate surroundings, people are thinking about changes and improvements to their homes which they want to implement at the end of this lockdown time.. I’ve been using zoom to meet with clients and suppliers so that projects continue to progress and the economy wheel keeps turning.
While our doors cannot physically remain open we are always here on the phone or computer. I will continue to specify NZ manufactured products wherever possible as our borders may take some time to open, however more importantly we have amazingly skilled craftsmen and women in this country and we need to support local businesses.”
Michelle runs her design practise from her home based studio in Karaka
“The Covid 19 Lockdown happened suddenly in NZ, and everything felt so surreal.
I went from a week of booked colour consultation meetings, to clients cancelling.
My new build clients and development work ceased. NZ owned Traillite Motorhomes where I have been the interior designer for the last 8 years temporarily closed the doors.
Having the luxury of time I have been able to think about how to improve my business, how I can add value to my services, add value to clients projects, work on my new website, and keep conversations going with existing clients and suppliers.
With technology it has been nice to catch up with fellow colleagues, continue my presence on social media, and be constantly inspired by all our local talented craftsman and suppliers. They are going to need our support on the other side of this.