10 MINS WITH: MY BESPOKE ROOM FOUNDERS, DIANA GREENHALGH AND LAURA SIMPSON

My Bespoke Room is overhauling the interior design industry.

Specialising in personalised interior design for your home, founders Diana and Laura have created a bespoke interior design service that is affordable for everyone. What's not to love?! Streamlining the interior design service, to a mostly online digital experience, My Bespoke Room has grown from strength to strength.

A trade customer at Rockett St George, My Bespoke Room help to style amazing Rockett St George products, amongst other home interior brands in customer homes and we've become a little obsessed with all their amazing projects as featured on their Instagram @mybespokeroom.

So keen to learn more about this amazing business and the talented female founders, Diana and Laura, we spoke to them all about their business, their homes and their favourite Rockett St George products.

Image - My Bespoke Room Co-Founders: Laura Simpson & Diana Greenhalgh.


1. Take us back to the very beginning, when did you two meet?

We first met way back in 2004 when we both worked for L’Oréal; the world’s largest cosmetic company. We were introduced at a company social event and instantly hit it off and became firm friends. It wasn’t until almost 10 years later when we had got married (yes, we went to each other’s weddings), had our children and were doing up our own homes, that the idea for My Bespoke Room was born.

Image Credit - My Bespoke Room. This image was taken for the Jourdan Dunn project, click to discover more.

2. What inspired you to launch My Bespoke Room and what was your founding dream?

When Laura bought her first home she was obsessed with Pinterest (naturally) but didn’t like the fact she couldn’t shop her boards and source all the lovely products she had seen and loved. She wasted hours trying to find alternatives that were in her budget and re-create the looks she had seen. Diana was also doing up her home and felt similar frustrations surrounded by home magazines and clippings.

We both looked into hiring a professional interior designer as we were time poor, but we were quickly put off by the price tag and lack of transparency. We discovered a huge opportunity as people either had to spend tens of thousands to find help or do it entirely themselves and hope for the best (often using Pinterest or magazines to guide them). They had to take a bet that their choice of paint and fabrics, as well as layout,  was going to turn out just like the Pinterest photo, and unsurprisingly, more often than not, it didn’t.

We set out to do something about this and create a convenient and friendly online interior design service with affordable flat-fee packages. Our mission was (and still is) that anyone and everyone can have a beautiful home, in their style and in their budget.

Image Credit - My Bespoke Room. Click to discover more.

3. Describe your individual roles as founders of My Bespoke Room?

We are extremely lucky to have each other and have such a strong relationship in and outside work. Running a company can be extremely demanding and having someone to share this with makes it more manageable as well as fun!

We are both Co-CEOs and are responsible for different areas of the business. Diana looks after Brand, Marketing, PR & Comms, and Laura covers Product, Operations, Commercial and Finance.

We also have an incredible team behind us and the great success of the company today can largely be attributed to them – to all their incredible hard work and passion!

The fabulous founders of My Bespoke Room - Diana and Laura.

4. What was your biggest challenge in setting up your own online interior design company?

You need investment to be able to grow and scale a company and raising capital has been one of our biggest challenges. In today’s investment world less than 1% of venture capital money goes to all-female founding teams. We count ourselves very lucky to have some very supportive investors who are as passionate as we are on growing our company and developing our services to change the archaic world of interior design.

5. Explain the process from when you and your team first embark on a bespoke room project to the finish?

Once a customer has submitted their easy online brief, they are then matched with their own professional designer that best fits their style, budget and lifestyle.
The designer kicks off the process with a phone call to dig deeper into the brief and what the customer is looking to get out of their room design.
After the phone call, the collaboration process continues, and careful time is spent sharing ideas and layouts through our easy online chat feature. The designer will then create a design direction for the customer to approve, and to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Once the design direction is approved, the sourcing of furniture and designing begins. The customer will receive their design, complete with a moodboard, annotated floor plan, 2D visual and personalised virtual shopping list with multiple alternatives for each category! (Packages can differ slightly so check out our website to see what’s included in each)

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room. Click here to discover the project.

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

6. When designing a new room for your clients what is the first thing you do or plan to ensure that the home remains faithful to the client’s unique sense of style?

The first point of call is a phone call. The designer will have a chat with the customer to gauge a deeper understanding of their personal style and the functionalities of the project. Obviously, words can be interpreted differently, so the designer will then send across heaps of inspiration for the customer to feedback on.

The entire process is extremely collaborative and the designer is checking in with the customer the whole way through the process to make sure they are going in the right direction.

Image - My Bespoke Room Founders discussing concepts for upcoming projects.

7. What are your top three tips for designing a room?

  1. Always consider the layout first. If the layout doesn’t flow or furniture doesn’t fit the space properly, then the design will immediately be jarred and the beautiful style will struggle to flourish!
  2. Don’t forget about lighting. The right lighting (and the wrong lighting) can transform a room. Remember to layer your lighting, so include ceiling lighting, task lighting and ambient lighting, which can dramatically change the ‘feel’ of a room. Also, don’t neglect the natural lighting – make the most of it with clever glazing and bouncing around the light with mirrors etc.
  3. Don’t create an ‘on-trend’ look if it’s not your style. Your room needs to be a place that you love, so choose items that you actually like. Sure, if you’re into the ‘in’ trend at the time, incorporate it into your scheme, but if you’re just designing for a FAD because it’s fashionable at the time then you’re compromising your personal style. Trends go out of fashion but good style is infinite.

Image Credit - My Bespoke Room. This image was taken for the Jourdan Dunn project, click to discover more.

8. What should no home be without?

Indoor greenery, plants or flowers! It’s the more affordable way to update your interior and the benefits are abundant. Greenery can add life to lifeless corners, a pop of colour and an organic and fresh finish to a room. They also provide oodles of health benefits such as purifying the air, stress relief and are proven to improve your mood and have a calming effect.

Not especially green-fingered? Don’t fret, there are amazing faux options on the market, and whilst they might not be so effective at purifying the air, they can still have a positive effect on your mood!

9. What exciting things are in store for My Bespoke Room in the future?

This is a really exciting year for My Bespoke Room - Later this autumn we are going to be on TV! We’re also launching new products towards the end of the year. This includes a tool for any interior designer to set-up, run and grow their own interior design business online. We’re very passionate about helping not only our customers create beautiful homes, but also for designers to work smarter and have a fulfilling business.

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

10. Finally, each name three RSG products that you love?

Diana's favourite Rockett St George products:

Shop Diana's favourite products at Rockett St George

Hampstead Gold Side Table £149.00, Matt Brass Contrast Directional Wall Light With Rectangle Back Plate £195.00, Art Deco Style Armchair £680.00

 

Laura:

Shop Laura's favourite products at Rockett St George

Fabulous Feather Chandelier Featuring Chains - Gloria - White £565.00, Antique Style Gold Metal Drinks Trolley £225.00, Blush Pink Velvet Pouffe Stool With Gold Base - Large £155.00

Quick Fire Questions

1. We are happiest when…
Diana: Cuddling up with my two sons watching a movie
Laura: I’m with my family and friends, relaxing on a (warm!) beach

2. Our favourite magazines are…
Diana: Elle Decoration, Vogue and Hello!
Laura: Ideal home, Hello & House Beautiful

3. Our dream holiday would be…
Diana: Brazil with my family
Laura: Island hopping around the Maldives

4. Our ideal day would be spent….
Diana: Binge watching Netflix
Laura: Relaxing with my family and friends on a (warm!) beach

5. Our personal motto is…
Diana: Have courage and be kind
Laura: Teamwork makes the dream work

6. Our guilty pleasures are…
Diana: Red wine and an Indian takeaway
Laura: Coffee, Brockmans Gin with Pink Grapefruit (very specific!), dark chocolate with sea salt

7. The last film we saw was…
Diana: Toy Story 4
Laura: Bohemian Rhapsody. I rarely get to the cinema but I LOVE a good box set.

8. Our favourite book is…
Diana: Ooh a hard one! Probably Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Laura: Vanity Fair by Willian Makepeave Thackeray

9. In five years’ time, we want to be…
Both: To be the go-to place for all things interior design.

10. The three things we can’t live without are…
Diana: My family, my phone and a good cuppa.
Laura: My family, morning coffee, comfy bed.

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