Cat Dal Interiors: Cat Dal

The former fashion model explains why she's decided to work for herself as an interior designer

Name: Cat Dal
Company Name: Cat Dal Interiors
Location: Greater London
Date Launched: 01/01/2016
No. of employees: 0
Website: www.catdalinteriors.com

Tell us what your business does:

I offer my services as an interior designer for residential or commercial projects. My involvement can range from design consultation to delivering a space from concept to completion as a designer and project manager.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I have always loved creating beautiful spaces, and sourcing and discovering incredible products: furniture, lighting, textiles- so setting up my own design studio was something I had always aimed towards.

I also believe interior design doesn’t have to be something only catered for the luxury market, it should be a more affordable service.

How did you know there was a market for it?

There are several markets that interior design caterers for. The hospitality industry in particular needs to stay ahead of the game when it comes to creating a strong identity as well as an engaging environment, so considered interior design is not only necessary but vital.

In terms of residential clients, people are (rightly so) expecting more and more from their home, in terms of improving space, light and circulation as well as staying ahead with new technologies. It’s an exciting, evolving market.

What were you doing before starting up?

I worked as a fashion model for 12 years which actually set me up very well for what I’m doing now.

Not only working with the best in the fashion industry across the globe, exposing my eye to palettes, textures, art and stunning design but also teaching myself how to be self-sufficient, motivated and focused.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I have always been self-motivated and self-employed, so yes it works best for me to run my own business. It’s risky but incredibly exciting.

How did you raise the money?

Fortunately, I didn’t require much money upfront as I built my own website myself. I had a few clients set up when I left my job at a design studio, so I was ready to start working immediately. In the future I will spend money on the website, but for now it does the job.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

I work with clients in a very flexible manner, whether first as a consultation about a bathroom for example, to their entire home/business. I plan to expand by winning more clients from word of mouth, but also though my blog which has achieved some press for its design advice and inspiration.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Building the website is certainly time consuming when doing it yourself. Also becoming your own SEO manager, and PR machine can take serious chunks out of your day, but I have really enjoyed learning new skills.

Getting my name out there to clients is the hardest challenge I face, as advertising costs money.

What was your first big breakthrough?

I recently secured my own page in a local newspaper about design- which reaches 80,000 people monthly, so that’s certainly a breakthrough in terms of my goals.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Focus, determination and open-mindedness. Learning about marketing, the power of social media and building relationships with journalists and people who work in PR are a huge part of getting your business out there.

Also, look at your influencers and break down how they did it.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I would love to have 3-4 employees, working on a range of residential and commercial clients whilst also running a successful web-shop of my edited furniture and lighting discoveries.

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