This month we talk to interior designer Julia Bunbury of York House Designs.
When, and why, did you start your business?
I launched my business in May 2020 shortly after being let go from the company I had been working for when the pandemic started. I wanted to do things differently and to be able to run a company in a genuinely client-centric way. I was ready to expand myself creatively, professionally and personally.
What challenges did you face when setting up?
Having the confidence to self-promote and express pride in my accomplishments. This is something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but is essential when running your own business and I have found it gradually growing with time.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love being able to shape the company ethos and values based on things which are truly important to me and things that I appreciate as a consumer – developing an understanding and an empathy for the individual client; going above and beyond to find solutions; always considering the human and planetarian approach.
What valuable lessons have you learned?
To remain true to your offering and know the value in your time, service and expertise. That you are your company’s greatest asset so be genuine and look after yourself.
Is there anything you would do differently if starting out again?
Honestly, no. In business or in life – everything is experience, everything is character building.
What’s your most popular service or product?
The vast majority of my clients opt for my top level of service, which includes design, procurement and project management. This means that absolutely everything is taken care of for them and makes for a really smooth and enjoyable process.
What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out?
Life gave me a push to go independent but that’s not always the case, so if you have a dream then go for it. I started with zero capital and at a time of financial crisis, which was really scary, but your passion and persistence will always be your parachute, as it has been for me the last two years.
What are your plans/hopes for the future of the business?
I would love to have York House Designs presence on the high street and to create a friendly and welcoming design-based social hub where people can be inspired and given the confidence to embark on their dream home renovations.
Name some other local independent businesses that you love to support.
I always try to support local businesses as much as possible both in my personal and professional life. Woven & Woods just a few doors down from me on York Street have always been fantastic; our greens regularly come from Paul Cooper & Sons and my favourite place to stop and grab coffees for me and a client has to be Holly & Co in St Margarets.
What do you love about our local area?
Since making our home here in 2016 we have loved everything about Twickenham and its community. My favourite thing is guiding any visitors on a tour of ‘my Twickenham’ taking in York House Gardens, particularly the zen garden where I walk almost daily; Church Street (naturally!) and the Teddington river loop over the lock and back via Hammerton’s Ferry. I really feel like I have found my place in the world here.
And finally, tell us a little-known fact about yourself!
I originally trained in musical theatre at Bird College in Sidcup. I have loved to sing and dance my entire life and on a summer’s day with the windows open can probably be heard singing across the Twickenham rooftops!
York House Designs
York Street, Twickenham TW1 3LP
020 8892 0719