Interview: An honest insight into the world of interior design with Emma Deterding

By Gina Agace May 2017

How and when did you realise you wanted to go into the field of interior designing?

‘I didn’t ever realise I wanted to go into interior designing; it sort of happened by the process of osmosis. I ran a property and letting management company and and more people asked us to do up their properties during lettings, and eventually they started asking us to do up their own homes and eventually sold my own company doing lettings and management and I set up an interior design company, and that was 10 years ago.’

Did Heathfield play a part in influencing and supporting you to go into interior design?

‘Do you want the truthful answer? No.’ (Remember this was a long time ago)

In your current position, is knowledge in business or knowledge in interior design more important

‘Umm, errr probably knowledge in business because you can hire the skills in interior design but the business side is very important.’

How long and how much effort did it take you to establish yourself in the industry

‘oh haha, I am still establishing myself in the industry, a huge amount of time and hard work.’

If we want to go into business or set up our own business in the future should we take business studies?

‘We didn’t even have business studies when I was at Heathfield, so um no I don’t think you necessarily have to take business studies, infact I think that it teaches you to be too defined in a role, if you do an MBA or something then that’s really useful but actually to start with I think go out, do as much as you think you can, ask as many people questions, learn from your mistakes, no I don’t think you need to do business studies necessarily, who’s your business teacher? … don’t tell her, I am really sure its good and you should all take it, it is not the end of the world if you don’t!’

What has been the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur?

‘The biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur is being a mother and a wife, it is difficult doing all three well.’

What did you take for a-levels?

‘We barely had a levels, though they were “a levels.” I left at the end of sixth form and I went to Westminster tutorials, where I didn’t do very much work in London; I did English, history of art and economics, and I did not do very well in any of them though that did not stop me, so don’t you worry about your grades girls.’

What is your favourite thing about your job?

‘Uhhh, the people that I work with.’

What are your future plans?

‘Um, to expand my business to a stage where I can hand it all to Georgie and just get a fat check each month.’ (Georgie is the marketing director and also an old Heathfield girl.)

Biggest mistake when you were growing up

‘Not listening to my parents.’

Best advice on how to be an entrepreneur

‘Never give up.’

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