Name: Aurélie Tshiama
Job title: Freelance Interior Designer
Time in current role: 2 years
Aurélie is a Freelance Interior Designer and Architectural Design Technology student.
Why did you decide to start your business?
I kind of fell into freelancing. I had no prior experience of working in interior design and to be very honest after a couple of years of full-time employment I realised that I hate working for people. Miraculously, after constantly expressing an interest in Interior Design on Instagram, my now mentor Gemma Samuels at Happi Habitat took me in to help her with one of her projects in Wandsworth. She gave me full creative control over the master bedroom (imagine the damn pressure!) and it turned out pretty well. Since then I’ve been freelancing.
What are the key functions of your role?
My main responsibilities include developing design concepts and establishing final briefs in line with clients’ needs and the needs of the people using their homes. This means preparing detailed working drawings, designs, plans, models and schemes, often using computer-aided design (CAD) software. I haven’t got any employees (yet), but I do have my trusted assistant Benz whom I cherish dearly. She helps with admin and she’s my go-to when I need a second opinion.
I had no prior experience of working in interior design and to be very honest after a couple of years of full-time employment I realised that I hate working for people
Talk us through the services that you offer
I offer three types of consultations: online, in-home and creative (which can be done either online or in-home). They all encompass the same process which means me speaking with clients about style, colours and fabrics. Each consultation has an optional extra of a 3D visual except for the creative consultation as it’s already included. The online clients get all of my services as their interior designer without me having to physically be with them. With in-home clients it’s the same process but I’m actively in and out of their property. At the moment I aim to work on one project at a time but I’m hoping to start handling multiple projects at the same time as soon as possible.
Your favourite part of the job?
The mini decor shopping right before installation. This is where I look for things like ornaments, lighting and rugs and I’m like a kid in a candy shop. Especially when I’ve been given a huge budget. I’m pretty sure they know me in the west end home stores by now. This process usually takes place as soon as the project starts to take shape, around the end of the timeline when all the big and mighty items are put in place.
Other than that it’s the final installation when I get out of my client’s hair for good, leaving them with a newly transformed home. It’s bittersweet though because I usually never get to see the house again ☹️
I’ll be documenting every step of this journey so that I can be a source of inspiration to aspiring designers like myself
…and the part you could do without?
Project idea revisions.
How would your staff and clients describe you in three words?
I’m sure Benz would say I’m a pushover. My clients on the other hand, I don’t know. Some of them have become personal friends of mine so I guess that’s a good sign.
Someone out there will want to tap into your vision and you’re the only person who will be able to deliver what they want
Plans for the future?
I plan to expand to just under 10 employees with a team of contractors working internationally. I’ll be documenting every step of this journey so that I can be a source of inspiration to aspiring designers like myself.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Express your creativity in the highest possible quality. Someone out there will want to tap into your vision and you’re the only person who will be able to deliver what they want.
Visit Aurélie’s website. LLY