Business head on creative shoulders breeds success for designer Joanna

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    Joanna Azevedo, head of design at Sliderobes

    IN the My Kind of Job spotlight this week is Joanna Azevedo, head of design at Sliderobes

    How did you get there?

    I started my career during my industrial placement year at university, when I took on the role of junior designer at Deluxe Ltd. Upon completion of my degree, I gained experience through various design positions with TRU Wood, Beaufort Interiors and Living Space Belfast. Prior to Sliderobes I worked at Kris Turnbull Interiors alongside Kris for 10 years, helping build the team from three people to over 35.

    Do you have a typical working day?

    At Sliderobes I love having the design studio to myself first thing in the morning so I come in early. I then like to meet with my team over coffee to discuss progress on current projects. When I’m not meeting with customers in the showroom or at their homes, I could be reviewing new product designs with the technical team or attending a sales or marketing meeting. Although it’s a cliché, every day really is different.

    What qualifications do you have?

    I hold a BA (hons) in Product, Furniture and Interior Design from the Ulster University.

    What other skills do you need in your role?

    My job requires me to listen carefully to the needs of the clients so that I can provide them with exactly what they want as well as what will look beautiful in their home. A deep knowledge of the basic principles of design are important to effectively advise on developing functional yet attractive spaces. At Sliderobes we provide interiors for a variety of rooms; bedrooms, living rooms, home offices and walk-in dressing rooms. Therefore, as a design team, we need to be able to think outside the box and have a lot of artistic vision.

    What’s the best thing about your job?

    I love making customers interior dreams a reality, from conception right through to completion. It’s amazing to see their reactions when they see the finished product. I also love finding solutions to problems and doing everything possible to make our customers’ visions a reality. We have just opened a newly refurbished showroom at our flagship store on Belfast’s Boucher Road. Designing that from scratch showcasing the breadth of products available has been an incredible experience.

    And the worst?

    Unfortunately rooms don’t just come together at the click of a switch. Logistically, there are a lot of moving parts. Coordinating these and liaising with all the relevant parties is key to ensuring projects are delivered on time and to the quality for which Sliderobes is renowned.

    What do you think are the greatest challenges/pressures of the job?

    The biggest challenge can be determining exactly what it is the customer has in mind. This means we have to ask a lot of questions to really understand their desires and expectations. Psychology certainly comes into play throughout this process as we have to be able to read people and their reactions to certain suggestions in order to steer a positive outcome.

    What did you want to be when you were at school?

    As a child, I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist.

    What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?

    If you want to be successful at interior design, you need to have a business head on creative shoulders. The hours can be long and irregular , but the satisfaction of seeing a happy client when your vision becomes a reality makes it all worth it.

    What’s the most common question people ask when they find out what you do?

    Your job sounds stressful, how do you stay so positive? It’s easy to always be positive when you love what you do. The team at Sliderobes is amazing to work with and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    How do you like to relax outside work?

    I relax outside of work by spending time with my family. However, an interior designer’s work is never done so no matter where I am or what I’m doing I always try to draw upon these experiences to add creativity and imagination to my work.