In the My Kind of Job spotlight this week is Joanna Azevedo, head of design at Sliderobes Group
What was your first job?
My first design job was during my industrial placement year at university. I worked for Deluxe Ltd in Portadown where I helped on design projects for a variety of bars, nightclubs and hotels.
What qualifications do you have?
I hold a BA (hons) degree from the Ulster University in Product, Furniture and Interior Design.
What do you attribute your success to?
I have had some amazing training under many inspirational designers, which has enabled me to polish off my design skills and make the most of my artistic flare. The Design Studio concept that we use at Sliderobes is very much about marrying both design and storage. My experience coupled with my strong creative background ensures these storage solutions not only look amazing, but are also extremely effective and practical for our customers.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I would describe myself as hard-working, confident, enthusiastic and full of passion for what I do.
Who do you look up to in business?
I take a lot of inspiration from French fashion designer Coco Channel. Modernism though practical design and pursuit of expensive simplicity has made her an icon, and her legacy is eternal.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I believe having trust in my team allows us to grow and develop together. I recognise people’s strong points and work with them to enhance these, and then help them develop in slightly weaker areas. Encouraging creativity in an environment where there is a lot of support available is important allows my team to love what they do, and ultimately become the best that they can be.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing about doing business here. The close relationship we have with local suppliers allows us to provide our customers with a wealth of luxurious products, which is brilliant. They are a joy to work with and we really help each other out when we can. The tourism industry is also on the rise, which provides businesses with more potential customers. I believe with the right strategy, businesses can make the most of this.
What website or app could you not do without?
Pinterest! A lot of our customers will show us images they have seen on Pinterest or Instagram as their dream bedroom or home office or dressing room. They then just can’t believe it when Sliderobes actually makes it a reality in their home.
What was the last book you read?
The Chimp Paradox – The Mind Management by Professor Steve Peters. The book explores the way in which our minds work and how we can manage it for confidence, success and happiness.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I was a swimming instructor whilst studying at school and university, swimming every morning for the Ulster squad. I also competed in the Irish Open Swimming Championships in 200 and 400 individual medleys.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Fitness, health and mindfulness. Working in interior design, creativity is really important so I love doing new things or going to new places and drawing inspiration from these experiences for my work.