Getting to know you: Trevor Wilson

What do you currently do?
As an Interior Designer, my role is very varied in that every project is different and every client has a different taste. I work in both the private residential and commercial sectors all over the UK and Ireland, so I could be sketching a pelmet as part of a window dressing for a lounge of someone’s home in Belfast or sitting at a computer drawing a CAD floor-plan for the layout of seating in a restaurant in Dublin, or pricing up the manufacture of soft furnishings for a hotel in London. Even within either of these sectors, a designer’s role varies in any given project depending on whether it is a change of occupant, change of use or a refreshing of the styling. During the course of a project, particularly the installation phase, I will liaise with various other construction industry professionals; fit-out companies, architects, builders and tradespeople, other design companies, textile manufacturers and editors, lighting companies, furniture manufacturers and designers and so on.

I have a great team around me of course, including my manufacturing, production and installation staff, salespeople and design staff, and accounts and administration staff; but this also means I have another role in running a company as well as looking after my clients!

What is Your Inspiration in Business?
I am driven by making my clients happy through the creation of their dream interior. I admit I get a kick from the hysterical gushing of a family coming into their home once it has had ‘the Beaufort treatment’! I also confess I enjoy staying in a hotel or eating in a restaurant that I have designed the interior for and overhear compliments on how wonderful it is from other patrons and staff; there’s nothing else like that!

Who Do You Admire?
Beaufort is a family business, and most of my family are or have been involved to various degrees. My father is a non-executive director in the company and I find his big-picture perspective extremely helpful when I am so focussed on specifics. It was my mother however, who founded the company and continues as Managing Director now. She has been the creative stimulus to countless designers and motivator to a myriad of business people, as is attested by her numerous awards. She was the inaugural Ulster Tatler Interior Designer of the Year, and now is the only person to have won this accolade twice. She has been nominated for BT Business Woman of the Year, and just recently, following some high-profile work in Europe and the Middle-East, she has been awarded Women in Business NI, Exporter of the Year.

Looking Back Would You Have Done Things Differently?
In an act of rebellion against doing the expected thing of joining Beaufort at a young age, I went to the University of Dundee in Scotland and studied Psychology, (whilst there however, I shared a flat with the son of the Dean of the Art Faculty who was studying Interior Design!). I pursued a career in Psychology for a number of years, following up my degree with a PGC in Psychotherapy and then a PhD. When I finally acknowledged that I really enjoyed interior design, I thought perhaps I had wasted those years of study and having gone so far down that career path. The thought of having to hit the books again to gain a qualification in Interior Design was unappetising at first, but my second module was the Psychology of Interior Design, (which is a very up and coming field), and that was when I first began to realise that the less traditional route I have taken has actually given me a unique competitive advantage!

What Defines Your Way of Doing Business?
Our business is all about getting to know people. In Beaufort, we get to know our clients very well, what it is that they are seeking to achieve in their interior space, what style the space is to be, whether it be formal or casual, modern or traditional, etc. and how the atmosphere that is created by the design will impact on those who enter into it, in terms of how it makes them feel and therefore able to relax or work or be creative. It’s all about psychology actually!

What Advice Would You Give to Someone Just Starting Out?
Do something you are passionate about. Most businesses face the same issues of identifying a target market, pricing, marketing, managing cash-flow, managing staff, assigning budgets and so on, and you need to be good at all of those things (or have people about you who are), but if you are passionate about the product you are selling or the service that you are providing it will be much easier and much more enjoyable. At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?