Thursday, August 6, 2009

Behind the Scenes - Simone & Trixie

I have met Simone Kelly of Interior Living a few years back at a Slow Food Event (she was the leader of the Cork City Convivium - I have taken over from her since) and I was impressed by her passion for food, the producers and all that was included in the production of good honest food. We kept in touch and I was delighted when I was asked to join the committee. Simone - together with her business partner Trixie - is the owner of Interior Living. You might wonder now, what that got to do with food business......have you been to An Cruibin or Cafe Paradiso lately??? If yes, the complete interior design was done by these two very talented ladies......You also have to pay their shop a visit in McCurtain Street. It is a treasure chest full of gems. The atmosphere alone will make you want to stay. They have a great selection of one-off pieces of furniture (my friend Kate bought a daybed of them and is still smiling about the buy). But here we go:

Simone Kelly & Trixie Leahy

Interior Living, 11 McCurtain Street, Cork, Tel.: 4505819,
How did you get your current position:
Simone & Trixie used to work together for a property developer and their love for creating comfortable and stylish spaces let them progress naturally to open their own business 5 years ago. Although not specialised in restaurants, they have some great successes under their belt and are well sought after when it comes to create the right atmosphere for a restaurant.

What challenges did you face at the start:
Getting a name in the industry was the biggest challenge. But the success they have experienced since their start-up proves that they mastered that challenge.
What are the highlights of your job:
Customer satisfaction. Getting the thumbs-up for a job well done. The creative process from the drawing board to the final product is very rewarding

The lows?
An unhappy customer would be the hardest but so far, it has not happened that they had to face an unsmiling customer. Both agreed that they rather turn a customer down when it becomes clear that they won't be able to meet the requirements of the customer (may it be that the tastes clash or if it is impossible) than to risk an unhappy customer.
What would you like to do if you didn't do what you do:
Trixie (and that is not made up by me......honest) would like to become a taxidermist and maybe even go on a safari.....(I didn't dare to ask for a reason ;-).
Simone is just happy with what she is doing and would - you might guess it - be an interior designer.

Plans for the future:
The company is still quite young, so Trixie and Simone are working hard on the growth. The recession is putting a big strain on their business.
How many hours do you work on average:
What ever hours are necessary to complete a project.

Is it worth it:

Would you do it all over again:
In a heartbeat. The pleasure in creating something special makes with well worth the effort and hard work.

What do you recommend to people who would like to work in the business:
Be brave and follow your dream. Keep up with trends, have fun while doing it and be as creative as you can be.

Would you mind if your children follow in your footsteps:
Not at all but first of all, they should do what makes them happy and they get all the support they need.

The biggest challenge for a small business is the recession as people might think they can't afford an interior designer. Sometimes it actually saves money to engage the help of the professional as they know what works and what doesn't. It gives peace of mind that you know that you are in good hands with Simone & Trixie.

Thank you to both, Trixie & Simone for taking the time to talk to me yesterday. When I came to their shop, the phones were ringing, customers came and went and the email inbox seemed to jump out of the computer screen. You are both amazing and I can't wait to see what you did with the new restaurant in Cobh (more about this tomorrow).

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