Introducing: Fiona Collier
Company name: Bluesky Design Interiors
Company website: www.blueskydesigninteriors.co.uk

With many companies debating a potential return to the office, we caught up with commercial interior designer Fiona Collier to discuss changes to office working, the office dog Gary and looking ahead to a pint of Roosters after lockdown…

When was the company founded and how has it grown?

I founded Bluesky Design in 2003 having previously been the Design Director for a leading local workplace design and build company. Working initially from the kitchen table, the company has grown to a team of six designers.

Why do you stand out from your competition?

I’d like to think it’s because our clients enjoy working with us and the number of referrals and repeat projects we have are testimony to that. Basically we do what it says on the tin and we create environments our clients love! 

We have an award-winning creative team and each individual has key strengths which contribute to the success of the business as a whole.

How has Covid affected your business and how did you cope?

Like most businesses, initially it was a challenge to keep up with the constantly changing situation. Fortunately we were already tech-enabled to work from home, so during the first lockdown we kept in touch with daily team meetings to keep everyone’s spirits up. We delivered several projects entirely by virtual presentation and it’s exciting to see those projects now completed on site.

As commercial workplace designers, we were thrown in the centre of the ‘the office is dead’ debate. We were already providing agile workspaces for clients prior to Covid, and we have seen reaction to the pandemic accelerating this more flexible approach to working.

Coming out of the other side we find ourselves at the forefront of very exciting times in workplace design, with more clients recognising that they need to make the office an attractive place to be. We have so far weathered the storm, with the team intact and good opportunities on the horizon. 

Who would you most like to have a drink with and why?

Practically anyone at the moment! I’ll be one of the first in the queue for a pint when Roosters Brewery Tap opens.

What advice would you give to the next generation starting their careers?

Find a career that fits your natural abilities. Do your research and be persistent. Be enthusiastic and willing to learn.

Why do you like doing business in Yorkshire?

Although I was brought up in Lancashire, my family are from Yorkshire so I can relate to the no-nonsense value for money ethos, and you can’t beat the Northern sense of humour.

We have appreciated the loyal clients we have in the region who have supported us through some difficult times in 2020.

Who are your ‘Dragons’?

We have always been financially independent, but with over 30 years in workplace design I have many valued mentors. Two particularly stand out and both were my boss at different points in my career. We have been in regular contact throughout the lockdown sharing ideas and experiences (and occasionally having a good moan).

What do you do in your spare time?

We have an office Golden Retriever (Gary) and I spend a lot of time exploring the Harrogate Ringway with him. I’m involved with a local martial arts club and have a black belt in Kong Su Do karate. I started when I was 40, proof that you are never too old to learn self-defence!   

Name your favourite local business and explain what makes them special.

Difficult! We are fortunate to live somewhere where there are so many great independent businesses.

Personal favourites are Vanillis, Covet, Harrogate Wines and Lear Fitness, and in all cases the friendly people, great choice and good service make them special.

Would you like to feature your business in the Your Harrogate Business Focus? Email Claire Strachan (claire@clairestrachan.co.uk) for your chance to get involved.

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