I am so thrilled to share the wonderful words from my immensely talented and impossibly kind friend, Interior Designer Gail Taylor. Gail has taught me so much personally over the years and I always come away from spending time with her feeling grateful and a little bit wiser. I hope this interview leaves you with a little insight into Gail’s world.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Having done this now for over 30 years there is a huge list! I have been in wonderful partnerships, setting up and growing 3 different interior design business and enjoyed all the wonderful experiences and projects that have come my way. However, ultimately my proudest accomplishment has to be watching the people who work for us grow and flourish and becoming part of a team which, I am proud to say, is known in the industry for talent and kindness in equal measure. Many of the current team have been with th2 for many years, having started out on work experience or just “helping out" in the office. Some have become talented designers and others wonderful marketing, photography, purchasing and new business managers. They have worked with my partner Sheila and I to make th2designs what it is today and during the journey have become great friends and important people in my life.
What do you love most about running your own business?
It has to be a combination of the energy that I get from the people around me and the opportunity to funnel my creativity into running a business that I love. Finding a passion – your Ikigai as the Japanese would call it and being able to turn that into something that means that you can earn a living and also create jobs and opportunities for others is a real privilege.
What sets you and your business apart from competitors?
Approachability and passion. Our clients will ultimately be the keepers of all the projects that we work on. The end results that we produce have to suit their lifestyles. We work with our clients from the outset to understand and interpret their needs so that we can deliver to them the new home that reflects their personal aesthetic but is also within budget and timeframe.
If you were re-starting your business again, what three things would you do first?
Be patient: It takes many years to establish a successful business. The pitfalls along the way are part of the learning process and are ultimately the greatest lessons you learn and it does not all happen over night.
Reconnect with all my contacts: This is a people business and the relationships you build with our clients, suppliers, colleagues and contemporaries are everything. If I were to re-start a practice, reaching out to the people who know what I can do to help them and what they can do to help me would be fundamental.
Remind myself to get immersed in all elements of the job: I work in a wonderful industry but the glamorous, creative side is only a tiny part of running a successful interior design practice. I have worked long hours and got involved in all elements of the business so I know how everyone feels from the delivery guys through to our lead designers. If I re- started my business I would want to ensure I did this again.
Favourite part about your job?
The beginning. I am completely energised by a blank piece of paper, a striped out building site or a new brief. I love working on the initial concepts whether it is looking at the space and reconfiguring it to improve how it performs, considering the concept design to show a new client or working on a design and marketing strategy for one of the big projects we also work on. I love coming up with new ideas for the business too, thinking of the next direction we go in. Of course, completing and handing over a project is hugely satisfying too.
What is your life motto?
Carpe diem. I live for the moment and have always been a “glass half full” girl and I try to make the most of what I have and always be grateful for it.
What have you learnt over the last two years?
That you really cannot plan for anything. Go with the flow has to be my new post pandemic motto! The pandemic has helped us all to re-assess and to review. it has been a terrible time, but at the same time we have all learnt so much. I feel much more flexible about life, never assuming something will happen until it actually does. Being more open minded and less rigid can only be a good thing moving forward.
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I have a little morning ritual which I love and sets me up for the day. I set my alarm early before anyone else in the house is up and have a really special half an hour or so before I have to get going. I switch on my Japanese kettle, which I adore, and make myself a herbal tea. I have a strange ritual of standing on one leg whilst I brush my teeth – balance and good teeth will hopefully help things as I get older! I then continue the maintenance work by standing on my head for 5 minutes and meditating – I once heard that Paul MaCartney does this everyday and he is in pretty good shape so it’s worth a try. Then I drop into real life by listening to the news headlines on the radio and skimming through the papers on my iPad before I launch into the day.
How do you unwind?
I have been doing yoga since I was 19 and continue to do it daily whether it is for 5 mins or an hour, I turned an old boiler cupboard in to yoga space when we moved to our home 15 years ago and it is my sanctuary. Living close to Richmond Park and the river I also love walking or running outside, I used to be only a fair weather walker but I now love all the seasons and go out whatever the weather. I am also really lucky as my husband is a great cook and I love to unwind at the end of the day enjoying some of his delicious food with a glass of wine, catching up with him and any of our grown up family who may be home.
What makes you smile?
My dog - Ziggy. As a puppy he was crazy, he is now much better behaved but always full of energy and always happy. I love him and he loves me - its as simple as that.
Tell us about your personal style
I think it would be described as understated chic . Our interior style at th2designs are described as relaxed luxury which I think says it all. In both my home and my wardrobe I love soft colours and clean lines, symmetry and comfort combined.
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