After over 25 years of styling people and their homes, the formidable Fiona Dreesmann opened her first London showroom, Fiona Finds. Fiona collaborates closely with artisans and brands to create unique pieces using ceramics, pottery, raffia and hand painted glass. The incredible space she has created has beautifully crafted, curated and hand-picked pieces to add inspiration to your table, living space and it is also the perfect place to buy witty gifts on a budget, beautiful linen and bespoke limited edition china dinner services. Everything is sustainably sourced and created to last a lifetime and is one of my absolute favourite stores in London.
I loved chatting to Fiona about her journey, her proudest accomplishments, what she loves most about running her business, who inspires her and her top tips. I hope you enjoy reading about Fiona’s heavenly story too.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
In terms of my career, it would have to be opening my shop in Belgravia - it has been a game changer for the business. I love the discipline of going to the shop every day and meeting new clients that would never have found us otherwise. It forces me to have more of a work life balance as I try to turn off work mode when I get home.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Not being told what to do and being able to follow my own instincts. I enjoy the creative process and seeing every aspect of the business from start to finish, it is incredibly satisfying. Of course, travelling and sourcing all the treasures is great fun but I do love the deliveries arriving at the shop, it’s like Christmas every day. I really enjoy meeting new clients, many who have become good friends.
What sets you and your business apart from competitors?
I hope that we are known for our customer service. I am a great believer that every client should be treated the same regardless of their spend. We want everyone to have a wonderful experience when they shop at Fiona Finds and we always try to make it that little bit more personal rather than transactional. Having the shop has been a fabulous opportunity to build relationships with the local neighbourhood. I loathe shops that can’t be bothered and think they are doing you a favour. We also hold most of our products in stock so you get instant satisfaction and don’t have to wait months and months.
If you were re-starting your business again, what three things would you do first?
I would have opened my shop earlier. I am big believer in bricks businesses and we can’t forget that shopping is still Britain’s favourite pastime. Personally, I much prefer visiting a physical shop than buying online. I think it’s so important to see and touch the products so you can understand the quality and craftsmanship in a way that you simply cannot through a screen. I also think that I would have not shared my ideas or asked for unnecessary help. If you are sure of yourself then believe in yourself and go out and give it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sometimes the opinions of other can cloud your judgment and make you second guess yourself. That’s only two things, sorry!
What is your vision for the future of your company?
I only want to have one shop in London and be on the destination list of places to visit when travelling here. We are also thrilled to have a few exciting collaborations in the pipeline. Stay tuned!
How would you describe your leadership style?
FF is a small team who are like an extension of my friends and we are very hands on. We are in the shop everyday so we discuss everything, and decisions can be made quickly and efficiently. We all have our individual roles and skills, but I think it’s incredibly important to all muck in where needed. I am often caught ironing placemats in the back of the shop. Lead by example is the moto.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Energetic, loyal, discreet.
What is your life motto?
You are a long time dead, enjoy life while you have it.
Who inspires you and why?
My children inspire me. I want them to see how rewarding hard work is so that they are encouraged to work for what they want.
What book should we all read?
I am ashamed to say that I am an appalling reader.
Do you have any daily routines?
I am not a routine person; I love spontaneous living which can drive the rest of my household mad.
What is your favourite possession and why?
I have a beautiful gold pencil that belonged to my late mother before she was married to my father. I still keep a paper diary and use it all the time when making notes - NOTHING goes in my diary in pen! Either that or a beautiful pair of earrings that my husband gave me for my 50th birthday!
What is your greatest personal achievement?
Producing healthy triplets.
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Feed the dog and have a cup of tea – sorry nothing too glamorous here!
How do you unwind?
I find needlepoint incredibly therapeutic, and it makes me switch off as well as having a sense of achievement when I finish a piece. I have embroidered all my husband’s slippers and many evening bags for myself.
What makes you smile?
My pug Stanley, I only need to look at him and a smile comes to my face.
Tell us about your personal style
I am very classic and rarely waver with my style. Occasionally I am persuaded to go off piste with a pattern and it is usually a mistake.
What are your wardrobe staples?
I am a jacket and coat addict and wear one every day of my life except on summer holidays! I am a hoarder and have kept my accessories for years and regularly pull them out and start wearing them again. I love a flat shoe, I am tall and in the day when I am working I cannot teeter round in heels. I love to dress up in the evening with a plain outfit and a wow shoe.
Where is your favourite place to travel to?
Italy, it is a country that is on my wish list to discover more. I have yet to meet an Italian that is not charming. They really know how to live and make delicious food out of the simplest things.
Do you collect anything?
Pug Christmas decorations - we had a tragedy last year when the tree fell down – sadly no one to blame but myself - and I lost masses of decorations so I am back rebuilding the collection.
What are your Top Tips for entertaining?
Attention to detail is important. Obviously, it all starts with a beautiful table, great food tastes better of a great plate. I also like to put little beautiful silver bowls of sweets dotted around the table as decorations to keep it a bit more casual. I always put the guests I know the least next to me or my husband. Ultimately, be relaxed and you will have a fun party.
What are the beauty and wellness essentials you can’t live without?
I am appalling at routines and lazy on the beauty front. My favourite treats are a facial which I try to have every month and reflexology. My Chanel lipstick which maddeningly has been discontinued - I have bought everyone I can find worldwide! Rouge Coco Gloss 726 for anyone who has any!!
What does living well mean to you?
I am lucky to have a very happy marriage and three lovely (most of the time) children and that is a blessing. Being healthy and well.
Image product copyright Fiona Finds