Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Becc Burgmann, an interior designer and Founder of Becc Burgmann Interior Design based on Sydney’s North Shore. I specialise in large scale renovations and new builds and my design niche is Hamptons, Parisian and Country Style Interiors.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I was born and raised about 7 hours north west of Sydney in country NSW. I went to university and completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and began teaching near where I grew up in Moree. After 18 months, I moved to London and upon returning to Australia lived in both Brisbane and then Sydney, teaching for over 10 years in the independent system.I completed further study, beginning with my Masters, then then including studying the Certificate of Advanced Educational Leadership at Harvard. The entire time I’d dreamt of what it’d be like following my passion for interiors and becoming a designer full-time (I’d completed some study in design just for fun of a Saturday earlier in my teaching career on the side, it just came so naturally to me) After a really tricky year, I decided it was time, so I jumped in head first! I stopped Harvard and studied another certificate in design just to have ‘the piece of paper’. It was never an option to have a boss, I wanted to be my own boss. I knew the skillset and ability I already had and knew I could do it, so I did, and decided the rest I’d figure out as I went. I knew interiors, it was the business side and developing this into a viable business that came as a huge learning curve!
Describe the process of launching the business.
Turning your passion into a viable business is a whole different thing to a side hobby. I needed a business mentor as I wasn’t interested in spending semesters or years at TAFE or university, knowing I’d probably only use 50% of it. I both needed and wanted someone who would tell me what I needed to know… no rubbish, no unnecessary assignments. I wanted a dive into the deep end mentor and I definitely got that! I worked with a brilliant business mentor for 5 months who worked with me from ‘I’m starting a business to being an up and running business’ in this short time.
I have since over the years now done many short courses ie in marketing, spoken to many people (I’m not afraid to ask people out for a coffee and pick their brains), I read a LOT and most importantly I also follow my instinct of what works for me.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
For me personally, it has definitely been word of mouth! I’ve learnt to really and truly value my skill set as a designer and all that I can offer in making the process of building and renovating as easy as possible for the client. I charge accordingly, but I also think I still prefer to under charge and over deliver. I’m not short changing myself, but I would definitely prefer this than the later, and it has worked as the large majority of my new clients are referrals from old clients.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Covid has been an interesting time for everyone, but there are two things I’m focused on in the foreseeable future. One in particular is marketing, especially being more proactive about reaching my dream clients on social media, not just relying on word of mouth. The other is learning hw to share my skills with a wider audience in some capacity and generating other streams of income.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I have definitely learnt so much more about so many different cultures. I have clients from so many different nationalities and walks of like that I find it so incredibly fascinating listening to their stories of who they are, where they’ve come from and what they’ve achieved. I’ve learnt different customs around interiors within different cultures and especially the mannerisms of different people. I love my ‘me’ time, but I also love I get to meet all of these people, this has been huge in being able to connect quicker with new clients from nationalities I’ve worked with previously as I understand them and their heritage better. It’s so interesting!!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Predominately instagram and my website.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I have been thoroughly enjoying podcasts with Dean Mackie – CEO of Di Jones. I was listening to another of his interviews on ‘Proptech Insider’ only a few days ago, he was talking abut not referring to change using the actual word ‘change’ instead he referred to it as something else and discussed in detail why – fascinating! I find him a really down to earth, insightful and thought provoking person to listen to. I also read a lot though, I especially love my encyclopaedia of interiors that someone found and gave to me a while ago.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
My best piece of advice is just start… fullstop! You’ll figure out so much as you go, and hopefully you’ll always be changing, tweaking and trying to things to ensure you stay up to date with best practices, what’s happening within your industry and at the forefront of why you’re doing what you do! Having a business mentor was a huge help, but just start!
Where can we go to learn more?
www.beccburgmann.com or my instagram @becc_burgmann