How they made it happen: The business journey behind new online interiors service Olivine Life.

‘We believe that great interior design doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive,’ say Victoria Gray and Taline Findlater, founders of emerging online interiors site, Olivine Life. ‘With smart choices, some savvy design techniques and a few pieces that stand out from the usual, anyone can create their own, unique space to fit their lifestyle.’ Victoria and Taline offer a virtual interior design consulting service across the UK. Users choose from one of their three room design packages (starting from £150) that include style concepts, a 2D room visual, floorplan, shopping lists, installation and styling tips.

Having worked professionally for high end design consultancies, while helping friends to design their homes on the side – the designers realised that there was a huge opportunity to open up interior design to people with smaller projects or budgets but no less sense of style. And so Olivine Life was born. ‘Decorating a room doesn’t have to be overwhelming, time consuming or confusing. Our platform allows you to work with our experienced team to create a room tailor made for you and reflecting your unique style – all online.‘ The site has been featured in House & Garden, YOU magazine and Period Living.

Here, Victoria and Taline share their business journey.

We came up with the idea when... we spotted a gap in the market for online interior design based on a flat fee and one room projects. Having worked professionally for high end design consultancies - while helping friends to design their homes on the side – we realised that there was a huge opportunity to open up interior design to people with smaller projects or budgets but no less sense of style.

The biggest challenge is... resisting the temptation to redecorate our own houses each month as we fall in love with yet another beautiful piece. We are exposed to so much good design, great fabrics, furniture and accessories.

The average day is spent... drinking coffee, searching and researching new designs and designers, updating and being distracted by Instagram, writing blogs on the challenges facing first time designers, speaking to our online clients who bring different style requests each day, uploading new furniture, fabric and wallpaper launches and reaching out to potential clients on various social platforms.

The team consists of... two partners, two wonderfully talented designers, an online technical support team and a ‘star’ who looks after all our PR and marketing.

Favourite quote... ‘Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. You have to let yourself go to be creative.’ Scott Adams

We are where we are today because of... hard work.

We are who we are because... We both grew up in design-led families, and were lucky enough to be exposed to culture and travel. It has certainly shaped where we are today. We believe that what you are surrounded with has a big impact on day-to-day life.

Best advice we have been given... the only time that ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.

In five years... we hope to be growing and expanding with our own collection of fabrics, wallpapers and accessories.

The thing nobody ever tells you about running your own online business... There is no online business unless people know to look you up. PR and marketing is everything.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... was thinking we could build a website quickly. It certainly taught us the value of research and patience, with a good measure of product testing.

The apps we use to be more productive include... Instagram is invaluable for inspiration and escapism; Google Docs is great for collaboration, and Evernote allows us to take and store notes regularly across different devices.

The most rewarding experience we have had to date... was the launch of Olivine Life which has led to many happy clients and beautiful rooms.

The websites we most frequently use are... House & Garden for inspiration, My Scandinavian Home for lifestyle, Pentreath Hall for colour, Matilda Goad for lighting accessories, Fermoie for fabric and Samuel and Sons that is a treasure trove of trims and where detail is everything.

Podcasts I like to listen to is... 99% Invisible for true stories on design around the world, The Do Lectures for motivational stories from other entrepreneurs and
Freakonomics Radio and Ted Radio Hour for a different view on things.

January 2018