Share with us your career path that has led you to your current role at RD:
Throughout my early adult life; I worked in a retail/ customer service role, my Dad’s print shop, shoe and clothing stores, so I am familiar with those environments.
After graduating from Victoria University in Wellington with a Bachelor’s in Design / Industrial Design, I tutored in design for a year before heading overseas to explore the world. Because of my family heritage I based myself in The Netherlands, where I lived for 8 years and worked as a Product Designer for Studio Stallinga in Amsterdam. We worked on mass-manufactured items for Heineken International which I still enjoy seeing around bars today, high-end art installations for museum exhibitions, through to furniture and lighting projects for an iconic heritage building in Amsterdam. This broad-spectrum of work and design understanding easily carried over to my current role at RD.
What element of your role is most interesting for you?
The variety! At RD we are continually challenged due to the varying nature of projects we take on. One day I’m focused on a singular product for mass-manufacture and the next I’m working on an entire store fit-out. This requires a wide mix of design disciplines and challenges one to both think creatively and practically. I like to know that things I design work, having a team of highly skilled people in our company to discuss projects with is invaluable and means my knowledge is always developing.
Where do you seek your design inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us, but you just can’t beat the internet, it’s all at your fingertips. I have a wide variety of design interests and sources of inspiration such as: Cool Hunter, Material District, The New.nz, The Denizen & Neat Places to scope out NZ hospitality projects, The Register, Idealog, klimt02, Ocula ……………… You also can’t beat nature, our environment has so much to offer and answers so many aesthetic questions.
With the fast pace of technology development, how do your work outputs vary to stay ahead of the curve?
RD’s Design Director, Mitch Hughes is ahead of the curve when it comes to technical and digital development, you dream it up and he can create it. His passion for technology is contagious and inspires us all.
Technology is not only digital, virtual and augmented reality, it’s also about staying up-to-date with manufacturing processes and developments; for example; understanding how 3D printing techniques can help improve the design process or implementing a new form of lighting.
You’re a mum of a toddler too, how do you manage the work life balance?
Parenthood is challenging but also beautiful. My husband is an amazing support and we consider each other equals. We’ve found it helpful to not be bound by traditionally defined roles. Work / life balance - for me it helps to be flexible, both in your home mindset and approach to your career, what works today most likely won’t tomorrow, it helps to be open to changing your approach.
I choose to go back to work because it is important to me to continue my career and to always challenge myself. Everywhere I go there are examples of the work that I have helped create, I am proud to show my family these projects and I hope one day they will be an inspiration to my child.
What is your favourite project / type of project you have created to date and why?
For me it’s more about the satisfaction of seeing your work come to fruition and knowing that all your hard work and attention to detail has paid off - choosing just one favourite is impossible!
As a part of a diverse design team, how do you all work together to deliver results?
It’s about sharing knowledge; the members of the Design Team at RD are incredibly helpful and are never too busy to discuss a project, pull together ideas and share their experience. Team work and not being afraid to voice your ideas are important to the betterment of the project.
What would be your ultimate retail design project to work on?
Less is more! I admire a minimalist design aesthetic, it’s hard to execute simplicity. Stripping a product back to the most essential, to create an elegant design that works using only the necessary elements - that’s good design to me! The challenge would be how to apply the design principles of minimalism to a retail space.
Any tips for clients looking to re-invent their retail space?
Be a design leader not a follower. Although I believe it is important to understand trends, you don’t always have to follow them. Invest the time to understand your brand and represent that perspective with an innovative space that takes the customer on your journey.