Turning your passion into the career of your dreams can often seem like a far fetched fantasy to most. Roisin Lafferty, however, did exactly that and is now one of Ireland’s most renowned and respected Interior Architects & Designers. Realising from a very early age that design was her passion, Roisin went on to achieve a first class honours degree in Interior Architecture & a Masters in Product & Spatial planning. Now with her own studio, Kingston Lafferty Design based in the heart of Dublin, Roisin works on an array of projects throughout Ireland & overseas. The journey of entrepreneurship appears to have opened up unexpected opportunities for the award winning designer, who is now a judge on RTE’s Super Garden along side fellow designer Leonie Cornelius. Here Roisin exclusively talks to House Edit about following your dreams & the reality of being a female entrepreneur.
1. You set up KLD back in 2010. Was running your own business always a dream of yours?
Initially the company was set up to get experience and design in Ireland. I had always wanted to run my own design business but I didn’t think it would be possible straight after college or in a large recession. Running a business is all-consuming but I feel so lucky to be doing something I love and to be surrounded by a team of strong, talented individuals who challenge and inspire each other.
2. Running your own studio, being a hands on designer & now with RTE Super Garden, life must get busy. How do you juggle managing a business, being a creative and is there such a thing as work/life balance?
Life is extremely busy, being honest but I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is always something new happening with exciting new jobs, challenges and experiences; never a dull day in KLD!
For me, there isn’t much difference between work life and personal life. Design is hugely important to me and it influences how I live my life. It is something that I really immerse myself in and genuinely love. Even holidays and my social life are based around design and always looking for inspiration in new places, surroundings and through experiences.
Running a growing business can be challenging however, especially with our expanding team and jobs. I go to personal training in the mornings and Pilates at the weekends and I find these a fantastic way to get headspace and start the day stress free.
3. What is the best piece of advice that you have been given?
‘If someone else can do it, why can’t you?’
Someone said this to me when I was 19 and it really struck a chord. I think especially for women, we can put ourselves down and compare ourselves with other people, doubting ourselves, but it has been a good one for me to remember when facing certain challenges.
4. Since opening your own business, what has been your biggest learning curve?
Quite how hard it can be! My background is fully design rather than business so everything I have learnt about how to run my business has been from experience and asking a lot of questions. I find I learn a lot better with a hands on approach and I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic people who push and challenge me in this respect.
5. What is the first ‘app’ you reach for in the morning?
Instagram… I am now addicted!
6. Your biggest inspiration?
This is a hard one to pin down but there are a couple.
Ilse Crawford – designer influence
Everything Ilse Crawford and her studio stand for really resonates with me. There is so much depth and meaning in her humanistic approach. Her work is timeless, authentic and exquisitely beautiful and the detail, care and consideration that is applied to everything she does is outstanding.
Louise Phelan – Business influence
I had the pleasure of being mentored by Louise Phelan as part of Going for Growth, a business development incentive. She is the Vice President of Paypal and leads a team of over 2000 people. Her approach to business was hugely inspiring and refreshing to me and she has achieved so much in the business world.
7. What advice would you have for other woman thinking about starting their own business?
Define your goals and your overall vision. This should be something you remind yourself of regularly and update as time goes on. There will always be variations and changes.
Running a business is challenging but also liberating, being your own boss and carving out a place for you and what your dream is hugely exciting. It’s important to know where you want to go and what exactly that looks like as sometimes the day to day can distract from that end goal.