Inspiring women are go-getters. They make things happen. They live life with no regrets. They are learning about themselves and reaching their full potential. They are not afraid to take risks and just go for it, like Katrina Kieffer-Wells from Earth Designs. Today we chat with her about her own journey into setting up and building a business she’s passionate about while being a mum.
What has been your journey so far? How did you get to where you are now?
I studied for a BA in Creative Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University, during which time some of my work was showcased nationally. After graduating in 1998, I moved to London and worked briefly as a florist before landing a job with Imagination LTD, a prestigious Brand and Communications company in London’s West End. My experience at Imagination gave me an excellent grounding in design and project management, which has informed my professional ethos ever since. After several years with the company, I was among a wave of redundancies which prompted me to consider a change of career.
Can you take us back to the time when you decided to set up Earth Designs?
Earth Designs was born in 2003. It was when the internet was in its infancy and people were becoming more and more design savvy in their homes. Property was booming and the TV was awash with garden makeover shows. I had a strong design instinct and a love of all things horticultural. For me it was my dream job.
What is the concept for Earth Designs? What is different about it?
As I didn’t formally train in garden design my methods are a little unorthodox, based my understanding of form and colour born from a background in art coupled with years of experience and a degree of trial and error. I think the client is integral to the design process and endeavour to engage them fully from the initial consultation onwards. Working alongside my husband Matt (he and his team build the gardens) we are able to offer a complete concept to creation service.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it in terms of your business?
Becoming a Mum! We had been trying for 7 years, so when we finally fell pregnant it was a big deal. I wanted to be a full time Mum. However, as I am the creative force behind Earth Designs, it wasn’t practical for me to step completely back from the business, so we prioritised all the creative stuff to me and tasked other things up with other members of staff.
How do you cope with setbacks?
Every job is different with a new client, new site and unique set of circumstances. I prefer to see setbacks as challenges that need some problem solving.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would love to have completed a show garden. I think I have one in me!
And finally, we love this Japanese garden inspired project. What was the brief and what is your favourite area of this space?
The client wanted something chic and modern but that also felt like a garden. She liked Japanese gardens, but we were both conscious of creating something twee. So I looked at the iconic component parts of a Japanese garden, waterfalls, a structure, a bridge and combined them into a modern twist on a traditional Japanese garden. I love the black Perspex screen at the bottom of the garden. A super modern materials, the bark of the birch is really set off by the black, plus the reflective nature of the Perspex adds depth and a real dose of luxury.
For more information, please visit Earth Designs website: earthdesigns