I met Shana Harrison at a networking event in Chester a year ago and was immediately drawn to her infectious friendliness and warmth. We chatted for a while before she told me her story of living in Mexico and USA before moving to the UK. With her background in art and interior design and her multicultural experiences, Shana is an exclusive UK sales representative for luxury interiors brand US based Porter Teleo as well as Arteriors (Midlands and North England only).
Here I chat with her about her amazing journey and how she helps interior designers and trade clients deliver successful projects.
Tell us a little bit about your journey. How did you get to representing the amazing brands you have on your portfolio?
I come from a family of engineers – all three of my siblings are. I am a blend of right brain and left brain. I’ve always chosen a more creative path, as that is where my heart is. I have a fine arts degree and worked as an art director and product designer for many years before going back to get an interior design degree. I took on design projects while obtaining the degree while also working as a consultant. Then I became a mother, and we moved from Kansas City to Mexico for my husband’s career. I had my second child there.
When we returned to the USA from Mexico, I reconnected with a photographer I knew from my art direction days and I took on selling artwork by him and his wife to interior designers and architects. I completed a large project – a country club – where I sourced all the artwork in the building and oversaw its installation right before we moved to England. We moved because of my British husband’s career and to give our children a more worldly experience than they would have had in the middle of America.
Once I obtained my visa, got our home set up (including an extension project) and my kids settled in their new country, new schools, etc., I could start thinking about my career again! I was starting completely from scratch with friends and business contacts. I’ve followed Kelly Porter’s artwork as she displayed in my favourite gallery in Kansas City. Another mutual friend knew Kelly and we were both making comments on a Facebook post one Sunday afternoon. I commented that I would like to be a sale representative for them in the UK. Kelly saw it and said she would speak to Bridgett (the other co-founder) and that is how I became an agent for Porter Teleo. The reasons I love being an agent for these luxury interiors brands are:
1. Porter Teleo comes from Kansas City where I lived for 20 years.
2. The brand is a women owned business that employs female artists.
3. Both brands, Arteriors and Porter Teleo, combine art and interior design which suits my interests and experience to a tee.
What do you enjoy most when working with designers? Can you describe the process of working with them on projects?
As a creative sales representative, I love creating art which is my favourite pastime activity, I like working with designers, helping them solve their problems while forming collaborations. What drives me most is seeing my clients deliver successful projects and being part of that journey. To be of service and work within a team is what I enjoy the most.
I am very much a people’s person, and I love meeting interesting people and working with them. On the other hand, I love doing the estimating, converting from Imperial measurements to metric, and getting the most cost – effective solution for my clients.
The way I work is very similar to a showroom setting but remotely. I can send samples and work with designers on specifications, lead times and deliveries. Currently, I am open to taking on more lines that compliment luxury interiors brands like Porter Teleo and Arteriors, so that I can offer my clients more to help them with their projects, which is very exciting.
This interview article first appeared in ESTILA Vol 12 – The REVIVAL available as part of our exclusive annual bookazine subscription. Become our reader and get smart insights, inspiration and be the first to know about the newcomers, changemakers, movers and shakers in the creative lifestyle industry.
See Shana’s profile page on ESTILA CICRLE and follow her on IG @shanaharrisonuk and get in touch with her.