Q&A, SA Decor & Design
DIYgirls is South Africa’s first and only all-female maintenance, repair and interior design company. They provide a platform for women in the industry and we’re excited about what this means for the building trade in South Africa. We chatted to CEO and Founder, Vinette Diab Nicholls, about her personal inspirations and the future plans of DIYgirls.
Were you always interested in design or when did this become a passion?
From a young age, I had a passion for all things beautiful and often painted my walls or rearranged the layout of my bedroom, being very particular about what goes where and which items complement one another. As an adult, my love for art and aesthetics grew stronger. I quickly realized that I thrive in spaces that are both functional, organized and well designed. I developed a keen interest in combining different patterns, shapes, colours, textures and mediums. And, became fascinated with the way in which light reflects on surfaces and creates the illusion of larger, more open spaces. A career in interior design became seemingly obvious and I haven’t looked back since establishing DIYgirls in 2018.
Your style has been described as quietly contemporary. Do you see it that way?
Personally, I enjoy softened and rounded lines as well as pops of bold colour that focus on the basics of line, shape and form. However, as a client centric business, we adjust our style where needed to our clients’ requirements and desired intentions. So, while keeping up to date with trends in the industry, we draw inspiration from our clients’ personality, lifestyles and personal needs in order to maximize the true potential of areas and design solutions that are aesthetically pleasing yet practical.
What is the role of design in contemporary life?
Design quite literally surrounds us every second of every day – from the moment we wake up and switch off the alarm, until we retire and fluff our pillow or dim a light. Even while asleep, the very design of our mattress determine a peaceful night’s rest. It influences our mood, productivity and even our outlook on life and the decisions we make as everything we see, touch and experience involves design without us noticing or paying attention to it. One could even go as far as saying that it’s virtually invisible. Unless of course we encounter poor design, in which case we’re usually able to pinpoint it’s failings right away. The reality is, most of us are living a fast paced, high pressured life where comfortable, seamless and enjoyable experiences and interaction should enable us to perform optimally and focus on tasks at hand.
What makes a happy home?
We all want our homes to look good, but what’s much more important is how our home makes us feel. It’s really a knock-on effect as people who are happy at home are generally also happy in life. So, we recommend investing time in your space and boosting your home’s happiness by doing what we all sometimes need most – a little attention. Whether it’s updating the ragged, fixing the broken, decluttering shelves, organizing cupboards, embracing natural light or introducing colour, adding freshness with home fragrances or greenery and reconnecting with nature through stone, wool, linen etc. The key is to own your space so you’re able to regenerate and refresh your soul. It really is a win-win.
Do you have decorating rules when designing an interior?
Growing up, my mom regularly reminded me of the saying “penny wise, pound foolish.” So, in addition to keeping key design principles such as balance, repetition, emphasis, proportion, scale and harmony in mind when designing spaces, we always focus on quality rather than quantity. We often advise our residential clients to redesign their home in phases rather than compromise on quality in aim of stretching a budget, if needed.
In your experience, do clients comparison shop?
How, where and who we shop with has changed and evolved at breakneck speed over the past few years, with 2020 seeing a huge shift towards online and also comparison shopping, as we were all affected by Covid-19. Most retail outlets had to turn to digital channels as the pandemic accelerated and DIYgirls was no different. We launched an e-commerce platform (www.diygirls.co.za) during the hard lockdown to ensure business sustainability and growth. It’s here where we’ve noticed an increase in two trends – comparison shopping on the one end; and support of small businesses, on the other.
While statistics show that many retailers have been negatively impacted by comparison shopping, DIYgirls has to a large extent been unaffected by this behaviour as we offer bespoke, custom furnishings that are in many cases made-to-order in the size and colour preference of our clients. Our turnaround times are quick, our products are made with attention to detail and high quality materials, we offer personalized service from design to delivery, and always aim to exceed expectations. I believe that these are just a few of the reasons why we boast a loyal client base, despite the economic downturn. And, I’m confident that we will continue to grow from strength to strength.
What inspires the DIYgirls?
At DIYgirls, we are passionate about the empowerment of women and believe in the ideal of gender equality. We aim at providing opportunities for sustainable employment; and where possible, we support other local businesses and collaborate with female entrepreneurs from rural, township and urban areas alike, to give our clients innovative and affordable products that are equal in quality and durability. We believe that if we can give our women the right tools and knowledge, we can help change the fortunes of entire communities.
Tell us more about your work and plans for the future…
We pride ourselves in providing our clients with a complete, turnkey solution to ensure a perfectly considered space, whether it’s a small bedroom refresh or a larger office project, interior or exterior.
Our uncompromising standards mean that we only use top quality materials in our in-house production of furniture, window treatments and soft furnishings; and established suppliers to complement our product offering. We aim to continue our support of local South African women in order to drive prosperity; and remain committed to providing the best products, solutions and service to our clients – whether residential, commercial, retail, lodges or hotels.
What is your favourite item in your home?
As a mom of two toddlers, my favourite item in our home is most definitely our off-white lounge suite. One would think that this colour would be taboo in a household where painting, baking, slime-making and snacking is the order of the day. But, thanks to the availability of high-performance fabrics that combine the latest stain-free and anti-microbial technology, liquids and bacteria are unable to attach itself to the yarn or the upholstery foam on the inside. These fabrics are also mildew and odour resistant, ensuring that our couches stay strong and fresh, for longer – ideal for busy households, such as ours.
What are you working on now?
Design and product development are very much alive at DIYgirls INTERIOR and part of our every day. And, there’s not a moment that we’re not working on a full client solution or new product offering. Having said that, we’re particularly excited about the launch of our bespoke Kids Collection, which embraces durable, easy to clean, stain resistant fabrics in beautifully bright and bold colourways. This is sure to be a hit amongst young girls and boys so be sure to keep an eye on our pages this Winter 2021.
Original source: https://www.sadecor.co.za/interior-design-blog/designers-decorators-architects/interior-designers-decorators/meet-the-diygirls-repair-with-flair/