Ever wished that you can coordinate your bedroom, living room, or kitchen to match the aesthetics of a Pinterest-worthy room? How do those rooms become so visually pleasing? Undoubtedly, the stunning rooms are designed and curated by skilled interior stylists, like the Black Arrow team.
Black Arrow focuses on interior styling, event styling, and property consulting. The brand is run by two hardworking and stylish businesswomen, for whom we had the pleasure of interviewing for our More Than Artisans initiative. Our initiative strives to support local artists and entrepreneurs by sharing their stories. This week, we focus on Sarah and Jessi, the women behind the interior styling brand Black Arrow.
Story Leather What influenced you to start this business? / What is the story behind the establishment of Black Arrow?
Sarah: Similar story to many…without sounding cliché, I got sick of working in a corporate job I didn’t love anymore. I was also never a very good ‘employee’ as I was always trying to lead and change the way things were done, which, when it’s not your business you can’t always do that. I knew very early on in my working life that I’d have my own business one day, so I set about earning the stripes to get there.
Jessi: I was in the Fashion industry for most of my working life, which was fun in my early 20s but I realised I did not have as every 20 something fashion intern would say “a passion for fashion”. It was when I moved out of home and got to style my first apartment that I realised I wanted to pursue a career in interior styling. Like Sarah, I knew I wanted to work for myself very early on. I am a very hard worker and don’t rest until the job is done but wanted to create a life where that is on my own terms. If I want to take the dog for a walk at 11am, I can. If I want to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don’t judge me) whilst eating lunch, I can. It may mean I am still working at 9pm that night, but that’s my choice - I am in control of my own schedule.
Sarah and I met whilst working in Property Styling (also known as Home Staging) but were also running our own interior styling businesses as Sole Traders. We found ourselves collaborating and sharing ideas for our own individual projects that we thought, hey why don’t we just join forces and make this a thing!
Story Leather How would you describe Black Arrow/ What does the Black Arrow brand mean to you?
Black Arrow Bohemian, Organic, Quirky. Very true to our own personal aesthetic. Not trying to follow the trends too much. We are more about creating spaces that will create an emotional response from our clients and stand the test of time despite ever changing trends.
Story Leather What makes Black Arrow unique?
Black Arrow Same as above but also our brand personality. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Whilst we take our work and our clients very seriously we like to have a laugh and quite openly poke fun at ourselves in the process. We like to share the reality of our industry - everything from the incredibly creative and inspiring people we meet along the way right through to the lack lustre reality of the sweat (and chafe) that goes along with installing a job or the general challenges involved with running your own business. We feel this honest and casual approach showcases our down to earth attitudes and removes the intimidation and stigma often associated with the design industry.
Story Leather Where do you derive your design/ style inspiration from?
Black Arrow We both have fairly distinct personal styles that are very complimentary. This is a huge part of the reason our partnership works. Our creative style direction is very much mutually understood and appreciated. We gather inspiration from various places. Everything from the nature awaiting us outside our front doors to fashion brands like Spell Designs and Zulu & Zephyr, our amazing suppliers like St Barts, Bisque Interiors and Cultiver and of course our fellow industry sisters and misters inspire us daily! Inspiration is everywhere!
Story Leather Describe or outline how you spend a typical day at your business.
Black Arrow At this early stage, we are still working out of our homes so we alternate whose house we will meet at each day. The day always starts with a cup of T2 Green Garden tea, a debrief on how we slept, what we did since we last saw each other approximately 6 hours earlier and what happened on last nights episode of 'Married At First Sight’. THEN once those important topics are covered we might think about doing some work. We generally put together an agenda before each meeting to ensure we stay focussed and achieve everything we need to that day. Each day is different and could involve anything from client consultations, supplier visits, order placement / management, mood board creation, photoshoots, branding / marketing meetings, site visits and general admin.
Story Leather What motivates you to continue building this business?
Black Arrow The fact that we are doing what we love each day makes the motivation factor pretty much a non-issue. We also have bigger goals we are constantly aspiring towards so that definitely helps keep us moving!
Story Leather How would you describe your customers?
Black Arrow Our customers are generally warm and open. They often have a good idea of what they like and dislike, but just need help pulling the overall look together and need some assistance making decisions they are not feeling confident about. Most of our clients quickly become more like friends. We are in their space, learning about the lifestyle that unfolds behind closed doors, we are in their bedrooms, their bathrooms, we are meeting around their dining table and learning about every family member and how they like to live in the home. It can be a pretty intimate thing when you break it down.
Story Leather Where do you see yourself and your business is 10 years? 20years?
Black Arrow We would love for Black Arrow to be a joint family business with our partners involved to some extent and ideally not be so involved in the day-to-day allowing ourselves to work more on the big picture. We have lots of big plans and exciting things we're working towards but we're not ones to kiss and tell, so you'll have to watch and see!