Helen Turkington presides over an eponymous luxury design, home accessories, and bespoke furniture company. Since opening in Dublin over 20 years ago, she has established herself as one of Ireland’s most influential and talented designers.
Ahead of our next Image Networking Breakfast: Making It Happen! at The Marker Hotel on Friday, February 2, we asked Helen about her personal inspirations, trends, and the challenges she faces in growing her business.
Where does your inspiration for your personal collection derive from?
I spent 10 years in London in the 90’s, it’s a city I love and I try really hard to get back there at least once a month. It's inspiring and they are right on trend with what's new. I love how they convert historical buildings... how they create amazing spaces in the confined city buildings. I trawl through Pinterest daily and other print media, and, most importantly I try and travel as much as possible to see what is happening in other cities. I meet with manufacturers and discuss new trends and forecasts coming through. I am not a trend-led person but I love seeing new ideas and new materials coming through.
What parts of your job do you find the most challenging?
Time management and controlling the growth of the business. It is so demanding to oversee the business and make sure the team is fully supported and clients are being fully serviced. The business is experiencing rapid growth and with that recruitment of good designers, salespeople and management is really challenging. I have a portfolio of private clients I am so fortunate to have and I have to make sure they are well taken care of. Most importantly, the skill of balancing my work life with my kids and my husband who is incredibly supportive.
What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career?
Probably opening our new showroom in Spruce Avenue, Stillorgan last year. My team was incredible. Together we achieved so much in a limited and very tight timescale. The sense of achievement we all felt upon completion was overwhelming. To be honest, there is an element of that once each and every project is completed.
It is such a team effort and to get that done and grow the business was a great achievement by my team. I get a huge sense of satisfaction when we finish any project whether it be a renovation of a period property or new homes and showhouses or someone’s living room. A happy client is the best result. I never take anything for granted and working on people’s homes is so personal. Happy customers make me very happy!
What is your favourite trend in interiors at the moment?
Colour and the lack of rules. Almost anything goes. It’s a very free time. Mix it all up!!
You opened Helen Turkington interiors 20 years ago, what’s your plan moving forward?
To grow the business but before I even look at new stores or expansion, I want to properly structure the business so that we can fulfil the needs of our clients as best we can and to create a business that allows a future for my team. They work incredibly hard and are so dedicated. I want them to see a future in my business. To get good designers who understand it is as a business we are running is not easy and to keep them is a priority for me. I am renovating my own house and I have just started looking at re-designing our Dunville Store in Ranelagh so they are my key objectives for 2018.
Hear Helen and fellow panelists, General Manager of Reserve brands with Diageo Europe - Tanya Clarke and Leanne Rose O'Morain - Career Psychologist, talk about 'Making Your Mark!' at our Networking Breakfast, Friday, February 2nd.