What I learned from starting a design business with my best friend

Ever wonder what it'd be like to start and run a business with your best friend? Megan Burn speaks to two interior designers who did just that.

It’s something you and your best friend have probably brought up on many a night out, that of course you two should start a business together. But what’s the reality like? Is it all glam working lunches or would you end up at each other’s throats?

Sarah Drumm and Lisa Marconi are two friends who decided to open their interior design company Dust, after realising their tastes were very similar. “We wanted to create somewhere that sold the kind of interiors pieces that we loved,” Sarah explains. “We found ourselves having to source from outside of Ireland for the more unusual things, so we wanted to create a homegrown store that enabled Irish customers to buy things that weren’t available here.”



Sarah acknowledges that it’s not a decision everyone would make. “It’s always going to be a bit of a leap starting a working relationship with a friend. But we knew we had similar values, which is really important.” She also points out that they have different strengths in the business, especially on the administrative side, so they’re not always stepping on each other’s toes. Respecting each other’s opinion is also central to their relationship. “The only thing we’d sometimes disagree on is a design decision, but that’s all part of the creative process and we feel it’s good to challenge each other. It keeps our projects and our work interesting,” Sarah says.

There certainly seems to be benefits of starting a business alongside a friend. “It definitely makes work more fun,” Sarah says. “You know that you’re going to having a giggle when you’re at work which is always nice. Starting a business is such a full on thing, it’s really nice to be doing it with someone who you know and trust. We even find it difficult to not talk about work when we’re out, but this is because we are genuinely excited about what we do. We probably end up boring our other friends though!”

starting a businessPhoto: Dust



Sarah’s advice for any friends thinking of taking the plunge into business together has this advice: “I think the important thing to remember is to respect each other and figure out your strengths and weaknesses and play to them. Also, remember to split the boring stuff between the both of you.”

Featured image: Ailbhe O'Donnell

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