Meet Forward Fold
Before Dionne Cole set up her interior design company, she started off with doing art in the form of paper sculptures. Since graduating from the Camberwell College of Arts, Cole has worked with paper to create delicate paper pieces for windows, advertisement campaigns and editorial shoots. Her passion for a paper is due to its versatility, especially when one knows how to work with it. Simply by bending, folding, ripping or cutting the paper, it can be manipulated easily.
Paper Artist is Born
Cole’s love for paper led her to work with paper artist Zoe Bradley straight out of university. This led to freelance projects in set design and interior styling for magazines such as Elle Deco and Living magazine in the UK. Cole then also gained the opportunity to work in some major design companies, such as set designer Rhea Thierstein. These opportunities enabled her to work with clients such as Disney, Chopard Jewellery, Hermes and Graff Diamonds.
Identifying a Gap to Build a Business
Cole was working on window displays for shop fronts but found that the projects were not frequent. She needed something more stable and found a gap in the market for bespoke artwork as part of interior decoration instead of artwork in commercial spaces or galleries. She soon realised she could make customised paper artwork that could fit in frames to be hung in homes. Cole started her interior design company in 2019 to provide stunning interiors and artwork for clients with a touch of luxury.
Evidently, Dionne Cole has managed to tap on a gap that is needed in the interior design market. Thanks to her eye for design, the bulk of her business comes from word of mouth or Houzz, an online platform for architecture, home remodelling, decorating, interior design, landscaping, and home improvement.
Now that she has a steady stream of income, how does she manage her business?
As a small business, Cole had to spend a lot of time on her bookkeeping which is not her strength.
Her biggest struggle? Not having a digital platform, which made it even harder for her to reconcile her books and find out what’s missing.
For Cole, building a company where she is able to build a sustainable source of income doing art while allowing her to work on creating her own art over the weekend is not the job of just one person.
Even though it’s just me making the artwork, there are so many people involved in it that I couldn’t have done it without them, so it’s about finding people that are a part of that process and building a nice network of people.Dionne Cole,Founder & CEO, Forward Fold
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