Friday, 8 March 2013

Following my Dream….

Marina Wooldridge Profile – Honeysuckle Interiors

Led by Marina Wooldridge, Honeysuckle Interiors has grown from a cottage industry to a highly successful business supplying quality hand made furnishings and interior design services.

Based in their attractive showroom in Rectory Road Oakley Marina recalls:-

Following my Dream….

“I have always had a passion for sewing and wanted my own business.  As well as making all my own clothes, I naturally made curtains for my first home.  As a result in the very early days I made curtains for friends and family and realised here was the business opportunity I’d always dreamed of.  I always had the vision that one day the business would be more than just a furnishings company and wanted to be able to provide a complete interior design service.

When I look back I was so young just 22 I had nothing to set up a business except me, a sewing machine and lots of determination. People would bring their fabric to me I would make curtains on the lounge floor and fit them myself.  I borrowed £500 from a family friend (as no bank would support the venture) and I had to pay it back in loose covers and curtains.

Setting up back then was really hard and even harder as the last recession took a foothold.  I would supplement my income by temping come home sew all evening and work weekends.  But I loved it! I got to live my dream recession or not I had to make a living and make the business work.

I worked from home for two years plus juggle home and life with having my first baby, I knew the key to growing the business and keeping my sanity would be to have premises and get more help.  In 1992 Honeysuckle Interiors moved into its first premises on Park Farm in Oakley which offered great value for money and much needed space to grow.  “When we opened up I thought we may get one or two people through a week if we were lucky.  But people got to hear about us and started to visit daily. We started to supply fabrics, wallpapers plus a make-up service and that’s when the business started to flourish”.

Seven years later Honeysuckle moved into its current premises in Rectory Road Oakley.  “It was another dream come true set in the heart of the village the old post office had a fine reputation set by its previous owners and was well established. I would often go there in the early days to buy stamps and a cake to keep morale up and think  one day if this could only be mine how perfect that would be.”

Having been in business for over 25 years the business has seen many changes and has steadily grown.  A passion for homes and everything inside them is what Honeysuckle is all about – but most importantly it’s the people they work for and with, understanding their needs and being able to deliver great customer service.

The company has brought style, innovation and quality furnishings to hundreds of homes throughout the south from one bed maisonettes to sprawling mansions.  What ever people’s aspirations or budget the design team are happy to help.

Marinas work has featured in acclaimed National magazines such as Period Homes, Home Style and Period House and at the Ideal Homes Exhibition in London.  She also runs soft furnishing courses and workshops from the premises in Oakley.

Latterly she has had acclaimed fame with her own “House Doctor” radio programme on Kestrel FM. Marina has regular monthly Home Style articles featured in Hampshire Life where many of Honeysuckles clients homes have featured.  Her column also appears in the Basingstoke Gazette and many other local publications including the Hampshire Voice.

“I’m very proud of Honeysuckle Interiors – it’s my love and my passion – and people know and feel that when they come into my shop.  When I look back I am so proud to have developed and grown a solid business that is so highly respected.  You’re only ever as successful as the people that work for you.  I owe a great deal of the company’s success to my brilliant team of loyal staff. It’s partly thanks to them that we have a solid base of satisfied customers who refer us and come back time and time again. My husband family and friends have always supported me and so much of my drive comes from them. Not many people can actually say they enjoy what they do for a living.  I can honestly say even after all these years of being in business I have a love and a passion for what I do I have been truly blessed.  I want to keep on evolving Honeysuckle and continue to work in partnership with my customer’s suppliers and staff and keep enjoying what I do.”

My future plans will involve working more closely with schools running more workshops and courses to pass our valuable skills on to the next generation. I want to help motivate and inspire our youngsters to follow their dreams and fulfil their potential.

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