One of the major challenges faced by creatives in all fields is finding a harmonious balance between the skills and information required to maintain both creativity and a stable business strategy. Logic and intuition must be employed with consideration and there are always lessons to be learned. Ahead of of the annual BIID conference, where she will both introduce the day and join a number of wonderful speakers to share the secrets behind a successful interior design business, we asked Director of Koubou Interiors, and President of the British Institute of Interior Design Gilly Craft a few burning questions…

As a designer, business owner and BIID President, how would you describe the balance you have to keep between business thinking and design creativity?

GC: “The presidency takes up quite a lot of time, which has to be factored in. Being organised is key. When you run your own business, the business thinking has to be the first priority. Someone told me very early on that you should work on your business, not in your business. Having said that, you do still need to keep an overall view on the creativity. Train your staff well, so that they know what you will require.”

Do you think interiors, furniture design and architecture education effectively prepares people for running a creative business?

GC: “No, it doesn’t. That is why the BIID is so relevant. The support that is on offer to help fledgling business are fantastic. I would advise also getting a business coach.”

To you, as a creative, what is the hardest part of running a business? Does this ever impact your ability to think creativity as a designer?

GC: “Being aware that the buck stops with me! Running the business has to be the priority. It obviously takes focus away from creativity.”

How do you keep up-to-date with developments in business strategy, processes, rules and regulations?

GC: “As I said, I have a business coach for the business strategies. For the rest, the BIID has a fantastic CPD programme that informs and educates.”

How big is the leap from interior designer employed by someone else to interior design business owner?

GC: “It is a big leap but if you plan effectively it should be very gratifying.”


The BIID Inside Knowledge Business Success Conference will take place 8 November 2018. Register now at