It’s hard to imagine a time when creating your own website was a big deal, but when Bronwyn Poole launched her business Touch Interiors in 2000 and shortly followed that up with a design services online shop, her suppliers thought she was cuckoo!
“When I launched my website I dreamt big, as you do, and bought the ‘dot com’ and ‘dot com dot au’. Inspired by the altruistic notion that interior design should be accessible to everyone, I started offering package solutions on my site, eventually adding a small shopping cart for single purchases. There was no such thing as online shopping back then so it was a big deal! But it has now become a significant part of my business.”
Creating liveable fine art spaces that feel as good as they look, Touch Interiors doesn’t adhere to any one style, rather they feed off their clients’ natural aesthetic rhythm and that of their space. Working across residential and commercial projects, they have a design and decoration portfolio exceeding 500 properties. So as you can imagine it’s a challenge to pick a favourite! “Probably my greatest business achievement was a 105-room serviced apartment complex in Western Australia in 2009. I won the tender over five very large Australian procurement companies who were much more experienced at the time. I also played cupid on this project, when a close friend who assisted me eventually married the white goods supplier, can you believe?!”
[contextly_sidebar id=”sjQIBG30kBmkPGSkzL8BwqGBcLspmcgI”]A well-known firm in Australia, in 2014 Bronwyn took a huge leap of faith moving to Los Angeles for her husband’s work as a film editor. Deciding to continue running Touch Interiors remotely, she also set up a US-based office, which has admittedly been a steep learning curve. “The two countries’ industries differ more than I could have anticipated. In LA the interior design procurement, as expected, has endless options for all budgets, which has been a welcome change. However, as far as business conduct goes, nothing comes close to Australian authenticity. Here it is an interesting game, playing against ‘smiling assassins’ as my husband calls them. Put it this way, you never sit a bad interview!”
With the business going from strength to strength, thanks to her right-hand woman Rhiannon Matthews leading the charge in Australia, Bronwyn has even managed to find time to focus on her second business, Complete Pad, an online interiors community where you can shop for individual items for your home and connect with a pro to help you out. “My aim is to make it fun and easy for the typical homemaker to find professional help and unique homewares through our trusted platform along with interior inspiration they can genuinely apply. I call it a blog (with a twist), featuring multiple forum channels, a custom upholstery collection and a new collection designed by the professionals called Unique Pad (you can become a featured pro here).”
As the mastermind of two established businesses, a foreigner in a new city and a mother of three, it’s a wonder how she does it all. But for Bronwyn it’s all about mindfulness, boundaries, acknowledging her IT addiction and avoiding that ever-enduring mother’s guilt! “My mum always told us to look after ourselves first. It’s certainly saved me the mother’s guilt I may have suffered otherwise. I’m really thankful for her advice. It has made me a mostly patient person with a good sense of priorities who knows what decisions to make, sacrifices to endure or investments to give.”
Photography by Matt Craig