Mr. John Lau: Breaking Out With A New Chapter In Interior Design
Chapter One Interior Design Pte Ltd
For over 6 years as an employee in an interior design company, Mr John Lau felt like he was dawdling. Unsettled over how and why his interior design concepts were not being given the first light of day, he decided that it was time to break out and let his own creative ideas flourish and get noticed. This led to the first step on his entrepreneurial journey, and the birth of his brainchild: Chapter One Interior Design Pte Ltd.
Founded in 2009, Chapter One is making a mark, especially in the HDB renovation market today. John says, this is a tough market to be in, where he competes every day with hundreds of design companies. Yet, when his loyal and happy customers bring their home renovation to Chapter One, the rest perfectly falls into place. “We listen to clients and help them create a style that is right for them and the environment.” For John and his team, it’s all about connectedness. Their brand of interior design proves that they live, and so their spaces come to life. How did John take his design firm off the ground – and where is he headed in the next chapters of success? Here is his entrepreneurial journey.
No Short Cuts: Start From One
John learned firsthand that there are really no short cuts to success. “You have to work really hard,” he says. To take Chapter One to where it is now, John works 7 days a week and for countless number of hours. As long as there was work to be done, he made sure to do it. This was the way he would delight his clients. “Many people want to be boss, but I simply want to move on and keep improving,” John says as he points to another staff whom he is grooming to be his successor. Chapter One is where it all begins, and from here, the possibilities are limitless to the creative geniuses. In the next five years, John plans to fill up more desks in his office with creative interior designers who would like to join their family. His leadership principle is that of self-governance, thus, he likes to grow the team to be self-governing by providing the direction which they should take. After this, he plans to move on to another business particularly in licensing. “I believe we are all our own boss.” John definitely does not want to micromanage. He wants his team to know their own brand of design principles by heart, and to execute these on their own when called upon to do so. This, John says, is the way leaders are born.
“When I look back, I remember there had been sad experiences of being an entrepreneur. But we don’t stop. We pick up from there and move on,” John says. One particular failure he had to learn from was under-quoting the projects. “Sometimes we really just forget things,” he says. And that is easily understandable. After all, Chapter One’s interior design works leaves no tile, corner, inch of space uninspected. And with all the details to be considered, it has happened in the past when they overlooked one aspect of the renovation in the project quotation. Obviously, they had to shell out or lose a profit when this happened. It was not an option to come back to the client and explain and hope to charge more.
This speaks volumes of how John and his team place importance on client relationships. “It’s important to have one common direction as a team,” John says. He uses this principle to guide him on the team members to choose and welcome into the Chapter One family. “When you move in one direction, there is no need to push anybody to get the work done. It just all happens.”
Success Is Only The Beginning
For John, being successful means not resting on one’s laurels. It means constantly improving. This reflects well on their interior design brand. Eclectic, evolved, and different, their interior design ideas are evoked by a continuous process on enquiry, and of staying connected to the bigger world within which we live, with all its majesty, grandeur and beauty. As an entrepreneur, his passion lies in design, and also in making his own money. He says this in a matter-of-fact, unapologetic way, confidently assured that there is nothing wrong with making one’s own money from hard work and from giving your client your very best. Indeed, John had just turned on Chapter One. With his dedication, motivation, and jovial spirit, expect him and his team to be writing the next few chapters in the business. Whether that be interior design or another totally different interest, we can be sure it will have a touch of style and aesthetics that is fresh, original, and not your usual.No.157 #02-00, Jalan Besar Singapore 208874 HDB Licence: HB-11-4100E Company Reg: 200911570G Contact No: 62980827/62980863 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chapterone.sg/