Mr. Nicholas Teng: Setting The Standards For Urban Design
Urban Design House Pte Ltd
The story of Urban Design House Pte Ltd is filled with rich irony. As a renovation and interior design company, it started without its own office space. Founder Nicholas Teng started his interior design consultancy from his own living room. And the rest, as they say, is history.
While other renovators fear the increasingly competitive renovation market, with clients getting more and more design savvy and hard to please, Urban Design sees it as a grand platform to excel and to seize opportunities. Thus, Urban Design’s success is built not only
upon keen sense for aesthetics and practical space management, but with the courage to foray into the unknown and to keep innovating. “When you do business, it’s always 50-50. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You have to have courage to keep at it no matter
what,” says Nicholas. In this story, Nicholas puts the pieces together: his formula for
success, the best advice he can give young entrepreneurs and where Urban Design is headed to next.
The Tabula Rasa of Urban Design: How It All Started
After 7 years of working with a renovation company, Nicholas decided it was time to set up his own shop. He founded Urban Design in 2008 as an avenue to reflect his passion for renovating a plain square of space into a living space that truly makes lifestyle dreams
come true. Today, Nicholas works with over 20 interior designers and sales consultants in his team, rendering interior design support to clients in terms of design consultancy, space management and renovation project management. Many HDB and private apartments have
received a dramatic makeover under their professional care. How does he find people who share his passion? “For my sales consultants, I provide training. And then they work with me for one month. They will only be appointed if they prove to share the same values as demonstrated in their first month of working with the team,” he shares. Nicholas is inspired to lead the urban interior renovation market by
making his business the benchmark. Blazing the trails and leading the track keeps him motivated to jump out of bed and get to work every day. Add to this, he also loves meeting his consultants and listening to their new ideas. Exposure to this eclectic mix fuels his
passion for the business. “I enjoy coming to the office to see my consultants handle new situations.”
Nicholas does not ever see himself sitting on his laurels despite his success. “Success means tapping on endless opportunities. You cannot really claim to be successful because once you do, it will only be a fraction of time before a competitor unseats you. Working towards success doesn’t end, it just keeps going,” Nicholas shares.
Putting Things Together: Overcoming Pitfalls In Interior Design Business
One of the failures Nicholas encountered in the past 6 years of running his own business is project management. Specifically, there were times when he failed to see the outcome of choosing a particular sub-contractor. “To overcome this failure, I need to have more control
over a sub-contractor,” Nicholas shares.
This is important because Urban Design offers a 2-year warranty on workmanship. If pieces fall apart then it’s not only additional work for them, it will also be a blow to their reputation. Considering their steady stream of clients, mostly by word of mouth, Urban Design has lived
up to expectations. Apart from doing their own carpentry, which means clients can customise their furnishings as well, Urban Design is also known for having close collaboration with clients throughout all the project stages. In fact, this is the aspect of the business that Nicholas wants to keep improving in the next five years. “Renovation market is improving a lot. Homeowners are getting more demanding. We have to learn to listen to what they need. Design is very subjective. We have to improve our service level and find the faster way to solve problems,” he shares.
Listening closely to the clients also means making the sacrifice on time. As an entrepreneur, Nicholas admits that the biggest sacrifice he makes is time away from family. “Sometimes we meet client until 9 or 10 pm.” But the time he loses while at work, he gets to pay back during weekends. “Work hard, play hard,” he says.
Do It Beautifully: Advice To Rising Entrepreneurs
The renovation business can be beautiful, but one must be willing to take all the dust, mess and chaos before reaping the beautiful reward.
Nicholas advises young entrepreneurs to have the courage and the willingness to take all the ugly stuff in business in order to enjoy the rewards of success later on. “How much effort I brought forward, I get back. I enjoy the fruits of my labour. That is the best thing
about being entrepreneur,” he shares.
Nicholas says young entrepreneurs should not fear doing business because we are all bound to succeed if we keep trying our best.
Today, from his spacious and well-appointed Balestier Road office, Nicholas enjoys the scene of a growing team and promising business with greatest pleasure. In fact, his entrepreneurial journey has taken off the ground: from his living room space to the urban
development hub where his office is at present, he welcomes a refreshing change. And the future looks even better.
URBAN DESIGN (Design Studio Office)
No. 586 Balestier Road
#01-02 Eastpac Building
HDB Licence No. : HB-07-4448D
Tel : 6251 7323
Fax : 6251 7324
Email : email@example.com