Design & Build 2020

42 BUILD Design and Build 2020 Oct20663 11 Q1 2021 BUILD Oct20663 irst came a recession, then the uncertainty of Brexit and now the Coronavirus pandemic. Like most small businesses, Annan Interiors is doing its best to steer calmly through the rough seas of recent years and is using its size to its advantage. Despite the tumultuous times, the business based in Enniskillen in County Fermanagh has used its niche high end market, wide range of clients and company size to good effect. At the heart of Annan Interiors’ success is its reputation to create high quality, enduring interiors that have earned it awards, like Interior Designer of the Year at the Ulster Tatler Awards 2019. Clients praise the business for its “attention to detail” and “creating timeless projects that will look as good in decades to come”. And according to Principal Gordon Annan, that’s down to its small-scale, enabling staff to give a personal service. “I’ve always remembered E.F. Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful - a study of economics as if people mattered,” recalls interior designer Gordon. “That was on my first year reading list as a design student. “My clients are buying into the experience of my eye, in predicting the overall impact of any scheme. “Our company culture is personal, bespoke and we listen first. So, we will stay small and handpick our projects.” Gordon set up the business after graduating from Belfast College of Art & Design and works with just two trusted long-time members of staff. There’s software specialist and technician Allen McKenzie and Mary Murphy, who handles all the admin and day to day running of the business. The trio have built up the company’s strong reputation, built around Gordon’s flair for a very purist design that attracts clients from across Ireland. While new build houses is its specialty, Annan Interiors hasn’t restricted its client base either, with a wide range of customers from home-owners to major commerce. “On one hand, we have done an airport and shopping centre, while at the other end of the scale, a child’s bedroom,” adds Benefits Of Being A Small Business In Challenging Times With Brexit and Covid, the bijou award-winning Annan Interiors in Northern Ireland knows only too well the challenges small businesses face. We speak to its Principal, Gordon Annan, on maintaining a strong client base in unprecedented times. F Gordon. “We have designed total interiors and supplied the products to everything from optician practices to food processing factory offices, canteen and reception spaces too. “We start much earlier than the standard offer out there, beginning with lighting design. This ratifies the space plan, which forces clients, in a healthy way, to examine their room use before moving on to sanitaryware and tiling specification, right through to soft furnishing.” Lighting, furniture and fabrics are carefully selected so they maintain the company’s prowess for high quality. They often work with nominated architects and use the architect’s drawings to super-impose space planning proposals, including computer generated lighting schematics for whole-house overviews. “Our product offer is commensurate with the modernity, purist and restrained flavour of our design work,” explains Gordon. “We don’t follow high fashion or transient trends. We are founded on an ethos of simplicity and quality in design, and the products we offer exist in our collection so that we have greater control over the outcomes of our schemes. “In addition to this, we get repeat clients time and time again who budget for what can be comparatively expensive schemes.” Maintaining returning customers has helped the company respond to many challenges and Gordon is optimistic that the business’ ethos and model will maintain its success in years to come. “Our business model has been challenged, at first by the internet and its widespread availability of products and design ‘advice‘ then the recession and now Brexit, since we source in mainland Europe,” explains Gordon. “However, our market is a niche one and at this high-end level, whilst limited in numbers, it is strong.” Company: Annan Interiors Ltd Name: Gordon Annan Website: