24th January 2018 An Interview With Exclusive Mirrors

This week we caught up with Jo Morgan, the owner of Exclusive Mirrors. The Exclusive team are a family run business with a passion for interior design and believe every room deserves the perfect mirror. The brand began in 2005 and have since expanded into interiors and lighting. 

French Mirrors Designs

 

My name is Jo Morgan, I am a recently married, full time working mother of two, who spends most of her time trying to juggle a good and fair work and home life balance. I am an extremely active person and love playing netball.

Qualifying from University with a first-class degree with honours in marketing and communications, my career to date has been extremely varied. I have worked in London, New York and now Sheffield in jobs mainly flitting between the sports and interiors industries.

It was after having my second child that I decided to leave full time employment to work as my own boss, setting up JS Mirrors. JS Mirrors currently operates and runs 4 e-commerce websites selling a variety of home products to the interiors world.

 

What would be the best advice you could offer people looking to start up a business similar to your own?

Do lots of research, surround yourself with a good support network and don’t hold yourself back. Planning is great, but sometimes you do just have to take a huge leap of faith and have the self-belief and confidence to just try it.

 

What are the biggest challenges faced by start up designers / businesses? 

It sounds obvious but for me this is time and money! All of the entrepreneurs I have ever met work ridiculous hours when setting their businesses up and for little reward. You have to be sure that the work you do can pay you the wage you need and until you actually make a start sometimes this is unknown.

Another challenge for me was putting my trust and faith in other people. Some would say that I am a perfectionist and learning to let go and trust other people to help and do as good a job as me, took a good few years, but was necessary to enable my business to grow.

 

What are the most common reasons customers buy from you?

I would say this is a combination of variety and value for money. We have a huge selection of design products and work tirelessly to ensure that we are competitively priced for good quality products.

We also have a fabulous customer services team who we train and whom now have vast experience in being able to assist our customers with interior design queries that relate to our product offering.

 

Why are people preferring to buy handmade goods?

I think that handmade goods provide people with a reassurance of care and quality. In our modern world, so many items that we buy are manufactured and produced in mass by a computer/robot. Handmade goods not only provide a more human touch, but also result in a more personalised finish that often meets our unique requirements.

 

What is the most fun part of your job?

The best part of my job has to be the customers. I love working with clients on projects of all sizes and budgets – it is the sense of pride that a client has when they reveal the end result to me and the sheer delight in their creations. It makes the hours of sourcing products, colours and materials all seem worthwhile.

 

Which are your favourite products in your shop?

I adore unusual and quirky pieces such as mirrors that also double as artwork. I love it when you see an item that you are not quite sure about but then when you see it in situ it just works somehow.

 

Naming no names, if you don’t want to, have you had any celebrity customers to date?

We have had our fair share of celebrity customers, some of which are now regulars too. Not wanting to name drop, we have worked with footballers, actors and actresses, reality TV stars, politicians and not forgetting our favourite judge from Strictly Come Dancing.

Exclusive Mirrors

 

What plans are you making for the future?

As an organisation, we are extremely focused on growth and our ambition is to continue to grow the ‘exclusive’ brand across a much larger range of interior products. We are currently working to explode our product offering in the chandeliers and lighting sector.

 

What is the most exciting project you have worked on?

My favourite project ever was working alongside a lady who was furnishing a historic chateau in France. We worked through 8 rooms with her, always mindful of the grandeur and historic influence that we needed to respect. We assisted her with logistics and sourcing some unique and fascinating pieces.

 

How would you describe your own home interior?

My own home is actually fairly ordinary and so I would describe it as a cosy, warm, family home. It is fairly modern in style but extremely practical. I have invested in good quality furniture and fixings, whilst always conscious of the fact that I have 2 young children and a dog that need to live in the space and will inevitably climb on it and get it dirty from time to time.

 

What is your signature touch?

Well this has to be mirrors. I love being able to select a mirror that absolutely transforms a room, adding style, luxury and light to what would otherwise be an ordinary space.

 

We know you love what you are doing now, but describe the worse job you ever had and what it might have taught you for your own company.

As a student, I worked my summer holidays in a potato factory! My job was to pick out any potatoes that were not right e.g were green, mouldy and so on. It was a cold, smelly and repetitive job, but in a weird way I also loved it. This job taught me the value of a good day’s work for fair pay, but also that sometimes it is the boring and unglamorous things that need doing in order to keep the cogs turning. My current members off staff all roll their eyes at me when I talk about my experiences with potatoes, but it is those days that makes me appreciate every part of the jigsaw in a busy working world.

 

What is your strongest skill?

Organisation and communication. I am a huge believer that you cannot have one without the other. I think that being skilled in these areas enables me to motivate my team and together we simply get the job done. We work in an extremely fast paced and busy environment and I feel that we all feel confident and enabled when we are kept informed and are working within a structured environment.  

 

Outside of design and interior, what makes you tick?

Netball! Outside of my work and family life the one thing that completes my world is my love of netball. It allows me to escape daily pressures and do something for me. I play at least twice per week and thrive on the physical and social aspects that being part of a team sport brings. At netball, I shy away from being the leader (although this can be hard for me) and enjoy simply turning up and letting someone else make the decisions.

 

What is your favourite room in your own house and why?

I love my kitchen. Not that I am a very good cook and I certainly do not spend hours perfecting culinary delights (although my speciality is that I cook a great Sunday roast dinner!). I love my kitchen because it is the hub of my house. I am lucky enough to have a big open plan, modern kitchen and I thrive on the hustle and bustle of the kids, the dog, guests and family just doing their thing in this room; from homework, to friends cuppa’s it all happens in this room.

 

What is your creative process?

I don’t have one set process, it depends on the project and my mood. Sometimes I research like crazy, visiting relevant locations, looking through magazines, online inspiration from places like pinterest and so forth and other times I am much more practical. I am a big fan of brainstorming on post it notes and then putting them in order of priority.

 

Who has the better taste, you or your partner.

My partner – he chose me! Haha :0)

When it comes to design and foresight, this is definitely me. I am the creative one in our relationship, however he has the best BIG ideas. My husband likes to dream the big projects and then I fill in all of the details.

 

Do you see yourself as a follower of trends or a trend setter?

A boring answer, but I am a bit of both. I am very decisive and so am quite clear on what I like and what I don’t like. I am not a follower and like to be quite individual – however if I see something that works for me then I am not opposed to jumping on the band wagon either.

 

Jo Morgan, Exclusive Mirrors 

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