Q&A with Sarah Roberts

As everyone has a little more time on their hands to read, we thought it would be a good opportunity to share with you a little more about Chelsea Design Quarter (CDQ), why it was set up and our plans going forward.   

To tell us more about it all we spoke to Sarah Roberts who is the Marketing Director for John Cullen Lighting and Chair of the Chelsea Design Quarter Steering Committee. 

*Please note this e-mail was conducted via e-mail due to the current restrictions on movement.*

Sarah, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.  Why don’t you start by telling us a little about CDQ and how you came to be involved?

Chelsea Design Quarter was set up in the Autumn of 2012 with the main purpose to promote the area to interiors designers and retail clients alike as a true design destination.  We also want to ensure all clients feel the area is truly accessible – from the most experienced interior designer to the home owner.

I have been involved with CDQ since its inception.  John Cullen Lighting is a long standing fixture on the King’s Road, and it was an easy decision for us to get involved as we see the benefits of working with our neighbours to share expertise, help attract business and promote the area.  I am not sure how I ended up as Chairman of the committee, but I am delighted to hold the position!

Can you tell us a little more about the CDQ members?

One of the great things about CDQ is the diverse collection of members – you could pretty much complete a whole interiors project just specifying product from our members!   From the integrated parts such as lighting, kitchens or bathrooms to the more decorative pieces – such as antiques, rugs, door handles or soft furnishings.  There is also a range of styles on offer – from traditional to the most cutting-edge design.

The other thing that particularly stands out to me is the expertise held by all members and their teams.  I have seen how they guide clients through often bespoke options and listen to what is needed to ensure that what ends up being ordered tailored to the clients’ needs.

Do you think there are any “hidden” benefits of being a member?

It’s not really a secret – but I think the sense of community that has been fostered amongst the members is one of the true benefits for joining.  This is evident when we all come together (obviously not physically at the moment) and share ideas, tips and contacts with one another.   There is a real sense of working towards a common goal – to promote the area and to help encourage businesses to thrive across the board.

Are there any particular CDQ moments that stand out to you?

There are many – I think the launch of our Springtime Sessions in 2018 which have become an annual fixture and was set to expand to four days this year.  We have sadly had to postpone it this year, but I am sure it will return!

Our Street Parties have also become an annual event that people look forward to – last year was one of our biggest events yet.  We normally hold it in early June, but this year we are thinking of moving it to late summer and hopefully it will be a great opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate after a strange few months.

I must also mention the raffle we held last year which raised over £6,750 for Glass Door homeless charity.  It was the first time we’d done anything like that and it was amazing to see the members and their clients come together and raise such a fantastic amount of money for such a truly deserving cause!

How have plans adapted for 2020 under the current circumstances?

As mentioned we have already decided to move our Street Party to late summer – date to be announced!  And we hope that we can move the Springtime Sessions to a week later in the year – perhaps it will be more of an Autumnal event.

Our members continue to communicate regularly with each other and look for ways in which they can help and support each other and CDQ is obviously always on hand to help them in any way that we can.

Finally, how do you think the current pandemic situation will affect the interiors industry in the long term? 

Obviously it is going to have a wide reaching impact on all businesses.  I think the whole world has been encouraged to pause and with that they have also realised what they really need – which for many is much less than they thought!  I wonder if there might be more of an emphasis on quality and also the origins rather than wanting things immediately.

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