What Level is Your Design Business?

Phoebe Oldrey: How a Niche Can Give New Life to Your Business

Episode 606 of A Well-Designed Business®

Welcome to a Well-Designed Business! Today’s guest is Phoebe Oldrey. Phoebe is the founder of Smartstyle Interiors based in the UK. Oftentimes, designers feel like they can’t niche down, thinking that will close the door on all the other possibilities out there.

When Phoebe reached the point in her career where she felt the desperate drive to do something different with design, she came to realize that design wasn’t just about aesthetics or creating beautiful spaces, but that it opens opportunities to create holistic, life-altering spaces for clients. So, Phoebe did the next practical thing: she niched down, rebranded, and started focusing on the projects that truly made her happy.

Let’s hear what Phoebe has to say about holistic design, niching, and following your passion in your business.

Phoebe is the founder of Smartstyle Interiors, an innovative interior design studio which takes a holistic approach. In 2017, after 15 years in the industry and tired of being asked what the next tread was, Phoebe decided to take an approach to her designs that not only balances how a space works and what it looks like, but also asks “How does it make us feel”. Believing that only when we get the balance right between Function, Aesthetics and Emotions will we create amazing places people are happy in. This led to her TEDx talk “Interior design is about more than wallpaper and bean bags” and numerous speaking opportunities where she shares her passion for putting people at the front of design.

Show Highlights:

  • Talent is a gift, but it is not something that automatically opens doors for you.
  • Phoebe discusses the skills that are needed to be successful in the industry.
  • Phoebe shares the circumstances surrounding her desire to do more profound work.
  • Biophilic design is a study of human beings’ relationship to nature.
  • Niching can be very scary, but since Phoebe wasn’t doing work that she was in love with, she decided to go in a different direction.
  • More people than ever have been interested in holistic design for their work and living spaces for the health benefits since the coronavirus event lockdowns.
  • Holistic interior design focuses on more than just the aesthetics. It also:
    • compliments a client’s lifestyle habits
    • is designed to support the circadian rhythm
    • makes the client FEEL GOOD to be in this space
  • Designers should stop being scared of what’s unique, because what’s unique is amazing!
  • Your niche should be made up of your own authentic passion and drive.
  • Everything is connected: we shape our houses, and our houses shape us.

Connect with Phoebe!





Phoebe’s TEDx Talk

Online Course – “Finding your Confidence with Colour”  

Book Referenced by Phoebe:

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant  by W. Kim Chan and Renée Mauborgne  

Links / Resources:

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Other episodes mentioned:

Cheryl Janis #41

Mike Peterson #569



What Level is Your Design Business?