talks : with Nina Paul.
Everyone has a special skill right? Something you can do that’s just a hidden talent (like that Molly Ringwald from the Breakfast Club who can put her lipstick on with her boobs). Well this has nothing to do with Molly, lipstick or boobs (although casually, it does severely reference my age). No, today we’re talking WINDOWS!
When I think of Nina Paul, I immediately admire that her special skill is her career - she’s the professional window ninja and owner of Perth Window Decor. I’ve seen her processes in action, I’ve seen her manufacturing space, I’ve seen her work ethic. It’s honestly, the craziest amount of output I’ve witnessed in a small business - but she goes! Boy does she go.
Currently (and single-handedly with the help of her new recruit - her husband) Nina has one of the main contracts to furnish all the apartments in Elizabeth Quay Tower in the heart of Perth. It’s a monster job, and because this ‘work ethic’ of Nina’s knows no bounds, she’s also responsible for each and every install she does. Yep. Each and every one. Shoot me at this point. 1. I hate ladders 2. i hate ladders. Anyway - I digress.
I thought to myself, given my knowledge of window furnishings was second to none when we first met (and by second I mean, the amount of time it took me to share my knowledge which was ‘none’), the fact remains - it’s a stylistic science. Nina is a font of knowledge in this area, and so, we let the good times roll.
Nina - can you believe you were the first person I ever met as Spreading Roomers at my first ever networking event over 3 years ago? It was also on this day that I was introduced to 'window furnishings' being an actual thing beyond a roller blind or romans (no judgement folks and disclaimer : I now have a serious crush on sheers, I've grown!). I'm forgiven for this because I'm not a designer, but how many people out there do you feel still know very little about the options available to them when pulling the look and functionality of their home together?
I know. I still remember that day. Look at us now!
Very few people are aware of all of the options that are available as there are just so many!!
I think it is really important to make sure that the window furnishings are practical and suit how the client will use the home. I believe that as an industry professional it is my job to go through all of these options so that the client will have the absolute best product at the end.
I take so many things in to consideration; do they have children or pets if so we can use fabrics that will “take a beating”. Do they have large alfresco doors – let’s use curtains instead of having multiple blinds butting together that will need to be pulled up and down. I could go on and on. I understand that window treatments are expensive, it’s not something that you want to do twice so let’s take the time to get it right the first time.
Your a mum, and you work like no one I have ever seen. Your production and work rate is nothing short of 48 hours in a day yet you love it. How on earth did you fall into window furnishings in the first place and what in particular is it about 'windows' that gets your boat rocking?
This industry is in my DNA. My mum owns and operates one of the largest workrooms in Perth. She has been in the industry for 30 odd years. She started her business from home by converting our patio and garage into a workroom. She would have my brother and I out the back putting hooks in and folding curtains. After finishing school I worked in other industries but would always still help out in mums business. Mum would always say to me why don’t you start your own retail business so I finally did 4.5 years ago and I haven’t looked back. I love what I do, I love seeing the before and after, I LOVE meeting new people. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else now.
Each piece is manufactured by hand in-house which you oversee, and then installed personally by you which is crazy given the magnitude of clients / contracts you serve. You also work directly with the client or with the interior designer yet Perth Window Decor does all of this without a retail showroom. Is there one on the cards?
This is where I believe I fill a massive gap in the market. It is so important for me to meet the client in their home for many reasons:
I can see how they use the home, how it is furnished, what their style is.
The fabric MUST be looked at in the home to make sure that it works with the flooring, the paint, the lighting etc.
I can guide you how to achieve a WOW look but stay on budget by using a mix of window furnishings.
If you have hired an interior designer I can meet with the designer and client on site with a van full of samples which saves the client and designer time.
A lot of people have a hard time visualising things so by me taking the time to show them how things will look and work it puts their minds at ease. I always say to my clients if you need me to meet with you 2, 3, 4 times in your home I will do that. You are spending a significant amount of your hard earned money with me and I want you to feel comfortable in your purchase with me. I have absolutely no time for people who will just slap anything up for a sale and for this reason I will never put another consultant on who is selling for a commission. I like to personally oversee all of my jobs and deal with my clients directly.
Customer satisfaction is the absolute number one priority for me and I believe that this is the reason I have grown so quickly.
Current favourite window furnishing - go! (you need to answer this in about 3 seconds or it doesn't count!)
S WAVE SHEERS !!! does it in 2 !!
Talk to me about Elizabeth Quay Tower? That is such a huge accomplishment for a small operator like yourself yet one that is so well deserved! I've seen your work and it's something to be so proud of. How did you feel when you were asked to take on this contract?
Yes I sure am. I have been basically been living down at the Quay and have had many lunches at Gusto Gelato haha.
I work very different to a lot of other companies in this industry. I think outside of the box, I always strive for perfection and I have a young fresh approach to things. I believe that it is this attitude that has really got my name out in to the Perth market. I have worked on some fantastic projects; the apartments at Claremont Oval for Mirvac; the apartments in Leighton Beach for Mirvac; Dale Alcock Display Homes. I am very grateful for all of the companies and clients that have supported me in my business.
My biggest question to all of you is this - when was the last time you looked at your windows from the outside in? It’s one of those areas of the home, that without a designer to point it out, gets last minute attention. Just remember moving forward, if you have windows and you have treatments, Nina is watching!
Author : Deb Whincop started Spreading Roomers over 3 years ago with a vision to bring local design a different voice. She started by adapting her past corporate development and construction experience into a new style of niche business coaching. Now, having gained the trust of the industry she loves, she shares the stories she finds most intriguing that you will likely not read elsewhere. Deb also has 3 boys at home, lives in a ‘bounce house’ (the one that shoulda been flipped but didn’t), owns 2 cats - one questionably thinks himself a dog, and considers interpretive dance a definite ‘skill set’.