Meet the MD: Nick Harris
PUBLISHED: 10:18 08 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:18 08 June 2016
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
The owner of Nicholas Harris Interiors on good design, teamwork and hs favourite Italian restaurants
Tell us a bit about you
I was born in Faversham and have always lived in this area of Kent. I’ve spent the last 14 years living in Broadstairs within walking distance of the local beaches and the town. I have always been interested in design and woodwork and was going to work for a local handcrafted cabinet maker in Faversham when I first left school.
At the last moment I switched to landscape gardening and spent a number of years with a local nursery before moving into sales and then to kitchen design for a local kitchen manufacturer.
And your business?
My wife and I set up our own company in 1994 and in 2016 we will be celebrating our 22nd year in business. We started off with a small showroom in Ricemans Canterbury, which eventually became a Fenwick store. An opportunity arose to take on the lease of a building on Court Farm, St Nicholas at Wade and we decided to run both the Fenwick studio and the much larger showroom to enable us to showcase a full range of kitchens, bedroom, bathrooms and office furniture.
Eventually we moved from Fenwick to Barretts Digital World while still keeping our St Nicholas at Wade showroom. When Barretts Digital world was sold we decided to concentrate solely on our St Nicholas at Wade showroom; the loss of a Canterbury based studio does not seem to have affected us greatly.
The majority of our customers are couples or individuals who are updating or extending their properties. We also deal with a number of well-known local property developers, architects and builders, covering most of Kent and occasionally into London. My main role is, and always has been, as a designer. I also project manage and oversee all our installations.
Any careers advice?
An interest in design, reasonable maths and IT skills, good customer-service skills. Training is usually done in house, although you can now study for a distance learning Foundation Degree (Arts) in Kitchen Design at Bucks New University. Training should include in-depth technical knowledge, keeping up to date with design trends, understanding the client’s needs.
Best business advice?
Value your customers and give them the excellent customer service they expect from you.
What makes a good boss?
As a boss you need to earn your employees’ respect, but at the same time you need to appreciate good staff, particularly in a small business. We all work hard here but we work as a team. I still go out on site from time to time, and because of my practical knowledge, I don’t design anything that our installation team can’t fit. When our customers are happy we can all share in that as we have all made a contribution.
Do you use social media?
This question will amuse anyone who knows me – the answer is a definite no. We do, however, have a company Facebook page and the rest of the family all use social media for both social and business use, very successfully apparently!
How is your work/life balance?
I belong to a local gym and I enjoy spinning classes (on a static bike) followed by a swim, steam room and sauna. I also like to play golf whenever I can.
Where do you eat out in Kent?
Posillipo in Broadstairs is always a great place to go, and Giorgios in Margate is another favourite. Relaxed dining is my preference.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Porridge with banana and honey and a mug of tea.
Get in touch
Nicholas Harris Interiors, Unit 3, St Nicholas Court, Court Road St Nicholas at Wade CT7 0PT
01843 844800, firstname.lastname@example.org