Airline sales to interior design is not a conventional route, but it is the one Peter Reid took and he loves what he is doing now.
What’s your story?
Having started my working life in sales for an airline, I was able to see the world on business trips and vacations. One such trip I was a guest at a house in the Florida Keys. The home was spectacular and this unlocked the passion for interiors and property which later translated into retail homeware.
Twenty years on, 5 stores later I am now based in Phnom Penh Cambodia. We moved in Oct 2020 after shuttering stores in Bali and Siem Reap. We needed to adapt to a Covid business sustainability plan and moving to the Capital has enabled that.
What excites you most about your industry?
This industry is forever evolving. Both technology and lifestyles have changed the way people shop. Bricks and mortar may be more vintage business models. But there is no equivalent to a shopping site. Personally, the store experience and getting the provenance about any item is as important as the product and I love bantering with the sales staff. Although in these times we do a lot of click and collect/deliver. inspiring customers with stylish room set ups in store also opens up our interior design services which we also offer to our customers.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
In my corporate days I was inspired by key note speaker events. One colourful luncheon was hosted by American Comedienne Phylis Diller. She was well into her 80’s. and I had fond memories of seeing her movies as a child. In short, she was often asked how she became a comedian and her answer was “This is me. This is my passion. For me there IS nothing else. I wake up in the morning this is who I am. Do what you love”. Retail its like show business. We need to continually put on a show, we crave feedback/applause. I love what we do.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Surround yourself with amazing people. I’ve never had a problem employing someone with more skills that myself or in reverse some one who has a positive attitude and colourful personally but little experience. Confidence is a big winner in retail. The world is a colourful multi faceted place. Its about surrounding yourself with the right people both from supply chain and team members. We have had some shining stars over the years that have gone on to start their own businesses or work for global superstars like British designer like Tom Dixon. There are no limits with the right attitude.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
One amazing employee introduced me to the old adage “style never goes out of fashion” which really resonated with me. Style does not mean new and shiny. it can be whatever you want it to be. But a job well done will always stand the test of time, a job well done will always be respected for what it says. Its vital to spend as much time working on your business as in your business. Equal parts will make the cake rise so to speak. Always find lateral opportunities. eg We also source products in Asia for other retailers worldwide.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired daily by the people I work with or the customers that pass through our doors. I recently went on a wild Tuk Tuk adventure to the vintage shops in Phnom Penh with one of our fantastic customers. Being relatively new to this city its great to have someone in the know show you a little bit of their city. I found some amazing Japanese plates with an beautiful glaze. We now have a collection in process using this style of glaze. We are surrounded by inspiration daily.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Even though our world has been turned upside down. We can see we are all capable and possess amazing resilience. We can and will deal with the crisis we face. In some ways its like a chrysalis. Change can bring about a better world if we let it. Never give up, look at the map and find an open road to your destination if the one you are currently on is blocked.
The world is full of of surprises and people that add value and can help. We just need to let them in and appreciate them when they are there.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Certainly I’ve made many mistakes along the way as we all do. However if I could have I would have moved to Asia way sooner. The creativity and multi-dimensional environment here makes it an outstanding place to work. If you dream it, they will build it. No job is to small or too big. Everything is achievable. Being part of a global design community is also awesome. There are designers from all over the world based in Asia and the osmoses of creativity is addictive.
How do you unwind?
When I need to disconnect and get out of my head, a day at the beach or a walk in a park is the ideal tonic. I love to be in nature and outdoors. If that’s not an option then I also love a strong massage at a favourite spa. Being constantly bombarded with products and colours is amazing & creatively stimulating. But some days you need to tune out. Too many choices is not always a good thing. Which is why customers can get overwhelmed with design. I find it pays to simplify things to a few options.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
You can’t do it alone. Surround yourself with amazing people and empower them to shine and become stars in their own right.
If you can’t employ those people work out of a shared office or studio. We all need to be surrounded by free thinkers as often as possible. People are the most valuable resource. Don’t waste them or their time.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Write your own book. Business skills can be learnt by taking a class or studying a course. In reality what you will face everyday you will mostly be unprepared for. So there’s one reading recommendation “don’t sweat the small stuff”
Running a business is as much about making sure the plumbing works as making sure your product is ready for delivery. All of it can be stressful if you let it. But focus on the key things that move your business forward; the rest is small stuff, don’t stress.
Shameless plug for your business:
Were here to help with all your interior needs. No matter how big or small
Were all about style and comfort, no point just looking good its got to feel good.
Our showroom is our living room and we are constantly changing it. So if you would like some help finding solutions for your home or sourcing products for your business, drop in or send us a message.
How can people connect with you?
We are always available in our showroom via email or video link
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This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.