Chloe Cotard and Franky Rousell are the Founders of Jolie Studio, a Manchester-based interior design studio that create spaces which let people perform at their best, uplift their spirits and enrich their lives.
“Putting people at the heart of our design work, we can create beautiful spaces that allow our communities and businesses to thrive, living a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle, whilst also competing on the global design market.”
Attracted by the thriving industry and growth prospects of the city, Franky moved to Manchester six years ago and became Head of Design for large commercial property developer Bruntwood at just 23. After leaving her hometown of Strasbourg to study interior architecture in Paris, Chloe then moved to the UK where she took up a design role at Bruntwood, working alongside her now business partner Franky.
What makes Manchester a great place to start a business?
Manchester has a unique spirit when it comes to business, with a community that support and empower each other. When starting Jolie Studio, the first thing we noticed was the power of word of mouth, and how willing our friends in business were to spread our message. With a wealth of accessible opportunities, the more personable approach of the city makes it an incredible place to start-up.
What makes a great startup in 2018?
With the current political landscape, a great start-up in 2018 is one that is willing to go against the grain and take a risk, especially when it comes to looking outside of your home city for inspiration and talent. With a reliance on social media and perception online, we think its really key to still socialise in the real world, making meaningful connections, and sharing stories of experience and travel.
What inspired you to start the business?
“Jolie” which literally translates from French as “pretty” is a diverse word that can be applied to a feeling, a place or an object. We wanted to start an interiors business that would no longer get away with just creating aesthetically driven spaces that look great in a glossy magazine, but actually feel amazing when you are in them. This derived out of our personal experiences in spaces that were having a negative impact on our wellbeing and witnessing the impact of the environment on friends, family and businesses we were meeting at the time.
What makes your business stand out from the crowd?
The way we approach each project at Jolie is what sets us apart. At the start of every project, we focus on the experience we want to achieve, and the transition of emotions as you pass through a Jolie space. Secondary to this comes the curation of textures, colours, fragrance, lighting and an inspiring soundtrack, to guide us to finally shape a space to suit a particular need. We even go as far as working with the sense of taste to enhance an experience, taking care of all of the smaller, but most important details.
What surprised you the most when setting up your business?
When we spoke to our peers and mentors about starting Jolie at the very beginning, we were consistently warned about the “highs and lows” of business, which we took seriously, but didn’t fully appreciate until we were at least 3 months in. An emotional rollercoaster is an understatement, and it can be daunting to lay awake at night wondering where the next project or the next bit of money is coming from. Despite life being unpredictable, we tried to create as much structure and consistency in our personal lives as possible, to give us the energy to ride the turbulence in the studio. Ultimately though, we both feel it’s something we quickly got used to, and now we embrace the unpredictability of what faces us on a daily basis, to constantly improve on our service.
What keeps you motivated?
We love to travel to different cities across the world, to experience different environments and constantly feed ourselves with inspiration about what it is that makes an amazing space. Our motivation comes from the fact that we aim to better peoples lives by changing their environment, and getting feedback from clients on how we have positively impacted their business or family environment is what gets us out of bed in the morning.
How does your business help give back to Manchester?
The property sector in Manchester is booming, with more and more businesses and people moving into the city, which we feel gives us the opportunity to create a community of spaces with a moral conscience. Putting people at the heart of our design work, we can create beautiful spaces that allow our communities and businesses to thrive, living a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle, whilst also competing on the global design market.
What are your business goals for the next 3 years?
Over the next 3 years, we are aiming to work on more exciting projects, with some of the best businesses and forward-thinking developers in the city. We also aspire to take the brand in other directions alongside our interior offering, to spread the “Jolie” experience as far and wide as possible.
Our first annual ‘Manchester’s 20 Hottest Startups’ feature is our pick of the most inspiring startups and stepups in our city. If you’d like to be featured in 2019’s ‘Manchester’s 20 Hottest Startups’, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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