Victoria McDonald is the owner and founder of Quirk & Colour, an Interior Design company based in Brighton which helps busy professionals transform their homes, reflect their personality and increase their happiness and wellbeing.
Victoria worked with us a year ago, so we thought it was about time we caught up with her to find out what impact her branding has had on her business…
Firstly, Tell us a bit about yourself
Born in Belfast, I am the eldest of five children. I really enjoyed school, especially art, English and languages.
I went to University in Manchester to study Art & Design and ended up specialising in Graphic Design. But then one night I witnessed a stabbing. After I became involved in the investigation I decided that I wanted to join the police instead!
This was such a sudden and random change as it was not something I’d previously been interested in or entertained. But after thinking about it for a while, I changed my degree course and studied Criminology & Contemporary Culture instead.
After University I moved to Newcastle where I lived and worked for eight years. I then moved to Brighton seven years ago, where I live very happily by the sea with my five chickens.
What led you to start your business?
In 2017 I started having health issues. Whilst I was waiting for test results and a consultant appointment I started to really think about my future. And what I really wanted from life.
I try not to have any regrets, but over the years I’ve always wondered “What if I’d stayed studying art at University?”
Art and design have always been what inspired me and made me tick. I was craving a creative outlet and career, so I decided that I owed it to myself to pick up where I left off!
When I bought my first house it really piqued my interest in interior design so this avenue was a no-brainer.
I started Quirk & Colour primarily because companies were only looking for designers with degrees, and I just didn’t want to go back to Uni again in my mid-thirties!
Undeterred, I decided to re-train and achieved my Diploma in Interior Design online around my day job. This gave me the solid theory and confidence I needed to venture into this competitive field.
I also took several other short courses both in-person and online. I especially wanted to learn more about the science and psychology behind colour as I knew I wanted to be my niche.
Learning is really important to me, as well as keeping up with what’s happening in my industry. I still invest a lot of time and effort into self-study.
I also loved the freedom that being my own boss would bring me and knew that it would allow me to take my career in whatever direction I chose to, without any corporate restrictions. It’s hard work, but very liberating and rewarding.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Just keep going.
Starting and growing your own business is really hard work. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and there are certainly days when you want to jack it all in. But if you don’t stick at it then you’ll never know what you could’ve achieved.
Also, invest in mentors.
The support and accountability is something I needed. I didn’t know many people in my social and family circle who owned their own business so there was no one I could ask for practical advice, no-one who knew what I was going through or how I was feeling. With a mentor, they’ve been there and done it so the blueprint is there for you to follow and tweak for yourself. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t ignored the naysayers, backed myself and invested in mentors.
What brands inspire you – and why?
My two absolute favourite brands are Irregular Choice and Adidas Originals. I absolutely love the quirky and colourful Irregular Choice shoes and the Adidas Originals jackets – they’re like my uniform!
Both brands are so unapologetically out there and aren’t afraid to be themselves. They know that they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they don’t care. It’s taught me to be myself and then the right people will come – your vibe attracts your tribe.
I also absolutely love Sarah Akwisombe. She’s the perfect example of how to be (the face of) your own brand and successfully engage with people. She’s currently documenting her path to earning £1 million and helping female entrepreneurs along the way. She pulls no punches, isn’t for the faint-hearted and I love her kind of straight-talking.
What did creating or building a brand mean to you?
The Quirk & Colour name was born when I woke up in the early hours one morning and it was just randomly in my head. I wrote it down in my notes on my phone and went back to sleep. I thought it was catchy, encompassed what I was all about and what I wanted to achieve for my clients. It does what it says on the tin.
It was also about being true to myself and exploring & reflecting my personality within my business and having some fun at the same time. I very much wanted to be able to live and breathe my brand as it’s something I totally believe in and I give 100%.
I then approached Sapna at InnerVisison ID to help create my branding. Some people questioned whether this was a waste of money on my part because I was a designer with graphics experience.
However, I knew that having a fresh pair of eyes and an expert brain would be hugely beneficial. We had a great day creating not just the branding, but really building the brand for my business baby. I loved how Sapna really dug down to bring out my ethos, vision, mission and values.
What difference did your branding make to you and your business?
My branding makes me smile every time I see it, although I actually cried (tears of happiness) when Sapna unveiled it to me! I was surprised at how emotional I was.
My branding fills me with confidence and makes me feel like a “proper” professional business owner. But more importantly, it also gives my clients confidence in me and makes me ‘look the part’ to them too. In a sea of social media noise you need to set out your stall, stand out and catch your prospect’s eye whilst they’re scrolling.
As a design business, I knew I really had to get the branding for Quirk & Colour right otherwise I was on the back foot from the outset. I wanted my branding to be different and to reflect my eclectic design skills. I certainly think we’ve really achieved that.
Fill in the blank – My brand helps me…
…To visually communicate with potential clients before even speaking.
It helps me to believe that I can achieve what I set my mind to.
It’s like it has superpowers!
Thank you, Victoria for telling us why your #BrandMatters.
If you want to create a brand that you and your customers will truly connect with, book a free 30-minute VISION call us and let’s see what we can do…
InnerVisions ID founder, Sapna Pieroux’s award-winning book Let’s Get Visible! shows you how you can get brand clarity, stand out in your industry and supercharge your business growth. Buy it here.
Find Quirk & Colour on Instagram – and look out for our joint InnerVisions ID/Quirk & Colour promotion in January to celebrate our book being one year old!