This week I’m really excited to introduce Marienne Pachonick Architects to my Parents in Business series. Having just recently completed a house renovation and kitchen extension myself I am super excited to be featuring Marienne on the blog today. What’s even better is that Marienne is South East London based focusing on projects within my area of London too!
I have loved reading her business story, Marienne is really honest here about how and why she set up her business, and never saw herself running her own business. I think that her top tips of never procrastinate, stay focused, it’s a marathon, not a race, really help with that.
I would love for you to have a read of Marienne’s business journey and story below, and if you’re looking for an architect in the South East London do have a nose at her work. She recently worked on a project close to me, and I can honestly say that it is amazing!
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I arrived in the UK in 1999 from South Africa and fell in love with London life, culture, art and architecture. The love affair has never really ended, but it is now less (no) nightlife and more suburban.
My architectural degree was internationally recognised and I was able to gain ARB and RIBA recognition and study at Southbank for my part 3 qualification. I had a rewarding career in commercial architecture on the Kings Road for 13 years.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
I worked on some very big projects in commercial practice but after the 2008 recession the landscape started changing and with it my appetite for large projects. I started wondering if there might be another life to live and another type of architecture to do. The start of our daughter’s school career also threw up more challenges around childcare. In a relatively short period of time, from forming the idea, I took voluntary redundancy and set up my own practice.
I have a vocational degree and career I love and I most definitely never envisaged myself as a business person or entrepreneur. However, once I expressed this wish, doors started opening for me. My previous company was hugely instrumental in helping set up my new business and built me a website (which is now superseded), set up all my office hardware, software and technical requirements as part of the voluntary redundancy package that I took. Work enquiries promptly appeared when I made my plans known. I have never really looked back from that point onwards.
How do you balance or juggle your business around family commitments?
I work school hours, some evenings after 7pm and some weekends so the hours are long but between 3-7pm every day I keep clear of commitments and work and I can be available for my daughter, after school activities, homework and family commitments.
I am quite organised and have created a structure of time to allow me to be present in the task at hand, whether it be work or family.
I only take on projects within a 30 minute radius to avoid spending lots of time travelling.
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
I love the creative process of adding value to each and every home I work on. It doesn’t matter the size or budget of the project my aim is to create a unique solution that works for a specific family’s needs. It is very rewarding when clients love their new spaces and we arrived at the final solution with consideration, on time and on budget.
I hope to have become a positive role model to my daughter as she experiences my working life, but mostly I am grateful that I could also be present for her in her growing up years.
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
- As a parent be realistic about how much work you can do depending on the age of your children. I used holiday, after school clubs and activities heavily in the early years.
- Be organised, set in place systems and methods to get easy and admin work done quickly and consistently.
- Never procrastinate, get stuff done.
- Look after yourself, it is a marathon, not a race.
Thank you so much Marienne for taking part of my series. I have loved featuring you and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: The Practical Planning Company, Plant Pet Club, and Maeve & Me,