Independent Business in the Spotlight - Beldi Maison
We are so happy to introduce you to Sodia Haddassi-Amma, founder of Beldi Maison and all round creative!
TFS: Hello Sodia, thank you for agreeing to have this interview with us! For those who aren’t familiar with you and your work, please give us a little description of your company and the work you do.
S: My business is Beldi Maison a Moroccan Homeware brand that is primarily online but we also run occasional pop-up shops too! I personally curate the items we sell as I have always had a passion for interiors and specifically Moroccan artisan products!
TFS: Where’s home?
S: I’m based in Brockley, South East London but also class Morocco as my second home because my family originate from there!
TFS: What’s a typical day in the Beldi Maison Headquarters?
S: A typical day would start by posting on social media (Interiors Folk usually post between 6-7AM!) I would then pack orders and arrange a post office run. Some of my product photos have been taken by Product Stylist Selena (Iggy Mint) but I also take a lot of the product photos myself so often spend time styling the products to upload to the website or social media accounts. I usually arrange calls with my suppliers in the afternoon and use this time to do any admin I have. I would then also post in the evening to social media again. That being said being a mum of 2 and with both children at home as of late it has been much harder to stick to my usual routine!
TFS: What made you decide to set up your own company?
S: My background was originally banking, primarily corporate banking however since having children I realised if I wanted to have more flexibility to go on school trips or see them perform in the nativity play at Christmas I needed to be self employed so I could manage my work around my family.
That’s when I set up my first business; a bespoke cake business supplying cafes, corporate and individual clients.
It’s only recently I decided to pursue my life long passion of interiors and start Beldi Maison!
TFS: What have been your biggest challenges?
S: As an Import/Export business some of the biggest challenges have been exchange fluctuations as well as freight costs and delays in deliveries all of which are frustrating as I don’t have control over these.
TFS: We noticed on your instagram account that you are also very creative in your own home as well as being a very talented baker and cake decorator. How have your creative endeavours evolved over time?
S: Haha yes! I do love to be creative in anyway possible! I find it very therapeutic making things look beautiful! My cake business started primarily as a hobby, I was on maternity with my eldest and felt that I needed to learn something new because as much as I loved being a new mum I found I needed something just for me, a creative outlet, that’s when I watched videos online to teach myself how to decorate cakes!
The DIY obsession originally started after buying our first home, I often had plenty of grand ideas (thanks to all the lovely home magazines) but because we really stretched ourselves to buy our first home so young it meant that I had to find a way to get the look I was after but on budget!
Since then I have found it very satisfying to make things myself, I also find that now with You Tube and Pinterest there are so many resources and tutorials online to learn many practical skills such as upholstery, tiling and carpentry all of which I now do!
TFS: It’s no secret that it’s incredibly difficult for business right now, both for independents and the big names. How have you adapted your business model in response to COVID-19?
S: Firstly I had to close the Pop Up shop I was running in East Dulwich only after 1 month of trading, it was quite sad as I really enjoyed having a physical shop it was a great way to meet people and for them to be able to touch and feel products like our popular blankets.
In a way it has meant that I have now had more time to get more stock on to the website and I have also offered things like free local delivery which has been popular.
TFS: What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of working for yourself?
S: The advantages are having that flexibility I’ve mentioned above and also the fact I get to do something I love everyday makes it even more rewarding
The disadvantages are that it can sometimes be a bit lonely being self employed especially when I used to work in a huge team in banking. However I have found meeting like minded business owners at networking events has been really important, some of which are now very good friends of mine!
TFS: Have you managed to create a work/life balance? If so, any tips?
S: I believe I have managed to create a work life balance, but only recently as previously with the cake business I would be often running around getting ingredients and delivering in the day and baking at night!
With Beldi Maison I get to do most of my work during the work day (when the children would be in school) I would then be free to take them to their after school activities or now with COVID-19 the park!
TFS: Finally, what does the future hold for you and your businesses? Any plans or are you taking it easy in these uncertain times?
S: I plan to offer Interior Styling services alongside the Beldi Maison brand and when I’m next able to travel to Morocco I plan on creating my own exclusive product range. Definitely no plans to take it easy just yet!
Thank you so much for taking part Sodia! I know our readers will love your shop and the beautiful Moroccan designs! Head over to Beldi Maison to discover more!