By Muhammad Riaz Usman Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "Sharon Jutla Interiors" is a boutique design consultancy that offers bespoke design services in luxury residential, retail, lifestyle and commercial industries.
After a successful career as a director with some of the world's top international design practices, Sharon Jutla's heart was filled with a burning desire to do things on her own.
She decided to take the plunge into the world of architecture and interior design, traditionally considered a male bastion.
"I love the creativity and freedom I can only get from running my own business. It gives me control of everything -- from choosing suppliers and partners to writing copy or developing customer loyalty. Good or bad, it is down to me. It gives me the freedom to express myself. Any idea can be put in motion. It's mine and no one else can take it from me," Jutla explains.
Sharon Jutla Interiors is a boutique design consultancy that offers bespoke design services in luxury residential, retail, lifestyle and leisure, mixed use, transport, sports hospitality, F&B and commercial industries.
After graduating with a master's degree in interior design, the UK-born designer has been leaving an imprint across Europe, the Middle East and Asia for more than 18 years. High-profile projects featuring her interior design and architectural flair include the Moscow Airport, London's White City Shopping Centre, Ferrari World, stadiums of Manchester United in Barcelona, Edgbaston in Birmingham, Gabala, Chelsea and Dubai Sports City, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Hard Rock Hotel Dubai and TDIC Saadiyat Cultural District Abu Dhabi.
She has a unique understanding of projects from cultural and geographic considerations to financial and programme requirements. Her strength lies in an objective approach to every project that helps her provide a high level of service to reflect the qualities, values and aspirations of her clients.
"Clients love my 'concept and story' model because it enables them to have a genuine emotional connection with what we're doing. They call me the storyteller," Jutla claims.
Why I love my job "My job is to help clients materialise their story -- not mine. That's why I love my job. I get the chance to listen to and know more about them, their passions and beliefs and most importantly their dreams and desires, which helps me reflect the environments that make them happy," she explains.
"By listening to their story, I gather their memories, moods and philosophies that make their lives unique and create the most breathtaking spaces," Jutla continues.
"After all, the world would be a boring place if we all had the same story to tell. That is the main reason why my spaces are all different and unique. I get asked what's your style, but it's really about what's your story. your story creates the style," she adds.
"As designers, we need to solve the problems and at the same time give that creative flair a client seeks. Regardless of your style, design should have a personality that needs to be a strong concept that resonates with your client," she contends.
Jutla attributes her success to her parents for supporting and providing the right education from a young age.
"I wouldn't be where I am now without their continuous love and belief in me fulfilling my dreams as a designer. I am lucky to have some great friends who always offered support and became the driving force for me to venture into my own business. For years, they have pushed for me to establish my own company," she says.
Jutla encourages young entrepreneurs to dream big and not be discouraged by anyone or anything. "Network and collaborate. Share your passion and listen to other people's stories. Every minute is an opportunity and the more you share your work and inspire your surroundings, the more opportunities will come your way," she advises.
"Don't give up, don't take no for an answer and don't let anything stop you. If you are choosing to be an entrepreneur, there isn't a perfect road ahead. Remember that and never give up because you can do and be anything you set your mind to," she insists.
Describing her success story, Jutla says she pays special attention to her clients. "If they like you and your product/service, they will promote you. Word of mouth travels far, it's a continuous process. Having worked in the UAE for 14 years, I have built a strong network and key collaborations. My clients know what to expect and what will be delivered -- referrals are always rewarding," she elaborates.
"Success and happiness is what people look to achieve in their life. To me, it's this way, 'Success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get'. At the moment, it's about giving my best in my field and I would like to end by saying, 'Between yesterday's regret and tomorrow's hope, I would like to look at today's opportunity'," Jutla says.
When she is not designing award-winning spaces, Sharon loves to indulge in reading, photography and swimming or getting on a plane and going somewhere. "If I'm at home, I like relaxing over lazy lunches with friends and family or retreating to a spa," she concludes.