“There are very few holistic home interior décor stores which offer the expansive and inclusive range that our stores offer, including the services of an in-house interior design team that can help ensure that your vision comes together,” says Rupert Nevill, the managing director of Amber Bay Investments.
The company, a BBBEE accredited independent art and home décor company that was established in 1965, owns Inspired Design – a one stop upmarket retail brand that has opened an outlet in Umhlanga’s Lighthouse Road.
The first Inspired Design store is located in Johannesburg. The decision to open the second in Umhlanga has undoubtedly been influenced by the suburb’s rapid growth and proliferation of upmarket homes and apartments. It also has a lot to do with the fact that Nevill lives here.
Its USP (Unique Selling Point) is that it brings together a number of different interior décor elements under one roof with a product range that includes mirrors, frames, carpets and rugs, mantelpieces, tables and chairs, sofas, outdoor furniture, candles, lighting and bedroom accessories.
It also features a number of big home décor names and designers including Amber Bay, Rugs Original, House of Décor, Light Co, Italian Lifestyle, and Plascon’s Paint Expert.
Nevill says that, as a concept store, Inspired Design is targeted at décor enthusiasts who are seeking assistance with piecing together a number of décor elements within their homes. It also reflects his own passion for design.
He hails from Kitwe in Zambia. He joined Amber Bay Investments after spending 12 years working abroad at Tetra Pak, the world’s largest print packaging company.
Having gained much experience from living in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, he was responsible for design and customer service within the group globally as well as supply chain integration and optimization within the Sub-Saharan region.
It wasn’t a difficult transition into the home décor retail space as many key elements are just as important – quality, customer service and cutting edge design.
Nevill believes in working closely with graphic designers, repro houses and major design companies worldwide. He has led Amber Bay Investments into partnerships with many key players within the home décor industry through the Inspired Design brand.
As his brainchild, it was inspired by the current lack of a holistic approach to upmarket home furnishing that was convenient for the consumer. He jumped at the opportunity to fill this gap and, after mulling over the concept for six months, his idea became a reality.
Inspired Design speaks to a need that has been repeatedly expressed within the interior design profession. As the financial woes – including price increases and higher interest rates – bite down, households are finding that disposable incomes are shrinking. With less cash available to spend on luxuries, they are not reigning back as much as they are demanding more value. That means connecting with clients and offering more personalised service.
Inspired Design also counters another important trend in this space – an era of mass produced décor items that retail in large mall department stores. It talks to the need for unique pieces rather than throw away items that express a home owner’s character and vision.
As a décor enthusiast in the workplace and within his own home, Nevill has purchased many of the products that are sold through Inspired Design himself. His favourite décor item in his own home is a glass visual featuring three Cuban ladies.
Latest trends, he says, include an increased focus on more tropical colours, a more minimalistic approach to décor with a Scandinavian feel and the use of brighter tropical colours (greens, yellows and oranges) combined with the use of lighter coloured woods.