Abi Perry-Jones is the Creative Director and co-owner of Jones Architecture + Design. The company was founded in 2009, offering architectural and interior design services and working on a wide range of projects. The majority of their work is for commercial spaces, and they specialise in automotive architecture such as car showrooms, and in hospitality venues, designing and refurbishing bars, breweries, restaurants and hotels.
When Covid struck, the hospitality industry was one of those most severely hit, and as a result much of the work that Jones Architecture + Design had planned was cancelled or postponed. They were able to take on some high-end residential projects and a number of smaller independent projects, but their business was still seriously impacted.
Despite the setback that the pandemic represented, they felt that there was the potential for growth within their business. Abi looked around to see what support was available to help grow their business in the future.
Having used SEMLEP’s services in the past, Abi was following the Growth Hub on social media. After seeing an opportunity to apply for a grant, she got in touch and talked with a representative to see what support might be available. Abi then had a one-to-one session with Jacqueline Day, one of SEMLEP’s High Growth Business Advisors.
“Jacqueline was great. She was really patient, and coached me through getting an application together for a Recovery and Resilience grant.”
Abi took part in the Growth Curve programme, attending a series of intensive, interactive masterclasses. When these were over, Abi went on to sign up for the Peer Networks scheme, a series of sessions with fellow business owners to discuss challenges and share their experience.
“The current peer-to-peer group I have been involved in has been fantastic. It’s useful to think about things slightly differently and to hear other opinions from business owners who are sometimes in a similar situation and see how they’ve approached things.”
The Peer Networks sessions helped Abi better understand how to perform tasks like business forecasting. They also helped her consider different marketing opportunities, and new ways of approaching and looking after their clients to secure future projects.
“The Peer Networks was really valuable, and I hope the group will stay in touch after the official sessions finish. The opportunity to talk with similar-sized businesses is really valuable. The guys who run it are really upbeat, and the sessions are really fun and inspiring. Definitely a good use of my time, and lots of things to think about for the future.”
Jones Architecture + Design have now secured a grant to help purchase equipment for the company, and are waiting to hear back about a second. In the meantime, Abi is putting the lessons she has learned during the Growth Curve and Peer Network programmes to good use.
“It’s great to learn from other people. I found it incredibly useful, and I’ll draw upon this experience for many years to come.”