A lot can change over three decades, particularly when within that time, social media and smartphones have altered almost every aspect of our lives, including how we conduct business. The trend seems to be “adapt or get left behind”, and that’s exactly how Anslie’s, an interior decorating/upholstery firm and fabric showroom, has managed to stay in business, remaining ahead of the curve by introducing trends, new ideas and products to the market.
Cindy Laws, Managing Director and Interior Decorating Specialist, WFCP, has run the business for two of the last three decades. She took over the management side of the firm, while her mother and founder of the company, Mrs Anslie Laws, continued to run the drapery department up until her retirement six years ago. “There wasn’t a design my mom couldn’t create on her sewing machine,” Ms Laws said proudly. “She welcomed challenges and would tackle every job head-on with great skill and confidence.”
The mother-daughter duo has managed to keep the business not only open, but thriving – through recessions, a shaky economy and the constant rise of operating costs in Bermuda, which is no small achievement. The secret behind their success? Non-compromising quality, attention to detail and outstanding customer service. This resulted in a growing and loyal clientele throughout the years. “If I could go back I wouldn’t do anything differently, not even the way I learned the trade,” Ms Laws said. “It came so natural to me, and I’ve learned so much while growing the company. I’ll carry those skills with me forever.”
If I could go back I wouldn’t
do anything differently, not
even the way I learned the trade
The market has changed drastically over the years – from colours to styles and textures. The way the business is run and managed has also evolved through the digital and social media age. Despite it all, Anslie’s has garnered rave reviews and multiple awards to its name. More recently, they’ve seen a notable decline in retail sales – this may be caused by the rise in popularity of online shopping and increased costs of importing goods to Bermuda. It has slowed the industry’s growth and forced Anslie’s to scale back their operations – going from a team of thirteen employees at one point to only a handful of key workers now. “I think due to a lack of funds, the recession and banks not lending, people aren’t able to invest in a polished finished product in their homes like they used to,” said Ms Laws. “The hotel industry and expat populations had budgets for decorating and used to work with local businesses a lot more back in the day.”
Regardless of the bumps along the road, Ms Laws’ passion and love for decorating and design still remain. “I think no matter what I will always be decorating and designing for clients,” she said. “To me, the most rewarding part of my job is seeing my clients’ joyful reaction once the job is completed. Learning about the client, their taste and colour preferences are key to designing an appealing look that fits the individual and their lifestyle.”
Anslie’s is located at 1 Tee Street, Devonshire. Clients can book a consultation at ansliesdecorbermuda.com, by emailing [email protected] or calling 236-9993.