As owner and director of Spaceworks, Lizzi Hines works across everything from business development to sales, marketing to design. The Auckland based company focuses on a wide range of commercial interiors, developing savvy retail, hospitality, hotel and office design - that can involve layouts, furniture, refits, relocation and more. Hines purchased the company from her boss seven years ago, and says it has grown 600 per cent since.
"Our portfolio is incredibly diverse, you will find every project looks different because we design for our clients not to own our taste," she explains, "A great designer interprets their client's vision and turns it into the space they dream of."
What is your leadership style?
I would like to think its inspirational. I believe in giving each of my staff the tools to allow them to grow both personally and on a business level. Each one of them has their own goals that they want to achieve from their career, it is my job to see how their role at Spaceworks can align with their goals, so they both achieve these goals and become a greater asset to the business.
When they win, we both win. Spaceworks is not about me and my journey it's about them (the Spaceworks team) as well, collectively where can we all go together and how can we all benefit from this success.
A defining career moment?
I've had lots, both the successes and failures have been defining moments. In every loss and success there has been a great lesson that we can take into future business dealings. From a team perspective when we win design awards that is a great affirmation from the design community, from a business perspective I was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012, this tells me personally that I am on track. Apart from those, the other defining moments are the other incredible businesses and people we get to work with, this tells us as a team that we offer a great service, we work with the likes of Whitcoulls, Telecom, House of Travel, Google, Arnotts, Charlies, Bankstream, large businesses and boutique businesses - our services is malleable. I truly believe we have the best clients.
What is the best career advice that you have received?
My parents have always given me the best advice. As entrepreneurs themselves, they always have something to say. Often their best advice is to just go for it. They are pro-risk like me, so knowing someone has your back is a great feeling.
Your tips for young women and up and coming female entrepreneurs?
It is quite common for women to just get on and do it without asking for help. I have been to many female entrepreneurial events and a common theme is that we just get on and do it ourselves - me included.
For anyone starting out I strongly recommend you find mentors, both men and women, who can support you and give you advice.
Don't do it alone. There are plenty of business people who are prepared to offer their time to assist others in their growth and success. Surround yourself with people in the same position so you can support each other . Also surround yourself with people who have done it - you will learn a huge amount from other people's experiences.
Your company works on office fit outs - describe your own office environment?
Fabulous! We love it. And in the same way we design for our clients, we worked out what we needed the space to do first then the design developed around it. We are in Ironbank on K Road. The building is very contemporary and industrial. We have used colour, materials and texture to soften the former white and concrete space. Our space is a showcase but it is also a working studio so often there are chair samples and fabrics all over the place. We have a central core in the space which houses the toilet and kitchen, we use this as our change element - every time we need to change things up we repaint this central element. It was hot pink now it's a denim blue in honour of our first ever male employee.
How do you dress for the office?
Non traditional - anything to funk up the boring office attire. Being designers we have the opportunity to be slightly on the wild side. My clients know me very well for my ever changing hair colour. I love a good blazer but will often team it with a skull necklace, or I will have great pairs of trousers with bright red hair and lips. I really don't like anything that's too matchy or boardroom like - luckily being a designer you get away with being a little different.
As the public face and founder of your company, do you dress to represent it?
Yes for sure, although I like to think I dress appropriately for the task and what I want to achieve from my day or meeting. We have a wide range of clients and I tailor my outfit depending on who I will be seeing - If I am going to be in a room fill with suits I will dress more tailored and leave the floaty skirt at home. If I am running staff workshops/focus groups I will dress less formally. If I am going on site, I won't be wearing my high heels I will have my work boots and high vis vest - mind you I would love someone to design some cool ladies steel cap work boots...
Do you set an office dress code for your employees?
Yes smart dress is a must. I expect a high level of dress in the office and I expect my staff to do as I do - they need to assess who they will be seeing and what will be appropriate for that meeting. I love that they bring their own style to their dress sense as long as it's appropriate for what they want to achieve.
Do you favour any particular designers or stores for your working wardrobe?
Yes - World is great for beautifully tailored outfits with that element of quirk and surprise. This style is totally down my alley. Ricochet is also another favourite for the same reason.