Becky caught up with Fiona, entrepreneur and founder of Nor_folk this week. Fiona lives with her family in Norwich and has many strings to her bow (to put it lightly) – a creative co-working studio, a brand consultancy, a waterside cabin for hire on The Broads, a lifestyle store, and much, much more. Fiona has previously collaborated with brands such as Made.com and Habitat. The eco friendly Waterside Cabin has featured in the likes of The Guardian and Telegraph. We were delighted to hear that she had a little time to spare from her busy schedule to chat with us! Here’s what she had to say;
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Fiona Burrage, I’m creative director of Nor_Folk and Sop. As well as co-owner of our brand consultancy, The Click, we run a co-working space, called Studio Inn. And we let a cabin in the Broads National Park for guests. I play football and am learning to DJ. As a family we live in a converted factory by the Norwich City football ground with our two black cats. And we love to travel together.
We adore your studio. Co-working environments are becoming bigger and bigger across the world, but many people are still unsure of this concept. In your opinion what do you feel are the biggest benefits of this?
Studio Inn, our co-working studio is designed entirely for people in the creative industries. And by that, I mean every detail of how it looks and feels has been considered for the residents. Collectively this creates an environment that is inspirational and allows for a collaborative community.
What are your top tips for creating a productive and calming workspace?
Have a colour palette and stick to it. I prefer a more earthy natural suite of colours. And then, daily, remove things that you’ve completed/are no longer needed and so removing distraction.
You have recently launched Sop, what was your inspiration behind this?
'Sop ~ Scents of place' is inspired by the Norfolk language and landscape. For example, our bodywash is called Dene which is a Norfolk word for a sandy stretch of coastline. The concept was conceived during the renovation of our Water Cabin. The project has been around 18 months in the development, whilst I have worked commercially as a photographer. Today Sop is manufactured in Norwich and dispatched from our city centre warehouse to trade customers across the world.
The Water Cabin looks fantastic, tell us a little bit about it?
It is a former 1930’s boat shed that we sensitively renovated along with a master craftsman. Today it has two bedrooms, one double and a twin room. We opened up the living room and installed large picture windows to admire the view. We are in Repps with Bastwick, on the River Thurne. I love nothing more than to sit on the decking that Bobby made and watch the boats sail past.
We’re proud to have been featured by The Telegraph, Enki and the Guardian. Most notably, the Guardian listed us as one of the top 40 extraordinary eco stays in the UK.
You must be a super busy lady, with so many different aspects to your business, how do you balance work and family?
Yes, and it definitely feels busier than usual juggling work and home schooling. To help stay ahead, I have been starting at 5am and finishing work around 10/11pm. That’s five days a week with teaching in the middle. I’m on and off my phone between our design team, the warehouse and manufacturer. Needless to say, I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee. I’m doing little exercise at the moment, there just isn’t the time but under normal circumstances, that would be my go-to to help balance life out.
If you could give your 15 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
What's next for you?
Developing Sop, I’ve been approached by several investors, with talks underway. We are working on other products and discussing possible partnerships. In the future I’d like to partner and develop a series of hotels in the region. Everything has to stay true to our values though, we are a sustainable business and one day hopefully a B Corp company.
Your favourite date night venue?
Your favourite place to have coffee?
Your favourite podcast/Netflix show or book right now?
The Last Dance on Netflix
Your favourite place to go for a walk?
Your favourite clothing boutique?
Fiona, thank you so much for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule to speak with me. It really has been fantastic hearing about everything you have going on, you are inspiring. What an exciting time it is for you with so many areas to expand upon and a newly launched product. I look forward to seeing where you go next!