Tailor&Wolf: How to identify growth areas and recruit the smart way

Tailor&Wolf | AIBF
Pictured above from left is Tailor&Wolf Founder Audrey Gaffney with Design Director Eimear Ennis.

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Adding to your staff requires patience, planning and no small amount of foresight.

Hiring the wrong person – or the right person in the wrong area, can destabilise your business and affect your bottom line.

Audrey Gaffney used the turbulent months of the pandemic to take stock of her company and set about identifying key areas for smart growth.

“After careful examination of the business, I realised that I needed to hire senior management team members”, she told the All-Ireland Business Times.

“It was in our 3/5 year long term plan to hire an architect, but we reached a point in our expansion where I felt that it had become vital to have a management team to take on the extra responsibility and assist with growth and expansion.”

Audrey is the Founder and Managing Director of Tailor&Wolf, an award-winning international interior architecture design and fit-out agency.

With a vast amount of experience and a strong portfolio of innovative spaces, the 12-strong team has consistently delivered upon its mission to transform business through design.

The cornerstone of Audrey’s brand is this concept of transformation, and this was central in her plans for expanding her business.

She initially struggled to find suitable candidates for expansion to the specialised nature of the services that Taylor&Wolf offer but she persevered and landed an expert senior architect in Eimear Ennis, who joined as a design director in early 2021.

Alan Mates also joined the team as senior designer bringing both design and procurement experience, while the addition of a finance and sales manager brought expertise in CRM management, international sales, and procurement.

The appointments have paid dividends.

“Because we now have an experienced, senior management team structure in place, there is a better divide of management roles and responsibilities,” Audrey said.

“I would have always been very sceptical about any top-level management hierarchy, but when Covid hit, we did not have those exact skills within the existing team to make the necessary adjustments to our service offering.”

“Business development was my role. HR was my role. Sales was my role. Operational management was my role. Our business wasn’t going to survive, let alone grow, if it stayed this way.”

“So I took drastic decisions to hire while everyone else within our sector was holding tight.”

Tailor&Wolf added to its list of services with the addition of architectural, brand identity, feasibility and procurement services as well as a business consultancy offering.

“Adding staff was mainly about identifying our growth areas as a business and filling those gaps,” Audrey said.

“We are unique in that we are a design company with architecture and branding services built into every stage of the design process.”

“We identify where our clients can add additional revenue streams, get repeat business and ‘wallet share’. We believe all of this can be achieved through great design,” she added.

“Our Design Director is a fully qualified architect with vast experience designing from the inside out – that is a massive plus for our clients.”

Taylor&Wolf have further differentiated themselves from the competition through the development of a dedicated procurement section.

“Where other companies might value engineering in terms of cost, we do evaluations in terms of design,” Audrey Gaffney explained.

“Let’s say a statement light fitting in the entrance of your office has to come down because it is deemed way too expensive by the Quantity Surveyor.”

“We look at the overall design and consider everything that will add value to the customer experience, brand, and look and feel. Then we look at the cost of that particular fitting and determine the long term value of keeping it in.”

“If the fitting is actually your “money shot” that will bring people in through your doors, then our procurement team will work out a cost management strategy that will allow you to keep it.”

“Having a procurement section has really added to the quality and range of services we provide – It sets us apart from our competition and it has also allowed us to diversify into other sectors like private healthcare, office and private residential sectors.”

Tailor&Wolf weave quality design and expert craftsmanship into every stage of their projects, from architectural planning through to design and fit-out stages, to accurately reflect the vision and ethos of each individual client.

Word of mouth has spread alongside referrals, and the business has gone from strength to strength – building upon its impressive client list and strong reputation.

The business has recently been named Interior Architecture Company of the Year 2021 by the All-Ireland Business Foundation in recognition of its contribution to performance and standards in the interior architecture industry.

Audrey says the accreditation process helped her take stock of what was important in growing the business into the future and setting goals for expanding.

“Going through the application process played an instrumental role in identifying the key growth areas in our business, she said.

Recruiting excellent people into those key areas has been hugely beneficial, and I am really excited about Tailor&Wolf’s future.”

“This accolade has been achieved with the backing of a dedicated and brilliant team, and I thank each and every one of them for their effort, their talent, and their continued commitment to the company and our clients.”

When asked for her advice for business owners aiming to recruit staff for their teams, Audrey said: “External evaluation and feedback has been brilliant in identifying our growth areas.”

“I would encourage leaders to carefully consider the areas of their businesses that can be improved and take decisive action on a solid plan.”

“Go for it, fail fast if needs be, but just do it!”

To learn more about Tailor&Wolf, visit their All-Star showcase page here.