Entrepreneur Faiza Seth founded the luxury interior design company, Casa Forma which transforms the homes of discerning property owners
Entrepreneur Faiza Seth is the founder of the award-winning London-based luxury interior design practice, Casa Forma.
Since its inception, Casa Forma has successfully completed over 65 projects, including One Hyde Park in Mayfair.
Today it continues to provide luxury interior design and architectural design services to a global and discerning clientele, who own super prime properties.
As well as leading strategy and development for her company, Faiza overseas an award winning team of architects and designers.
She has also set up her own charity which helps to give children in India an education.
Here Faiza tells Nativa World about her design business, how she found success as a luxury interior designer and also what she misses most of all whenever she’s away from home.
Faiza what does the word ‘Achieve’ mean to you?
Achieve for me means always trying and never giving up. It means competing against yourself in order to better yourself every day. Those who are considered achievers, don’t always succeed everyone but they always keep on trying.
When did you first begin to work in luxury interior design?
When I graduated in 2006 from Stanford Business School, the property market in London was really booming and I could foresee the global appetite for London properties. Therefore, Casa Forma was launched as a property development firm. Before I decided to get into the interior design, architecture and property development business I was working in Finance. I am an Economics major with a concentration in Finance so it’s truly refreshing to be a part of a creative business.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Since I come from a finance background it’s very different to the creative industry. My background has helped to implement processes to make Casa Forma more efficient, but sometimes introducing the analytical into the creative world can be difficult. However, my analytical skills combined with the creativity of my award-winning design team makes us who we are and differentiates us from other design and architecture companies.
Which has been your most memorable home design?
One Hyde Park has been the most memorable project because it’s the most exclusive address in the world and has such unique architecture which really allowed us to tap into our creativity and offer our client the best in luxury. Our client gave us free reign over the design elements so we designed a lot of bespoke joinery and furniture which reflected the architecture of the building and the view of Hyde Park. The project itself won lots of awards including International Design and Architecture Award, SBID Award and International Property Award receiving well deserved appreciation.
What’s special about Casa Forma as a luxury interior designers?
Casa Forma is unique in that within our team we have both architects and interior designers, it means that we improve a layout and the space and we don’t simply design and dress a project. We implement structural changes that improve the entire flow of the property and this results in the intrinsic value of the property changing too.
How do you best meet a clients needs?
We truly get to know our clients and it’s key that we understand them. We really work to get to know their lifestyle, personal style, desires, wishes and the day to day details of how they live so that we really design a property that is bespoke and tailored to their lifestyle.
Who inspires you in the design and also the business world and why?
In the design world, my team inspires me because they’re so creative and passionate about what they do and are constantly looking ahead and keeping current regarding products and materials. Whether it’s them looking at the latest materials, eco – conscious ways of working or the latest technology, they stay current and I’m a huge fan of them as well as a Casa Forma client. In the business world Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat is inspiring because he was able to identify a gap in the social media landscape and fulfil a market need. This requires perception, innovation, and creativity, all which are admirable qualities in an entrepreneur.
How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
Expectations are high for women – From being a great leader to a great mum but you just juggle it as best you can. I live with the idea that it can’t always be perfect and you just have to try your hardest to do what is right at the time. If you feel like you’re not giving enough to work and you’re behind in that sense then I make sure to dedicate my energy to that but then when the balance changes and you feel that you need to focus on family you should do that. Now with internet and conference calls you can connect to work wherever you are in the world, whether it’s in Hong Kong or working from home.
What do you miss most when you are away from home?
I travel several times a year for work and for pleasure. I would say that I miss Fizz my little Yorkie most. He always sleeps on my feet and when I’m away I miss his warm little furry self on my feet.
Which hotels do you like to stay at?
For a more luxurious hotel for the female traveler the Mandarin Oriental has lovely spas which are great to relax in after a busy day of meetings. Langham properties are also a great option for business stays.
Can you detail your philanthropic work?
Soham For Kids, is a charitable school for orphans and severely impoverished children in India and Bangladesh. I founded the charity because I believe that we are all connected and need to help others. Soham for Kids is a school which helps children holistically by providing nutrition, healthcare, and education. I feel that these severely impoverished children need to be provided with all the tools to grow in order to escape poverty. Soham for Kids also offers vocational training for parents too, because I wanted to make sure that after school hours we utilize the building to maximize the impact that we can have.
Which cause lies closest to you heart?
Soham for Kids lies closet to my heart. I know that all of the money raised goes directly to the children and I want to focus on that. It’s important to know that funds are going into helping people directly.
What items do you always carry in our handbag and also when you travel?
I’m so simple with the things I carry with me – I just have my IPhone, hand sanitizer and keys and maybe a MAC lip-gloss. When traveling I love cashmere for the plane as I often get cold. Other than that it depends on the county and season. While I’m in other countries I try to incorporate local designers into my wardrobe.
Faiza’s Startup Tips:
- Have a financial forecast for the year set with conservative, average and aggressive scenarios to manage your cash flow needs.
- Start small and build up, a lot of people invest in businesses and start out with high fixed costs but I believe in bootstrapping and growing organically.
- People – Team, team, team is super important – hire a great team who bring skill sets that you don’t have. I believe it is the people who make your business successful.
- Communication among your team and facilitating communication makes working much more efficient.
- Don’t give up, keep on going.
Faiza’s Travel Tips:
- Travel light and efficient, you don’t want to be carrying heavy suitcases.
- Research where you are going and look into cultural nuances. In India – you want to be more conservative in the way you’re dressed. For example in China people hand business cards with both hands. When you are given a business card you need to accept it with both hands and you have to read it when you’re given it.
- Pack a capsule wardrobe, which will work in whatever situation you might be in from drinks, to a cocktail party to a business meeting.
- Keep hydrated, it’s really important when you’re flying.
Skype and Facetime is my top tip if you’re away for long periods of time without your family.
Photography courtesy of Faiza Seth & Casa Forma