We chatted with Leaha Riley from Sisu Styling, a full scope, online interiors and events styling business where everyone can find their inner stylist.
Describe your company in a few words:
Sisu Styling is all about innovative, understanding and never boring professional design options for interiors and events.
Tell us about your business:
At Sisu we offer a full scope styling service for events and interiors including online styling, onsite styling, product sourcing, product hire, bespoke timber event creations and colour consults.
What motivated you to start Sisu Styling?
I’ve always been creatively minded but somehow accidentally found myself with a career in corporate finance as an operations manager. To get my creative fix I studied at night (pre kids) and obtained an Advanced Diploma in Interior Design as well as a Diploma in Graphic Design.
After freelancing in the industry for years I realised that there was a big reluctance by a lot of people to engage a professional designer due to cost concerns. People hear ‘Interior Designer’ and see dollar signs which in some cases can be very true!
As a busy mum myself I completely understand the apprehension to employ a stylist but I also know that we all want our little bit of sanctuary at home or for our special event to be all about who we are as people (not just Mum). So I created Sisu Styling to provide a professional service with an option to have everything sourced and designed for the client online and then presented in a comprehensive, graphically designed pack with step-by-step instructions for self-styling at home or at their event. This ensures my clients receive professional design guidance without unnecessary and inflated costs added.
What’s your most popular service?
I would say our signature ‘Online Styling Solutions’ which make professionally guided style for your event or interior so much more attainable. I like to describe our online services as a hybrid of a designer and a personal shopper; someone who can help you get that comforting feeling in your home, without those crazy price tags. And you get all the fun of getting those exciting packages delivered to your door!
Our hire range and bespoke timber for events has been quite popular too.
Tell us what happens in a colour consultation?
During a colour consult I can either have a discussion via phone or visit my clients home or business site to find out what it is they need colour guidance with. Once we have discussed their needs and colour preferences I prepare and email a graphically designed ‘colour solution’ which includes pictures of the problem areas, colour schemes selected, the psychology and practicality of the selections and any links to purchase paint or other colour products.
What are some of your favourite go-to styling tips?
Always start with a neutral canvas and build colour, texture tone with furnishings, artwork and decor. This ensures you can change things up when you get bored (much easier than repainting that fuchsia room that initially seemed like a good idea!)
Repurpose what you already own: think outside the square and use items for things other than what they were intended for. Or use found items. For example: fresh foliage or seed pods from your garden or vintage tools or kitchen pieces to decorate your home or event.
Don’t just focus on florals for your event! As mentioned, gorgeous greenery can be found in most backyards and can be used to create a dramatic table centrepiece, hanging installation or arbour garland with a fraction of the florals added for interest, saving you funds for more important things like food and alcohol!
How do you provide event styling?
We offer both online styling and onsite styling. We also love working collaboratively with other small businesses to create amazing events.
With online styling we work out exactly what kind of style you would love based off an initial phone call and a personal questionnaire we call our ‘Find your Style File’ which is all about figuring out who you are and how we can find the best ‘Style Solution’ for you.
We then get to work putting together an incredible style kit featuring our visual ‘Sisu Style Snapshot’ to show you just what the final result will look like. Using my years of experience (and connections with the vendors I know my clients will love) I put together the most comprehensive list of items so that they can easily order (or book) everything required to pull off an event their friends will remember forever! And we are completely fine with them taking all the styling credit!
Of course, if they’d prefer we take care of everything we also style onsite for events from Northern NSW to Sunshine Coast (and anywhere else if our clients is willing to pay our airfares)!
What’s unique about your business?
We are unique in that we offer our online solutions for both interiors and events which makes professional styling so much more accessible for the everyday, busy working mum or small business owners.
We also don’t do boring! You won’t get bland, cookie cutter design at Sisu. We put things together in ways that a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily think to but it always works. Think: eclectic cool.
Tell us about the most important business lesson you’ve learnt so far?
That what you say no to often defines your business more than what you say yes to. I.e: you need to know your brand, who you want your ideal client to be and what your niche is. Don’t try to be everything to everybody!
Who or what inspires you?
Oh my goodness, so many things. Small business owners who do things differently. Busy mothers and fathers who manage to wear so many different hats (metaphorical ones… although wearing a lot of literal hats at once would be pretty impressive)! Travel and other cultures and of course, nature.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Yep! I am loving all the opportunities Sisu has already opened up for me and I’m planning ongoing, exciting collaborations with other small business owners, as well as focusing more on travel for product sourcing for clients and other creatives and in making our ‘Online Styling Solutions’ the go-to choice for anyone who wants a bit of Sisu Style in their life!