A Rather Inventive business interview with Nicky Spear
by Sarah Preece
Developing a business takes courage and determination, an ability to see a desired outcome and be able to implement a strategy to get there. When Nicky Spear took on this challenge at Sustainable Kitchens a year ago this month, she did so with gusto. Nicky is our head of development; employed to organise, oversee and evolve the business from its beautifully humble but slightly less efficient roots, to a well-oiled kitchen making machine. With a diverse background of experience, combining both big business and small, Nicky has cherry picked the most useful processes from each to provide Sustainable Kitchens with strong foundation for growth. Within this interview with Rather Inventive, Nicky emphasises how important it is to have streamlined processes within business, centralising information to enable teams to work in unity while remaining as independent as possible. To evolve such processes, it’s been important to move Sustainable Kitchens beyond pen and paper to a more mobile and accessible web and cloud based operation. Within the interview much of their current system software is listed, here are the highlights:
These are all cloud based systems, allowing anyone to access them from any position in the world with an internet connection. Although Sustainable Kitchens is not quite reaching that far afield just yet, it is useful to facilitate days out of office, working from home and it’s even possible for sub-contractors to log in to see their daily schedule on the move.
Change, of course, was not an indisputably smooth journey. Currently we’ve settled on our fourth project scheduling system and although we’re very happy with it, it’s not certain to remain appropriate for our needs, and this open approach to change seems to be important. This willingness for evolution was certainly demonstrated within the relatively new developments to the company website. Problems with the old site were likened to a ‘Russian doll effect’ – not the ideal point of contact for a customer. The new website opts for an image heavy approach: fresh young and vibrant was the brief, with enough text to provide essential information and key words for search engine optimisation. The results definitely hit that brief and more, with an impressively styled site that continues to impress.
Within the interview Nicky also speaks about the importance of marketing. We’re proud of what we do here and want to tell our potential customers about that. A social media presence is essential and we aim to keep this active with relevant information about our projects, as well anything else we think fits in with our ethos and interests – including the occasional puppy!
There is more exciting change on the horizon for Sustainable Kitchens too. A sister company named Honest Living will be launched in the new year – an online market place for sustainable lifestyle products. Also in the more imminent future the company have teamed up with Jon Lewin and The Locals Cookbook. Jon has spent an enviable chunk of his life travelling around Asia and South East Asia, documenting the process with incredible photography and mouth-watering recipes; the latest of which focuses on his arguably favoured and curry full – Sri Lanka.
To listen to the full interview and hear more detail about Sustainable Kitchens journey, follow the link below and take a listen. https://soundcloud.com/rather-