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  • Writer's pictureLaura

An Interview with Lloyd Harden, Managing Director of Lloyd Harden Design

This week marks two years of Lloyd Harden Design and what a two years it has been!

Many of you may be unaware of how Lloyd Harden Design began and so I (Laura) wanted to chat with Lloyd to reveal how, why and where the company began. I asked him a few questions this week and you can find his answers below!

1. Where did the idea for Lloyd Harden Design come from?

5 years ago I started another Architectural Design Consultancy, called Harbur Design, with a good friend. Two years ago, I decided to go out on my own and started Lloyd Harden Design as a result! I started the company two years ago with very little. It was me and a laptop in a tiny office in Wellingborough.

2. You've since moved from Wellingborough to Lubenham in Market Harborough? What brought this move about?

The team grew from being just me pretty quickly. I hired an Architectural Design Manager and we moved to a tiny office - still in Wellingborough. I then brought my girlfriend (Laura - me!) in to do our website and social media management for one day a week and it became apparent that we would need a larger premises soon. When it was just me, we primarily worked on leisure projects but, as soon as we started taking on domestic projects, it was clear that we were going to need a much larger team and premises! We also really wanted a high street presence so that clients could pop in and see us. Whereas, in Wellingborough we were on an industrial estate which limited our reach.

3. Why did you decide to move to Market Harborough?

Me and Laura had recently moved from Kettering to Lubenham and we knew that this was a lovely area with a lot of stunning houses. Market Harborough town itself must be one of the last remaining busy high streets and we spent a lot of time there personally, so we knew the footfall was good! We did a lot of research and enquired about a lot of properties but nothing came of it. Finally, we were walking the dog one afternoon and we came across a lovely little office on the main street of Lubenham. We went to see it and we fell in love with it! We moved in a few weeks later.

4. What's your Lubenham office like?

We love it! It has been a work in progress because we took on two new staff when we moved so our funds were limited in terms of doing it up. Laura and I spent weeks doing it up. We were covered in paint and filler and spent every evening in the pub during those few weeks. But, it was worth it. We painted the main office a dark green, like our logo, with dark grey wood panelling and flooring. It's on the main road between Lutterworth and the M1, and Market Harborough, and we have a great car park so we find a lot of clients pop in when they're passing and this has been great.

5. How is Edie, your Dachshund puppy, settling in?

Haha, we love bringing Edie to work! She has her moments where she thinks she's a guard dog but she's generally pretty good. She's coming up to a year old now so she's not a puppy any more. But, she is still dead cute and our clients love having a cuddle when they come to the office. She spends most of her time on Laura's lap or running around the office playing with her toys.

6. Who do you have in your team now and what do they do?

Well, there's me. I work on all of our leisure projects. Lodge design, site layouts, CGIs and videos. I also work on the larger domestic designs and try to do most of our consultations. Josh is our Architectural Technician and he does all of our detailed drawings - building regs and working drawings. he also currently does all of our surveys. Then we have Paul, who draws up all of our existing drawings, all of our Photoshop work and also does all the modelling for my CGI work. Laura basically does everything else! She runs the office, looks after the team, does some graphic design work like mood boards, she built our website and looks after our social media. We also have a few amazing people who support our business remotely as contractors. Currently, we are also recruiting for a new Architectural Designer who can also look after all of our planning applications. We've had a good response so far so watch this space!

7. So, what's next for Lloyd Harden Design?

The first thing is for us to find another member of staff! That's the main thing as we are getting busier and we need someone to take sole charge of planning. We have also signed up for an Internship programme with De Montefort University so we are expecting our new intern to start in the New Year. Then the office will be full! We had a lovely intern this summer and we hope to replicate that office dynamic as we miss her! Once the new, larger team is in place, we will just keep working hard, winning the work and delivering outstanding work! We always try and go above and beyond for our clients and this is something that will never, ever change - no matter how big or small the company is.

8. What's your company ethos?

I'd have to say to always go above and beyond and to deliver exceptional work. We love designing and we love every project - whether it's a 3x3 extension, a new build superhouse or a 300 unit park design. Our clients come first and we're nothing without them.

9. What is Lloyd Harden Design doing to support the environment and to help with climate change?

Well, Laura is a bit of an eco-warrior so she's always always on at us to recycle everything and turn off the lights and the heating. As well as this, we have recently ordered an electric car. Our team are constantly out on site visits so we felt that it was important to try and reduce our carbon footprint and we felt an electric pool vehicle would help us to do this.

10. Finally, since you started Lloyd harden Design, you've had Covid to deal with and now a 'Cost of Living Crisis.' How have you found this affects your business?

Starting the business in Covid was pretty difficult actually. Even small things, like opening a business bank account was impossible because in-person meetings at the bank weren't allowed. Also, it was just me at that point and, I've got to say, it was pretty lonely at times! Covid stripped us all of so much and it affected me hugely, both personally and professionally - as I know it did everyone really. Saying that, similarly with the cost of living crisis, we have found that both these life events have resulted in a lot of people needing, or deciding to, increase the size of their homes - to add an office for example - which has kept us busy with house extensions and loft conversions etc. In terms of the leisure arm of the business, we found that Covid resulted in a lot of people finding a love for the UK and deciding to travel over here and this has been great for our leisure clients like those who own holiday parks etc. and, in turn has benefited us too.

So, that's it! A bit of an insight into starting, and running, a business during uncertain times! If you have any questions for Lloyd, or you'd like to follow the progress of the business, you can reach and follow us on Instagram, where we like to post everything! From pictures of Edie, the office sausage, to projects we're working on and planning applications we're submitting - or, more importantly, getting approved!

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