This month we’re meeting the Occa Design Procurement Team who deliver our FF&E projects, working on all things from sourcing products to managing budgets & finance, to arranging delivery logistics from multiple suppliers to multiple client sites, globally.
Here we talk to Karen Moon and Lauren Welsh who head up the team, to find out more about what it takes to ensure a flawless end to end service.
Tell us more about Occa’s FF&E Procurement division
Karen: We provide strategic sourcing and procurement for all of our clients’ furniture, fixtures and equipment requirements along with their operating supplies and equipment.
This involves every aspect of the purchasing process, starting with the development of the budget through to sourcing and quality control, expediting the logistics for delivery of goods at the right time and organising installation as required. It is always our aim to procure the highest quality and most suitable items at the best price and within the most efficient timeframe possible.
What are the two main procurement options that you offer clients?
Lauren: The two primary options are a non-disclosed and a disclosed service. The non-disclosed service is a private, discrete service primarily for private residental clients and involves Occa Design placing the orders with suppliers in our name and installing the full interior design scheme in our client’s properties.
The second option, our disclosed service, involves Occa placing the orders with suppliers on behalf of our clients – however payment is made directly from the client to the supplier.
In this case we continue to manage all the negotiations, vendor queries and logistics for the project on behalf of our clients. This option usually works well for our hospitality clients.
Although these are the most commonly used options, we often tailor our services to suit the individual needs and requirements of each client and project we work on.
What are the advantages for clients using the procurement service?
Karen: As the team has an extensive understanding of the industry as well as in-depth knowledge and strong relationships with suppliers from all over the world, we are able to ensure that every item specified is the absolute best option for the project.
We are also able to leverage our purchasing power and experience to secure the best pricing for our clients. In addition, we are able to organise delivery consolidation for a smoother installation process.
Can you explain a little about your background and industry experience?
Karen: My background is Business Economics and Retail Merchandising with a focus on the furnishings, homewares and interior design sector, including both luxury high end and budget products.
Similarly, Lauren has a significant buying experience across furnishings, lighting & home decor in both luxury and mid market propositions.
This background is unique in the world of FF&E Procurement and brings many benefits to our clients and their projects. Whether it’s hotels, luxury resi or workplace interiors, we know how to deliver ranges both on time and on budget and have in-depth knowledge of all the products we supply.
What does a typical working day look like for you at Occa Design?
Lauren: I think it would be fair to say that no two days are the same for the Procurement Team! Generally we are working on a blend of live projects that are currently in progress and making plans and proposals for potential future projects that we have in the pipeline too.
Karen: There is plenty of variety each day but one of the main tasks that we are involved in is sourcing new products. As part of this we will arrange samples and reviews of new items so that we and the client has an accurate understanding of important aspects of the product such as the colour and material. We also undertake extensive price analyses to ensure we are always offering the clients the best possible value.
Communication is a crucial part of the Procurement Team’s role too. Every day we are in contact with our suppliers and clients to ensure that our delivery schedules are always on track and we have the most up to date information on every project .
What is your favourite part of the design process?
Lauren: There are lots of highlights during a project and we love being able to work on projects from start to finish. Watching a project progress from the mood boards that are presented to the clients at the very beginning to seeing them come to life on site is an amazing journey to be a part of. It’s very rewarding to have clients who are satisfied with the end result – it makes all the hard work so worth while.
How do you work with the design team?
Lauren: We work very closely with the Design Team in the studio. As well as collaborating on end to end projects that we are working on, we will also consult with the team on any independent procurement projects we have to ensure the best results.
How would you describe your own interior design style?
Karen: My own interior design style is classical and I suppose some might consider it quite safe. I favour warm neutral colours and minimalist spaces but it is still very important to me that my interiors feel cosy and comfortable too. B&B Italia tick all of my style boxes – I could quite happily live in their London showroom!
Lauren: I love interior spaces that have a laid-back yet sophisticated feel with just a touch of luxurious glamour. The Modern Collection from Restoration Hardware really encapsulates this style with its mix of weathered materials and contemporary silhouettes.
Which hotel’s interior have you fallen in love with?
Karen: The Delano in Las Vegas is one of my absolute favourites. It’s modern and classic but has a luxurious feel that is so inviting, I never tire of it.
Lauren: Although it is a completely different style to my usual interior tastes, the Capri Palace in Anacapri really captured my heart. I loved the blend of the crisp blue and white palette in the rooms and some of the more rustic communal spaces. The hotel really makes the most of its breathtaking views too with beautifully furnished outdoor spaces that were very hard to leave behind.
What is the best thing about working at Occa Design?
Lauren: Karen and I both love that every day is different. The whole team has a great dynamic and our shared passion for ensuring that every project is a success makes it a real joy to be a part of.