Furniture is personal. Even if you buy straight from the store, you have chosen that piece for a particular reason. Those among us who like to flex their interior design muscles and create their own unique pieces don’t have to look much further than Dubai’s interior haunt Custom No.9.
The immersive online platform, founded by Amy Grace Mill, allows you to to build your own 3D digital design which Custom No.9 will then bring to life. With over 200 variations of size, top materials, steel leg design and colour options, you’ll have everything you need to breath new life into your space.
Modern, cool and laid back, the online platform is filled with customisable ideas that will give any room a fashionable facelift. Everything is produced in Dubai using material like Terrazzo, Aerestone or Bianco Volakas white marble, Nero Marquina black marble and oak veneer.
If you want a quick fix then check out their shop that is filled with locally produced home décor and furniture pieces.
Grace Mill further explains the idea behind Custom No.9:
What was your favourite subject at school?
Definitely a combination of music and art, but in all honesty, I was always a little distracted at school! I was a bit of a daydreamer. If I could go back tomorrow, I would have thrown myself into my favourite subjects a lot more.
What was your first job?
Polishing cutlery at the local pub.
What inspired you to launch Custom No 9?
We started back in 2018 as a simple Instagram page with one vision; to help people bring their Pinterest boards to life through furniture.
I have lived in Dubai for almost eight years, and I started to tire of seeing the same ‘single-use’ furniture wherever I went. Many of us are here to pursue a ‘short-term dream’, with no real foresight how long we’ll be here for, and we, therefore, don’t think about investing good quality furniture that fits our style and taste. We spend time thinking about the home we’ll build ‘one day’. I was buying cheap furniture that wasn’t even good enough to sell after just two years and I reached a point where I wanted to design and make something of my own that suited my style and would last. So I made my first piece and we went from there.
For as long as I remember my travels have been built around buying unique pieces for my home that have a story and a meaning, and on top of the furniture side we launched an evolving home décor range in 2019, offering handcrafted steel planters and plant stands.
Inspired by the creative brands around the city building their own homegrown concepts, we built the business up further to launch our very own collection in 2019, and more recently launched an immersive e-commerce site giving customers the ability to design their pieces online with a three-week production time.
The business now creates bespoke furniture and home décor pieces for direct customers, whilst working on multiple furniture and interior projects for global and local commercial brands across the UAE.
What are the key elements of your role?
As a start-up founder, I bounce between it all. In one day I can go from creating a video for Instagram, visiting sites to check on ongoing projects or discuss new projects with clients, working on designs for our future collections, working on designs for current customers, taking stock and inventory levels, client meetings, visiting our material warehouses across the emirate to check on materials or explore new materials, finance and accounts. I am operations, marketing, finance and business development all in one, but I would be nothing without our in-house design engineers and fabrication team.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Accept that things don’t happen overnight, but you don’t need to wait until everything is perfect to move ahead. Things will never be perfect. Get the essential plans in place, launch the ship and adjust the sails as you go.
Which fashion brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
I’m a high street person that’s for sure. Zara, &other stories, H&M and ASOS would be the common brands in my work and casual wardrobe, which is basically one in the same.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Where there is a will, there is a way.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
I ran the business on the side of my job to start with, and I toiled with the idea of leaving a well-paid role for a long time. I loved my job, but I wanted to do something for myself and I had big visions for the brand, so it was a very tough decision to make at the time.
In addition, can you also share with us five simple interior tips for enhancing a small living space/studio apartment?
- Get your proportions right before buying any furniture. Make sure you get a copy of the floorplan and use a ruler to measure out the furniture you want to scale. Make sure nothing is going to overbear the space and that you have room for movement.
- Don’t clutter. Keep it minimal with a few larger feature pieces as opposed to lots of small accessories that can make a space feel crowded and smaller.
- Think about smart storage solutions for your clutter. Clean boxes under the bed, smart boxes above the wardrobe that blends in.
- Add one or two large mirrors depending on how big the space is. This will make it feel a lot bigger than it is and reflect light.
- Add plants in small pots or plant stands to bring life and a sense of calm.
This interview was originally published on Emirates Woman.