What do you do in the middle of a global pandemic? You renovate and redecorate your home.
Not the first idea to come to mind but with so many Australians spending time at home this year, and seeing what improvements they could make around the house, that’s exactly what happened.
Nina Paul is the director of Perth Window Décor, a family-owned and operated company specialising in custom-made window refurbishment. Nina’s mother owned a curtain-making business for more than 20 years and, as a child, Nina helped her mum press, fold and insert hooks into curtains in the family garage.
The next generation
Nina took the leap and opened her own business in 2014, taking orders from clients from her kitchen table and working out of the back of a van, often for up to 18 hours a day.
“Customers love the fact that we keep everything in house,” Nina says. “I sell, my mum and her team sew our curtains using the highest quality materials – Mum has such a fantastic eye for detail! – and then my husband installs them. I think they really appreciate that they’re dealing directly with the owners and that we’re a family operation.”
This time last year, she started looking for a suitable location for a showroom and office and in January 2020, Perth Window Décor moved into its new home.
Open for business
“Having a showroom has been fantastic for us,” Nina explains. “It’s a place where clients can view our work and see the high-quality finishes we offer. We also use it as a meeting point, where the interior designers and builders we work with can bring their clients too.”
The company was seeing a huge growth in sales. The new year was looking like it would bring a booming business for Perth Window Décor. Then COVID-19 struck and everything changed.
So much uncertainty
“We were actually in Bali with our two boys when we heard the news the Australian Government was going to make returning travellers quarantine for two weeks,” Nina recalls. “That’s when we realised how serious things had become in the short time we’d been away.”
Nina’s immediate concern was that she might lose her business. “There was just so much uncertainty. I was worried clients wouldn’t want tradies in their homes. I also started thinking I shouldn’t have invested so much in opening a showroom.”
For the two weeks Nina and her family were in quarantine, the number of enquiries coming through dropped dramatically, and larger projects that had already been booked were put on hold, with no indication of whether they’d proceed.
Support from ANZ
But she held strong. Nina’s ANZ bank manager, Rebecca Campbell, got in touch to check in and see how things were going, and the pair discussed a range of potential services, including overdrafts and a business loan, to help keep the lights on. Nina was eligible for a permanent overdraft facility, which was approved quickly.
“Rebecca was fantastic,” Nina says. “She was in regular contact and usually outside of typical banking hours, which was very much appreciated.”
Rebecca even delivered paperwork to the showroom so Nina could continue to focus on her business. She was so impressed with Nina’s quality window dressings, she even ordered some for her own home!
And then, there was a shift. The business started to receive more sales enquiries. Then the bookings started rolling in.