Demi is a graduate of our Architecture BA and set up her own company, Majeurs Chesterfield Ltd, which uses local resources to create sustainable, luxury furniture. She operates successful businesses in both London and Nigeria and counts No 10 Downing Street, Prince Charles, Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Choo as some of her clients.
Why did you choose to study at London Met?
Because it represents all that I love about London: the culture, the diversity, the energy. You find that represented in London Met.
What are the facilities like here?
The facilities were great… but as I’m sitting here with you today I must say that I am incredibly jealous of your current students. This place looks amazing!
Do you get to do much practical work or an industry placement on the course?
The course is very much hands-on. It’s one of the reasons I like London Met as the focus is on practical work. Students are encouraged to travel and learn sustainable architecture, working with local communities and materials. In both my second and third year I travelled abroad for my modules. Our tutors took us to Germany and India to inspire our projects. India is still today one of my favourite trips. I learnt so much creatively and was exposed to a culture I otherwise wouldn’t have known.
What did you like best about your course?
The practical ways we were taught. We did real life projects, went to real places. We were fully immersed in what we were doing. I am a creative so that is the way I learn best. Even today it still informs how I do my design work, from contextualising ideas to the final product.
Did anything surprise you about your course or London Met?
Probably how available the tutors were. I could call on my tutors whenever I needed their help or advice. I felt very supported. I had high hopes and they were met, so it didn’t surprise me in that way.
What do you like about life in London?
It’s London, the greatest city in the world! And I have done my fair share of travelling! The diversity, the culture, the food, the people, the fashion, the transport…should I go on?
Describe your London Met experience in one word.
Tell us about your company, Majeurs Chesterfield Ltd, and how you came to set this up?
After I graduated it was the height of the recession. I was playing with furniture as a hobby whilst still applying to architecture companies in London. I happened to sell one of my furniture pieces and decided to keep doing it until I found a job as a junior architect. I continued selling furniture and ended up on TV and with many high-profile clients.
We understand you have met with Prince Charles and David Cameron. Tell us about that.
After appearing on several TV programs and acquiring high-profile clients like Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Choo, my company was getting a lot of attention for its furniture restoration. We were invited to meet David Cameron to showcase our work and talk about young enterprise. After this meeting we were approached by a former client who said that Prince Charles would like to meet with us at our office. As you can imagine I was in shock. That’s why we can now count No 10 Downing Street and also Clarence House as some of our clients.
How has the business changed since then?
We have a team of 30 people and growing. I moved to Nigeria two years ago to manufacture new furniture. I travel back to London on a regular basis, so I’m based between both countries.
How did your time at London Met help you in your career?
I think about it every day. There isn’t a day that goes by where architecture is not influencing my design decisions and the way in which I run my business. London Met and architecture is probably the reason why I have such a strict work ethic. London Met taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance.
My staff comment on how knowledgeable and skilled I am because a lot of what I learned in architecture at London Met I still use today.
The skills and discipline I learned at London Met – I will never part from them because they have contributed tremendously to my success and growth. I am not a practising architect but I design like one every day. I go through my ideas and concept development like an architect and I strongly believe it makes me stand out from the crowd.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at London Met?
Other than thank you, thank you to my tutors, thank you for the support and thank you for this opportunity to share my journey with you. I can only hope that I will make you proud in whatever I do.
What are your future plans?
I see my company growing exponentially in the future. I see it as an international brand recognised in England, Nigeria and the rest of the world.