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From Architecture student to self-employed interior designer

In 2016 Inan Gokcek secured a place on LSBU’s Graduate Entrepreneurship scheme, turning his dream of running a sustainable design practice into reality

After more than a decade working in architecture and interiors, Inan’s quest for personal professional development saw him return to university, studying Architecture at LSBU.

Support from the Graduate Entrepreneurship Scheme

Even before he graduated, he knew that he wanted to build up his own practice, so a place on the scheme made perfect sense. “I’d spent around 12 years improving my skills in a number of different fields by working for other designers,” says Inan. “But if you want your own designs to become reality, being self-employed is pretty much essential. I figured it was better to start sooner rather than later.”

Establishing a sustainable design studio

Studio Anares is committed to sustainable design, mirroring Inan’s own belief that architecture has a role in shaping society. “It’s a beautiful thing to be involved with, and very powerful,” he says. “It’s rewarding to know that while I may only be making a small change, what I am doing is positive for the environment.”

A positive first year

Inan is proud of the progress he has made in his first year – even if the business still faces challenges ahead. “It can be difficult,” he admits. “With only a year under your belt, you are a long way from being financially stable and that can be frustrating, especially because you obviously have significant outgoings from the very start. It can be easy to lose confidence in yourself, but the people I’ve met on the graduate scheme have certainly been a major help when it comes to keeping my morale up.”

Success = securing repeat business

As any business owner will testify, one good measure of success is repeat business. Studio Anares is on the right path, having just secured additional work through a restaurant project that Inan completed, with more projects in the pipeline. “I’m still building the business, but I have high hopes,” he says. “I want to develop my reputation and win competitions as well as new business – but that’s all to come in the future, I hope.”

Inan received business support from LSBU’s Graduate Entrepreneurship Scheme. Read more about the business support on offer at LSBU.