Deborah Singerman talks to the founder of Siren Design Group, NAWIC’s Businesswoman of the Year.
September 29th, 2010
‘Go for it’ is a phrase made for Mia Feasey, the National Association of Women in Construction’s 2010 Businesswoman of the Year.
At 20, she left London and came to Sydney with little money or experience, but lots of conviction. “I wanted to be a designer.”
Feasey went from resource librarian at Geyer via a small architectural practice and then to setting up a design and construct company with a builder. “I think about what’s there and how to make it work,” she says.
In 2006, she founded the Siren Design Group. “When it is your own firm, you can take more risks. You are not accountable to anyone.”
Straightaway, she was designing for “amazing advertising agencies” (BMF was the first) networking at industry events and getting projects published.
With more traditional, formal clients, the firm has completed “exquisite” offices – tailored and tasteful with beautiful stone reception counters, she says.
Other clients on the other hand, may prefer Siren Design’s more typical, playful approach. The signage for one law firm, for instance, had the company logo burnt into timber logs that sit resplendent in an open area next to comfortable seating.
“My story is pretty unique. I’m a girl and nearly all the other firms are owned by men.”
At 33 Feasey is the eldest of her team made up of 10 staff. “We’ve picked up big clients quickly. We meet deadlines and are not pretentious. We’re known for our culture – the Siren spirit. We have fun. We take our work seriously but there’s a culture of sharing.”
Everyone speaks at Monday morning meetings. The heritage office is open plan. Designers work on jobs from beginning to end. Churn is non-existent.
“I feel people were waiting to see if I was going to survive. I see myself as a designer, not a businesswoman, so maybe my clients will feel more comfortable that I’ve matured and am maybe a bit more astute.”
Siren Design Group
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