The Preston-based 'lockdown business' going from strength to strength and hoping to 'smash it'

The Luxus Design teamThe Luxus Design team
The Luxus Design team
Dave O’Keefe describes Luxus Design, a budding Preston-based interiors company, as a ‘lockdown business’ with great pride.

Given the financial insecurity which has come to define the coronavirus pandemic alongside the obvious health risks it poses, such a description may seem oxymoronic. But not to Dave.

“Interiors are absolutely huge, especially what with everybody being at home in lockdown and spending their time looking round their house, planning to remodel,” says Dave, aged 39. “Myself and all my friends were doing more and more things around the house during lockdown and it was the same with pretty much everyone who I spoke to. So, that was it.

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“We both knew there was real potential,” he adds. “All we had to do is make sure to deliver the best possible service because if you provide a good service, people come back.”

Lewis Birch and Dave O'Keefe, co-founders of Luxus DesignLewis Birch and Dave O'Keefe, co-founders of Luxus Design
Lewis Birch and Dave O'Keefe, co-founders of Luxus Design

Launched in order to bring a fresh, new approach to the interiors industry, Luxus Design is the parent company behind four different stand-alone brands in their own right: Just Radiators, Just Bedrooms, Just Blinds & Shutters, and Just Baths.

And despite the company’s fledgling status, early signs are extremely positive.

“Starting this business was never on the cards,” says Dave, who is the co-owner of Luxus Design with his good friend of 15 years Lewis Birch. “I’ve been friends with Lewis for years but we’ve grown closer over the past eight months or so and, in lockdown, we’ve been going out for walks.

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“Chatting away, we soon realised that we had what it’d take to start a company together: I had the marketing and he had the business acumen. So that’s how it started.

Luxus Design's Preston showroomLuxus Design's Preston showroom
Luxus Design's Preston showroom

“It was a tough decision to make that change,” adds Dave, who despite having lived in Preston for over 20 years still retains his charming East London lilt. “But it just felt right.”

Convinced that they had what it took to make a real go of their prospective business, Dave and Lewis were also spurred on to turn their ideas into plans and their plans into reality by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was on furlough and it made me want to explore new opportunities because working from home just wasn’t going to be for me,” explains Dave. “I’ve got too much get-up and go and Lewis is exactly the same.

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“It just felt like the right time because lockdown has forced me to assess my quality of life and, for me, that meant cutting down my commute and doing something for myself.

“It pretty much happened overnight and watching everything become more of a reality was such a relief; once the phone calls started coming in, we knew we had a good business,” adds Dave. “Me and Lewis putting our heads together and investing has seen it really take off and we complement each other, which has made a massive difference.

“Luxus is a real lockdown business!”

Now with seven employees and a Preston showroom to boot, Luxus is very much on the up and up, fuelled in no small part by Dave’s infectious and seemingly endless positivity.

“Running your own business means you’ve got mouths to feed and people to look after, but being negative is just not me,” he says. “Let’s open the floodgates, get people in, and just smash it because there’s business to be made.

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“You just get that gut feeling and you’ve got to listen to that, so setting up the business was a no-brainer for me,” he continues. “Even when times are tough, there’s always people spending and it’s been so much busier than we expected.

“We’ve gone from strength to strength,” he adds. “There’s so much pride in the work: it’s joyful and you just want everybody to be happy and satisfied.

“I’ve absolutely loved it; it’s given me a real boost of energy.”

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