While former Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd is contemplating his post-playing future, wife Stella Pozzi and business partner Sashola Prestcote are thriving after starting an interior design firm with a difference.
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Stella Pozzi is far from a football player’s wife as you can see.
Interiornet.co.uk Couples of homeowners or renters looking to revamp their home or apartment with interior designers can bring their property to life to suit any budget.
So far the business is booming with almost 200 clients on their list and 60 designers fully vetted, on a database of two moms to call on. At the time of writing, there are 54 other Interior designers going through the screening process.
But Stella and Sash are looking to scale as word of their success spreads.
“We are really excited and positive about the feedback,” said Stella, born in Verona, Italy and mother of Zar, 4.
“We have quite a few interior designers involved and a lot of projects are submitted to our platform. We were a bit overwhelmed by the numbers.
“I know that people tend to put all the wives of footballers in the same bracket. But I have friends who are wives of football players, they are lawyers, lawyers and teachers.
“Also in Italy, certainly to those I know, we are not curious about the wives of footballers. Unless they’re famous in their own right, no one cares who they are. I have never even seen some wives. They don’t have any attention.
“So maybe I never felt like I belonged in that world. Also, I have my own brain. I am quite hot-tempered and fiery and I like to do my own thing. “
Sash, 45, is the daughter of pioneer Louis Mahoney, one of the first black actors to appear regularly on British television.
Much respected, Louis passed away last year at the age of 81, but over his 55-year career he has appeared in some of TV’s most beloved shows including Dixon of Dock Green, Holby City, Doctor Who – in 1973, 1975 and 2007 – and Fawlty Towers.
Louis even had roles in big-screen movies including Cry Freedom and Captain Phillips.
“He was one of the first black actors in the UK,” Sash said.
“He is also an anti-racism activist and vice president of [actor’s union] Share. He’s done so many things for so many people over a long period of time.
“He really changed the landscape for black and minority actors in the UK.”
Sash, a mother of three, living in North London, threw herself into her career, studying at the British Academy of Interior Design.
She adds that she feels more comfortable returning to her InteriorNet venture: “We don’t accept any designers who sign up to join our platform. We check their background, past work, social media and website.
“We want to make sure we’re promoting someone we can vouch for. People work hard and we want to respect that.
Interior design has always been considered for those with a high budget. You give someone your keys and a bunch of money, you let them do their thing and ‘Volume’ – but that’s not true,” said Sash.
“Anyone can approach an interior designer and get help. It ensures that you match the right client with the right designer. It’s as simple as that.
“Most of the people who visit our website are not even familiar with interior design! So we have broken it down into its different parts. So, for example, a mood board for inspiration or a shopping list, something an interior designer offers.
“Customers put their projects on the website. The system then matches project requirements with designers effectively saying: ‘I’m happy to work with this budget’, ‘I’m happy to work online or online next’ or ‘I’m happy to work in this or that area. ‘
“Once those details are finalized, the client is presented with options the designers have prepared to work with, and the client chooses one. It’s that simple.”
The couple conducted their own survey last year to scale their ambitions and find out exactly what potential clients want from an interior designer.
“I discovered that yes, most people would use a designer if they could afford it. Also, people are just afraid of the notion that, when you hire a designer, you know where you’re going to start with the fees but you don’t know where you’re going to finish.
“People also think it’s some big service but I can give you a mood board for £150. Or even less than that. When I started I bought one for £30. So it was just to educate people that there is something for everyone’s budget. “
Stella added: “I found that the popularity of people going to use an interior designer was not what I expected. I thought it would be between an income of X and an age of Y. But that is not the case.
“We’ve received feedback from people who still live at home and want to create a bedroom for them while they work from home.
“So there isn’t any one particular subset.”
The couple met while walking their dog 12 years ago. Their friendship is put on hold when Stella left England for Japan with husband Jay – who added J-League team Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo to the other 11 he played with.
“We’ve always stayed in touch, and we’ve reconnected during the lockdown,” she said. “For the kids and the dogs! And we developed InteriorNet during the lockdown.”
Sash joked: “Stella is not a football player’s wife. It’s Jay, the husband of an interior designer! ”
Sash, born and raised in north London, worked in sales before starting a family. But, like Stella, is keen to follow her dreams.
“My background is in IT, so for many years I worked in sales and account management for an IT company,” she said.
“But when I started a family, I left that and started remodeling a house. I love doing it and I started a business helping people remodel their own homes.
“That gave me insight into builders and businesses, along with clients, and knowing how important it is to get things right. In addition, you can easily make decisions that cost you money.
“That’s where project management comes in. I just love working on-site with deals and getting things done. Forget the boardroom, give me a spark and a plumber and I’ll make it happen! ”
To contact Stella and Sash, visit InteriorNet.co.uk
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/stella-pozzi-helps-break-down-26412836 Stella Pozzi helps break down the WAG barrier of football with a thriving interior design company