Founder and CEO Mia Feasey leads her interior design firm from the heart.
Mia Feasey’s mother always told her to follow her passion when it came to work, suggesting that interior design would be a good career as “you can always stay home and do it with kids and not have to rely on a husband for your own money”.
While Feasey acknowledges that by today’s standards that advice is a bit old fashioned, the idea of putting her passion and heart into a career has stood the test of time.
When she started her interior design firm, Siren Design Group 17 years ago, Feasey knew she wanted her business to be a place where people could feel fulfilled.
“I wanted to create a business that was like family, where people felt cared for, and where they could grow into what they wanted to be, doing work that they loved.”
“Business is personal for me,” she adds. “I think I naturally placed people at the top of the priorities because I wanted people to be happy and fulfilled, and that then gave me fulfilment as well. And beyond design, that’s what makes my heart sing.”
From humble roots in a single Sydney design firm, Siren has since flourished into a global consultancy powerhouse with clients spanning the Asia Pacific region with big names like Amazon, Google, Balenciaga, Chanel and Toyota.
As Founder and CEO of Siren, Feasey would love to say this success was all part of some grand design, but she admits that “it just evolved that way like a magical creature” and that she’s “so proud of what it’s become.”
Feasey says the guiding philosophy behind the firm’s ‘magical’ evolution has been “to never fear failure” and “to embrace it when it happens as that’s where the best learnings come from.”
Unlike traditional design firms, Siren encourages experimentation and prides itself on going beyond the superficial aspects of design to delve into the needs of people.
“We aim to use our creativity to have an impact on the interior spaces we create because let’s face it, it’s what’s on the inside that matters!,” says Feasey, joking that the last bit is the firm’s tagline.
The core of the business is essentially the idea of creativity “coming from the heart”, which Feasey describes as the element of design that touches people and makes a positive difference in their lives.
As the first female-owned and led firm within the design sector, Siren also contains an all-female board who’ve helped the business grow and continue to look for new ways to create more positive impact.
In 2019, the Siren team had a ‘light bulb moment’ as Feasey would describe it, where they realised that the interior design profession was having a worse impact on the environment than fashion.
Quickly deciding this needed to change, the board redefined Siren’s mission and purpose to that of “using creativity to inspire business to care for the planet”.
“This was a bold move at the time as no one else in the interior design profession was really talking about this back then,” says Feasey. “But we knew it was the right thing to do, as we’ve always led from the heart.”
Feasey also says she’s “a big believer in using design-led thinking to solve complex problems in creative ways”, so she’s been using her “profile and global networks to help raise awareness and make change within the built environment and broader business community”.
Using the powers of creativity to have a positive impact on the world is ultimately what Feasey views as the key to a fulfilling career in design.
“The creative process is so hard to describe, but when it’s good, it comes from the heart, and it touches the people around you,” she says.
“As a designer, that’s what you need to strive to do every day.”
This article was originally published in Women’s Agenda.