Business Ninja of the Week: Claire Skewes of Open Places

Meet another of the sparkling jewels of Ruby Slipper Consultants Business Ninja series! This week we’re delighted to focus on Claire Skewes, Director of Open Places Floorplans. Claire’s immaculate attention to detail and creative solutions set her business apart. We’re proud to offer her floorplanning services in conjunction with the Ruby Slipper Copywriting service.

What makes your business magical, setting you apart from other competitors?

The attention to detail and customisation options for clients are unparalleled. I like to keep things streamlined for both agents and vendors, and it works for them.

What are your maddest ‘ninja skillz’?

I love finding ways to improve upon various systems. The way I approach this in my business is in two parts: through a healthy obsession with aesthetics and details, while always seeking the minimalist solution. I advocate Einstein’s maxim to “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

How did your lightbulb moment in creating your business come about?

The opportunity existed in the market and I saw a chance to provide a service that I could be proud of. My background is in Architecture and I’m passionate about graphic design. It’s fantastic to be doing something where I’m always meeting new people and seeing beautiful homes. I’m always having new ideas and wanting to create something; I’m happy this one stuck.

What is your earliest memory?

As a little girl sitting on my Dad’s lap I thought it would be a great game to pull his beard – such fun! Every time I did this he would tap me back; naturally I didn’t find this part quite as funny. It took a fair few rounds of laughing then getting annoyed for me to realise the consequences of my actions. It was a lesson in empathy – and that we should treat others the way we like to be treated. I’m grateful I learnt this lesson at the age of 2 or 3 and not 20 or 30.

What would your last meal be?

I would like to enjoy my ultimate degustation with a close circle of friends and family where each person prepared a personal favourite; following Epicurus’ approach that a meal should be simple, wholesome and never eaten alone. Besides, you can’t make me choose just one dish!

What is your best tip for recruiting staff or choosing business partners?

When choosing people to be involved with in business the two qualities I look for are reliability and enthusiasm – absolutely essential. The other key is seeking those with skills complementary to my own – it’s the differences in personality and thought processes that make us see opportunities we can’t see alone.

What is your favourite sound?

Sometimes I create music in my head just before falling asleep – an experience which is about halfway between thinking it and actually hearing it. This is bittersweet though as I don’t have the ability to record it and listen to it again.

Who would you like to invite to dinner?

The aforementioned party for the last meal – now I have thought about it, why wait till the end to enjoy the greatest things?

Who has inspired you to be a better ‘Business Ninja’?

The wonderful people I have met through association with Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre, including my business mentors and trainers Jon Piccione and John Duffield.

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