Natasha Gupta (pictured above) is an investment banker turned restaurant designer. She has a particular focus on sustainable design, which involves carefully selecting suppliers based on their sustainable credentials, and sourcing secondhand or local furniture and equipment, to reduce the amount of energy used to make or transport it.
“It’s a start to finish service,” she says. “When I first meet a client, I seek to understand their business values, why they started, what their strengths are, what their brand is about. This feeds in to how I plan the space, fixtures and furnishings, which we check against their budget. I also help with marketing and make sure that the space works for the customer.”
In the last few years, she’s redesigned a pizzeria in North London and refurbished a bar in West London. “For the project in West London, we reused existing benches and reclad the existing bar to reduce waste. We also reused whiskey barrels to create a stunning bar feature.”
Natasha, 38, started her business after spending several years helping her dad set up franchises for an international restaurant brand. “He ended up having 15 stores. Each time he went through a build, he’d get me to help him. I learned on the job,” says Natasha.
She initially helped him alongside her full-time job in investment. In 2015, she left to launch Blue Feather Designs. She uses a Starling business account to manage her business finances.
Natasha is based in London and works with clients throughout the UK. “I receive work through word of mouth,” she says.
Her network of clients is rooted in the work she did for her dad, through which she built up a list of UK suppliers. During lockdown, she refined her list of suppliers based on their sustainability credentials.
“Greenwashing is very prominent in the design industry and you have to ask questions. For example, a furniture supplier should be able to understand where component parts such as wood, metal and fabrics originate and how they are made.”
Managing business and personal finance with Starling
When Starling launched business accounts in 2018, Natasha applied for one immediately. “It was super easy and quick to set up,” she says.
“I love that I can access and check both my personal and business banking on the same app and transfer money over with one button. I’m a very visual person and I like to be able to see where my money is going.”
The Spending Insights screen of the app provides a breakdown of outgoings by category and merchant. Customers can also see how much they’ve spent that day on the homescreen. “Starling is reliable and efficient – I can’t fault it.”