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Not everyone has a taste for business or an eye for design, but both came naturally to Nicole Begrand-Fast.
“I was always drawn to interior design and construction, and with a family full of entrepreneurs, the desire to start my own business was almost second nature,” she explains.
While building Begrand Fast Design, her now award-winning interior design firm, she quickly recognized the importance of open mindedness, connecting with others and authentic leadership.
“In 2005, I moved to Kelowna from the prairies and had heard that it could be hard to break into the business community here,” Nicole says. “But I was glad to discover how willing the local business community was to share information, support each other and make introductions to people in their networks.”
The key to her firm’s success, according to Nicole, was always holding herself to the highest standard as a leader, entrepreneur and community member.
“It’s important to me not to be driven by ego but by service, excellence and relationships,” she says. “If I ever stop learning from others and sharing my own knowledge in return, I’ll be missing out.”
It’s no wonder clients and designers alike are quick to jump on opportunities to work with Nicole. While the firm is constantly growing and taking on new projects, Nicole is also still connected with clients from 17 years ago.
“My very first client in Kelowna is now in the middle of their sixth project with us,” she says. “Our team is thrilled to have these kinds of relationships in the community.”
Nicole’s team consists of nine employees, all of which are women. Some of them have been with the firm for as long as ten years.
“We regularly mentor students during their design practicums, some of whom have moved into full time positions in the firm,” Nicole says. “It’s important to me to create an office where designers can consider a lifelong career. I describe our culture as a big taste of creativity, collaboration and family.”
The team at Begrand Fast Design brings a range of creative ideas and skills to projects that span just about any type of interior design work you can think of. The firm’s portfolio includes everything from Vancouver penthouses to local wineries and restaurants to high-end condo developments.
And they are still striving for more.
“We are at the top of our game, constantly working to be the best we can be for ourselves and our clients,” says Nicole. “To see our years of experience, local knowledge and incredibly talented team come together fills me with pride.”