Louise Frantom and her husband Des, moved to our village 23 years ago in 1993. She remembers coming down the hill and seeing the lovely village green (for a shot of the Green, see my blog ‘Bucks and Pups’). It was Spring and the fun fair was in full swing. She fell in love with her little house from the moment she first saw it and never tires of the view across the hills to Marlow.
Interior Design is Louise’s third career to date. She originally studied Art and Music, qualifying as a teacher back in 1980. Taking an opportunity to travel to Athens as a nanny and English teacher, she ended up working for Thomson holidays as an Overseas Travel Rep. in Europe and West Africa.
In 1984, Louise returned to the UK to begin her teaching career in Primary education. She co-ordinated Art, Design and Design Technology but over the years was promoted to a senior position as a specialist leader in education.
Whilst in school, Louise enjoyed working with some amazing people. Her job gave her many wonderful experiences and opportunities but the still, small voice of her mother prevailed and urged her to take a chance and retire early. “I remember my Mum saying, ‘don’t forget that you are creative.’ It dawned on me that I had absolutely forgotten and needed to do something about this!”
She continues, “when I took the leap into early retirement, some people said I was ‘very brave’ when I knew what they really meant by this was that I was being reckless! I felt both excited and worried. Was I making a big mistake?” In spite of her misgivings, Louise felt she just had to trust her instinct and go for it!
With the benefit of hindsight, she knows that she made the right decision to leave education and follow her passion for interior design. She misses the staff and amazing camaraderie but she still pops back to School to say hello from time to time. And she began her retirement in true ‘Thelma and Louise’ style, by going on a 3000 mile road trip to Australia, Los Angeles and across the United States, occasionally accompanied by her best friend and neighbour Di.
Louise came back from her adventure feeling so much stronger and more confident. It was on this journey that her idea of channelling her creativity into interior design happened. Back in Blighty, she signed up for a professional course and discovered she was in her element. Her tutor said she had a natural flair that could not be taught. That encouragement led to establishing ‘Louise Ann Interiors‘ in July 2015 and here she is, embarking on career number 3. The challenges she faces are neither small nor insurmountable. Getting herself known, building the business and addressing misconceptions are all priorities for a start up company. But the opportunity to be creative, enhancing other peoples’ lives with her fresh designs, meeting new people and being her own boss all make the fear and hard work worthwhile. Her top tip for the over 40s embarking on a new career is to be proactive about what you really want out of the work/life balance. Don’t ignore the impact your environment is having on your sense of wellbeing and go for it, before it’s too late.