Sheila Clarke, a Reading native and owner of
M&H Interiors has always believed “the busier the better” – and it
shows! Since starting her business only four years ago, she has tapped
into many facets of the design world. Sheila specializes in four
verticals: residential and commercial interior design, home renovations,
staging and property investment projects. When asked why she decided to
get involved in all these different verticals, Sheila explained “the
busier I could stay, the more I could do”, which allowed her to see what
would take off and be successful.
Although residential interior design and renovations make up the
largest percentage of her business, Sheila has grown her portfolio of
services to include larger commercial projects. Most recently, she
designed and managed the renovations of the Burbank YMCA lobby, and will
soon be working on their women’s locker room. Also, on the docket for
Sheila: the office design of a tech company in Boston.
Since the pandemic started, some projects have been put on hold, but
fortunately, most of Sheila’s work has continued. Due to the stay at
home order, people are now working from their kitchens or living rooms
and those design projects, once on the backburner, have become top of
mind again. Sheila swiftly adapted her project management and execution
process to accommodate the new government safety guidelines and has kept
projects moving forward. However, she emphasized that some of her
fellow local businesses have not been so lucky. Discovering new ways to
collaborate could be the key to helping each other out of all this, she
explained. “We need to know our neighbors and support each other, it’s
crucial that people aren’t competing for business right now”.
Even with a full project load, Sheila is committed to boosting
businesses in her community, they are “in this together.” Sheila and her
team recently ran a social media campaign with posts highlighting
products available at other Reading businesses. For example:
- If you’re looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal, check
out the local home décor store to get those chic new Spring planters.
- Feeling a little stir crazy, and trying to escape? Dive into a
new coffee table book that can be ordered from the neighborhood
With Sheila’s large social following, these small gestures can have a huge impact on the businesses she features.
As mentioned, new safety guidelines have required adjusting business
as usual. For her projects in progress, Sheila makes sure to only visit
sites when completely necessary. When she does need to be on site, there
are limited individuals present, they are all 6-10 feet from each
other, and always wearing a mask. Sheila’s new “office” has become her
patio, which allows for better social distancing when clients come for a
Sheila is pleased to see how municipalities are also getting creative
with how to handle their standard procedures. Permitting, inspections,
and walk-throughs look a little bit different these days. Sending
pictures of electrical wiring to the inspector or vacating the premises
to allow for a walkthrough are examples of their new methods to make
sure these projects get completed. “Seeing this flexibility” of all
parties involved has been great, Sheila relayed.
There are a lot of unknowns ahead, but Sheila is ready to persevere
and #StayTrue to her fellow small businesses, clients and beloved
community. One really amazing element to the pandemic, has been how her
old and new clients continue to check in with her to see how her family
and business is fairing. It reminds her of why she does the work she
does. When we are finally able to get back to a new normal, Sheila is
looking forward to people’s excitement being restored and clients having
friends and family to their homes again. Hopefully soon will those
homes host birthdays, cookouts and holidays, and Sheila can know she
contributed to creating a space for those gatherings to happen!
Read more Small Business Spotlights.