Industry Insight: Marcie Incarico, owner of Mix Interiors
How do you run an events business during a pandemic? The owner of Mix Interiors tells Agua all…
Marcie, let’s start at the beginning. How did you come to own Mix Interiors?
I set up Out There Events back in 2001. We ran corporate events and lots of awards ceremonies in different sectors. I met the former owner of Mixology, Henry Pugh, in 2007 and helped him to launch the Mixology North Awards in Manchester, which thankfully was a storming success! Henry then awarded us the contract to run both Mixology Awards events in London and Manchester and he very quickly became one of my most favourite customers and quickly realised what a fantastic sector the interiors industry was. Unfortunately, Henry passed away following a short illness and his wife was looking to move the business on, approached me and I thought it would be a shame for the Mix brand to disappear so said “oh, what the hell” and we went for it. So in 2013, I bought Mix Media Ltd which includes the magazine Mix Interiors and the Mixology Awards.
Why did you choose to buy the business?
I felt confident that firstly the awards ceremonies had more potential for growth. When I picked them up, attendees at London’s event was around 700, and the north was around 500. In 2021, even in a part-pandemic year we attracted over 1,400 attendees in London. We scaled back the northern event to a 700-people capacity to be sensible between periods of Covid restrictions, and we not only achieved capacity but had a waiting list of 300. It confirmed my belief that, ‘if a publisher can become an events company, why can’t an events company be a publisher?’
It must have been an interesting two years for you, trying to run an publishing/events business during Covid-19 lockdowns?
I spent a lot of time walking around the parks near home contemplating whether we were going to get through it. I’m not a huge fan of digital events. While it would have been quite easy for us to flip some of what we do into digital events, it didn’t feel right for our business. And I don’t think it would have delivered the same value for our sponsors. We did continue to print our magazine throughout Covid-19. Was it backed up by advertisers the whole time? Not massively, but, some fantastically loyal clients stuck with us, and some bright marketers thought ‘You know what, this is the time when we still have to be in people’s faces,’ and of course they were absolutely right.
What do you see as the role of Mix Interiors, the magazine, then?
We’re there to inspire, to show people current and future trends, and to pose questions on all things interiors. Recently, for example, we’ve been having a big debate around human-centric design. Everyone thinks the solution to getting people back into workspaces post-pandemic is to throw a thousand amenities at the workforce and offer them free coffee or yoga. We’ve questioned that and asked ‘is that really working?’ We’re there to encourage healthy debate. That said, editorially, we’re also the good guys. We are the people who are there to share good news, big achievements within the industry, and to really showcase our sector at its best.
Are you optimistic about the sector’s prospects for the rest of 2022?
Now we seem to be out the other side of the pandemic, I think we’re in one of the most exciting times for commercial property that we’ll ever experience. The office has never been spoken about so commonly across all mainstream media, and hospitality’s had a huge shake-up. While a lot of businesses contemplate what their future looks like in real estate terms, we’ve found that these conversations are driving change. And change is good for our sector. Even if a big corporate goes from 50,000 sq ft to 20,000 sq ft, that probably comes with a refurb and that means a redesign and in turn new products.
So, what advice would you give to businesses on how to tackle the next couple of years?
Keep your nerve! Just keep doing what you do best. Listen to your customer. We don’t all have to throw out the rulebook we’ve been working to for the past 20 or 30 years. People are still people and spaces still need to do a job; a lot of the interiors trends we’re all talking about now were present pre-pandemic, lockdowns have just sped things up a little.
To explore Mix Interiors visit mixinteriors.com