Creative Captain: Cyndi Fernandez Beltran On Leadership And Design Through Adversity

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Moss Design House’s design director believes that those in her field and industry are natural innovators, and are able to adapt to tough times.

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all business owners, Cyndi Fernandez Beltran is treading new waters when it
comes to operating during a worldwide pandemic. Instead of letting herself
sink, she found herself looking at her firm and brand, Moss Design House and
Moss Home, and figuring out what could be done to help the situation.

look at the pandemic as a catalyst for change,” Fernandez Beltran, who is Moss’
design director, says. “Business as I know it has changed 360 degrees, and I
had to forget or unlearn things I knew in the past to try to re-calibrate
myself to think of ways on how to navigate this change.”

Shifting focus

made up 65 to 70 percent of the brand’s business revenues. But because they
happen to be a multi-disciplinary firm, it allowed them to focus and tap into
other disciplines like interior design and retail.

were able to re-boot the company and see where the needs of the consumer lie
and focus on that,” she says. “This time allowed us to be as collaborative and
as creative as we can be to churn out the best business pivots.”

was important for Beltran to be transparent with her team. One of the ways she
did this was truthfully telling them where Moss Design House was and where she
thought the brand was heading. “Leaders in crisis must show trust, hope, and
optimism that leads to positive energy and purpose,” she says.

“Design is about solving everyday problems,” says Beltran

brain trust conducted a business continuity plan, discussed at a town-hall
meeting, and included different business scenarios. There, Beltran asked the
staff for their help, wanting to know what they could put on the table. The
changes, soon after, were instantaneous.

I learned was, there is nothing like a person driven with a new-found purpose,”
she says. “Their roles have changed since we created a game plan, and everyone’s
goal is to keep the company afloat, which seems to have everyone aligned,” she
says. This was a collective effort, she points out, something that came from her
team having a clear understanding of the situation and acknowledging that they
are part of the solution.

now, Beltran says her favorite services at her firm are those recently put up
during the pandemic, with the vision of bringing design into people’s homes.

includes Design on Demand, an online platform for those looking to refresh
their personal spaces without having to leave their home. Through this digital
resource, users can interact with their team on a per-hour basis, and ask for
guidance on design dilemmas or full-blown renovation projects.

Problem solving

and working in the design industry can be tough at times,” she says. “Designers
are increasingly perceived as problem solvers so it constantly pushes us to
keep innovating and making sure we get to discover new avenues to try to keep
things fresh and relevant during changing times.”

of the biggest challenges in Beltran’s profession is finding new ways to
innovate and be original. According to her, commercialism and increasing access
to mass-produced pieces make it challenging to sell artisan, bespoke, and
well-crafted pieces.

are now getting more impatient,” she says, frankly. Most people, she points
out, would rather purchase home items that they can get off-the-rack versus
quality custom design pieces that cost more and take longer to produce.

combat this, she works to change the idea held by many that design is
superficial: something that only serves aesthetics with little to no science or
material consciousness put to it. For Beltran, this is far from the truth.

is about solving everyday problems and having deep knowledge about how people
move, understanding material use and the technicality of building things with
little to almost no wastage is becoming more and more important,” she says.

full story on Cyndi Fernandez Beltran
can be found in Volume 1 of Lifestyle Asia 2021.

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