Interview: Lucy Roberts
Many design agencies charge a small fortune, yet still knock out shoddy and uninspiring work. English entrepreneur Lucy Roberts came to Dubai from London in 2003 determined to be different, and set up her own design company, Plug. In her quest to change her industry, Lucy re-evaluated the approach that design companies take to their clients, and came up with a unique doctor-patient concept. Generally a business will approach Plug with a design need. Lucy will treat this company as a “patient”, and find a “cure” in the form of an eye-catching and exclusive design.
Lucy likes to be called the Chief Surgeon, and whether it’s website design, brand creation or marketing material that needs to be created, Plug will “diagnose” the company in question.
But however ‘”sick” a certain patient, however desperate a certain company may need a design makeover, Lucy is unlikely to get involved in a company she doesn’t like. She said, “I’m really not interested in working with dull, faceless corporate clients.” Instead, she likes small companies, adding, “We’re totally passionate about small businesses, quirky businesses, fun businesses. We want to patch them up, give them a sparkly injection of brilliance and send them away feeling like a million dollars.”
She is particularly passionate about helping women running boutique companies, as she feels they share a lot in common. She said, “My favourite clients are women who own their own businesses as we are like minded, I am always happy to meet women who come to us with their business ideas. Due to my networking I then love to connect people together in order to help promote their business: it’s like a little working women’s institute.”
You may well get a glimpse of Lucy’s personality from her quirky yet brilliant website www.plug-uae.com, and while clearly reliable she maintains a relaxed vibe at work. She said, “I love to have a laugh in the office, I hate being called the boss, call me anything you like but not the boss... I think of myself and my teams are all equal, we all bring something to the table. I could never work in an office where you have to be serious all the time and so much red tape, OK we are serious sometimes but creative people need to be in a happy fun environment to get “creative”. For me it wouldn’t be a good day if I didn’t hear A-Ha’s famous song The Sun Always Shines On TV at least twice during the day!”
Lucy also takes a huge amount of pride in her many success stories. She added, “Over recent years I am proud of the fact that many of my clients credit me and the Plug team for some of their own business success.”
Lucy's Top 5 Places in Dubai
The Flamingo Hotel
But it’s a little disappointing that they don’t have real flamingos.
Jebel Ali Hotel
They have a nice little Italian restaurant which after a meal, a stroll along the beach always gets my David feeling like we’ve fallen in love again!
The ABC Pet Shop
Has a great selection of pets and we bought our ferret, Churchill from here. It was love at first sight.
Bastikiya Area Bur Dubai
Has lovely outdoor cafes, no good in the summer but always nice to sit outside in the cooler months.
Has hills which you don’t often see in Dubai. You won’t exactly feel like Maria in The Sound Of Music but you can get your BBQ out and have a lovely lunch.