Stella Pozzi helps break football’s WAG barrier with thriving interior design business

As former Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd contemplates his post-game future, his wife Stella Pozzi and business partner Sashola Prestcote are thriving after setting up a different interior design business.

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“I’m not a footballer’s wife, she’s an interior designer’s husband!”

Stella Pozzi is as far from a footballer’s wife as possible.

During the pandemic last year, the 41-year-old Italian, who is married to former Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd, set up an interior design business unlike her best friend Sashola Prestcote.

Interiornet.co.uk connects owners or tenants wishing to revamp their house or apartment with interior designers capable of bringing their property to life for all budgets.

Business is booming with nearly 200 clients on their roster so far and 60 designers fully screened, based on the database of the two moms to call on. As of this writing, 54 other interior designers are going through the selection process.

But Stella and Sash are looking to expand with news of their success.

“We are really happy and positive about the response,” said Stella, born in Verona, Italy, and mother of 4-year-old Zar.

“We’ve had quite a few interior designers join us and a lot of projects have been submitted to our platform. We were a bit overwhelmed by the numbers.






Sashola Prestcote (left) and Stella Pozzi put their business savvy to the test… and thrive

“I know people tend to put all footballers’ wives in the same category. But I have friends who are wives of footballers who are lawyers and teachers.

“In Italy too, certainly with people I know, we don’t have all that curiosity around footballers’ wives. Unless they’re famous in their own right, nobody cares who they are. I don’t I’ve never even seen some of the wives. They don’t care.

“So maybe I never felt like I belonged in this world. Besides, I have my own brain. I’m pretty feisty and feisty and wanted to do my own thing.”






Stella has returned to the UK from Japan, where her husband Jay was more recently plying his trade.

Sash, 45, is the daughter of pioneer Louis Mahoney, one of the first black actors to appear regularly on British television.

Highly respected Louis died last year, aged 81, but during a 55-year career he appeared on some of television’s most beloved shows, including Dixon of Dock Green, Holby City, Doctor Who – in 1973, 1975 and 2007 – and Fawlty Towers.

Louis even had roles in big-screen movies, including Cry Freedom and Captain Phillips.

“He was one of the first black actors in the UK,” Sash said.

“He was also an anti-racism activist and the vice-president of [actor’s union] Equity. He has done so much for so many people for a long time.

“He really changed the landscape for black and ethnic minority actors in the UK.”







Louis Mahoney in a 2014 television appearance on the BBC’s Doctors program
(

Picture:

TV socket)


Sash, a mum-of-three who lives in north London, got into her work studying at the British Academy of Interior Design.

More comfortable returning to her business InteriorNet, she added, “We are not accepting any designers who apply to be on our platform. We check their background, previous work, social media and website.

“We want to make sure we’re promoting someone we can vouch for. People work hard and we want to respect that.

Interior design has always been considered for people on a high budget. You give someone your keys and a bunch of cash, let them do their thing and ‘Voila’ – but that’s just not true,” Sash said.

“Anyone can contact an interior designer and get help. It’s about making sure you match the right client with the right designer. It’s that simple.

“Most people who visit our site aren’t even familiar with interior design! So we’ve broken it down into its different parts. So, for example, a mood board for inspiration or a list of groceries, the kind of things an interior designer comes up with.

“The client submits his project on the site. The system then matches these project requirements with designers who actually say, “I’m happy to work within this budget”, “I’m happy to work online or face-to-face”, or “I’m happy to work in this domain or this area.’

“Once these details are entered, the client is presented with the options of designers willing to work with them and the client chooses one. It’s so easy.”






Jay Bothroyd, his wife Stella Pozzi and their son, Zar

The couple conducted their own survey last year to gauge the scale of their ambition and find out exactly what potential clients would expect from an interior designer.

“I found that yes, the majority of people would use a designer if they could afford it. Also, people were just scared because the perception is that when you hire a designer, you know where you’re going to start with fees, but you don’t know where you’ll end up.

“People also think it’s a massive service, but I could give you a mood board for £150. Or even less than that. When I started I did one for £30. It so it’s just about educating people that there’s something for every budget.

Stella added: “I found that the spectrum of people who would use an interior designer was not what I expected. I thought it would be between an income bracket of X and an age bracket of Y. But it wasn’t.

“We had responses from people who were still living at home and wanted their bedroom to work for them while they worked from home.

“So there is no particular subset.”






“Stella is not the wife of a footballer. Jay is the husband of an interior designer!

The couple met while walking their dogs 12 years ago. Their friendship was put on hold when Stella left England for Japan with husband Jay – who added J-League Hokkaido side Consadole Sapporo to the other 11 he played for.

“We still stayed in touch and reconnected during the lockdown,” she said. “Above the children and the dogs!” And we developed InteriorNet during the lockdown.

Sash joked: “Stella is not a footballer’s wife. Jay is an interior designer’s husband!

Sash, born and raised in North London, worked in sales before starting a family. But, like Stella, wanted to pursue her dream.

She said: “I have a background in IT, so for years I was in sales and an account manager for an IT company.

“But when I started a family, I left that behind and started renovating a house. I loved doing it and started a business to help people renovate their own homes.

“It gave me insight into builders and trades and customers and how important it is to get it right. Also how easy it is to make decisions that cost you money. money.

“That’s where project management came in. I fell in love with working on site with trades and getting things done. Forget the conference room, give me a spark and a plumber and I’ll make it!

To get in touch with Stella and Sash, visit InteriorNet.co.uk

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