Celebrating International Women’s Day: #InspireInclusion Through Conversations with Inspirational Women in Commercial Interiors – Mel Wetheridge

This International Women’s Day, Design Insider is proud to embrace the 2024 campaign theme: #InspireInclusion. We are delighted to present a series of interviews with some of the most inspirational women in the commercial interiors community—each playing a pivotal role in shaping the industry.

Inclusion is a pathway to innovation, creativity, and empowerment. When we inspire inclusion, we not only celebrate diversity but also harness the rich perspectives and ideas that drive our industry forward. This year, we’re highlighting the voices of Inspirational Women who aren’t just participating in the commercial interiors sector but are actively shaping its future to be more inclusive, vibrant, and dynamic.

Mel Wetheridge, Hospitality Business Development Manager at Boss Design and Lyndon, is one of our Inspirational Women. In our conversation, we delve into how Mel interprets #InspireInclusion within the context of her work and the broader commercial interiors sector. We explore her personal experiences, the success stories that have marked her journey, and the collective strides we can make toward a more inclusive industry. Moreover, we discover the women who have inspired her and how she, in turn, serves as a beacon of inspiration for others.

Join us as we celebrate Mel’s achievements, insights, and stories, and let’s continue to #InspireInclusion every day in every way.

Mel Wetheridge, Hospitality Business Development Manager at Boss Design and Lyndon

Please could you introduce yourself and your role?

My name is Mel Wetheridge, Hospitality Business Development Manager at Boss Design and Lyndon.

I joined the company in December 2022 to develop further our business within the hospitality sector. It’s certainly been an exciting and eventful year so far. With the re-launch of Lyndon to the industry and new products launches.

I began my commercial interiors career 24 years ago in 2000 when I entered the industry working for a British wallcovering manufacturer, developing key corporate accounts, before specialising in hospitality & leisure projects from 2005 onwards. Over the years I have been fortunate to work on some very exciting hotel projects and met many different wonderful people in the industry.

I enjoy the variety every day brings, from everything to problem solving, listening, learning constantly and the consultative nature of specification sales.

Boss Design are proud business members and sponsors of the NEWH UK. In January I joined the UK board as Membership Chair. We are all volunteers in our roles and outside of our day jobs work together to raise funds to provide scholarships and education opportunities within the hospitality industry by business networking.

How do you interpret #inspireinclusion and what needs to happen to achieve this within the commercial interiors sector?

I interpret inspire inclusion powerfully – to me it means everyone must be working together to ensure we are respecting, welcoming, including each other and that there is absolute equality for all women, particularly in the workplace regardless of race, age, gender, disability, or religion.

I feel there is still some way to go in commercial interiors sector particularly in manufacturing here in the UK. For example, Furniture Design is still and always has been historically male dominate.
This century there has been some incredible female furniture designers, one name that springs to mind immediately – is Florence Knoll. Who was one of the most iconic influential female furniture designers, architects, interior designers and businesswomen this century.

So, I do hope that moving forward more women will take aspiration from these iconic females and consider furniture design and manufacturing as their area of study and go on to a career in this field of work. Because this part of the industry really does need to be balanced more evenly.

Are there any success stories of inclusion you would like to highlight?

There is a great deal of inclusion in our workplace, and since joining the company, I have been impressed by the collaborative environment in the team, and empathetic leadership.

We value inclusion in the products we make too. Embarking on a creative journey in 2019 to pay homage to strong women of diverse backgrounds. By naming new furniture pieces after incredibly influential females. Such as Eartha Kitt, Rosa Parks, Paloma Picasso, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo.

But this is not just simply an exercise to give a new furniture design a name. It’s a step the team have taken much further by taking inspiration and influence from these women and what they stood for to create the design shape, form, and style of every piece.

While there is always more to be done area, it’s good to be part of an organisation that is rooted in equality in its culture and product design.

What does it feel like to be inspired by, and inspire, people around you?

During my career, I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by many people who have inspired me in many ways.

Early on in my career, I worked with a particular female colleague who compelled the whole team constantly to succeed through her fairness, wisdom, passion, and drive.

Today at Boss Design, I am inspired by the dedication of our team and our constant drive as a business to protect the environment through sustainable manufacturing and after life schemes. Striving every day to improve further our products materiality, production and how we operate as a company in the wider community and the social impact our actions have on the planet.

Being inspired by others gives us all confidence and motivation to be successful in whatever our chosen field may be, and it’s certainly a feeling I enjoy.

As to whether I am inspired by people around me, I am not sure…. But I do hope that in business and personally I inspire others in some way by trying to always be positive, fair, honest, strong, balanced, attentive and respectful.

Which inspirational women do you celebrate?

Today I want to celebrate the late Christine McVie as an incredible inspirational woman. Not only was she a groundbreaking singer, songwriter, musician and an integral part of one of my most favourite bands Fleetwood Mac.
She was an exceptionally strong women and with her closest friend Stevie Nicks. Christine and Stevie pathed the way for other women by setting a standard of equality for all female musicians, singers and songwriters in the 60s, 70s and beyond, to be respected as artists and contributors in the very male dominated music production industry at that time.

She had deep renown integrity, phenomenal talent, having written many of the most enduring hits the band had and despite heavily reported difficulties within the group. Those difficulties were turned to positives and inspired some of her best songs.

What an inspirational woman, and soulful rock performer she truly was!

Thank you for reading this conversation. Discover more empowering stories from Inspirational Women in commercial interiors by clicking HERE to continue our #InspireInclusion series.

Join us in celebrating and learning from these influential voices!


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
View all posts by Alys Bryan →