Designer and storyteller

Writer: Cathy Mo  | Editor: Vincent Lin  | From: Shenzhen Daily | Updated: 2019-11-18

Englishman David Macphee said he would like to be described as a storyteller rather than a designer or businessman when interviewed by Shenzhen Daily.

“When I first became an official interior designer I went to parties with my name cards and someone would ask me ‘So what do you do?’ I said ‘I am an interior designer.’ People would say ‘Oh, that’s nice’ and just walk away. And one day, somebody asked me the same question, and I answered ‘I am a storyteller.’ ‘Oh, that’s interesting! Do you write stories?’ ‘No, I tell stories about people’s lives. It’s the art of design.’ He became so interested that he gave me a few projects to do.”

Macphee said his job is “telling stories of your past, present, and what you would like in the future.”

David Macphee

Macphee came to Hong Kong 12 years ago and, in the same year, married his Chinese wife, a Jazz singer from Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

He started to work in Shenzhen as an interior architect for design companies, but the couple wanted to do something else. They wanted to grow and to be noticed. They registered Bydid Home International, a sourcing business, in Hong Kong. “because it’s easy for me to find products in England and ship them over to China,” he said. Currently, the couple runs five companies internationally, with one in Hong Kong, one in the United Kingdom, and three in Nanshan District, Shenzhen, which include an interior design company, an English preloved store and a Jazz club managed by the wife Maggie.

“My wife and I have a very nice partnership. I like to interfere with her business and she likes to interfere with mine,” the Englishman said with the typical British sense of humor.

Macphee is from the very southern seaside of England, and he rents two warehouses not far from where he used to live to outsource British furniture and antiques to his Shenzhen preloved store and British-style interior design company.

“A good designer doesn’t just design. He listens and understands his clients’ likes, wants and needs and turns them into reality.” Obviously, he has excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

What makes Macphee even more proud is that he is also a certified English butler and he believes he is one of the few in China at present.

When asked about his family, Macphee said it includes his wife, three cats, two dogs, two-and-a-half fishes and an injured bird, as both he and his wife love to pick up homeless and injured animals. He counts as his extended family the 20 employees working with him.