Playing Interior Designer...

Viteri Style Management

Last week was a very busy and interesting week. We celebrated our very 1st year anniversary. (Yep, took the leap to name and brand what I love to do a year ago.) We finally updated and launched our shop page called Studio VSM. It benefits designers and our supporting charity, My Stuff Bags. My BlogTalkRadio show, "Live with Viteri Style", aired on 2/25 and was an instant hit with listeners. (You guys are awesome and I can't thank you enough!) But with this busy week came the interesting.

Viteri Style Management
Are you playing interior designer?
So here is what I mean by interesting. I loved the feedback I got from the radio show. There were some really special interior designers that contacted me to let me know they learned, laughed and loved all I had to say. Then there were some really "special" interior designers that made me question if they were just playing designer? I was surprise I was communicating with people that made me even ask this question 

Viteri Style Management
 I hope by now everyone knows me to be blunt, honest and most importantly sincere. I have the utmost respect and admiration for interior designers. I like to learn directly from the pros, so I make it a point to learn from the best designers in our industry. This past week made me think I should share my thoughts with designers that may not realize they appear to be playing interior designer. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to connect with people to learn more about them and their business. Some became clients and some just became time consuming Q&A's that lead to this blog post. So let's get real here on why I cut those conversations short.
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I keep my promises, so take notes.
It's my passion to work with interior designers and help them build a better business. When chatting with a few designers last week I notice some were just talking to me to pick my brain. I see time as a commodity, so yes I had no problem cutting those conversations short, but I did make a promise to answer a few questions via my next blog post. So here it is. I'll let you, the readers, imagine some of the questions I got base off of my personal answers.

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Hope you get my sense of humor, but these were my true answers.

"Pictures of your home should not be on your portfolio page. It should be a feature.

I get designers have to start somewhere. You and your home will always be the best client/project, but personally I don't think your residence should be included with your portfolio. Ever look at a cover of magazine that advertizes "Get the Inside Look of So and So's Pad"? How about just recently, interior designer Jamie Drake's NYC Apartment was featured (in video) on Architectural Digest. Start thinking your home is worth that! Feature it as if it was a layout in a magazine. Add those photos on your "About" page. If it was published or blogged about, put it on your press page with an "inside look" caption. Don't include it as part of your portfolio. You personal reflection of you and how you live should be highlighted in a deserving fashion. Everyone wants to know how a designers live and as I mentioned, your home will always be your best project.

"Shut the front door! You don't have a website?"

This would have to be a duh moment if I have to explain why. Use the above suggestion for one good reason, but also think of the obvious. Your in business to sell something. From your design services to products, your website is an online platform to expose to your clients and potential clients. Keep it updated at all times with every project you finish, every event you attend, every award you receive and most importantly press/testimonials you get. Clients admire designers that are in the loop and lets be honest, give them something to brag about.

"Seriously, you don't have a .com by now?"

If your business email ends with @gmail, @yahoo, @aol, @I'm too lazy or cheap to pay for a .com to show I am in business, close shop now. I hate to break it to you, but not having a .com screams to me I don't have it together. It costs little to nothing to have a .com these days. Google offers business solutions for just $50 a year that includes a .com email. Even my company that solely works with boutique design firms ensure that your email becomes .com if you were not when we started. Don't let people email you in anything other than .com. People will second guess.

"Why do you want to blog if your not selling something?"

This maybe a tough pill to swallow as it seems everyone has a blog, but I cannot stress the amount of time and energy that should be focus on building your business. A blog will not bring you business, unless you treat it as a platform to sell something and then take the enormous amount of time getting people to pay attention. Why not focus that energy on your social media to connect with others. It's faster and more effective. Have a Facebook business page and Twitter handle. Statistically speaking, people are more inclined to learn about you through Facebook first before heading to your website. Don't take my word for it, check out this post from my friend, Carl Dellatore, pro blogger himself. (Just click on his name and prepare.)

"When you are an entrepreneur it's because you are paving the path to become a philanthropist." 

This is a biggie for me. It speaks volumes about a designer and their firm. You don't have to show off pictures of you handing out soup at a soup kitchen, but you should make known you are helping others. Charity can be given in many ways, from money, time, product donations and attending events to show your support. It's a win win no matter which way you go about it. You should post events you are attending in support of a charity that speaks to you. You should make every effort to donate (funds, time or items) to a charity that is close to your heart. People will see you in a new light and embrace your business for it. I am a firm believer that once you make the decision to be an entrepreneur, it's because you are paving the path to becoming a philanthropist

Viteri Style Management
    My suggestions are just that, suggestions. They were answers to plenty of questions I received last week and they are backed by what I have experienced when working with the best of the best. I made a promise to explain my views, but I share them with pure love for our industry. Designers can easily visualize a space for a client, but can get easily blinded when it comes to their business. Don't be surprise when I say I love to hear from you. I do and I hope you share your comments. I also hope you value your business enough to consider the above. You will never appear to be playing interior designer, but fabulously showcasing you are one. 

    Barbara V. 

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