JHD Design School: Lesson 2, Interior Design Business Success

Welcome back to my self-imposed Design School where I am reviewing my design books, culling lessons from them, and applying them to my life and business. So far I’ve covered Kim Kuhteubl’s book Branding + Interior Design. If you missed it I blogged about it in two parts, part 1 and part 2.

This week I read Designing for Wealth, Four Keys for Interior Design Business Success. It’s a small book. And I didn’t finish it, on purpose. This book is written as a collaborative effort between Lloyd Princeton, Julia Molloy, David B. Mandell, Jason M. O’Dell, and Carole C. Foos. I basically only gained anything from Julia’s chapter to be honest. I know Lloyd Princeton to be extremely knowledgeable and I love listening to his talks, but as far as I can tell he only wrote the introduction.

Julia’s info goes into specifics about running a design firm, I’ll detail it below. The other chapters were about what legal structure to set your firm up as and insurance. It’s speaking at too high of a finance level for me, not having any background in finance, but also not info that’s relevant to me right now. So I’ll skip it here.

It all starts with you: the overworked, enigmatic, visionary, often reluctant, supposedly fearless leader. Without you, the dreams of humankind would fall to the ground without structure, and never be given a chance to fly!
— Julia Molloy

Effective Leadership

First is a review of effective leadership and delegation. I really appreciate that Julia got right to the point with actionable items. Many books and articles I read talk about business items as a concept but never get into specifics of how to apply them. For someone without a business background it’s crazy helpful to give examples of implementation. A side note to this is that I’m seeing how to speak with someone not familiar with your business in a way they understand. Very helpful takeaway in writing style.

  • Define the task. Get clear about what you want to get completed. At JHD we have an overall spreadsheet on Smartsheet that has every client and every task that needs to get done, any documents attached to the line item, who needs to do it, and the deadline. (If you don’t know about Smartsheet, check it out. It’s awesome.)

  • Figure out what is needed in order to accomplish the task. I mean, if you don’t know, then no one else will. It’s all about getting clear about what needs to get done. I have a new schedule for our organization. Monday morning I update the spreadsheet, then we review questions on our Tuesday team pow wow.

  • State the required results. This is a weakness of mine. I have a clear end goal in my head and often assume everyone else can picture the same thing. I need to get clear to my team about what the finished product will look like, what I expect from them exactly. If you can’t see the end it’s hard to get on board. And creative types aren’t very task oriented, we’re more goal oriented.

Defining company vision

The book goes into detail about the importance of describing your company’s place and identity within the market, as well as it’s ideal client, long term plan, and overall mission.

Here are Jamie House Design’s key characteristics:

  • Streamlined

  • Refined

  • Purposeful

  • Edited

  • Function first, then beauty

  • Planned

  • Nature inspired

  • Intelligent & knowledgeable

  • Steeped in history

  • Thoughtful

  • Individualized

  • Relaxed

  • Detailed

  • Comfort to the point of luxury

  • Unexpected

  • Lifestyle focused

  • Elegant

  • Subtle Edge

I also took the time to write down my take on JHD’s identity:

At Jamie House Design we value our client’s experience and our relationship with them above all else. Design is important, we live for design, but people (clients, vendors, colleagues) come first, then design.  

In the industry Jamie House Design is known for simplicity, sensitivity, privacy, a quiet professionalism, and a renowned commitment to bringing well designed homes and places of business to the forefront.

It is our goal to be recognized as a leader and often featured speaker within the global interior design industry.

Jamie House Design enables our clients to create a comfortable, functional, and beautiful home that exceeds their original expectations. We provide historical and architecture based design plans to fit our client’s personal and life styles. We always edit edit edit with a priority on uncomplicated thoughtful details. Jamie House Design’s homes and spaces embody a personal, relaxed, clean lined aesthetic. Each space is unique to our clients and their lives.

Jamie House Design consistently delivers our designs on time and within a reasonable budget while focused on a stress-free and enjoyable client experience. We work to resolve issues quickly and thoughtfully as they arise resulting in near seamless project experiences for our clients as demonstrated through our high rate of repeat clients.

I created a Pinterest board of images that all reflect an aspect of Jamie House Design brand.

I also got into purpose, our ideal client, and duties for each role in the firm. This book is helpful in getting everything you know about your company out on paper so your team also knows it. This is business techniques that creative professional for sure need to apply, but really any business owner. Identify what makes your company unique and provide a clear vision for moving forward with your team.

Next up in JHD Design School is Interior Design Master Class. I’ve read this one a couple of years ago after hearing the author speak at an event. It was great. I can’t wait to see what I take away from it this time.

Thanks for following along and please send me a note with any questions or comments!