JHD Design School: Lesson 1, Visibility Pt II

It’s taken me considerably longer to get this book completed and this post up than I anticipated. I’m taking stock and noting that I need to follow my syllabus like I am in actual Design School. Right now it’s a when I have the mind space type thing. And honestly with running a business, living in a country away from our support network, having a toddler, and trying to enjoy myself I don’t end up with a lot of mind space left at the end of the day. That’s resulted in me reading but not taking notes. Then taking too long to go back and write notes. Not a stellar process. So now that I see it and acknowledge it I can fix it.

So here’s the finish of what I’ve learned from Kim Kuhteubl’s book Branding + Interior Design.

What’s Impacting Me Right Now:

Clients that fit.
This is a big thing to learn when a designer is first out on their own. It’s also something that I think a lot of clients just don’t understand. We’re not all a personality match. And working with an interior designer requires a personality match. At least in residential design. For instance, I’ve had client’s come to me wanting a style completely different than I have in my portfolio, but it works because we get along. Our styles of communication fits. There’s trust. I mean I can design any style and it’ll be great, but only if you trust me. There has to be trust. Without trust no relationship works. Same with your hairdresser. If you’re constantly telling them how to cut your hair it’s not going to work out as well as if you were to let them be the expert. Let the people you hire be the experts and you do your expertise.

Every woman in America thinks she is a born interior decorator. They all say, ‘I want to give you complete freedom but...’ My whole life has been one long battle against those ‘buts’.
— Billy Baldwin

What this discussion reiterates for me is my decision to be selective about who I’m willing to work with is exactly right. Since becoming a mom my time is more precious. I have to love the project, client, or potential or it’s just not worth time away from my family. Trusting that means the financial aspects work themselves out without worry.
In the beginning of my career I took clients and projects that weren’t a good fit. Rarely did that work out to a completed project that everyone was happy with. And that’s no good for anyone involved. I want my client’s to love their homes and feel good about the investment they’ve made. And I want to feel like my design has made an impact on their lives. It has to be win win.

Tips for visibility for Interior Designers:

  • Select a name for your firm with the future in mind. Do you anticipate selling the company? Is your domain name available?

  • In every decision and sentence you write consider your ideal client. Speak to them in all of your branding.

  • Everytime you post on social media speak to your ideal client. And post often to your prefered social media platform.

  • Be yourself above all else. Your people will find you if you’re being “yourself” out in the universe.

Reading Kim’s interviews with Barbara Barry & Rose Tarlow was a special highlight for me. I’ve followed both of them my entire career. I’ve always looked up to their ability to know their style and remain true to it. Neither interview disappoints as I find so often happens when you read about someone you’ve long admired.
I appreciated reading about how their companies evolved organically. How they did what they loved, took a couple chances, and then their career seemed to guide them. In a world filled with articles on planning, productivity, morning routines, etc etc I find it refreshing to let all of that control go and just take it one step at a time.

Next in JHD Design School is Designing for Wealth, Four Keys for Interior Design Business Success. This is a book I bought at Bold Summit several years ago. I can’t find it for sale anywhere online, which is a shame. It’s fairly short so I anticipate the post for this book to be towards the end of this week.

Thanks for following along with JHD Design School.