Articles, Blog

e-Design: The Online Interior Design Movement

Good morning everyone thank you so much for
coming and thank you to Jason Harris, The Design Network, your team and to Satya and
the entire team here at Surya for hosting our panel this morning if any of you don’t
know who we are I am one half of Design+Style my name is Rachel Moriarty and my cohost
I’m the other half, I am Dixie Willard. Absolutley, so I am going to introduce if I can get my phone
to cooperate I’m going to introduce our panelists first up is Kelli Ellis
Hello She is an interior designer and lifelong traveler,
represents the epitome of livable luxury, casual international style mixed with rock
star glam. I love that description. An accomplished interior designer, Certified
Life Coach and Design Psychology Coach, Kelli’s design work has a unique perspective, which
has been published in numerous national and international magazines. You’ve likely all seen Kelli as a featured
designer on both TLC and HGTV, and she proudly stars in her own show on The Design Network,
Design Therapy. Next we have the lovely Veronica Solomon, Veronica. Whoo! Right?! Veronica is an award-winning interior designer
whose work has been featured in numerous publications and national blogs. Veronica has been named one of The Top Ten
Emerging Designers To Watch by Black Interior Designers Network. She has created unique and memorable interiors
for a wide variety of residential, homebuilding and commercial clients over her 10 year career
as the CEO and Creative Director of Casa Vilora Interiors. Miss Sandra Funk. Sandra is the founder and principal designer of House
of Funk—I still love that name. An award-winning full-service and luxury online
interior design firm with offices in NY and NJ. House of Funk draws on over a decade in business
to create thoughtful homes with an emphasis on clean lines and soulful touches, all rooted
in tradition. Sandra’s work has been featured in numerous
publications, including Elle Decor, The Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Luxe Interiors +
Design, Dering Hall, and Design NJ. Shayla Copas. Shayla is one of the South’s most—sorry—
Shayla is one of the South’s most highly acclaimed luxury designers and tastemakers, has created
unique and innovative interiors for a wide array of residential and commercial clients
throughout her 20+ year career. Shayla’s design aesthetic has what she calls
a “Southern Glam” appeal with glitz, glam, pattern and COLOR as trademark traits. Her work has been featured nationally and
most recently, she is authoring an entertainment design book—y’all she was telling us about
this the other night, it sounds fabulous—and has a show, Southern Glam by The Design Network
which will be out later this year? And Albie I am totally going to ruin your
last name. It’s not mine, it’s my husband’s so
it’s okay. That’s the best response ever! Right?! So, Alberthe Buabeng? Yay! Her passion for decoding spaces is the culmination
of nearly a decade of retail visual merchandising and freelance marketing. Using her experience in space design and storytelling,
she launched a concierge shopping and online interior design service, in addition to a
curated, bi-monthly home decor subscription box, Decor Discovery. I love that idea. Yeah
With an exceptional eye for online re-designs and vignette styling, Albie works with busy
creatives and influencers all over the country through the power of online interior design. So welcome to all of you, welcome to all of
you we are so happy to have you here first we’re gonna start with a little question
for you all (audience) Yeah so we wanna know from the designers out
there how many people have either heard of online design or are doing currently online
design can we see by a show of hands perfect perfect so we just wanted to see how many
people were aware of the term of the process so
Is there anybody here who hadn’t heard about it until they found out about this panel. Oh good
Good good That’s awesome perfect perfect so let’s
start with Miss Kelli Ellis Oo alright
Perfect perfect so what do you call your edesign service
Online design am I on The mute button the mute button
Just kidding I’m muted I was so worried that was gonna happen to
me That is not the first time I’ve been muted
it’s okay I get muted a lot. Just online design I think it’s just so
clear and to the point I had a show about 15 years ago. 15 years ago, a webisode series and it was and way too early. It was just too early for anybody. Nobody was buying shoes online they were not
going to be doing interior design online. So, I just kept it because I started with
that so it was an easy thing for me. It’s one of the first things you see on
the website. I love how you refer your edesign as “mailbox
money” I’ve referred anything that you can do that
gives you ongoing income in your sleep, “mailbox money.” So, this is just one of those things, we can
talk about it all day long, but affiliate marketing, online design, things that you
can do and it’s residual and continual, mailbox money. Did you—so, you just came up with it before
any of the big platforms? Yeah, yeah, it was a very rough version of
what we see now with all of these ladies and their organized versions. I had webisodes that went along with it, I
had something called Kelli Kit which before they even had online, 3D space planning it
was actually a magnetic, hands on board. So people could do space planning, it was
almost like—okay, I’m going to date myself—anyone remember Colorforms? Okay. So it was like Colorforms where you have the
space plan, you could move things around and you could actually measure out your room and
put it on the little pieces of furniture and you’ve done that. There are still magnetic boards for people
who don’t—if you want to mess it around on your plans, on your current plans, right? It’s to scale. And so I wanted to create something so people
could do it at home. And they can also help themselves and I could
help them if they wanted further help. So it wasn’t as sophisticated as you’ve
all gotten with plans and the 3D renderings and you know it’s so easy. And online shopping, that wasn’t available
either. It wasn’t a thing. So, now of course it’s much easier. That’s awesome. Yes. So what do your deliverables look like? They’re gorgeous! Well of course, of course because we’re
digital it’s so much easier obviously if they’re already there on the platform. At first I was doing “I will send you…” “We’ll send you…” “We’ll ship you…” and I think that’s
great because we still like tangibles, as you do. People still like the magazines, they still
like the book, they still like to get away from the digital, but because we’re on that
same platform, I do everything digitally, I’m sure you do too. So the space plans, they’re in 3D renderings,
I use programs that—you want to talk about? Yeah! Okay, Roomstyler. Does anybody know Roomstyler? Does anybody use Roomstyler? Good. So, it’s one of my favorites. Yeah. Albie does and she uses Roomstyler like a
boss. Right. And the rendering that you can get are photo
quality, photo quality. No, it’s not just plump, it’s real. It’s so good. Looks just like a photo, looks like somebody
took a picture and did the room and everything and the learning curve is easy. Yeah. That’s key for me. I don’t know about you guys if you’re
all computer aided drafters as well but I’m not. So the deliverables are pretty great. Right? They’re clear, they’re crisp, they’re
clean. You give them the space plan, you show them
what it is, you show them the 3D. Give them a nice list of where they can buy,
what they can buy, where they can buy it, cause we know everyone is going to shop us
at some point. Right? So this is a very different platform than
our current model. Right? Where you’re thinking I’m going to have
a design client and we’re going walk it and I’m going to make my hourly or make
my flat fee—however you do it, different model. This is, we’re talking quantity with this
model. You’re talking numbers with this model. And this is something that—You see? I told you somebody muted me. Like you’re done sister. Time’s up. My microphone has a timer. Yeah, so—it does! Yeah, it doesn’t like me. I think the battery is dying. Alright, we’re going to win at this game. It’s something that we could deliver. Right? And they do then the heavy labor. But maybe some of you, and we’ll find out,
offer “or we do it for you.” “Or we can buy it for you.” And that’s where you have an opportunity
to make some more money as well. So you can just keep going, right? With your services. Okay, so when I started, I actually started
doing edesign myself in 2014 and I’m just cobbling stuff together. It was ridiculous. So, you started really early. What was your early deliverables? Like how did you–? Did you do an email? And, you know, how did you send them off? Yeah, yeah. Everything was done by email, in fact, I started
with another service, one of those “no names.” Yeah
“Shall not be named” groups and I was their celebrity designer and so they had different
price points for different designers on their website and I basically watched everything
they did. I saw how they did it, I saw what their deliverables
looked like and I was like okay, this is the system that I’m going to use because you
know, when you’re 1 of 40 designers on a website, it’s really difficult to get work. Right? Or you’re one of the most expensive designers
on the website, you were never going to get work. But you could see how easy it was and what
they were doing so, it wasn’t hard to replicate. So, I first—yeah, I was scrapping up together
things, making it look good. I preferred using a PowerPoint or a Keynote
and creating a deck, right? So I put things together in a deck or Keynote
and it’s so much easier. So it has the pictures from Roomstyler, it
has the space plans, it has the lists, it has everything they need in it, which is great. Email. Send it off. (inaudible)
Absolutely! Shayla. I’ll give Shayla the mic. I’m the next victim
You’re the next up You’re the next victim, we’ll see what
happens with this one. So, you do your edesign a little bit differently. Can you tell us about what your edesign offerings
are? So, we actually offer design in a book. Can y’all hear me? It’s on you just have to talk into it directly. It’s on. It’s on, speak up. Y’all can hear me now? Yes. Okay. So, we offer design in a book. But it is partly design in a book where we
send it to our clients but also it’s digital. So, we like that because our clients they
want to see. They want to see the fabrics, they want to
see the paint chips and then they connect with what we’re doing. And that is, we offer basically what you offer
Kelli, but we just send—do you send them something? We send them something just because that’s
the way our clients work and one of the reasons that we started working in edesign is because
it’s really a lead in for us, that’s the way it has worked for us. So sometimes we’ll get that $1500 fee and
then they’ll hire us and want us to do our home. It’s just amazing. Have you guys had that experience? So we’ll get that $1500 fee to do a little
bath and then they’ll come in and say oh we want you to do our living room like we
want you to come here to do it. So, that is the reason that we started and
that’s what we offer is design in a book. I love that. Did you have a platform that you created? Actually, yes. Mine is a little haphazard so we worked on
Wecora at first. Because we love Wecora, it’s very easy to
use, very simple platform. It’s not really a platform but it’s very
simple to put your ideas together and then you can work with your clients back and forth
and all that correspondence, there is a recording of that. So, if they don’t like something, they do
like something, there’s you know, that transaction and all of that in there and you can keep
going back to it, referring back to it. We used JotForm for our intake process just
because I believe in a very in depth intake process so I can get to know that client very
well. As much as I get to know a client, then I’m
going to see them in their home. It’s very important that they feel just
as special and like you take the project seriously because edesign is serious. Then we also we talk to them too I mean we
have many, many conversations through you know GoTo meetings, lots of GoTo meetings. Video conferences are amazing. They are. They are and there’s a process of about
4-6 weeks is about where we’re at with the process. That’s a nice turnaround. It’s aggressive. So I’m going to go over to Albie now while
we have the microphone down there. Here you go. And Albie is exclusively edesign. So, tell us a little bit about your process
and how you bring people on, the platform you use—what do you do? Can you guys here me? No. Talk loud. Hello. Can you hear me? Yeah
Okay Speak louder
Okay I have a soft voice so I’ll try Like you’re recording, just closer, close
to your mouth Is this better? Yes. My process is a lot of trial and error so,
like Kelli mentioned, I did initially start on another platform. So when I decided to go online I didn’t
know it was a thing, it was really just a result of my lifestyle. My husband is in the military, we move, and
I have a little girl and so I kind of pieced together some of what I liked and disliked. And now I feel like I’m at a really comfortable
place that works for myself and my clients. So, I do have a CRM that I use that handles
all of the backend administrative stuff so all of the invoicing, contracts, it’s not
design specific but I really needed a hub for just all invoice documents so I’m not
sifting through emails. And then everything else I keep it really
simple. I use Keynote for I want to say all of my
presentations. And then the stuff that I create, I use Roomstyler
for renderings. My floor plans I’ve gone back and forth
between two, just testing them out but simple like Icovia, has been one that’s been really
good and SmartDraw. And just simple floor plans so they can visualize
it. I put everything into Keynote and I send them
back but everything also gets uploaded in the CRM so they get that as a PDF if they
want to download it, go shopping with it. And I do have the option, similar to you but
that’s something they would buy additional if they wanted more tangible then I would
mail them a kit. So, I call it their designer beginner kit. So like swatches. So if it’s like a large deposit so if they
were getting something custom, paint chips, fabric, things like that that is free. Most of the clients they kind of need simple,
DIY type of things so my deliverables I kind of wanted to keep it really simple. Because I am a really big tech junky, but
my clients are not most of the time and I didn’t want to overwhelm them with portals
and all these kind of things. So, keynote makes their lives easier, they
know how to download and they go from there. But it took a lot of trial and error and getting
out of my own tech head basically. But you also got your subscription box service,
how does that tie in with your edesign services? Well initially I wanted a way to just kind
of get in their home but what was happening is the subscriber wasn’t necessarily the
client, that personality. So now it’s definitely shifted where they’re
a bit more aligned and the subscribers that I’m getting now are previous clients who
just kind of want to add on accents as they go along. So, it kind of just keeps them connected to
me after the fact as opposed to doing it in reverse where as like I get in their home
and then they hire me. Now it’s like I can just keep adding on
additional accents and décor pieces even if I’m not working with them from a design
point going forward. What’s in the box?! So, it’s funny when I started it, it was
really just things that I like. Yeah
And I thought I should make it more house to house specific. It’s still things that I like so it would
be a variation of like throw pillow covers Cool
Trinket dishes, first of all things that can fit in a 9”x9”x9” box, shipping’s
expensive. Yeah. But so throw pillow covers, trinket dishes,
bud vases, picture frames So fun! There’s a lot that can actually fit in a
9”x9”x9” box if you dig long enough for it
That is so great. And that has got to keep you top of mind. The other—
That’s the point. I didn’t want to like have too many things
in their home cause I do want them to have curated space so that’s why I didn’t make
it monthly as well. I don’t want every month they’re just
getting stuff from me Right
But at the same time when they want to refresh for a season and they’re just like, I don’t
know how to change this, they think they have to get rid of things. Don’t worry there’s a box showing up with
like 3-4 things and you’ll be fine. So great! I love that, I love that! Okay, I feel like we’ve neglected the two
of you a little bit. So, let me just turn this way. Let me just turn my mic on. All set? Yep! Alright! Miss Sandra, tell us about how you do edesign. Sure. Whoa! Mine’s got battery. So, the—our edesign actually came via turning
away, we have this great internal PR team that creates a lot of noise locally and we
have a ton of potential clients reach out to us that sometimes our client book is full
or we’re too expensive so we were turning a ton of potential clients away and eventually
we decided we wanted like, you know, another way to service all of these interested parties. And, so we created edesign out of that need
to have them be able to work with us at a lower price point. So, we fiddled around quite a bit with it
and fiddled around crazy models and what have you but right now we’re at $1500/room and
what we do–it’s luxury online design, and what we do is everything that we bring to
our full service people we just try to shrink it and modify it and distill it for our online. So we do use Wecora big intake process where
we take a ton of information from the potential clients coming in and we are 6 weeks from
having all of their—they have to give us pictures of the space, they have to give us
their Pinterest board, they have to give us the measurements. Once we have all of that information in that
very detailed intake form, we’re 6 weeks to delivery from that date and we still do
full CAD drawings cause I’m a control freak and I can’t give up that little detail and
but we not only say you should hang those three mirrors on that wall, but we tell you
exactly what height you want above the sofa, and how much dimension you want between them,
super in detail so, that’s our edesign. I love that. Let’s see here. So you, kind of like the others, just pulled
pieces in together to set up your own platform for edesign? Correct it was it felt we did a ton of research
we iterated a bunch I feel like we’ve got a really nice flow right now and that it’s
just about quantity and you know keeping that pipeline full. It’s a wonderful way for us to build relationships,
again grab those potential clients that can’t afford luxury, full-service design and also
it’s—we’re finding that it’s a great way—we’re having clients that we did their
kid’s bedroom when they were 5 and 8 and then they’re coming back when the kids are
17 to do the bedroom again. So it’s like a great way for a previous
client to do like a refresh with us and they know us so well that it works out well that
way. It’s just so perfect that way. So when—what do you send out with your deliverables? So we send an email with a link to Wecora
where they log in and they have their CAD floor plans, elevations, Olioboards for inspiration
images where you can collect them all together and then a link to each and every individual
item and all the details of exactly what finish, what fabric, paint chips, wall papers. We get super detailed we kind of have these
pre-determined like how to make a great bed that goes in each bedroom one. How to style a great coffee table, that goes
in living room one. How to accessorize a powder room so we really,
you know you do that once, you do it well and then you keep using that. So we have all these different templates that
we use but one thing that we don’t do is we don’t—it’s not a resend of another
bathroom, it’s literally like what our full-service would be. It’s pulled from scratch but then there
are all those little tips and tricks that we can always reuse. Those are so handy. They really are. And it’s just part of the process anyway,
right? Absolutely and when you know, same way you
do when you talk about care bags, when you talk about you know, all those little tips
and tricks, they can be universal. And everybody can use them
Everybody is important. Veronica. Yes. Is it on? Yeah! What does your edesign service look like? Okay, so for me, I am all about packaging
my design services and so I believe in the power of the buy now button so clients can
just go directly to my website and purchase a package, an edesign package. And it’s a lot of local clients, just like
Sandra’s where they want to work with me but they can’t afford the full-service fee
and so they basically I create everything—I use Olioboard to pull all of the different
pieces together. I also do like a spreadsheet—not a spreadsheet,
a presentation. A PowerPoint presentation and the shopping
links where they can go and just click on the shopping links to purchase each item. Everything is placed on a page on my website,
it’s a password protected page where clients and myself can access that page and that’s
where they go to see all of their deliverables and everything for the project. I also use Loom videos to kind of do a screen
share where I show them—walk them through the design process and all of the pieces and
how you should hang this, kinda like you do. And I also like to get very, very detailed
with it. But for me, I don’t want it to be, I don’t
want to spend the same hours as I would on full-service because it really isn’t. Mine start at $1900 so I am very aware of
the hours that I am going to put into it so it’s kind of like a shrunken down version
of the full-service. I’m just going to take a little side step
here, how many of you know about Loom videos? L-O-O-M videos? If you don’t know about it, they’re fabulous. They’re perfect for this because you can
literally walk your client through this is what you do with this piece cause I used to
type that stuff. It used to be the instruction sheets were
everything and oh my god, I was just taking way too much time. It’s so much easier to talk it through in
a video than try to think about how to phrase things so that they come across the right
way. Yes absolutely. For my edesign it’s really—I keep it very,
very structured. Set the boundaries because if you don’t,
you can get sucked into it and before you know it you’re spending like 100 hours on
this and so there’s a contract that they sign going in and it really outlines every
little detail of it this is what is covered, this is what you’re getting for it, this
is my responsibility, this is how long you have before you reach out to me so, I keep
it very structured so we’re on the same page and clients expectations are set up front. I love that. Okay one real quick question that I was just
thinking about, for our audience we all know about the design, the edesign options that
are out there that are kind of on a race to the bottom as far as pricing and I don’t
think we’ve heard anything similar to that in this whole panel. It’s still really good, really good design,
luxury quality, it’s just—it just brings down the fees just a little bit. Which is one of my favorite things. I definitely have price packaging (inaudible)
does it have a battery? Just well, and it’s more that there are
options I guess. That battery is dead
Okay. No, I am a numbers in this game so I definitely
have packages that start at $200 and I go up to $900. Because I have found that I know how long
it takes me to do certain tasks so depending on what people are asking me, because I would
have someone ask me they just wanted help to pick a paint color all the way to do a
design package for me. Mine is not just like I am doing a regular
design for you. It’s not that because I have people that
are not local to me that want to work with me on a lesser level. I have somebody who will watch a show on The
Design Network and then I’ll get an email and they’ll want me to work with them. Or they’ll watch an HGTV show and say I
would love for you to do my kitchen. So we have packages for starting levels rather
than just you know what do I paint my kitchen and then I’m charging them $900 for that? No. Or if it’s just an email answer, I don’t
want to do that. So I always lead them to a package because
it’s easier but I don’t—it’s not full scale. You’ll talk to me twice maybe for 30 minutes
beyond the intake, it’s very quick and all of the things that I offer are not custom
necessarily I’d rather send them to all of things that I’ve found that they can
buy online and it’s very DIY after that. Very DIY because what I’ve found is that
I’m not getting repeat business that they want to hire me to drive to them. I’m working with people that are across
the country and they just want that one room. And they would love to come back and we’ll
do multiple rooms for that same client but it’s not very hands on. And I do start lower because I need them to
understand what they’re going to get for that price. And so it creates that automatic boundary
already. You know if you’re going to spend $400 it’s
not going to be you and I talking to each other for a really long time. But I’m going to answer your questions that
you have and we’ll work from there and then work from that point up so it’s very specific. It’s funny you say that because I offer
work sessions, design work sessions that are just quick, it’s 2 hrs. Asking whatever you can in those 2 hrs. and
we’ll get it done so it’s great to bring that up because it doesn’t have to be a
full on room design it can just be something simple and easy that they desperately need
help with, they just can’t handle it on their own. Right, so there are lower price points but
it gets it done. That’s right
Okay, so we’re going to move along to if you don’t know Rachel and I for the Design+Style
podcast are all about visibility both in person and online we want designers to get out there
and get seen so they’ll make more money. So I want to ask everybody, how has edesign
increased your visibility? Let’s start with Sandra. It’s been great, I think it’s a wonderful
way for us again, like I said, it’s a wonderful way for us to capture that other market because
we’re interacting via the blog and our weekly design show and all of the things that we
do and all of our social media and so we’re making those connections and it’s allowing
us to have that potential, actual relationship with those clients and so I think for me it’s
a means to an end it allows us to spend all that time getting visible because it’s actually
something that I can sell in mass. Cause we really only need 9 full service clients
a year. So, what is all this ruckus about? I like the ruckus, truly, so it’s been great. My turn? Okay, so while I enjoy doing the luxury projects,
I really enjoy working with clients who, you know, they can’t necessarily afford to work
with me on a full-service basis and you know they reach out to me online, they follow me,
they know my work and so this is kind of my way of working with them on their level and
giving them their version of luxury in their homes so edesign has just been amazing to
reach out to people who normally can’t afford luxury interior design. Well, and I love it too because it’s faster. A lot faster
So when you, you know, you’ve got those big projects that take a year and a half? It’s fun to have some quick, easy things
in the middle just to give you inspiration for everything else. Yeah cause you get to work on those pretty
frequently. Mine take about 6 hours to complete and so
I get to pass through them very, very quickly and it’s easy money and you know, it’s—and
I get to build those relationships with these clients and like someone else mentioned, I
work with these clients on multiple projects in their homes. 4-5 rooms sometimes and so it’s just a way
to stay in their lives for a long time. And then they do happen to come back for bigger
projects when they’re at that point of their lives. Perfect. Miss Kelli
Yes. Well, I think the edesign is an extension
of what a lot of us are doing already. Right? Because you’ve got the shows, and the webisodes,
and you have all these different things so it’s just another way for people to be tangible. Like you feel like, I know you’ve had this,
I follow you on Instagram. How many of you have heard that? When you run into people who know who you
are but you don’t really know them so it’s so nice to be able to extend yourself a little
further to your client. Or you can help someone just choose a paint
color or you can help them pick the best sofa and you feel like you’re still doing great
work but it doesn’t—it’s not a time consuming thing. You’re able to lead them to you know FLS
or to go to your different websites or if you have your own licensing deals you can
help them, if they want to know where to buy your stuff, that’s kind of fun. But it’s just one step further from what
we’ve all established and really worked hard on. Is establishing ourselves already online because
you have to be online, right? And we know that so we spend so much time,
it’s just you know marketing ourselves in a different way but you know also being able
to touch people in a different way. It has been amazing for my business because
of that connection and I want to add onto what Kelli said about trying to start lower. We start at $1500 for our edesign but we have
design on a retainer which is very similar where you pay me per hour and then they buy
a retainer of hours and they can reach out to me, we can have our GoTo meetings, and
we can pick out that paint color because I think that’s important. You want to be approachable. You want to make sure that you have an approachable
level that everyone feels like they can attain so that they can build with you. Right
Can ya’ll hear me? Yes! This little microphone is just kinda going
crazy. For me online design is my visibility because
I otherwise don’t leave my house and it also—it’s given me a ton of additional
content so my projects can go from being just pictures on Instagram and things like that
but I can turn them into full on shopping blog posts, videos on YouTube, and just from
one project consultation it can turn into a whole month’s worth of content. So, really for me that online design has become
my entire online visibility and it also allows people to kind of visualize what they assume
is unattainable luxury interior design in a way that’s like oh! That’s real life. That’s from—it may be a store that they
recognize, or remind them of a room that they’ve been struggling with in their new home so
it’s really just given me a base in the online design pretty much
And here you are. You are visible
It’s turned into in person visibility. But I loved that you mentioned it, for you
it’s about the flexibility because when you have small children I—military wife. Military brat, military wife all my life. Actually my husband is retired Air Force still
a military wife essentially. And when you’re moving around a lot it’s
really, really hard and that is actually what—why I did edesign originally was because we were
moving around and I wanted to be there for my kids and it’s just nice to have options. When my husband went Active Duty, I wasn’t
going to look for a job. My daughter was 6 months at the time and then
we moved from New York to Washington and so long as I had WIFI, I could work. And it just made the most sense that I thought
I had to be in person to reach people and I realized also that I have clients that may
not be as tech savvy but they love the tech. So, they like knowing, they’re checking
their phone for their design or whatever it is and they can still feel in the know. Okay one last question and then we’re going
to open it up to the audience, so what we’re going to ask you is, what was the biggest
obstacle that you faced in starting edesign? Since Albie, you have the microphone, we’ll
start with you. Understanding how it showed up to other people,
then educate them. So, I was still again, not aware that it was
a thing and starting off with big box companies, they have their own model. So, once I decided to step away from that,
then really educating my clients on how this isn’t a quick fix, it’s not a cheap design,
it’s not we’re just going to slap something together and anybody can do it. I mean, maybe, but not really. So just really kind of like—that education
of the value of what they were getting even though I wasn’t in their living room with
them that it was still a valuable, luxury service because with that it came with explaining
my pricing. So you see this big box, you see these small
numbers, you’re like well why would I give you 3x as much. So having those conversations and really building
that connection especially from the other side of the screen that was probably the biggest
hurdle. As it got more popular I would say it was
something that was not as difficult as when I started. I agree with you. Everything you said is where some of our obstacles
were. But, for me I’m not as tech savvy as most
so getting all those tech programs together and figuring out what we were going to use
I think was my biggest obstacle. And when we did it’s all run very well. I think the communication is so important. That communication with a client so that they
really do what edesign is about and setting the boundaries. I think the biggest obstacle for me would
be understanding the mindset of someone who would be reaching out to a designer online. So the sales part, right? Who is that client? Because generally it’s not the client who’s
going to hire you. Right? Sometimes they do but there’s still somebody
who is very savvy, they know what they love, they have Pinterest boards like your clients
now. Right? You’re like why didn’t you put this together? You’ve pretty much done the work. Cause they are so savvy. They shop. They know where things are, they know brand
names, even the manufacturers. Like they know everything. So it was bridging the gap between who is
that person out there so that I can understand how to market to them. So I have my pricing structure, almost nobody
chooses the low end and that’s intentional. Because that seems like oh that’s the cheaper
one, I won’t have much time with her. Nobody get that one. Then you have the middle one, the middle section,
which is the $400 and they still don’t do that. Because they see that there’s more value
in the larger package, there’s more face time. I call myself a pocket designer because I
FaceTime so much. They’re like okay, we want to show you this
and so I’m actually, I’m thinking we just make that a whole other thing. That is just a FaceTime program or Zooming,
right? With each other. And so learning the psychology of who that
client is, is the best tool you could possible do. Making sure that you have, you create what
is called an avatar. So who is your client? Who is your target client and who do you want
to help? Then work backwards and understand what it
is that person is going to want to see, what the deliverables will be, where they like
to shop, where they want to shop. Do they shop online? All of those things. Because you can send out as many package pieces
as you want you can set yourself up and then nobody comes. So if you understand who you are marketing
to, then you’re going to be able to get your clients a lot easier. And that’s something that is really important
For me the biggest obstacle was the pricing compared to the amount of time that I was
going to put into it and making sure that it’s profitable for me. Cause while I believe that everyone should
have the design, I also believe I should make money doing it. So if I’m going to be spending 20 hours
making something that I’m only making $500 on. So that was something I had to finesse and
figure out the most efficient ways to put it all together and still be profitable on
it. I have to agree with that I think the pricing
of a service like this I think we’re in our first year of our online design program
so we expect as efficiency to do this increase as we do it over and over again. In addition we’re currently exploring affiliate
link backs and different programs because we really do need to layer that in. I don’t know what we are doing because we
are spending 25-40 hrs per room obsessing over the details. So we do need to layer it there to make this
work. Right now my dream was to have this little
design bubble where they give me all the input and I get to run off into my corner and geek
out on the design and the details and then hand it back. And then just like wipe my hands and be like
next! That is really special to me. I want it to be not you know location specific
so that I can take this show on the road and travel, you know, I can semi retire and still
be doing this. For me it’s a very long term trajectory
of what I see this bringing to me right now it’s not our most profitable piece, it’s
more just still working that detail out. Gotta be a little more efficient. Alright so I want to hear from you all what
questions you have. My biggest question would be as you’re sourcing
for these clients and sending them their edesign Have some other—yeah and hold it
As you’re sourcing for these clients and sending them an edesign package, are you using
retail sources, are you doing trade sources, where are you finding these things or are
you saying go find a purple comforter and put it on your, you know. I’m curious as to how you handle that for
your clients. Do you want to go ahead? Okay, it’s retail sources for the most part. I also have an online store on my website
so I do put links in their shopping list to my store so I’m still sourcing from trade
vendors and then making the profit on that. Not—maybe 20% of each project or something
like that but it’s usually retail sources and I usually kinda keep the same vendors. That’s why it’s so efficient for me cause
I pull from the same vendors. I always do and so I know their products pretty
well. Anyone else? We’re on the same page
We’ve got time for just a couple more questions because we have—I know you’re all busy! I also have a question about when you source
things for you clients. Say it comes from a retailer, manufacturer,
whatever do you ever have issues with the clients receiving it and saying this is very
different in person, I don’t like it? Like does your language in your contract protect
that or like how far do you go to making sure that they love this edesign when it’s in
person? It’s the same thing as when you’re working
with a client now, right? Because we know there’s so many unless of
course you live down the street from Furnitureland South but we don’t have brick and mortars
like that down the street with a million square feet of product they can sit and touch, right? So again, that’s really why you have to
figure out who that person is because they’re probably online shoppers already. Right? So bridging the gap between that person who
has to sit and touch versus the person who’s totally fine buying from a catalog. And we still encounter that now with our high
end, luxury pieces. Absolutely
I can only do so much. I can send you a swatch, I can send you a
piece of fabric. But you know if you’re sourcing and you’re
putting something together or you send them something they can physically touch there’s
only so much you can do. Right? Besides whittle it from soap and I mean what
else do you want me to do? Or I can have you all come to market with
me and walk around with my clients twice a year. Right? Maybe we do that. So there always is a leap of faith that they
have to take with you just like your regular clients. It does happen. I am—I swear this is not a giant bluff but
when I do have large rooms that I need things ordered Furnitureland South has been a great
source for me and I’m in California. But I know that if I can get everything delivered
from one source, you bet I’m going to do that. Right? Cause I can save them on delivery. Or if I’m picking things from different
areas or different websites, I know the return policies. Right? Knowing return policies and you don’t have
to but yes you have to work those into your contracts. And let them know, warning! But it’s just like every other design job
you do. It’s the same issues. Generally that online shopper is pretty good. Right? They know that they can return something. They’re also the people buying shoes online
and clothes online and they’re good. So that’s why you want to market to those
people. Any more questions? Yes. I wanted to ask about revisions. Do you provide revisions or reselection or
do you provide multiple options from the get go? We do allow revisions. We allow a couple revisions and I think that’s
been very helpful again that line of communication is very important. We usually don’t have to make very many
because of our intake process being so in depth and also those GoTo meetings are very
helpful where we don’t end up in that position very often but we do allow it. Same. After the initial intake I do a video with
them to really make sure that I’m honing in on what they want and even when I’m presenting—the
revisions, I’ve found when I’ve had a lot of them was because I was giving them
a lot of options. So if I kind of hone it in and tweak it myself
and they’re only seeing two versions or three versions or something, they almost always
go for the one I want them to go with. Is that because you don’t show them the
other one too long? Yeah. This one or this one? THIS one?? But I try to—I don’t want to overwhelm
them now if there is a circumstance where they’re like everything like for whatever
reason didn’t work I do have it in my contract that they have revision options, but they
still need to stay within the timeline of the project so we’re not here three months
later still figuring out a nursery. Now Rachel and I would love to show you a
little something that we’ve been working on edesign wise. We’ve been working with The Design Network
to develop their new edesign platform and we just want to show you a few features. It’s all new. The people come in and they have the option
of taking a style quiz which always makes them happy. How many of your clients love taking style
quizzes? Yeah
But they don’t have to. So once it’s—they go through all of the
options it narrows it down and it gives them—here’s what basically you are, would you like to
see designers who specializes in this area? And it shows some options
Oh look at that! Whoo! And so they can go view their work, just go
ahead and hire them. They have different price points, different
packages. And the designers price their own, that was
very important to us that the designers price their own so that you’re not locked into
a company that’s just trying to get, you know a $50 whole house design. And there’s a whole dashboard for them to
use. So there are questions built into this for
the clients to answer. There’s a questionnaire, we have detailed
instructions for doing room measurements, taking photos of spaces and adding inspiration
photos. And then you go to presenting them, kind of
like what Albie was just saying having a couple of options. Do you like concept 1 or concept 2? There is a place for communication because
we all know how key communication is. And then their final deliverables show up. So they get the design concept, a floorplan,
you can add some additional deliverables. There are a few things that every single one
is going to have. Every single one is going to have a floor
plan, every single one is going to have a shopping list. But you can add things like 3D room rendering,
style tips which Sandra spoke to earlier and a design bag, here’s how you implement it. And you can also do—this is Rachel’s and
my favorite part, you can do a video like we mentioned. You walk them through. You say okay, this is what goes where, this
is why I chose this particular thing for you. And then of course the shopping list so that’s
a good example of the shopping list right there. And they just click through. What I love about this is you don’t have
to worry about like Kelli mentioned it, you don’t have to worry about finding a ton
of different sources, it’s all one thing. They just click, click, click, click, click
add it and they get all of it delivered to them at one time. And you get a commission so it’s basically
affiliate sales. Right. Mailbox money! That it? Okay! I think that’s it for right now, we are
happy to answer some specific questions after we’re done. We’ll stay here for a few minutes so thank
you all so much for coming and we really appreciate you

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