Reflections on a New Year

It’s only the first days of the new year and even though we knew this day would come, we were totally ill-prepared.

We just aren’t those people that start thinking and planning for the new year before it’s actually here. Meaning, as far as new year resolutions are concerned, we’ve got nothing.

New Year
Family fun on New Year’s Eve 2019

Good news though.

It seems the notion of making resolutions is now passé. People are more into vision boards (love them!), goal setting (good idea), and manifesting (cool).

That said, we do like to do a bit of reflecting in order to move forward and set goals/resolutions, or “whatever” for the coming year.

So let’s talk business

For our business, we had some very positive breakthroughs last year that we will continue into the new year. Maybe some of these things we did will help YOU.

The first HUGE breakthrough was changing the way we do consults. We offered free consults. There were growing conversations around charging for consults, but we never really felt comfortable to make this change. Then finally one day last year during one our business coaching meetings, after hearing over and over, “don’t give it away for free”, we tried it.

And…OMG! did it feel good.

And not just because of the money. In the free consult model, sure! it sounds good to get something for free. Yet really nothing was exchanged, or at least as designers, we withheld giving away any intellectual property during this “consultation” period. It was really an intake.

You, the client, would let us know what you were seeking and we would ask clarifying questions to get an idea of your problem and what you saw as solutions or at least your dream of the solution. Usually, clients were not all that prepared for this meeting and it was rather difficult to not offer ideas to get the conversation going and help clients with this meeting. Oftentimes many of the ideas were *just enough* that clients could move forward on their own.

For example, we had a client who wanted to refresh their kitchen, but didn’t know what could be done. During the conversation, our “get to know each other” and “get comfortable with what they were seeking in their space” time, many ideas were discussed. We were thanked profusely, yet we were not hired because they felt they had enough from this initial meeting to move forward. Honestly, we get it. We would probably be one of those consults.

And yes, we could have withheld all of that…but why?

It is so hard to get to know someone, and their aesthetic by withholding information. The problem wasn’t that they felt our ideas were great and that they could manage them on their own, it was that we were giving them away for free.

And you know what? We no longer went on consults with clients that were just “kicking the tires”, you know the…”it’s free! What the heck! Let’s see what interior design is all about!” client. Now, we only had serious clients.

Novel idea, right?

A game changer. We walk into a space, ready to work.

Anything else? Any other changes?

Another change we made, along this same idea of charging for consults, was adding other options besides the traditional full service interior design.

To be frank, full service interior design is not always fulfilling for both designers AND the client. Much of our time and your money is spent not actually designing and/or decorating, but on very necessary, menial tasks to get the project done. For example, designers drive around A LOT. Wait for a deliveries. Pick things up. We bring things back. We check on the status of things. This is not very sexy design work, but they must get done and the customer does get a bill. Yet almost always, there is a point where most clients do see the value of us doing those things and a discussion about these charges happens.

No one likes to haggle over an invoice for “designer time” waiting for a sofa delivery. They just want the sofa to be there and look great. And honestly, thats what we want too.

So, now we have a “Designer for a Day” option for clients that want to reduce those project management costs and be more hands-on using our design expertise.

It’s been a win-win for both us and our clients.

We love this service, and you know what? YOU do too. It has proved to be not just about budget either. Some clients really do want to participate in the design of their space but they just want some expert advice from time to time. It’s been one of our favorite ways to work with clients.

Now, we still do full service but only on a very limited basis and only for those that recognize the value of a design fee and a project management fee. It requires a budget and timeline that realistically allows for us to do everything from soup to nuts.

What else? What’s new for 2020?

Moving forward, we want to do more in this same vein of helping and providing interior design expertise to clients that recognize how important their surroundings are to leading a better life but just want a bit of a push or assistance to achieving this goal. Or just getting together with folks that love to explore beautiful surroundings. We love to chat about design. So let’s do more of that in 2020!

To this, we did a few workshops at the end of last year and they were super exciting for us and those that attended. We hope to do more and we have some other ideas percolating in our heads. Design travel anyone?

As far as concrete goals or things we want to manifest this new year, here is just a quick little list that just popped into our heads:

  • Make enough money that we … NEVER feel bad about having a fridge stocked exclusively with Topo Chico, or ever have to think about not having our house cleaned professionally, can fly first class, can travel somewhere new once a month (or become travel bloggers and get paid to stay at boutique hotels around the world), can hire a plant-based chef to make our meals (or at least bring byCHLOE to our town for easy plant based fast food).
  • Stop apologizing…just say “Thank you”
  • Travel to San Miguel de Allende and take Erica Reitman out to lunch, after we all go to her spa and indulge in the lavender scented towels.
  • Attend Pencil and Paper Creative Camp. Wait…we did that…twice! Whatever, we need to spend more time with Gen Sohr!
  • Take our thrifting on the road…you asked, we are going to do it!
  • Nespresso…we would love your sponsorship!
  • Let’s collab with Buru!
  • Bring back hooked rug pillows..we’re totally embracing Granny Chic!
  • Never do laundry again
  • Give credit…ALWAYS
  • Write a children’s book
  • Plan a meet up with our Creative Camp gals: Elizabeth Chadwick! Natalie Ariz! We are talking to you!
  • Create an online design course
  • Wrangle another moose out of our pool…just kidding. We NEVER want that to happen…again!
  • Become the next HGTV stars!
  • Go back to a time where we stop worrying about: What has the President done now?
  • This one should probably be at the top of the list because we have lived with a mostly gutted kitchen for most of the year, we will finish our own kitchen. (that’s really going to happen, the cobblers kids have been without shoes way too long).

That’s just a few of our ideas…we will be adding to this list, or taking things away because that’s the best thing about this, it’s not permanent. We are constantly changing and reaching for new things. Happy New Year. And thank you for your continued support, it’s always amazing and fabulous when someone comes up to us and says “I know you. You are Impeccable Nest. I follow you.”

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