During the first three years of her career, she turned to interior design, a process she describes as “effortless and fair”. And, luckily, one of his first big clients was someone who had already asked him for advice. “We collaborated and added hand-painted grasses to the door fronts, removed old wallpaper and created a southern French wash on the walls,” she recalls. “It turned into replacing his countertops, flooring and updating the family room. A year later, she called me and asked if I would work with her and her architect on her dream home that was in the process of being innovated. This is the project that launched me into the world of full service design. »
Sometimes a vision and an opinion are enough.
Seal the deal with social media
Katie Davis has always been the “token design friend” of her circle, but it wasn’t until she and her husband bought their own home that she realized she could harness her big eye in a prosperous career. The problem was that Davis had a law degree and no connection to the industry. So she harnessed the power of social media. “I posted a call to action on Facebook, letting family and friends know that I could help with design projects – bathroom renovations, nurseries, etc. [and the like],” she says. “That’s before I even started my business.”
After Davis had a few projects under her belt, she turned her Instagram feed into a “living portfolio.” She explains, “At that point, it wasn’t so much about building awareness with potential clients, but creating a moodboard of my work and showcasing my aesthetic so that potential clients knew who I was. It gave legitimacy to my business and gave me name recognition with a target audience.
Not only did her booming social media platform attract new customers, but it also helped her loosen her network and build chops by connecting with new vendors. “Recently we posted the work of a seller we ordered a few items from on Instagram; he reached out and asked about other projects we had and shared other things he had up his sleeve that we might be interested in,” she says. “Instagram really reproduces this intimacy between craftsman and designer.”
Do you dare to try a… dating app?
Dating apps like Hinge, Bumble and Tinder may have revolutionized modern dating, but for designer Kelly Martin, these platforms have helped her embark on bolder projects and a new demographic. “A friend of mine was telling me that ‘guy flats’ aren’t generally acceptable for bringing dates home,” she explains. “And that men would probably appreciate a designer’s eye to make them look more tasteful and sophisticated.”
So, with the help of his friend, Martin created a profile to attract new clients. To keep her presence strictly professional, she filled her profile with marketing materials. Although Martin admits that many of her suitors were more about dating than design, she said the tactic attracted some potential customers. “It was worth the ridicule for that,” she says.
Conjuring up a Craigslist listing
Craigslist is a great destination for used furniture and the occasional apartment listing these days. But 15 years ago, that’s how Dan Mazzarini got into residential design. “I was talking to a friend that I was helping with an apartment, and I think he said he had researched and posted designers on Craigslist,” he says. “When I got home, I looked around, and there were all these posts for people looking for weekend warrior-type designers. So I tried a few- ones!
Mazzarini was responding to advertisements looking for short-term projects – he says Commercial spaces influenced people’s desire for “quick fixes”, but the lack of modern technology made DIY more tricky and attracted customers along the way. “I helped these roommates who lived in Harlem reupholster chairs,” he recalled. “They were in awe of how making the right decisions and (a lot of) elbow grease totally changed their space. It was fun to work with them and their gratitude was sincere.
Besides getting clients, these small jobs taught Mazzarini important lessons like managing a tight budget or schedule and communicating with vendors. (Translation? Everything he needed to build his business, BHDM.) “My business has grown and evolved, but I still think there’s no better reward than a happy residential customer,” says -he.