Welcome to our new segment: Ask Designers. In every issue, we address questions from interior designers and suppliers from around the globe. The answers will be shaped by our co-founders’ experiences in product and interior design, entrepreneurship, and management. If you’d like to submit a question, you can do so here.
The question today is: “How do I grow my interior design studio?”
Considering you have your own studio, let's start with a heavy dose of congratulations; that is an incredible achievement.
Now, onto the meat of the question. Starting and growing an interior design studio can be a challenging but rewarding journey. As an interior designer, you have a unique talent and passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces, but turning that talent into a successful business requires more than just great design. In this article, we’ll discuss nine strategies that can help you grow your interior design studio and take it to the next level.
Attend industry events and connect with other professionals in the field. This can help you make valuable connections and build relationships with potential clients and collaborators. By networking, you can learn about new opportunities, get referrals and build a community of industry professionals that you can rely on for support and advice. If you don’t know where to start, we have a designer-only community here.
Use a variety of marketing channels to promote your business, such as social media, email marketing and specialised online channels. Via social media, you can reach a wide variety of potential customers. This means showing off your work, your inspirations, and highlighting your services. If you’re into the social media idea, read this article for specific ideas to post. In a newsletter format, the objective is to deepen relationships with your existing clients and offer updates whenever necessary. Finally, platforms like Houzz allow you to market your studio directly to customers, so it might be worth checking out!
Building an online presence
Develop a strong online presence by creating a gorgeous website that represents your personal style. Your website is often the first point of contact between you and potential clients, so it’s essential to make a great first impression that reflects the aesthetics you admire. Make sure to optimise your website for search engines to make it easier for potential clients to find you. This is no easy feat, so check out WebFX’s top seven tips for inspiration. Your website goes hand in hand with your social media, so remember to standardise your style across the two of them.
Optimising your workflows
Give yourself more billable hours by limiting your administrative tasks. You can’t take more work and grow your business if you’re spending hours building schedules and sourcing products manually. Portaire can help you improve your processes by digitalising them and moving them online for you to share and collaborate with your clients, contractors and close team. If you’re interested in what we can do, feel free to sign up for free and we’ll talk about it in more detail with you via a personal video call.
Consider specialising in a specific niche, such as sustainable design or a certain type of interior, like commercial or residential. Specialising in a specific niche can help you stand out from the competition and attract clients who are looking for that specific type of service.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, so ask satisfied clients to refer their friends and family. For those word-of-mouth impressions to live on, ask your clients for a couple of sentences about their project with you. You’ll be able to use these for case studies and references later down the line.
Diversifying your services
Consider expanding your services to include other areas of design, such as product design, graphic design, or architectural design. You can attract new clients and increase your revenue streams by diversifying your services. The only caveat to this, is to ensure you’re in a position where the growth of services is feasible. Bogging down your team with extra work is not the way to work sustainably!
Collaborating with other professionals
Consider working with other professionals in the field, such as architects and builders, to offer a full range of services to clients. Collaborating with other professionals can help you offer a more comprehensive service and attract clients who are looking for a one-stop shop. Ahead of any business discussions, make sure to establish on paper and in legally-binding ways how this partnership will develop and work in practice.
Stay updated with the latest trends and styles in interior design to keep evolving your style and studio. You can do this by subscribing to specialised newsletters like ours, or expanding your palate via publications like Architectural Digest, museums in your area, or even vintage dossiers and advertisements. Whatever it is, the name of the game is evolution.
Overall, we’d like to say that setting up your own business and watching it grow can take many years. However, those who quit early never get to see the benefits! Make sure to keep persevering if you can – you’ll reap just what you sow.
Thank you so much for reading – we hope this article was useful to you! If you’d like to ask any other questions, you can submit it here.