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Interior Design Business Expert Julia A. Molloy

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3 Part Formula for Increased Profits in Your Interior Design Business - Part One

Hi there! I hope you are well. I want to focus on finance today. There has been a lot of movement in the industry, especially as it pertains to billing models and profit. We all want to make and keep more money.  But how do we do that?  How do you know where you’re making money and where you’re losing it?  These are the tough questions that Principal Interior Designers must face every day. Ultimately you’ve got figure out the formula for becoming as profitable as possible. There are 3 components to a healthier bottom line; efficiency, financial awareness and a high revenue to man hour ratio. Mastering these components is the winning formula for financial success.

Julia Molloy of Molloy Management Group discusses profit

Just because your revenue is up, does not mean that your profit is up.

The First Component is Efficiency

We’ll start with the most elusive of the three components, efficiency. In this service business, efficiency IS money.

In fact, efficiency or lack thereof, is the number one silent killer of profit. The first rule of efficiency is; do more with what you’ve got!  First, identify areas you need to tighten up efficiency. In which of the following areas are you losing money?

Top 5 sources of inefficiency and a weak bottom line:

Inadequate structure:  Without the proper systems and processes, workflow is disjointed and efforts are not optimized.  Every team member needs to know what needs to get done and who is responsible for it.  The average poorly structured, 3 person firm spends about $18,000 in extra payroll and over $20,000 in opportunity costs each year due to inappropriate tools, roles and task assignments.

Disorganization:  Without a place to centralize information it is difficult to coordinate and quickly find important information when and where you need it. The average 3 person interior design firm wastes over $4,500 a year in extra payroll costs just looking for things!

Poor delegation: Leverage your time; dedicate it to activities that truly require YOUR attention.  Spend your billable hours on billable tasks or other revenue generating activity. Having better systems will facilitate you being able to delegate and get quality and timely results from your team members or contractors. Developing your ability to perform well through other people will increase capacity and productivity which translates to a stronger bottom line.

Interruptions: Strive for prolonged periods of high concentration.  This is the most productive state. Every time you and your team) get interrupted you lose a few minutes of productive time. The start and stop mentality is an epidemic in this industry and it costs the average inefficient 3 person firm over $10,000 in extra payroll every year!

Firefighting:  Time is wasted fixing things, repeating efforts or redoing something.  These disruptions redirect time and resources and indicate that you do not have adequate control of your processes. Proactive 3 person interior design firms save an average of 30,000 a year in actual payroll costs over firms that are in reactive mode.

This is all cash that could flow straight to your bottom line!

Molloy Management Group shares profit and efficiency link

Your efficiency is directly proportionate to your profit. The first step is to identify your money leaks.

Keys to Efficiency

  • Proper organizational structure: roles and responsibilities, even if it’s just you and a part timer or two
  • Centralized information that streamlines processes. We strongly recommend Studio Webware for this. See www.studiowebware.com
  • Strong delegation skills and a weekly team sync meeting
  • Appropriate technology choices for your firm
  • Simple to use, easy to maintain systems, tools and methods
  • Well-structured and documented workflows
  • Eliminate redundancies and duplicated efforts

Having these foundational elements will facilitate the next two components falling right into place.

Frank Mastronuzzi of Molloy Management Group is an interior design finance expert

Frank Mastronuzzi of Molloy Management Group is the premier interior design finance and strategy expert. He will provide clarity and put you on the track to unbound success.
(He’s also sweet and incredibly cool!)

If you are looking for a financial review and guidance for your firm, there has been no better time to receive it.  We just brought on Frank Mastronuzzi, former CFO of Michael Smith, Inc. and he is providing one on one review, guidance and budgeting for our clients!  He can tell you exactly where you can increase profits and give you a clear financial path, and keep you on track every quarter.  The Financial Review and Guidance program is quite affordable and will make a huge difference in your bottom line. Be in touch if you would like more information.

In the meantime, take a look at your efficiency measures.  How efficient are you? Identify key processes that need improvement and feel free to be in touch if you’d like some help.

Can you guess what the second component of increasing profit is?

Expecting great things!

Julia Molloy

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Welcome to the New Age from Julia Molloy of Molloy Management Group

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to approach this year. This year feels different. It IS different. Heck, last November felt different. The economy picked up, the energies shifted.  Whatever the cause, I knew my approach to my life and my business had shifted along with it and I see it in many of you too. What is the shift?  I wanted to answer this question for myself before I reached out to you all again. It took me until March to develop a vocabulary around it that felt complete. And that brings me to my word.

I asked myself what was the essence of my new approach. What word encompasses the shift I sense all around me?  I have been so pleased to see that the words authenticity and resonate have caught on and are now included in conversation all around. Spoken by every day people that have little ethereal leaning. This is all a sign of our evolution as a community, as bosses, as business owners, as people, spouses and parents. But these do not accurately describe the shift. They are RESULTS OF the shift.

Julia Molloy of Molloy Management Group addresses the new age of interior design

Do you feel the shift this year? It’s everywhere and it is good.

For me, the word that best expresses my new sense of focus is …. ALIGNMENT. And over the last few weeks, I have come to realize that it has been my word all along. That is what I do!  I help firms, more specifically, designers,  creatives, business owners and their teams to align with their flow, their authentic client, their team work, how they express themselves. Alignment is the key!

Alignment to what you may ask. Well, the answer is different for everyone and that’s what keeps things fresh for me. Regardless of the specific point of alignment, we all end up lining up our lives in a similar pattern. Alignment results in the same things for just about everyone; more time to spend enjoying the people who matter to us, more ease in our work, an increase in output with less effort, a sense of relief, a sense of fulfillment and something else pretty miraculous. More of the right clients show up at our door. More amazing opportunities and synchronicities occur regularly in an upward spiral. Not unlike a bird spiraling up and soaring in a thermal. Effortlessly and joyfully we lift up closer to our full expression. And then it gets really fun!

a-new-beginning for interior design business consultant Julia Molloy

Are you ready to play a bigger game?

A year ago, this would have sounded out of reach. We at Molloy Management Group were in the middle of some serious heavy lifting as a company. It was hard. Fulfilling in many ways, but difficult. Now, as we enter a new year, things have shifted and the ease is settling in as we become more aligned with…. Well, with ourselves.  Are you experiencing this too?

I think as a group, we are more aware of our true desires and becoming more cognizant that we REALLY CAN create the lifestyle we want through our businesses and when we become honest about what that is for us, our paradigm is a lot more simple than we thought it would be. I know it’s not just me. I hear your stories every day and there really has been a shift for so many of us.

What does this mean? We each have to answer that for ourselves, but for me, it means a more inclusive approach to my business. This means that I will share a bit more of my journey with you all. It means I will include my thought processes and perceptions more openly with you. Many of you who I talk with understand my little magic touch I bring into the conversation. I will no longer reserve that special nuance to personal work with clients alone, but will share it openly with you all.

julia Molloy of molloy management discusses new age of interior design

What does your new paradigm look like?

As I align this year, you will begin to see shifts in my branding, our website, my head shot, my bio and the scope of Molloy Management Group. A little softer, more luxurious, more expansive, more, well, more authentic. It feels a little like coming out of the closet, but more like the blooming of a flower.

What does your alignment look like? As you more closely align your life and your business with your authentic desires and gifts, what will we see? An updated business niche, a new logo, new company name, new website, a different approach to how you run your projects? Bring it on! Be fearless. Strategic and fearless!

This is such an amazing time. I have never felt more inspired and jazzed about every day! I am ready for alignment. And I know you are too.

Welcome to the new age, my friends.

Let’s DO THIS!

julia molloy of molloy management group and bold summit

Come on! Let’s DO This!

Expecting Great Things,

 

Julia Molloy

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5 Essential Elements To Creating A Luxury Interior Design

5-essential-elements-to-creating-a-luxury-interior-design-firm

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Julia Molloy Shares How To Become a Luxury Interior Design Business

Hi there! I’m looking forward to heading out to beautiful Atlanta tomorrow and wanted to make sure to invite you to join me if you are going to be in Atlanta this Wednesday.  I’ll be sharing a powerful presentation on elevating your interior design business to provide a more luxurious client experience.  Here is a a little info on the event.

 

ADAC - be at the center of it all

 

Interior design business consultant, Julia Molloy of Molloy Management Group

Nov. 13, 2013

“Seven Secrets of Top Luxury Designers” presented by Julia Molloy

From 10:00 am until 11 am

Join thought leader and design industry business expert, Julia Molloy as she walks you through a powerful, hands-on workshop on becoming luxury. Bring your iPad or tablet and be ready to work on brand development. You will emerge from the event transformed and prepared to make next steps in refining your brand’s signature experience for its clientele. During this action-packed workshop, Julia will provide guidance, ideas and help you take action in the following areas:

• Define your brand’s characteristics of authenticity
• Define and refine all your points of contact with the client
• How to become fully congruent with your unique style of luxury
• Use innate milestones to create a signature experience
• Develop your roadmap for brand refinement and luxury status

Register Now

To come join me this week at the beautiful ADAC design center in Atlanta, click on this link above and register for the event.  I hope to see you there!

 

Expecting great things-

Julia Molloy

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TIPS ON USING HOUZZ TO MARKET YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS

I hope you have been well.  As the year winds down, strategy and marketing for next year begin to come into view.  I have been doing a lot of Marketing and Authentic Branding work with my clients as well, lately.  One of the questions that comes up is how to use Houzz effectively.  So, I thought I’d have design and technology writer, Kevin Gannon provide us with some tips on getting the most out of your Houzz listing.

There are a few social media outlets I generally recommend investing your time in; Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Houzz.  Even if your target client is a bit older, Houzz is a good bet. It is being used as a search engine to find designers and design ideas. The trick is to get as many ‘reviews’ as possible to improve your placement on the page.  Unlike the other social media outlets, my clients are getting projects directly through their Houzz listing. If you are not already using it, I recommend being active in it.

Here’s what Kevin has to say about using this great new marketing tool.

Using Houzz for your Interior Design Business

When adding descriptions and tags, be descriptive and think in terms of what people might type in when looking for an image like yours.

Houzz is a marketing revolution for interior designers and it should not be overlooked.  It’s a free to download app available on almost all smartphones, which means it’s available for iOS and Android users alike. And it’s actually been running even more smoothly than before thanks to a recent update for the newly released iPhones, which means that connecting with your clients is even more intuitive and easy to use than before. But just in case you’re not using Houzz yet, haven’t even heard of it, or maybe you simply need tips on how to use it most effectively, we’ve provided a breakdown of both the app and its super-handy image-tagging system.

Houzz, which launched in 2009, is essentially a one-stop solution for interior designers of all kinds. Whether it’s your occupation or it’s something you enjoy doing when you have free time, you will find new ideas and become motivated by this app. Even better, you can use it to better sell yourself and your services if you are, in fact, an interior designer by trade. There are nearly two million images available in its database for every room, style, and location imaginable—well, pretty much. And you can take each one and save them as you see fit, which means you can even use them offline if you own a tablet.

Below, you can see an extremely useful example of how the app can be used to transform a living room and dining room, via Houzz’s Facebook page.

What’s even better for your business, is how Houzz allows its users to share the ideabooks they have created with one another. That means you can take on a client, inform them that they should start an ideabook, and build a concept together. Not only that, but there’s the ability to comment on and tag images with either product tags or notes, which make the experience even more interactive for you and your clients.

Tags are an essential part of creating and building your presence and ranking in the professional community on Houzz. In addition to adding notes about each of the products in a photo—be it the cabinets, door frame, or anything in between—you’re able to answer questions asked by users. The more questions you answer, the bigger and better your credibility becomes, and, as a result, you’re going to see more business.

That might seem obvious to the more tech-savvy folks out there, but it’s a fact that needs to be more well-known and well-versed in the community. More and more people are using Houzz every day. According to Pando Daily, there are an estimated 15 million monthly users on the app swapping tips, sharing photos, and looking to remodel, spruce up, or redesign their home. They’re going to need your help and that means plenty of new clients for your business. Good luck!

Remember, put up only your best work. You are only as good as your worst photo in your portfolio!

Thanks Kevin! Kevin is a journalist with a passion for design and technology.

 

Expect Great Things!

Julia A. Molloy

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ARE YOU NOT FEELING INSPIRED BY YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS ANYMORE?

I just received another email this week about an issue that has been revealing itself more and more lately. There is a growing number of designers in a strange situation. I feel compelled to share this because I know there are so many of you out there and I think I may be able to help.

The story goes something like this;

“I have been a designer for a very long time.  I have always loved what I do, but it is not feeling the same to me now.  I am burnt out. I am not excited anymore.  I don’t like my logo, my site, my business cards, my business in general.  I almost feel like quitting. I don’t want to give up all I have worked so hard for, but I have no drive to keep going. I need a change.  What is wrong?  What do I do?”

Interior design business consultant, Julia Molloy discusses rebranding

Once you can see the path ahead of you, you will no longer be in limbo!

Is this something that you can relate to?  If so, this post may be an important turning point for you.

First of all, please know you are not alone. I believe there is more of this now because the industry has changed so much over the last few years. A new environment will always call for adaptation and you are simply feeling this need. This is actually very healthy… and very necessary, for all of us at different points in our lives. This is your time and it is important for you to accept it and just roll with it!

I believe what you are experiencing is the first phase of the rebirth process.  I think your inner knowing is telling you that you have outgrown your current state and you need to revamp what you are doing. This is uncomfortable, but once you accept that you are in for a little upgrade, this can become the start of a new you and THAT is very exciting. (A little nerve racking, but exciting!)

Interior design business expert discusses revamping your interior design business

You’ll need a very clear mission and key characteristics for your firm to help you navigate through all of your options

The anxiety comes from not having the answers. (Especially for those of you with a J in your Myers-Briggs personality profile!)  Do  your best to be OK with this mystery for now. Next, I want you to listen to your inner knowing.  Answer the question, “What gets me most excited, happy, fulfilled?”  This feeling is your navigational system. Honoring it is wise and I can help you hone it in and translate it into something tangible.

The first step is to create in a limitless way with your mind. I want you to create and visualize what would make you happiest with your thoughts. In thought form, there are no logistics, no limits, no real world realities.  Keep it that way!

Use that first dimension to craft what is possible.  Do not let any thoughts of fear or practicality come in to play. That should be reserved for the next step.

The first step is to imagine the perfect scenario and ideal situations and outcomes.  In step 2, we’ll figure out how to navigate the real world to make that happen.  Make sense?

Now, this brings me to an opportunity that happens to be rather synchronistic.

I am doing a small group deep intensive next week and I have 2 places I can make available. It will address this  VERY ISSUE head on and if you want to jump in last minute, there is still a small window of opportunity.  Here are a few of the details on the intensive.

 

Interior design business help with Julia Molloy

It is time for a new sense of purpose and clarity.

LUXURY BRANDING AND MARKETING INTENSIVE with JULIA MOLLOY

For High-End Interior Designers

Are you looking for an assessment, feedback and relevant guidance on your business, brand and marketing so that your business feels truly authentic to you?

Do you need an expert that truly understands interior design and your market better than anyone else?

If so, this intensive is going to rock your world!

It is intended to help you address these circumstances:

  1. You are in the process of trying to attract more of your ideal clientele.
  2. You find your branding no longer feels authentic to you.
  3. You know you need to make changes to your site, brand, messaging, business and marketing approach, but you are just not sure what exactly to do.

You will emerge with clarity, confidence, a deeper understanding of your brand, tangible solutions and a real roadmap for moving forward.

When and where:

  1. First 2 hour Session- Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 at 12pm – 2:00 PDT
  1. Second 2 hour Session – Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 at 12 pm – 2:00 PDT

This will take place in online meetings via GoTo Meeting.

Be in touch with me at 503-208-2757 or send me an email if you are ready to get out of limbo! You’ve got until end of day Monday.

If the intensive is not an option, but you want some guidance getting through this, be in touch. This special kind of work is my gift and I can help you.

Hope you have been well and I hope for some of you, this was exactly what you needed to hear today. :)

Expecting great things-

Julia Molloy

 

 

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Creating a Truly Extraordinary Client Experience with Studio Webware Client Collaboration

Studio Webware and Molloy Management Group presentation

It would be great to see you there!

Do you Know the Newest Secret to Creating a Truly Extraordinary Client Experience?

Are you looking for ways to make your interior design business distinctive from the others?  Are your clients comfortable with technology? Do you strive to provide the highest level of service possible?  If so, you will want to know about advances in the industry that are catapulting interior design firm ahead of the others. One of these is the interactive capability of Studio Webware.

I know I talk about this software a lot. I want you to know that I do not make a referral fee or a commission of any kind. I have simply found it to be a serious strategic advantage for most design firms. As the interior design industry’s Operations Specialist, it is my responsibility to share with you the industry’s best tools and best practices. Studio Webware is absolutely one of them.  And thus, you are hearing about it from me… yet again. ;)

Think about it; five years ago designers could only dream of the possibility of having their clients log into their system into a beautifully designed interface, see only what you want them to see and have them provide feedback that is delivered into your email box, review and approve proposals with a click, see the balances on proposals and invoices and even pay, right there on the screen!  Talk about service and efficiency!

Studio Webware Client Collaboration

The interface is well designed and very impressive.

Some of the more exciting possibilities it presents is the ability to attach a link to another file or images.  Think about how powerful providing a link to a little video you shoot on your iPhone describing how great the item proposed will work in their space.  All of these things are describing the future of the interior design industry and those who embrace this capability and provide it to their clients first, will take the lead in the next seven years.

Its capabilities and intuitive interface is changing the future of the industry.  And this future is coming up quickly.  I want to share the new module they recently introduced. It’s called Studio Projects and it will transform the way you interact with many of your clients.  This new way of providing service to your clients will save you time and make you look like a rock star.

I have invited Lance Haberle, the developer of Studio Webware to join me for a webinar on September 24rd at 10am PDT.

To register for this complimentary online presentation, click here.

During the presentation, Lance will log us into the system and show us how you can use Studio Projects with your clients and create a truly impressive client experience. I will also make sure you get a chance to ask questions.

If you are curious about Studio Webware’s fabulous new feature, I would love to have you join me. I hope to see you there!

Expecting Great Things -

Julia Molloy

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ANNOUNCING THE SOLUTION THAT WILL CHANGE THE FACE OF THE INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS

Have you noticed its been a little quiet over here lately?  Well, its because I’ve been a busy gal!  I’ve been secretly developing something for you, that I think you are going to LOVE!  At least I hope so!

And now, (big sigh) the moment has finally come.  After almost a year in development, we are launching our groundbreaking membership for Principal Interior Designers!  This membership is an answer to all you interior designers out there that need help building your interior design business, but are not in a position to invest a lot of time or money… and you need help with IMPLEMENTATION, not just more good ideas!!

So many designers have come to us asking for help, but really aren’t able to purchase my services or the Business Blueprint program or they are so slammed, they can’t digest that much information all at once, even though they know they need it.

I want you to know;  I HEARD YOU!

Julia Molloy and Interior Design Business Client

I work with you hands-on every day and I know what you really need! and YES, I do listen to you!!!

So, here’s the deal, if you need more structure in your business and you need to ramp up your business now that things are picking up, this could be just what you are looking for.  Introducing… The MMG | VIP MEMBERSHIP!

How it will impact your firm:

~ Shave 20-40% off of the time required to complete a project

~ Streamline procurement process so your profit margin goes way up

~ Help you attract and keep the best talent for your growing firm

~ Provide you with clarity and discernment about your next steps

~ Facilitate your ability to provide a luxury level service and get more referrals

~Provide you with a friendly place to collaborate with other designers twice a month

~ More sanity, more professionalism, more polish

 

How it works:

~ Monthly online meetings with Julia Molloy and the other members to collaborate and get answers to your questions

~ Exclusive access to ready to use documents you need to build a well-functioning interior design firm

~ Training videos to help you understand and implement the best methods

~ Videos to help you and your team  set up and use Studio Webware

~ Focused and actionable guidance and tools on your Operational Foundation, Team Development, Strategy and Growth

Interior design business solutions - MMG | VIP by Julia Molloy

I share with you everything I have learned over the last decade of working with interior design firms around the world and provide you access to tons of training videos and documents you need.

To kick off this big launch, I am offering the first 200 members a lifetime rate of $75 per month instead of the regular $150. We have firms all over the world waiting for this launch, so 200 members is going to happen pretty quickly now, so don’t wait.

I am adding new content to the membership business materials every month and hosting two monthly meetings for all our members. Our first monthly meeting is the second Tuesday of September at 12:00 PST.  If you want a platform to collaborate, get answers and tools you need to build your business strategically, become an MMG | VIP Member and join me in two weeks!

So, come take a look at what I’ve built for you!  I think you’ll find it to be just what you need. I am quite confident the MMG | VIP can be that big game changer for you!

And as always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or email me.  Just let me know what you need-

Visit the site to get all the details at www.interior-design-business.com

….I’m so EXCITED!!!  WooHooo!

Expecting great things-

Julia Molloy | 503-208-2757 | jmolloy@molloymanagement.com

 

 

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THE POWER OF PROCEDURES IN THE INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS

Did you know that interior design is one of the most complex business models out there? Getting it to work systematically while maintaining quality and authenticity is critical to making money at it. Want to know the trick behind quick and easy training of new staff and getting the whole team to follow the rules? You might have guessed, yes, use an operations manual.  If utilized properly, like any good tool, it will change the quality of your business drastically!

interior design operations manual for the interior design business

A custom operations manual is a thrilling thing to get in the mail. Imagine it all done and beautiful. They are not only gorgeous, but extremely comprehensive. 300 pages of very specific instructions and procedures. So amazing!

The operations manual is a powerful business tool that not only documents your organization, but facilitates the streamlining of operations, quickens employee training, contributes to higher retention rates and provides the template for scaling the business for growth. It will act as the template for your entire organization.

 

As important as this is, I am amazed at how few design firms actually have all their procedures and protocol documented.  Coming from the technology sector and the corporate environment, this is mid-blowing!  No serious business would function without one. Why? Well, it’s not because they are fun to write or they look good on the shelf. It is possibly because it helps you grow your firm in an intentional way, with a defined set of values and culture. And it is definitely because having an operations manual saves the company a ton of money and time.

How?  Well, let me ask you this. How much money would you save if your training time was cut in half?

How much money would you save if you had employees that did their job right and stayed with the company long-term?

How much easier would your life be if your team, even remote members understood what your company was about and really “got it”?

interior design business expert features  Laura Casey, Charlotte, NC interior designer

Laura Casey is a great example of an interior designer who is taking charge of her business and taking it to the next level of luxury. Look for her feature in the next Interior Design Business Journal Newsletter!

The answer: Many thousands of dollars! Do your business a favor and update the procedures you wrote down years ago. Gather all the random documents and combine them into one and fill in the gaps. Think of it as a way to preserve all your hard work on building your business, systems and methods. Think of it as a way to get a return on your investment. Remember, if it’s not documented, you don’t own it.  As you strive to ramp up your business again, this will become increasingly critical.

Steps to pulling your operations manual together:

Start with your table of contents. Include sections that are critical to your business, like:

  • Code of conduct
  • Office Routines
  • Administration
  • Facilities
  • Design Processes
  • Expediting
  • Accounting
  • Marketing and PR
  • Client Services

Then list detailed procedures needed in each of these sections.  That will act as your skeleton and your to-do list.

Next, find everything that has been documented already and copy and paste it into the master document.

Finally, keep updating it until every aspect of your business is well documented.

Yes, I know what you are thinking right now; who has time for this?  Yes, it takes about 1000 hours, is the estimate. If you need some assistance with determining the best procedures and getting them documented I can save you hundreds of hours of time and years of trial and error.

We have two programs that may be a good fit for you; one is the MMG|VIP Membership which is a serve yourself membership that gives you access to documents, training videos and procedures for members as well as 2 monthly online group meetings.

The other, more tailored and comprehensive option is the Business Blueprint. This Professional Interior Design Business Program is comprehensive operations manuals for either small, medium or large firms with live training and personal sessions to help you implement the best practices.

Take a look and get the help that best addresses your needs, so you can move ahead and take advantage of this new wave of business. Seriously take charge of your business and take it to the next level! Now is the time!

 

Expecting Great Things,

Julia A. Molloy

 

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Interior Design Business Consultant, Julia Molloy is the SECRET SAUCE for Interior Design Firms!

So, I may have already mentioned that I have the world’s best clients. Working behind the scenes to make my Interior Designers super fabulous and profitable…. and sane, is my gift. One of my dear clients, Lauren Liess who, by the way is incredibly adorable and talented, has an amazing blog that many of you might already follow. It’s called The Pure Style and it really is a great read every time.  Highly recommended!
She recently did a blog post on my firm and I was so excited and touched, I just had to share it.  You see, I am most often the invisible strength behind that fabulous designer you see in Architectural Digest or Traditional Home and the like. I love that role and love watching my designers shine from the behind the curtain, but that’s not exactly how the story goes this time! This time, Lauren revealed her secret and it made me feel such pride and gratitude. Below is her blog post.  Thanks, Lauren!  I LOVE being your Secret Sauce!
Interior design business consultant is the secret  to a great interior design business
{Image from here}

I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed at work lately.  (Along with the entire team here.)  We’re busier than we’ve ever been, which is amazing, but with the time required for me to think about my own house (which happens on nights and weekends) I’m feeling almost tapped out mentally.  We’re working with wonderful clients on both smaller and large-scale projects, all of which are really exciting, and we’re also working on a few upcoming magazine stories (and photoshoots) with Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens and Luxe Interiors.  We’re doing a One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale and have a crazy two day shoot beginning this morning at our place.  (We had to remove every piece of furniture from our living room and kitchen last night to turn it into a photo studio for our goods… more on that later)  We’re launching a brand new website at the end of the month with our go-to-web-girl Emily at indieshopography and we’re also going to be offering online decorating services again, so I’m putting everything together for that.  With all of this good stuff, comes the growing pains, which I’m feeling hardcore.

DC Interior designer discusses her interior design business
{image from here}

I’m also noticing a general “busyness” in the people we work with, which obviously affects us too and can slow things down on our end.  Our contractors, our workroom, artists we work with and our vendors seem like they’re busier than ever.  It’s so great for all of them, but I know the growing pains are there too… Many of them have recently hired new staff to accommodate the increased demand.  (Yay for things really picking up!)

But as exciting as growth spurts are, they can be a little scary too.  You suddenly look around and realize that no matter how many extra nights or weekends you work, you’re never going to get to it all.  (In my case, this really means our personal home design is what suffers.  Time ticks away and I’m worried we won’t have what we need when the photographer comes to shoot our house the first week of August.)  You realize your kids miss you and you miss them even more.

Lauren Liess is so down to earth and has a beautiful family!

So…  what do I personally do when it gets like this??  First, Dave & I start to reassess what needs to be done in our business.  We realized we need more help.  A couple of weeks ago we hired an intern, Daniel, who is pretty much Dave’s assistant, and the extra help has been amazing.  We’re good friends with Daniel’s family (Dave taught English with his mother and his older sister has been babysitting our boys for years- we love her!!) and Daniel was one of Dave’s students.  We knew we needed someone insanely hard working and willing to do a wide variety of things like printing, errands, organizing files, and making pick-ups and drop offs and moving furniture.

Now that we have Daniel on board, we are loving the extra help, but we’re still not working the way we need to be working.  Dave & I have been throwing ideas around but we knew we needed our secret sauce as things continued to get more overwhelming over here.

So, no joke, my secret sauce is a person…  Julia!!

Interior design business consultant, Julia Molloy works with interior design businesses around the world

I found out about Julia Molloy, and her company, Molloy Management this past January when I was looking for ways to streamline our business and to get inspired.  I wrote a blog post  mentioning her & the company and we ended up connecting.  I enrolled in her Business Blueprint Program, and we’ve taken our studio webware training through Molloy.  One of the most helpful aspects of working with Molloy for me, is the web chats I have with Julia.  She’s truly a design business guru  (honestly, she’s a straight up business guru who’s specialized in design businesses) and we discuss everything from client services to workflow processes, to websites, to future goals, to branding.  She is a wealth of knowledge and sees so clearly where to take things.  Along with knowing what’s up and what needs to happen, Julia is one of the sweetest, funniest, most charismatic & genuine people I’ve ever met.  You can feel her excitement when you talk with her.  (It’s funny, I’ve never even met her in person but feel like I have!! :)  I never feel like she’s judging, only assessing and guiding/ helping. She’s completely transparent and truly wants to help her clients and wants the best for them.

Julia works with many of the industry’s big wigs, and many of her clients keep her a secret because they don’t want to share her with the competition.  As you’ve probably seen from my blog, I have a pretty open attitude when it comes to competition with other designers…  I don’t really feel it.  I believe that we’re all so different and that different clients are right for different designers.  I feel like a client who hires a designer friend of mine was drawn to that designer because of what she saw in him or her… or because of their past projects and experiences…  or because of a pricepoint… a personality.. whatever it may be.  We’re all completely unique.  It seems silly to covet a client who doesn’t covet your services.  It’s just pointless.  The only designer I would ever really feel in competition with would be myself, because I’m the only person who has what I have & who does things the way I do them.

DC Interior designer discusses her interior design business consultant, Julia Molloy
(I’d only be scarred of THIS ;) ;)

So… I’m sharing some of my secret sauce with you.  And that’s Molloy.  Yesterday, I was able to catch up with Julia (I try to keep regular appointments with her but as things got crazier over here, I fell behind) and explain to her where we’re at and get some great advice.  She helped me get some clarity & perspective on where we’re at & on what’s going on.  (Looks like we’ll be hiring, so stay tuned.)  Much of what I need to work on comes right from our company operations manual we received from The Business Blueprint. This thing is THICK (like hundreds of pages) and outlines every little bit of our business.  It’s worth so much and is truly a handbook or manual on each and every aspect of your business.  I have yet to go through and tailor the handbook more specifically to our company (I’m going to work on it this weekend) but it’s a gold mine of information on how your company should/ could run.

Interior design business solutions - MMG | VIP by Julia Molloy
{They teach all this good stuff}

What I love about Molloy, is that Julia provides help and advice to all different types of clients.  From celebrity designers to the one-man/woman show, Julia wants to (and can) help.  When I first came across Molloy, I thought that their services would be way beyond our reach, but Julia has put together specific programs in a variety of price points so that everyone who needs help can get it.  One of her newest programs is a VIP Membership where clients pay only $75 a month to have access to their tailored collection of design business documents, methods and procedures, along with training videos and webinars.  I think it’s a really great way to get started in the right direction & I wanted to let you know about it because I’ve gotten so many emails asking for business advice & about how to get started in this business.  And, if you’re not at the point yet where you can do something like the VIP membership, I’ve found Julia’s blog to be insanely inspiring on its own.  It’s so information-packed that I go back to it whenever I can to try to take things in and get some perspective.

I’ll keep you posted on all of our changes & growing pains around here.  My talk with Julia was really helpful last night & I feel so much better with a plan in place.  It’s tie to refine it and get going.  For now, I’m in the process of tailoring our Operations Manual so that when we do bring in our next employee- very soon- he or she will know exactly how we like things around here.

I have to run but wish me luck today as the One Kings Lane photo shoot started about 5 minutes ago in our living room!!  I’ll be instagramming like a banshee today!!

ps- I’ll tell you about my Grandma Maestranzi’s Secret  Sauce another time ;) ;)    (The best bolognese EVER.)

If you’d like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Also- if you’re interested in our new position, please stay tuned while we define the new role & necessary qualifications, and get ready for you.  We’re not at the point yet where we can receive and look at resumes, but will be sure to announce when we are.  Thanks so much!!

Thanks again Lauren for the great blog post. You are an inspiration to so many and I absolutely adore you!!!
For those of you who don’t follow her work yet, take a look at her blog and also, she has a GORGEOUS FABRIC LINE you will love!
The MMG | VIP membership is live now. I still have a few more product descriptions to add, but its just about ready for you!
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