As a small business, we have to wear a lot of hats! Our client base has rapidly expanded in the last year or so, so we are busier than ever before. Interior Design is so much more than just fluffing pillows. Here are many of the objectives we have to juggle in this business:
We've broken it down everything the Kelly ONeil Interior Design Firm does into 7 categories:
Custom Work Management
Each of these 7 categories are addressed daily and are constantly happening in tandem with each other. The more clients we have, the crazier it gets!
Meeting with New Clients
We love our initial meetings with potential new clients! It is so exciting to listen to their wants, needs, and desires for their homes. Every client is unique in their design preferences, so we like to keep that in considerations from the very beginning. Kelly O'Neil Design is not a cookie-cutter design firm. Each project is custom tailored to each distinct client.
Meet with Current Clients
We are constantly in contact once a client has decided to move forward with their projects. We will manage all the nitty-gritty details of their projects so they never have to worry. There are a few specific stages in which we will meet with the clients in person after our initial meeting:
Conceptual Design Phase
The Conceptual Design Phase is broken into 4 parts:
We document your space
We capture your input & desires
We gather inspiration images & envision your home from every angle
We conduct trade day/construction team day to check feasibility & ballpark estimates
Conceptual Design Deliverables
Estimate Initial Selections
Detail Design Phase
What is included in the Detail Design Phase?
We source all furnishings
We procure written quotes & prepare detailed proposals
Detail Design Deliverables:
Floor Plans & Elevations
Fabric & Finishes
Manage Client's Desires & Expectations
We work with each individual client to make sure the work we are doing will lend itself well their desired results. At the end of the day, we are designing an extremely personal space that needs to fit the style, lifestyle, and budget of our clients, and we take that very seriously. We want you to love the space we design for you.
Meet with Vendors
In order to make sure we are up-to-date with the latest and greatest items our vendors have to offer, we make sure that we meet with them to discuss what's new. Many times when there is a roadblock in a project, making sure you are fostering a good relationship with your vendors will come in handy. They might have solutions you haven't thought of!
Find New Vendors
It is easy to get in to the same routine with the same suppliers, so sometimes it is nice to branch out and try something new!
Earlier we mentioned Trade Day, that is the process when gathering quotes begins.
Not gonna lie, we love demo day.
Reselect items based on Client Preferences and Availability
Check in on Warehouse
Schedule Delivery from Warehouse
Oversee Installation for Accuracy
On-Site with Sub Contractors and Builders
We typically meet with builders on-site weekly to make sure the construction is following design intent. We also constantly meet with sub-contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) to make sure their installations are in-line with our standards and to make sure their work functions in each client's home.
Tracking and Managing Numerous Back Orders
You know that feeling you get when you are waiting for an amazon package? That excitement? Interior Designers feel like that all the time x100. For each project, there are so many pieces up in the air constantly that we need to stay on top of. Unlike amazon however, we almost never get our items sent to us the next day. With the current state of shipping delays sometimes we have 6+month lead times on items that we need to keep track of.
Condos: Work with Building Management
After doing numerous condo projects, we know the value of maintaining a good relationship with Building Management. If you have a good working relationship with building management, they will be more inclined to say "yes" when you need things from them. If you manage to create a great relationship with building management, they might even recommend you for additional projects that come out of that condo complex!
Work within Established Timelines
This is a tricky one these days. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many shipping slow-downs and many items that would otherwise be available are now on backorder. While it may be stressful, keeping up with established timelines will make the client very happy. If you cannot deliver within the established timeline, make sure you keep your client informed.
custom work management
Clients adore custom work. Whether it is custom cabinetry, an interesting painting technique, or custom furniture, clients get so excited knowing that they will have a one-of-a-kind addition to their home. This of course comes with its own challenges:
Coming up with a "WOW" custom project
Convincing the client that it is worth the extra time/money
Finding a workroom capable of realizing your vision
Constant contact with workroom to make sure the project is on track
Shipping from the work room to the site
Installation of custom work
Pretty standard to any industry, but ours are fun!
So MUCH FILING!
Do you have any idea how many samples an interior designer has in their office at any given time? TOO MANY! We are constantly pulling and filing fabrics, tiles, flooring, paint colors, wallpapers. You name it, we've got it.
Social media has become so important to small businesses...
Did you know that Kelly ONeil Interior Design comes out with a newsletter each month? It's a great place to find Design Tips and see what we have been up to!
This industry is constantly changing and evolving. It is so important to make sure we are continuing our education of the design world and keeping up with trends. Whether it is an online or in-person course, we like to be available for those opportunities. Health & Safety are also key components in our designs. Something simple is often overlooked, and we want to make sure we see it.
Opportunities like High Point Furniture Market annually in the fall in spring are priceless to network in the interior design field. Also, we participate in an online bi-weekly networking group (hopefully we can meet in-person soon). We are an active member in the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, and we attend local design events any chance we get.
Collaboration with Colleagues
In the Interior Design field there are so many opportunities to create groups of like-minded people. These working relationships are invaluable when it comes to bouncing ideas off of each other and growing with one another. Don't see other designers in the field as competition, work with each other to grow your separate businesses into what you want them to be. Maybe they can recommend a new vendor or help you problem solve!
We are always looking for ways and planning ways to make sure KOID is evolving. Planning for the future is always in the back of our mind.
Build Professional Portfolio
An Interior Designer's portfolio is a huge asset to have in their repertoire. It is a simple way to show potential new clients what you are capable of.
Submit Projects for Publication