Studio with Design Teams Fueling Growth of Decorating Den Interiors
Franchise owners who have moved from home-based studio/offices to outside locations and built a team of decorators have played a significant role in Decorating Den Interiors achieving new retail milestones in 2015.
“Several of our top franchises have as many as five design professionals, along with the owner, working from the same studio,” said Jim Bugg, Jr., CEO and president. “And, they are supported by administrators and other staff. Not only are these among our leading operators, several of the designers working within those units are among our largest individual sales people in the U.S. and Canada. Our interior design business model clearly enables growth to a size that can provide significant financial returns for several individuals.”
Bugg noted that last year more than half of the company’s top 40 franchises had out grown being home-based and operate from outside studios, the largest being 12,000 square feet, including receiving and warehouse space.
“These are not showrooms,” added David Haseley, vice president of merchandising and marketing. “Our design business model is still to sell a wide range of home furnishings without inventorying product. Meeting in clients’ homes is still the cornerstone of our complimentary design service. However, with furniture now our leading product category, many owners want space to receive some pieces on their own. ”
“Most of our new owners continue to begin their businesses as home-based,” said Bugg. “But, we are seeing some of them move out of their home to a studio more quickly. They see the business value of doing that.”
Benefits for Growth
Lisa Landry, the company’s top U.S. franchisee last year, has 5,000 square feet of office and training space along with 7,000 square feet of warehouse and receiving space in her Arlington, Texas location.
“I love working in a team environment,” Lisa says. “It’s so much more fun when you’re sharing in projects. Also, when you work outside the home, you ‘go’ to work, and then when you come home, you have a clear mental separation. I also think it’s more motivating to your staff to have a professional working environment.”
Landry uses her training room for educational activities every Friday and for regional meetings, since she also mentors other franchises in the area. She also holds networking meetings and hosts other business organizations to add to already substantial marketing visibility.
Jerome and Catherine Pulcine, top owners in Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), recently moved into a new 3,000 square feet location that includes a design center in which they can also hold their monthly decorating workshops, a cornerstone of their marketing. “This is the fourth time we have had to move to larger space to accommodate business growth,” say Jerome.
Sisters Barbara Elliott and Jennifer Ward Woods, Stone Mountain, Ga., have a different take on their space. Since they are in a retail area with a village-like atmosphere, they have a front space that is used as a waiting area and to display product, especially to show off the quality of furniture—to sit on it, touch, feel. They also showcase their awards—“we want people to see them”– and have their portfolio out—“A kind of soft-sell,” says Elliott
While they have their first meeting with clients in the client’s home, they have the second meeting in their studio so they can use the presentation room to show their design concept proposal. “This brings the client into a highly professional environment that will make the client more confident, especially for first-time clients,” she added.
“Currently, the majority of our owners continue to be home-based,” said Bugg, “However, those who want to build a team and have a larger business now have a significant number of models they can use as guides for planning space utilization and maximizing profit.”