An Excellent Time to Consider an Interior Design Business
by Decorating Den |
September 16th, 2020 |
This can be an excellent time to start an interior design business, or take an existing one to the next level. Especially if you have the right team supporting you.
Why might this be a good time? Well, partly because people have spent so much time in their homes the last few months.
Consider these excerpts from home furnishings expert Jerry Epperson’s most recent issue of the authoritative Furnishings Digest Newsletter:
“Retail sales have been strong since mid-May. Not many expected the vigor of the consumer spending on the home that we have experienced… Our consumers are recognizing the need for home furnishings and giving it a higher spending priority… The housing sector is showing growth most of us have never experienced before. We are excited about this and its implication for the furniture industry… Looking at 2021, it will benefit from the housing turnover that is rebounding in terms of creating demand for home furnishings.”
Mr. Epperson has been following our industry for more 40 years and knows whereof he speaks (or writes). His observations of the industry draw packed rooms each year at the October High Point Market, the largest gathering of home furnishings manufacturers, retailers and interior designers in the world.
Our Interior Designers Business Owners’ Recent Experience is Evidence
Since our interior design business model is based on us meeting one-to-one in the client’s home of office, we were not beaten by the Covid-19 prohibitions on businesses in many states. Thanks to technology, we could see a client’s space via video conference and present design ideas, fabrics samples, colors and the like the same way. People were changing the way they viewed various spaces in their homes and the uses of those spaces. Desires for change increased.
But there also was the need to overcome our own frustrations of being home-bound. We felt the same frustrations as did our clients. The four walls were closing in on all of us. “To help our designers, we held company-wide video conferences at least twice a month to provide sales training, motivational support, and foster camaraderie during this time when it otherwise could be easy to lose interest in growing a business,” noted Jennifer Manley, vice president of retail sales.
David Haseley, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing, added that “we took advantage of not being able to meet in the clients’ home and our supplier shutdowns by using the time to have video conferences to provide continuing education with our designers to further build their product knowledge and design expertise.”
“it all helped our design business owners stay focused on maintaining regular communication with clients and prospects while sheltering-in-place, staying in touch with suppliers in our LIVV Home Collection™ of furnishings, and it paid off with fantastic results,” said James S. Bugg, Jr., President and CEO. “The result was that our design businesses together had record sales in July and August.”
“Our corporate staff provided an immense amount of resources and assistance to help us keep our design services in front of clients and prospects,” said Franchise Owner of the Year, Kathy McGroarty, of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who also was recently elected as chair of the company’s franchisee advisory board. “We were provided email marketing, social media posts, direct mail, digital marketing, and other tools for continuing our marketing during the lull and being ready to go as soon as our states permitted more personal contact. We also have had tremendous cooperation from our LIVV Home Collection™ home furnishings suppliers.”
“We believe the recent strong sales are also a confirmation of our business model of working with clients in their own safe one-on-one setting,” Bugg said. “Many people are still not yet comfortable going into a furniture store, and not fully confident in limited design services from on-line sources. Yet, they are focused on improving their homes since they have been spending so much time there. There also is the demand to make changes that are more functional such as different kinds of spaces for family time, children’s areas, and home offices. Home has become more of hub of activity and respite than ever before.”