What makes a great interior designer? Is it solely based on creativity? Or skills?
In part two of my conversation with Lindsay Kjellberg of LHK Interiors, she shares two essential skills a successful interior designer must have and her own experiences, including her mistakes and what she learned from them.
Whether you have kids or not, having these skills will help you set your interior design career for success. Go listen to hear all her great advice!
Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
- Discover what Lindsay wishes she had known when she started her interior design career
- Learn the 3 benefits of knowing how to run a business
- Find out how to vet your A-Team
About the Guest:
In 2004, Lindsay Harker Kjellberg founded LHK Interiors as the Principal Designer. Based in Modesto, California, they specialize in custom residential design with extensive experience in kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Their goal is to build long-term relationships with their customers. Whether it is for entertaining friends and family or conducting business, they are dedicated to creating a spectacular space for each client while striving for a “worry-free” design. By walking their clients through New Builds, Remodels, Staging, and Decorating, every project is unique and exciting from conception to execution.
Check out these episode highlights
02:34 – The most beneficial advice Lindsay can give about switching careers to interior design (whether you’re a parent or not) and the difference between marketing and networking
- Build connections with different trades in your area, so your contacts can refer you within their networks.
- Marketing vs. Networking – marketing is essential, but networking is much more beneficial. Why? Because marketing is just keeping your name out there or reminding them that you’re a designer, while networking recommends you through word of mouth.
05:40 – How to build relationships and find your go-to people
- Start when you’re sourcing by leaving some business cards they can pass out to customers. Then, limit stores from 2 to 3 per trade.
- Develop a two-way relationship and refer them as well to your clients.
07:08 – What Lindsay wishes she had known when she started her career in interior design and 4 reasons why it’s essential in running ANY business
- She wishes she had created an operations manual for her business early. Here are the 4 reasons why:
- It makes it tangible if you put it on paper.
- It limits asking questions all the time.
- It makes it easier to learn the process with a written document.
- It equips everyone to help one another because the manual will show you how to do it.
09:00 – Her recommendations for what interior design schools could be doing differently and the 3 benefits of knowing how to run a business
Lindsay recommends teaching the students how to run a business which includes
- How to go to a potential client’s home
- How to run a consultation
- How to read contracts
- How to build and submit a proposal
- How to turn an approved proposal into an invoice and start placing POs
3 benefits of knowing how to run a business
Benefit #1: It helps them become better employees by being assets to the company
Benefit #2: It gives them a little jumpstart once they decide to have their interior design agency
Benefit #3: It teaches them how to handle the money side of the business
14:34 – How to vet your A-Team
If you need a recommendation for a trade or vendor (Ex: Painter)
- Go to the paint stores and ask for a recommendation.
- Call the painters and ask if they have ongoing projects you can check out or clients you could meet to see their work.
- Test them at your or your family’s house by having them work on one of your rooms. This ensures the quality of their output is good. In addition, this answers the question: Would you let them into your house when you’re about to send them into a client’s home?
- Meet with them before they start their first project with you and lay out your company policy, set expectations, and encourage them.
- When a new trade goes into a client’s home for the first time, check up on everything more often.
- Find other A-Team members through your paint guy because he may have recommendations for other subcontractors.
- BONUS: They will refer their clients to you, especially when their clients don’t have a design plan.
16:44 – How networking makes marketing easier
18:49 – Why going to trade shows, joining a design group, and having rep days are important in networking and running an interior design agency
- You’ll meet new people and get together with other designers and vendors.
- You’ll know what’s new about their products.
- You’ll have the opportunity to dive into the new products (touch, feel, see different fabrics), ask questions, and learn more about materials, specifications, and restrictions.
Grab your freebie:
- NEW!! Your Roadmap to a Career in Interior Design
- 3 Things I Wish I had known when I started my career
Join the Design Mentor to kickstart a successful career in interior design!
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Thanks for listening! I hope this helps you discover if interior design is the career for you. See you next week…