We’re halfway through October, which means the holiday season is about to kick into full gear. This time of year is always a special opportunity for interior designers to bond with clients and colleagues, planning sparkling event experiences, and gifting one-of-a-kind treasures.
Of course, all those beautiful creations and all of that client outreach comes atop designers’ needing to run a profitable business, so the holiday season is best tackled with a thoughtfully organized plan.
Bria Hammel, star interior designer and brand ambassador for Design Manager, is here to share her four tips on setting your interior design business up for success during the holiday season, so you can enjoy this special time of year without the worry.
1. Automate and Generate
Clients are just as busy as designers this time of year, so the more systems you can automate and the less time you spend on manual tasks, the more you are able to create that win/win relationship. This is where Design Manager can be a huge help. Here are two of Bria’s favorite new ways to use Design Manager to streamline her workflow:
- Document Creation Process: With one click, you can create and email a client document without any additional steps. From Bria: “We used to have to generate a PDF, email that PDF to ourselves to then send to the client. Design Manager’s new document creation process eliminates these cumbersome steps and the time it takes to get the proposal in our client’s hands AND they can pay directly through the same link as well.”
- Product Clipper: Design Manager’s Product Clipper makes it easy to add products from any vendor website into DM for use in projects, on client documents, etc. Bria says: “We use DM’s product clipper widget on our Chrome browser and are able to easily send the product and all of the product’s specifications directly into Design Manager. It saves us so much time and makes everything accurate in the process – eliminating human error.”
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2. Collect Payments Electronically
By setting up a Stripe account in Design Manager, you can collect payments from clients via credit card and ACH (bank transfer), making it much easier for clients to pay you in a timely manner despite their busy schedules. “With Stripe, accepting payments is a much more efficient process. I can send one link that covers one or multiple invoices to our clients and they are able to pay at their convenience. The appropriate fees are applied and journal entries are booked in Design Manager all automatically. My old process through TSYS involved many more steps and I’m loving the time savings!” -Andrea Hipsher, Director of Finance, Bria Hammel Interiors This is an easy set it and forget tactic for your business this holiday season.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Customer service is an integral part of being a successful interior designer. It’s essential to set expectations in the beginning of a project by providing timelines, communicating progress throughout the life of the project (even if that means reporting delays), and following up to learn about how your clients felt about their experience. All of those activities are essential to growing a stable base of loyal clients who will refer you and help your business grow. While your calendar will be packed during the holiday season, continue to make project management your first priority. From Bria, “We send a Friday Report to our clients every week and this is where we include any questions, to-do’s, updates on their project, and (if a furnishing project) attach a furnishing tracker so they can get a status update on their pieces and where they are. This process of sending a weekly report eliminates a lot of the day-to-day questions and emails we might get from our clients and compiles everything into one touchpoint.” Not only is this stellar communication with your clients, it's consolidated communication which helps the team stay efficient.
4. Lean on Luxury E-Commerce Vendors
During the holiday season, you will not only be shopping for your projects, but for gifts for your clients, vendors, and other important people in your network. Shop with trusted vendors who have options with low lead times, like Brooke and Lou and 1stDibs for curated holiday collections with ready to ship luxury goods to take the stress out of buying during a time when many vendors are backlogged. For some early gift ideas, check out Bria’s favorite’s from her widely beloved Brooke & Lou line:
“Such a unique addition to your holiday tablescape with a pop of greenery and texture.” - Bria Hammel
“We love that this candle plays double duty and acts as a décor piece even after the candle is gone!” - Bria Hammel
“This is our best-selling accessory on Brooke & Lou. Timeless and easy to style on a bookshelf, coffee table, or side table.” - Bria Hammel
“Exquisite burl wood finished with antique brass details make this piece a unique collector's item. We love the idea of putting your clients' family or home photos inside as a special surprise as well!” - Bria Hammel
Bria Hammel is successful because she has mastered her processes and worked hard to achieve efficiency across her team. It shows by her constant growth of her business and how she has been able to expand into new business ventures. If there is anyone to take advice on how to keep your business running at full speed during the busy holiday season without overworking yourself, she is the one of the best!
Bria's 4 Tips for Getting Your Interior Design Business Setup for the Holidays Recap:
Automate and Generate
Collect Client Payments Electronically
Communication Comes First
Lean on Trusted eCommerce Vendors
*BONUS OFFER* Bria has generously shared a promo code for her fabulous Brooke & Lou products – use DESIGNMANAGER15 to receive 15% off sitewide (excluding collected and gift cards) through the rest of the year!