For Venus Williams, “go big or go home” are words to live by. With seven Grand Slam titles to her name, the tennis star is indisputably one of the greatest athletes of our time, as well as a household name worldwide. She is becoming equally renowned as an entrepreneur with a sharp portfolio of her own companies, including the smashingly successful interior design firm, V Starr Interiors.
The moment Venus Williams debuted her talent on the professional tennis circuit in 1994, she instantly took the world by storm with her breathtaking combination of power, style, and grace. These fundamental qualities, shown at a prodigiously young age, are what make Venus a natural artist both on and off the court. This unparalleled determination pushed her to pursue a career in design simultaneous to maintaining her top 10 player status, while also eventually launching V Starr Interiors in 2002. Soon thereafter, Venus earned a degree in design from the Art Academy of Fort Lauderdale. The firm, never afraid of grand gestures, specializes in commercial and large-scale residential development projects, all designed with Williams’ signature balance of power and grace.
V Starr Interiors designed the Atlantico at Alton condominiums in West Palm Beach, FL
Born With A Passion
For most people, becoming a professional athlete by the age of 14 would require a strictly singular focus; however, with the encouragement of her parents, Venus has been nurturing her inner artist from childhood. She was only 19 when she enrolled in the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, taking courses in between training for and competing in the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments. Her unwavering spirit was evident in the six championship titles she won before finishing her degree in 2007. Never one to sit and wait for opportunity to strike, Venus opened V Starr Interiors while she worked on her degree, officially launching the firm in 2002, the same year she won the doubles championship at Wimbledon (with sister, Serena) and placed runner-up in the U.S. Open.
Like many interior designers, Venus found her first clients within her personal and professional network, establishing her business with luxury residential projects for an NBA and an NFL player. Venus and her team quickly moved into larger scale residential development projects, leading naturally into the hospitality space. Today, her portfolio includes seventeen multi-million dollar commercial-scale projects across residential, hospitality, entertainment, and state-of-the-art university athletic facilities.
Maintaining Leadership Across Several Courts
How does Venus Williams make the seemingly impossible her reality? She credits determination and organization with allowing her to succeed in every arena she enters. She built her team at V Starr Interiors with these principles in mind, saying:
“At V Starr Interiors, our team is both creative and organized, with the help of Design Manager, which is an innovative software in the design field. I am an easy-going, yet extremely hardworking person, and I look for people who fit that mold and never take no for an answer. We always find a way through any challenges or difficult situations that may arise on large commercial projects.”
Venus also understands the importance of playing the game with the most advanced equipment available. Just two years after first hanging her shingle in 2002, Venus learned about Design Manager’s unique and comprehensive project management and accounting software and has been using it to manage her firm ever since. One of her favorite features is Time Keeping, which she describes as, “very important to the project profit and loss analysis, as time is money.” The firm’s utilization of Design Manager’s wide-ranging project management tools also extends to Specifications and Purchasing. Venus explains, “once you use the software properly for specifying a material and the client decides to purchase, it is a seamless process; Design Manager gives us a way to create specifications and manage them easily, making the process smooth and seamless.” She also loves the professionally branded client documents that Design Manager produces, which can be easily managed and adjusted as necessary. Together, these functions help V Starr Interiors maintain a strong relationship with clients and brand recognition, which helps to foster future growth.
“I have been using Design Manager for years at my own firm, and highly recommend it to all other design companies as it is a very useful tool to keep projects organized, and best of all it is extremely user-friendly.”
Venus’s Advice For Fellow Entrepreneurs
Venus believes that an important factor in maintaining success is staying engaged with your network, clients, and other professionals. Remembering her own journey to success, she suggests asking recent design school graduates for feedback about which software they use, and what they have learned through working with them. Keeping your ideas fresh should be a continuous task; if you fail to challenge yourself, you will cease to evolve. Last but not least, she encourages designers to be disciplined in how they run their businesses. She says,
“Losing always taught me more than winning ever did. It makes me reflect and improve, get more focused and even more hungry. Sports teach you how to set goals and be disciplined, which are all stepping stones to being successful in business.”
Staying organized with Design Manager can help you learn without making mistakes, however! Venus says, “I have been using Design Manager for years at my own firm, and highly recommend it to all other design companies as it is a very useful tool to keep projects organized, and best of all it is extremely user-friendly.”
A Peek at What Comes Next For V Starr Interiors
After a rapid rise to international renown, V Starr Interiors now works on a number of high-profile projects, including Airbnb’s first new construction residential community, Niido. Venus and her team have been tapped to design the first apartment units for this ground-breaking new extension of the sharing economy. To support the increasing number and ever-growing scale of the firm’s projects, V Starr added two leadership positions in July 2018, promoting from within Venus’s carefully crafted team.
Get Ahead with Design Manager
Few, if any, of us will ever come close to being ranked world No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association on any occasion, never mind on three separate occasions. Even fewer of us will win four Olympic gold medals in our lifetimes. However, everyone can achieve Venus’ exceptionally high standards for excellence in business management by taking action and signing up for a free trial of Design Manager today. In the words of Venus, “The worst decision is not making one.”