LogoCircaphiles.com

Genevieve Trousdale shares how she runs her own design firm.

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business by LuAnn Nigara. This week, I’m joined by Genevieve Trousdale. After coming from working in two large firms, Genevieve launched her own firm. She grew her business to serve luxury clients and tackle high-income projects. But unlike most other designers on her level, Genevieve chooses to keep some things simple, running her business on her own and taking on just a few projects per year. Today, we’re talking about how she manages it, why she chooses it, and the importance of staying true to your values in your business.

LISTEN TO FULL EPISODE

Pick it apart:

[7:18] Genevieve talks about the experience of working under great influences and what she learned along the way.

[11:58] Genevieve shares why she chooses not to expand her firm and bring on other designers.

[20:44] Genevieve reveals what she looks for in others when she does need to outsource work.

[25:03] LuAnn and Genevieve talk about the expectations in the design world and how to stick true to who you are.

[33:51] Genevieve explains how she created a resource for other designers to get questions answered and form a community.

LuAnn and Genevieve’s Ah-Ha moments:

“This is amazing to me…it’s unusual that you’ve reached that level of design client but you’ve maintained the solo firm and you’re making money.” -LuAnn Nigara

“The pretty part, I can take care of. I like to take care of that. So I’m looking for someone with street smarts.” -Genevieve Trousdale

“There are pressures of ‘Why aren’t you scaling your company and searching for the next best thing.’ I am—but I’m doing it my own way.” -Genevieve Trousdale

2020 handed the design industry both a massive challenge and opportunity. 

On one hand, we lost the ability to network in person and our events and trade shows which are a huge part of marketing and sales as an individual designer. 

 

On the other hand, the world’s attention turned to the home – the sofa with shot springs you may be sitting on and the Kitchen that finally needs an organizational overhaul. Our focus is how we can improve our spaces, live and work in them, and improve our quality of life as a result. Even companies have given employees thousands to incentivize them to improve their home offices!

 

What a time for the home industry!

 

As physical locations like restaurants, shops, and commercial spaces open up, we will likely see another wave of opportunity. 

Designers can really utilize this opportunity to reach a new pool of customers by building or improving their online presence. Going forward, online engagements are going to be KEY for keeping your client pipeline full. 

 

We’ve listed out a checklist of KEY factors to landing interior design clients online so you can line up a successful year:

Update your website:

Websites have often been the thing that falls on the back burner when we’re out working, attending events, etc. throughout the year. And then, in 2020, our website became our most important tool for making an impression! Having your website updated and stocked with the latest on you, your work, and your brand is KEY to generating leads online.

 

Incorporate these KEY pieces:

Mobile-friendly site design: more and more customers are coming from social and search via mobile devices. Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide. 

Your latest projects: high quality photography 

Peer proof: testimonials from your clients 

Page speed: don’t hold up leads on slow-moving pages

Helpful and interesting content: share your expertise and part of your personality so people feel connected 

Personality and branding: use consistent fonts, colors, logos, and image styles across your website and social media 

Be intentional and consistent on Instagram

We all know Instagram houses vibrant communities of interior designers, enthusiasts or suppliers. It can be overwhelming and difficult to feel like there is a “place” amongst the popularity for designers. But it’s not necessarily about being hugely followed but rather this is another avenue for potential customers to find you, interact with you, and view your work. Think of it as another version of your website with a more personal, interactive touch. It is likely where someone, even if they meet you through your website or an event, take a look at what you’re up to IRL. 

 

Nail this checklist for Instagram success:

  • State your business name in your profile and bio.  You don’t want people disassociating you from your work and being confused
  • Compel potential clients with an elevator pitch in your bio.  Share your style, accolades and your location so they know what to expect and want to learn more.
  • Make a separate account for your personal life. Keep your business account clear, organized, and focused on delivering the content that your ideal clients want to see. You can save everything else for your personal page instead of trying to do both. 

Example of a strong Instagram bio:

“Chicagoland residential and commercial Interior Designer. My style: vintage glam with modern elements. AD Pro featured.”

You don’t need to be featured in Architectural Digest! What makes you stand out? 

 

Create strategic, branded content:

You need to deliver content regularly so people have a reason to follow you and potential leads are reminded of you when you do. Get on a schedule of posting 3-5 times a week. Sharing relevant content of your day-to-day life in stories is a great opportunity for engagement too. 

 

You can plan far in advance and get a calendar set for the month with scheduling apps like Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, etc. It doesn’t have to be elaborate with carousels of photos for each post or wordy captions, just consistent.

 

Consider these ideas for your feed:

Images from your projects (if they are not in review to be published)

Your favorite products in room/lifestyle settings

Reviews and words of praise from clients 

Tips and tricks – give them some insight

Just a few, decent personal photos to show potential clients who you are 

Images: David Kleinberg

Leverage your LinkedIn presence:

 

LinkedIn is a very potent tool to promote your business – even creative ones! 

 

LinkedIn is not just the platform for job seekers and professionals. LinkedIn is a social media platform with the potential of gaining exposure for a business. It can be used to build relationships with brands, decision makers at companies for commercial work, and personal leads for residential projects. Linkedin gives you direct access to people who can become clients directly, partners, or even catapult you to new positions and opportunities. About 20% of the world’s billionaires are on LinkedIn!

 

In terms of tone, LinkedIn is more about educating the audience and showing your expertise in your niche and less about direct selling. Make a point to consciously grow your network by connecting with people who are KEY decision makers or potential clients and consistently post at least times a week. 

 

You can share:

  • a new project
  • tips and tricks for commercial and residential spaces
  • valuable news articles, etc. 

 

The goal is to stay top of mind. 

Send Newsletters worthy of opening:

 

It takes, on average, 8 interactions with your brand to make a sale or sign a client.  That’s a lot!  Ultimately, your goal from your website and social media is to get people in your network so you can continually reconnect and stay top of mind for when they are ready for your help. Your newsletter is central to that. It should be approached like an update from a helpful and an interesting friend, not from a pushy salesperson. These should be composed in a way that reconnects leads with you on a personal level, inspires them, and makes them excited for the next. 

 

Think about these ideas for your newsletter: 

  • Include a latest project – wow them with before and after shots
  • Lend a helpful design tip they can try at home 
  • Share latest industry news and tidbits you find exciting 
  • Offer a free consultation for a limited time as an incentive to get in touch 

 

The more of a rapport you can build with your customers and leads online sets a valuable impression for a meaningful working relationship that could follow.  

 

The pandemic has affected our industry deeply but it’s also created some amazing opportunities for us to come out stronger. Get ahead on your web and social presence and begin to reap the benefits as we make our way back! 

What I Wish I Knew – Michael Berman & Lindsey Shook

The Learning Curve of Licensing Deals: What is the roadmap to a successful licensing deal? Michael Berman will reveal raw and real experiences during the formation of his product licenses for Kravet, Rohl, Walker Zanger, and Brown Jordan.

 

The Learning Curve of Licensing Deals: What is the roadmap to a successful licensing deal? Michael Berman will reveal raw and real experiences during the formation of his product licenses for Kravet, Rohl, Walker Zanger, and Brown Jordan.

 

What I Wish I Knew – Timothy Corrigan & Krissa Rossbund

Oh, to be a new designer. So many questions, so many discoveries to be unveiled. And one A-lister —Timothy Corrigan—whose masterful aesthetics have earned him a spot on design’s top tier, is about to share. In an insightful conversation with Traditional Home Senior Style and Design Editor, Krissa Rossbund, he’ll discuss what information would’ve been helpful to know when he launched his design firm and the foundation of knowledge that he acquired in his former career that led him to build one of the premier businesses in the industry. And then the pair will turn the conversation upside down to discuss what Timothy wishes potential clients understood about the power of design.

 

Oh, to be a new designer. So many questions, so many discoveries to be unveiled. And one A-lister —Timothy Corrigan—whose masterful aesthetics have earned him a spot on design’s top tier, is about to share. In an insightful conversation with Traditional Home Senior Style and Design Editor, Krissa Rossbund, he’ll discuss what information would’ve been helpful to know when he launched his design firm and the foundation of knowledge that he acquired in his former career that led him to build one of the premier businesses in the industry. And then the pair will turn the conversation upside down to discuss what Timothy wishes potential clients understood about the power of design.

 

 

 

 

I am so excited to welcome you to your new, trusted and FUN corner of the world (wide web), The Philes. We are consistently working behind the scenes at Circaphiles to bring you support and top of mind problem solving to help your business be the best it can be. The Philes is our latest endeavor to do just that!

 

I want this site to be a destination for you – the reader.  Like that favorite road trip you take when you feel frazzled!   A unique place to be inspired, hear straight from your peers and be a place that you can come to every week for something new.

 

So what can you expect from us, here at The Philes? An edited place for high design, conversations with your colleagues on relatable topics, tips from professionals and vendors, and so much more.  Come inside!  I think you’ll want to return to it, read it, and share it. We are all so glad you’re here!  Enjoy, from the bottom of my hospitable Southern heart!

 

A new, private trade-only community provides sage advice, education and vetted sources.

Photo: Amy Barnard Photography

When an interior designer brainstorms a new idea for the industry, it is usually because said designer could not find what they desired and turned the void into an opportunity. Such is the case with Genevieve Trousdale, founder of Circaphiles, an exclusive trade community designed to be “a designer’s right hand,” a central, credible and positive space for established designers, up-and-comers and students to connect with their peers and makers on multiple levels.

READ MORE AT DESIGNERS TODAY

VIEW PDF