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Unlocked: Liz Caan & Co.

We recently chatted with circaphiles ambassador & COLOR-HAPPY designer

LIZ CAAN

Here at Circaphiles we like to surround ourselves with inspiring friends, and Liz Caan certainly falls into that category. Founder of Liz Caan & Co., based in Newton, Massachusetts, Liz is a Circaphiles ambassador we are especially proud to have help lead our members. Known for layering pattern, color and texture, her designs are full of personality. Today, she is unlocking the door and giving us a peek inside of how she started her firm, what she wishes she knew then and more. Read on…

 

 

1. What did you wish you knew when you started your design firm?

I wish I knew a lot of things but I really wish I knew how much business management, business development, project management, and operational processes and procedures we would need to not only develop but also refine, change and continue to refine and change as we grew. Every year we find ways to do things better and more efficiently which is just as enjoyable as the design aspect. …it’s just a different part of your brain. While I love designing, it only accounts for a small percentage of my time. A lot of my time is spent problem-solving, teaching and mentoring staff and interfacing with clients. . .

2. Was there something unexpected that you learned from your team along the
way?

All my weaknesses as well as how much I enjoy teaching and mentoring and
developing. I learned that I needed to hire people who are good at the things I am
weak at or not really interested in or have no time for. I learned that we needed a team
with very different personalities and skillsets to be successful. We can’t all be type A
and alike. I needed to cultivate a team that had the skills and the temperament I
lacked.

 

 

3. If there is one piece of advice you would give a design student, what would it
be?

Much of design is about understanding who you are designing for (clients) and with, like architects, contractors, artisans, and workrooms. My advice would be to develop the most incredible and acute listening and observation skills. The best design is about collaboration and understanding the client’s values, goals and objectives so you can try and enhance their life through informed design which means you are always listening with your eyes and your ears.

4. When a client asks for a resource, how do you answer them?

We are pretty transparent about our resources. Many of our workrooms will not work directly with a client, only trade, so sometimes we even introduce the client to the artisan. They love getting a behind-the-scenes look and it gives them a personal connection to the piece being made for them.

 

 

5. How have you directly reached out to a potential new client?

I actually have never done this. Hard to believe but luckily our phone rings, and our clients give great referrals and our Social Media is a big source of new business.