Unlocked: Marea Clark

We recently chatted with circaphiles ambassador & SOPHISTICATED SOUTHERNER

marea clark

After a decade of practicing with the industry’s most lauded interior designers, Marea founded MCI and quickly garnered a loyal client base in the Bay Area and beyond. Her aesthetic effortlessly combines sophistication with approachability, resulting in timeless, comfortable interiors that reflect her clients’ tastes, habits, and lifestyles. Today she is unlocking her studio doors to give us a peek at how her firm ticks!



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

Sell upfront. Make sure you agree on a budget at the beginning of each project. This reduces the selling that you have to do throughout the project and eliminates a lot of headaches for your client, your team, and you.

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

Just like clients, it’s important to understand each employee’s individual goals in order to best work together.  



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

Work at a fun and collaborative firm where you can learn a lot. Whether you don’t know what you want to do long-term, you want to start your own interior design firm, a furniture line, or work for someone who you really admire, early in your career it’s best to find a supportive environment where you can thrive. Seek out design professionals whose aesthetic aligns with yours, and who actively invest in the growth of their team. I spent 10 years working for some incredible interior designers in Los Angeles and San Francisco before I started my own firm, and I reference those experiences every day in my work. 

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

We are open and transparent with our clients about resources, but we are also upfront in our agreement with clients that we charge a fee for any goods purchased within our agreed-upon scope during our project, whether we purchase the goods or not. And for services, that we charge a fee for services that we coordinate and manage. 



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

All of our clients have been inbound leads, whether from word-of-mouth or otherwise.