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Unlocked: Pulp Designs

We recently chatted with circaphiles ambassador & daring designers

pulp designs

Beth Dotolo and Carolina V. Gentry co-founded Pulp Design Studios in 2007 in hopes to bring a sense of adventure to the business of design, and they did just that. They have established a unique viewpoint combining luxury design and a flair for the unexpected through their forward-thinking approach to commerce and design. Along with having studios in Seattle, Dallas, and Los Angeles, the Pulp team works with residential and commercial clients across the country, helping them expand their personal style into more transformative and innovative interior spaces.

 

 

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

 

Carolina: “You need serious selling skills! You have to be able to sell your services to potential customers, you need to use your persuasive skills to build trust with your clients, and you need to be able to collaborate on a project.”

Beth: “Knowing when to delegate. In those early days, you think you have to do everything or that you can’t afford to hire someone else. But you quickly realize that in the long run you will make more money if you focus on the clients. Let someone else do the accounting or follow up on the furnishings orders.”

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

Beth: “We’ve been so lucky to have incredible, and long-term, team members from the very beginning. But the first time you have a team member leave is hard. It feels personal, and you have to remember that it most definitely isn’t. People have lives, and their goals aren’t always going to line up with yours. That shouldn’t be unexpected, but it was when it happened to us the first time! We’ve stayed in touch and have had employees come back because we are really interested in the whole person.”

Carolina: “As our firm has grown and we’ve taken on so many clients, it’s also been great to have our younger assistants keep us up-to-date on apps or new technologies we may have missed. Anything that keeps us efficient and saves us time is a good thing.”

 

 

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

 

Beth: “Intern while you’re in school! It’s so great to be able to see how to apply the skills you’re learning in school. It will totally give you an edge in the industry!”

Carolina: “You also need to understand that you are working for someone who may have dreamed about what their home will look like for a long time. It isn’t about going in and making them agree to your fabulous design – you need to listen to them and understand what they want and need. Then you can wow them with your solutions to their issues, and your incredible design talent.”

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

Beth: “It completely depends on the situation. In general, we are clear from the very beginning that we’re bringing unique resources to them with relationships and pricing that they won’t be able to achieve themselves. If they ask, we’ll remind them that most of our sources are a trade only, so they wouldn’t be able to purchase from them. But sometimes they’re asking because of context, or to understand the quality or the history of what we’re purchasing, so in those cases, we might share the name of the company. But we don’t share the full information on the exact SKU. It has very rarely happened.”

 

 

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

Carolina: “Absolutely! If we’re given a tip, or if someone refers us, we will definitely reach out via email or with one of our direct mail pieces. We have our own magazine called ICON and it showcases our work, our aesthetic, and design ideas. It’s an incredible luxe selling piece for us. We’ve had fantastic feedback from them, as well as new clients!”