Due to COVID, many interior designers have been putting their design skills to work in new ways: including re-designing how and where they work. We recently chatted with one of our advisory board members, Amy Troute of Amy Troute Inspired Interior Design, to hear how she has adapted to our new normal of working from home. Read on to learn about how she is maintaining her business in this challenging environment!
How has your work been impacted by the Stay Home orders?
We are (very thankfully) still working at about 70% capacity on existing and new furnishings projects. Construction design for existing projects has continued very sparingly as needed, but new project starts in construction have been on hold since the stay at home order went into effect. This seems to be true for many designers, where projects already in process have continued, but many upcoming projects were postponed or canceled. That being said, we are anticipating an influx of new work this summer! We can’t wait get back to our busy schedules.
How have you made working from home work for you?
We are working from home offices, enjoying video conference calls for our Monday status meeting and even completed our first virtual presentation of floor plans, furnishings, wallpaper and fabrics with a new client via the Houseparty app. Despite not being able to share the samples physically, it went VERY well!
We do miss our studio and the connection of sharing the space. Design happens in collaboration, and we look forward to getting back to that soon. We did pull together a delivery of furnishings for a client who is listing her house and needed furniture immediately. To make this work, we dropped off the items outside of her garage and she will install them with our remote guidance via video call. It feels odd to put our client to work instead of us, but we are making the most of it and using technology to innovate our offerings!
Are you taking this time to learn any new skills?
Yes! I’ve been participating in a variety webinars and virtual product showings with vendors and plan to touring a few “markets” online. I’m also amping up my HouzzPro exposure and reaching out to past clients for testimonials. The slower pace of work has given me time to clean up administrative tasks and learn about new materials through virtual product shares. It has been exciting to see the industry quickly adapt to the online environment and pivot to offer educational opportunities for designers virtually.
Have you had to make any major changes to your business model?
We haven’t changed anything major – for us, staying the course with pricing, offerings and overall brand is our best bet. We are preparing for a possible influx of “Virtual design” opportunities and getting our punch-lists and pricing ready to serve clients where they are now. We have found being positive and present in social media is key at this time as well. With so many clients staying at home full time, they have more time to browse social media– and we want them to see us there. Our message is: we are here, we are working, and we are being safe.
Do you have any advice for new designers during this time?
I recently watched a webinar on Houzz that started with “redefine what success means NOW.” It inspired me to relax my own expectations a little during this pandemic, and truly approach current and future clients with support and understanding. Setting expectations through all of this is paramount. Yes, everything will take longer, and timelines will need to stretch to accommodate vendors, shipping and overall availability, but we can still deliver amazing designs to our clients that will enhance their living spaces. A key takeaway is to focus on thorough and constant communication.
I believe our industry will survive this downtime and thrive in the future because home is now more important than ever. All those clients who can no longer travel extravagantly will be shifting priorities and investing in home! We will be here to help them.
Thank you Amy Troute for taking the time to share your thoughts and advice with us! We are also looking forward to what’s next for our industry. If you’re looking for continuous education opportunities, sign up for our weekly Virtual Engagement emails by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit amytroute.com to see more of Amy’s inspiring work!