Speaker 1 00:00:07 Today's episode has twice the goodness as we're digging into two super critical topics for running a successful interior design studio. Joining us to share her knowledge is Becca Casey, the award-winning and widely published designer behind Becca Interiors, as well as the carefully curated, endlessly inspiring home goods company. Air Barnes, after a long period where Light, bright, airy, and new was the name of the game. In the design world, we've finally seen the return and embrace of color, pattern and vintage goods. Becca's designs have always used these features thoughtfully in a way that feels collected over time and adds so much warmth and character to her projects. From walking us through how she sources all of the things new, old and custom to the systems and processes required for contractors and builders to properly execute her beautiful and nuanced designs. Becca is so generously sharing the details with us today in this jam-packed episode. Hello Becca and welcome to the show. I am freaking out right now, like top of the list fan girl moment. I'm so glad to have you here.
Speaker 2 00:01:17 Oh my goodness, I am. That is just the most flattering thing. Thank you so much. I'm really excited to start with you today.
Speaker 1 00:01:24 Well, as you know, your signature style has so profoundly influenced my design eye and I'm excited to dig in more deeply into the systems, processes and teams needed to develop and execute your design so properly. I think the key here is that your signature style and what you have always been doing is just so on trend right now and I'm really excited to talk through what it looks like when your signature style is, what is trending and how you kind of beat that and continue on and never let it die out, even though that is what your core root foundation design really is. So let's get started on how to execute that incredible signature style of yours. What are your tips and tricks for using color and pattern with intention?
Speaker 2 00:02:18 Oh gosh. Well first thank you so much. That was the loveliest intro ever. Gosh, tips and tricks. I mean, I always try to aim for pallets that compliment natural lighting at its best. You know, with paint one color can look entirely different in one home to the next and that's because you really need to take in what its surrounding features are. You know, does the space have dark floors or light floors? You know, are they stained or are they white oak? Or you know, how will the color pair with the undertones of that floor stain the ceilings on the lower side or the higher side, again, acting with the natural light. So striking that balance is really key. And then once I have an idea of color palette, we test a number of paints within that hue and always test them physically on the walls of the space, not so much on boards because that way again, you can really see how the color compliments the environment of the room.
Speaker 1 00:03:21 Well I got gutsy pulling inspiration from your portfolio and just painted our first bedroom at the Tudor House Green. And in my head it was like this lovely muddy, muted green and on the wall it definitely leaned a little carmody and I'm sitting with it and thinking about it. But not only should I have tested it on the wall, I needed to test it on every wall to be honest, because there's one natural light source and on two of the walls it looks perfect exactly the way I thought. And then where the sun's hitting it directly, that's where it looks like grass spring green. And so I love your suggestion of don't paint it on paper first, don't put it on boards. Paint it directly on the wall in swatches.
Speaker 2 00:04:06 Yeah, I know. It's like it's an investment in doing that, but it really is so key. So key.
Speaker 1 00:04:13 Yeah. Especially when I told my contractor that they had to repaint the room so I would've saved some money there if I had done it the first way
Speaker 2 00:04:22 <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:04:23 So speaking of paint, do you rely on specific paint brands, wallpaper suppliers or fabric sources to ensure you're getting the highest, longest lasting quality and truest representation of the colors that are so key to your English inspired designs? Can you share some of your favorite vendors for wall coverings?
Speaker 2 00:04:44 Oh yes. So I am very devoted to our beloved Faren ball paints, and I do highly stress though the importance of utilizing their paint over color matching. Um, and I see this issue come up a lot more often than not. If you specify far and bore color after sampling one of their paint pots, a painter might suggest that they could paint this color by color matching it, but in a different brand. And in my experience, when you risk the complexities and color that the pigment holds, it can lead to the color looking entirely different than what you did your desired vision was. Um, and so I really do recommend, you know, using Faron Ball if that is the color that you are specking. And we do, we, we also use Benjamin Moore paints. They have some really key neutrals and earthy terms that I lean on very, very often.
Speaker 2 00:05:44 Gosh, when it comes to wallpaper, it's such a love affair really. We always start with the physical example and then build a schematic from that. But we pull colors and notes from that pattern itself, you know, and I mean some of my favorites are just like, like Jasper Lewis and Wood Benison. And then there's some really brilliant, much smaller style companies which are out of Europe. But Antoinette Posar has some beautiful wallpapers and then this really, really lovely little company that's actually in the area that I grew up in in the southwest of England called Cabbages and Roses, which first of all that name is just brilliant, but they have some really sweet wallpapers as well that I, I love to, to peruse through with projects.
Speaker 1 00:06:33 Oh my gosh, I know everyone is a feverishly furiously writing down notes. Just remember we'll have all of these brands linked in the show notes so you can go back to 'em later. So for now, just soak in Becca's genius. So now that we've talked about like what I feel is the core fundamental difference between English design and what has been so dominant and prevalent in the US for the last few years, I'd love to jump into the next area, I feel is such a critical part of your design style and that's the beautiful layers of custom pieces, vintage fines, artisanal objects, and the foundational pieces you source. So what percentage would you estimate each category typically makes up in your designs on average? Meaning how much is vintage, how much are you having made? How much are you sourcing from trade vendors and is there a formula to that?
Speaker 2 00:07:29 Ooh, that's a really good question. I don't think I really have a formula. It's, you know, every project is so bespoken nature and I think at this point we really have garnered clients that not only adore antiques themselves but will often come to us ready with their own antiques, which I particularly enjoy that and knowing, you know, knowing if it was like a family heirloom or even a chair that they nurse their babies on years ago, things like that, the story that these pieces come with evoke, you know, so much character within themselves and it's always such an honor to have such a special piece placed within our own design repertoire. So it's just, you know, it's just one of those things where we measure where it feels right that an antique piece would fit within a space
Speaker 1 00:08:20 That is fantastic. Are you still sourcing, you know, to traditional trade vendors or is it really down to custom and antique?
Speaker 2 00:08:32 It's really a mix of both. Yeah, we, you know, and I think we might get into this a little bit later, but we definitely source antiques and we'll have them within our inventory and we'll have them at the ready and knowing, hey, that hu would be fantastic on that wall in this specific project and things like that. And then there's definitely a big element of custom design to our designs as well.
Speaker 1 00:08:59 So let's start with trade because I do feel like for a lot of our listeners, starting with trade vendors where you purchase your furnishings and source from there is sort of the first step before people really start getting comfortable and designing their own pieces and finding their workrooms to go custom. So where do you look to find the right partners that match your brand ethos and commitment to quality? Like how do you start finding those vendors?
Speaker 2 00:09:29 Yeah, I mean this is something, when I think about this, it's something we have really nurtured over time and are still always searching for. I get so excited when I come across a new trade artisan or partner that I think could work really well with us and that's exactly what it is. What we look for is synergy and you know, being able to creatively adjudicate the design together, I truly feel like that creates the best outcome because it always ends up being more spectacular than how you originally intended it to be <laugh>. So we tend to find these partners rather organically. It's a search, a deep dive. It's you know, speaking with other artisans we work with and say, you know, who do they recommend? So yeah, it's certainly something that we've nurtured over the years.
Speaker 1 00:10:20 And once you've found them, how do you decide which trade partners to really continue with or what do you feel matters most to you? Is it their communication style, their excellence in customer service, willingness to create custom solutions or pieces? What are the, I mean possibly profit margins, like what are the things that you value most in looking for those partners?
Speaker 2 00:10:45 Yeah, I think it goes back to the synergy. I mean we are really loyal to some of our most trusted partners and once they have a depth of understanding on how we like to design and create, they will often bring their own suggestions to the table and even look back on previous work we've done together and we'll say, Hey, what about this when we did this on X projects? So it's really, it's such a great balance of creativity and communication and I think it goes without saying, there's a lot of problem solving in this business. Like how do we hide a pipe behind that cabinetry, which we had no idea was there. So having really clear channels of communication with those partners when things crop up is an integral part to this process. And I mean, I will say to anyone listening not to get discouraged because we have kissed quite a few frogs and have had many costly issues able engage and secure some of these partners. So yeah, it definitely is a, is a process.
Speaker 1 00:11:57 Do you feel in hindsight, looking over the past few years in the industry throughout the pandemic, that those key relationships were vital in the success and longevity of your projects? Did that come in handy or was it like it's still a total mess, we're still waiting forever on things, there's still no customer service. I'm interested to know if like being so loyal to certain brands helps in those critical moments.
Speaker 2 00:12:30 Yeah, absolutely. I mean during the pandemic it really helped us to have some of these local artisans to lean on because of Lee Times and the challenges that were, you know, coming with the pandemic. And so being able to sort of look to our workroom and say, you know, we were specking this so far, do you think that you could help us recreate this in a much shorter time span was so much more valued at that point in time than you know, clients having to wait months and months and months on end. So it was certainly, I mean just so valuable to our business during that time.
Speaker 1 00:13:10 So first question, and this is off script, sorry, Becca <laugh>, do you have an idea, ballpark of how many projects, active projects you guys are holding at one time?
Speaker 2 00:13:21 It varies and this is something that since the pandemic there was at one point we were, you know, in the midst of like 12 projects and it was a lot and we were a rather small team and so it was something that I took a large step back and sort of assessed within the last year to understand how I really wanted the company to be structured and how it could support a certain amount of projects so that I could still be really involved because I really do like to be involved and you know, pulling and sourcing furnishings and fabrics and also being the last one to sign off on things. So that's really quite important to me.
Speaker 1 00:14:02 So, okay. Saying that you're busiest, it's about 12 projects. Do you have a ballpark as to how many trade accounts you have? I know that's hard. There's probably so many but I think for someone who's new and just starting out, they're like, do I get 10? Should I have 500? Like what is a general number?
Speaker 2 00:14:20 For us, number's pretty large because we really do have such an array of different vendors that we look to depending on the characteristics of the project. So we're nearing a thousand trade accounts. I feel crazy just saying that out loud, but that's been fostered over years of, you know, collecting these contacts. So we definitely have some go-tos and have relationships with certain reps, but our design process is pretty free flowing in that we just pluck from different vendors and we don't necessarily favor one particular manufacturer, which definitely sort of allows us to have a really diverse array of pieces and allow the space to be truly bespoke. Yeah, a very large part of our business is managing communications in the back and forth between vendors and so it's interesting cuz many clients are not privy to these, but I call this sort of the behind the scenes conversations because we may have 20 emails back and forth over the ordering and delivery of one side table. So its something you constantly have to manage and we conditioned ourselves that, you know, as soon as I send an email out, I'll make a note to follow up with person one to two days later just so that my own purposes I check in and make sure things are moving long.
Speaker 1 00:15:51 We like to talk money on the show cause I think it's really important as business owners to do. So as you're talking about procurement and following up and how it's gonna take 20 emails for the one side table, can you just share, do you charge that hourly or do you put that as a percentage fee into your procurement or how does that time get billed for?
Speaker 2 00:16:10 Yeah, that's a great question. So we charged by a percentage, our admin is basically made up by markup on the item. And so the markup that we gain the profit from that is how we take care of the hours put in for our admin.
Speaker 1 00:16:27 Got it. Okay. Thank you so much for sharing that. That's, it's always really wonderful to hear how other people are doing it. So now let's talk vintage pieces. Without giving away all your super top secrets, where can designers begin when developing their own Rolodex of vintage and antique sources? Because there's only so many hours in the day and literally going to every tiny antique mall in your state to find pieces or going to, you know, round top or I know you have great shows up in Connecticut. How do you start to build that network for antique and vintage sourcing?
Speaker 2 00:17:11 Yeah, I mean we're so lucky in this day and age that so much of this business is online. There are some fantastic platforms, I mean most obvious as some of like first dips and cherish maybe at Deco. But I am actually a huge lover of Etsy and just have always been, and I mean I'm amazed at some of the pieces that I'll find on there. And I've also had some amazing luck on Facebook marketplace and eBay, which I think a lot of people don't really take into consideration when they think about antiques, but you'll be really surprised what you'll find. So we certainly don't discriminate when it comes to that. But the other thing, you know, with some of these platforms, what I, the tool that I really like to use is when you can like a product and save it to your favorites. Because more often than not I'll see something that catches my eye and I'll say, oh my god, I love that, but I don't have the product for it yet. So I'll say that and then I can always come back to it when the time is right and then I'm like, oh yeah, I've completely forgot about this chat, but it would be so perfect for this space. So I really like to use that tool a lot. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:18:22 I love that you mentioned Facebook marketplace and Etsy and eBay because when we're talking about profit margins, if you can find things at that price point, you have a lot more room in your markup to be pricing things at what market rate is. And so I think the extra time spent in searching for that, I think a is super fun, but it also increases your opportunity for profitability in that sense. I also think that saving favorites is really, really critical, particularly for the algorithm purposes when you are on first dibs or cherish, even if you're like, this is not the thing I need for this project, but I love it, the more you can favorite things, the more those platforms algorithms will continue to show you things in that same vein and your quality of search will get faster and easier because it's learning what you like. So definitely make sure that you're always saving things within the same platform. Don't just pin it because that algorithm won't make that jump. You wanna be saving things in the platform that you're searching on.
Speaker 2 00:19:28 I love that. Brilliant advice. <laugh>,
Speaker 1 00:19:31 Are there typical categories you prefer to source vintage for?
Speaker 2 00:19:38 I have such a soft spot for lighting and antique furniture. I mean some, there's some brilliant antique table lamps out of, you know, Europe or a gold gorgeous old English chair. There are so many beautiful silhouettes from history that you just cannot reproduce today and I think they speak so well to your design aesthetic as well as making the space feel really collected. I think you know it, it goes to show you know what your aesthetic is by adding these little pieces in that might have a very interesting or unique silhouette to it.
Speaker 1 00:20:14 We talked at the top of the show about how your signature style, this English inspired design aesthetic is trending so much right now. What are simple ways that people listening that they could bring elements of that into their signature style?
Speaker 2 00:20:33 I would say definitely starting with a really good foundation in terms of the palette. What's the colors or the tones that you're looking for? A lot of really earthy tones for fabrics. I like to lean on some really nubby linens, especially when it comes to the window treatment or even the upholstery on your sofa. Lots of layered cozy pillows down lighting. I think that, you know, it's just so much more intimate to have table lamps and consider table lamps more so than so many recessed lights. Just things that really make the space feel very intimate and cozy. It's very English
Speaker 1 00:21:13 <laugh> as you're talking about sourcing great vintage table lighting as one of the things you could bring in. I'm curious, how do you ensure that a vintage piece is actually authentic and high quality, especially when you are sourcing Facebook marketplace or Etsy? Do you have any tricks for that?
Speaker 2 00:21:33 Yes, and I have certainly learned this one, the hardware, I would always recommend reaching out to that seller and asking if it, if it is an investment piece, it's certainly important to ask for a certification of or auth authenticity when it's necessary. But I would also recommend asking for images when there are markings or even patina so that you can fully assess whether it is in good enough condition to be purchased. You know, ask the seller if there are any faults with the piece that you should be aware of, such as a wobbly leg, you might, you know, you might not see that in the image and then you get a chair and it has a wobbly leg and then you're sort of stuck. So asking those questions upfront and understanding what's your, you know, investing in and then you'll have a knowing, you know, so that there's no surprises on the receiving end.
Speaker 1 00:22:31 So being originally from England and now based in new en New England <laugh>, I'm sure that there is a lot of travel over the years that you have participated in. And I'm just curious, do you have any favorite international flea markets fares or hidden gems that you can share with our designers to check out while they're traveling?
Speaker 2 00:22:53 Yes, I have some favorites from obviously from England and Europe. I mean flea markets and fairs over there, like your typical weekend joints. So there's many, there's just a plethora of them, but some of my favorites are the Cotswolds Antiques and Art Fair, the Shepton Mallet Antique Fair is fantastic, A lot of really local vendors there. Arding Antiques and Collector Fair. And then in it, I mean it goes, they're saying that France has some fantastic flea markets. One of my favorites is the double large flea market in the south of France, which has, they meet a number of times within the year and they have some fantastic pieces there as well.
Speaker 1 00:23:39 Okay, so I'm gonna kidnap you so you can take me <laugh> flea market shopping in England. That sounds amazing. Logistically speaking, not for the kidnapping, but for the shopping itself. <laugh>, how does one go over there to source and how do you get it back to the states?
Speaker 2 00:23:58 Yeah, so when I'm over there, if I find a piece that I feel that I want to ship back, I will often ask the seller if they have a contact or you know, a freight service or even a freight forwarding service and they, they usually will have some contacts that you can reach out to. If not, I would just look in the, within the area and see if there are any shipping companies within the area that can assist you.
Speaker 1 00:24:26 Okay, perfect. So you definitely can do it for a few pieces. You don't have to do this full shipping container concept that I feel like we've been hearing a lot about.
Speaker 2 00:24:35 No, and but I mean if you find something on the smaller scale, like funny enough, these spaces right behind me, I got those in, I just put them in a box and then ships them myself back to Connecticut. So I think it's, it depends on what the piece is. Definitely
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Speaker 2 00:25:57 Yeah, this is exactly what we do because I've definitely had my fair share of heartbreak when I've seen something and then I'll make a mad dash back to go and get it and it's gone. So my advice honestly is that if you see it and love it, you really should get it. But with some of the bigger pieces, we're lucky in that we partner with a, with a storage facility that we, if I find something that I just feel will be a really integral part to a project, I will purchase it and then I'll store it there until, you know, we present it to the right client or it's ready to be installed for the smaller pieces, you know, I'm constantly purchasing just anything really that sort of patches my eye. If it's vintage ceramics or stoneware or balls, blankets, even artwork, just very, you know, rudimentary pieces even can really help fill a wall space. So I think these are the, the really crucial finishing touches that we like to bring in to fill in those last gaps within a space.
Speaker 1 00:27:06 So that brings us to artisan goods and you're not just sourcing these items for your projects, but you're also always personally selecting them and adding them to your online shop. For an interior designer looking to build relationships with artists and craftspeople as part of their design philosophy and business model, what is your advice to start to find support and really uplift those artisans?
Speaker 2 00:27:30 Yeah, I love this question. I, I think it's really important to build a relationship from the beginning. Whether that means reaching out to them if you haven't actually met in person or if you happen to get, you know, gather a business card from an artisan, reach out to them via their email and just see how you can work together. We buy from some of our favorite artisans year after year and I truly enjoy seeing their, you know, sometimes what starters small businesses start to flourish over time from our support and truly, I mean, if by supporting these artisans it makes you part of a much larger mission and community and I think there is so much opportunity as designers for us to be a part of that narrative.
Speaker 1 00:28:21 Having those artisan pieces, does it help you sell your designs to your clients? Like does that help really tell the full story when you have a story to tell your clients? Or do you feel like at this point your clients are coming to you specifically for your signature aesthetic and you don't have to do as much selling as maybe a brand new designer does?
Speaker 2 00:28:44 Yeah, I think, I think it's a mix. Again, I think it depends on the client. There are some clients that just like to understand more about the source of where some pieces come from and I love a good story. So if I know that it's been made by, you know, a father and son out of a small shop in, I don't know, even the Bronx, it's just like telling that story and letting them know that this has been made by hand and with such care, I think that sells the piece within itself. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:29:16 So to wrap up our convo about sourcing, thank you so much for sharing as much as you have. I'd love to talk custom design pieces because there has been such an influx in having things custom designed because it's what you were able to get your hands on over the last few years. So what is your process like when designing custom furniture or fixtures for a project? What is the design process like?
Speaker 2 00:29:39 So we always start with a drawing or imagery and from there we ask for samples to be created based on those designs and it, it can be a little bit of back and forth, get, you know, perfecting those samples. And from there the conversation usually goes into the scale, the proportion, the functionality of the piece. Once we're happy with where it's landed, we will sort of sign off on it. And again, there's some check-ins along the way with those artisans, some imagery as exchanged to see how things are progressing. But it's really such a rewarding thing to see some of these dreamt up designs come to life because it's, it starts as an image in your mind and then seeing it in the physical is just, it's really wonderful.
Speaker 1 00:30:28 Do you let your clients know that every piece which are custom made, were custom made or are you presenting things as an entire room and individual auth items aren't necessarily itemized or priced out?
Speaker 2 00:30:43 It's during conversation. Usually if we do tell them that it's custom made, and I mean it could, that could speak to a number of different factors really. It might be something to do with the pricing of that piece if it's higher than you know, maybe what they anticipated. So it's definitely something that we usually communicate within our meetings.
Speaker 1 00:31:05 So when would you say is the right time or circumstance to create something custom versus finding it available from a trade partner? I'm sure most clients dream of a total unique comb filled up one a of a kind pieces that's all spoke to them in their lifestyle and their space, but that's not always the most cost effective option for them or other contributing factors. So what exactly are the benefits to you for custom versus sourcing trade?
Speaker 2 00:31:38 Yeah, I think it's really important to invest in pieces that you foresee yourself using a lot. And very often, you know, something like a sofa, there's so many different facets to the build out of that sofa, you know, what's the fill of it, the material, what's the arm height even, is it tight seat? Is it slip covered? There's so many different factors there. That's, you know, some of our clients can be very vocal about that. That's where I usually will say, let's work with our workroom. That way you get to sit in it when it's in progress, make sure that it's to your liking. And that's certainly somewhere where I see the investment really paying off. Definitely.
Speaker 1 00:32:21 Are there any areas that you feel custom isn't necessary and you're like, there are great options out in the market for it?
Speaker 2 00:32:31 Yeah, I custom can be very costly and it can really eat into budget quickly. So I, like I said, I would really reserve it for areas of the home where you feel that it will pay off the most. And even if it's not the sofa, maybe it's an incredible, you know, stone fabricated vanity in the powder room because it's a wow factor, you know, so it really could be just anything. But for areas that I would say you don't really need to invest in, I think it's, you know, as simple as a side table pieces of furnishings, which really you can find with retailers. I would even suggest to reach out and say, is there any way we could customize this a little bit on your end to define a different shape or different scale height or finish. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:33:21 That is a great answer. And brings me to my next question. Do you rely more heavily on fully custom or do you play around with the concept of customizing retail options more so in your projects?
Speaker 2 00:33:39 If I feel confidently that we can create a custom piece that will be more functional and suitable to the client's needs, then we will generally go that route. However, if it's something we can, what I call frankensteining and sort of like purchase a part of it where we can then work around it, then we'll we'll do that too.
Speaker 1 00:34:02 So pivoting slightly, I'm hoping you can share more about your systems and processes for executing your beautiful and nuanced designs. Processes are so hard and such a challenge for everybody, we just like to share as much knowledge as we possibly can. So how do you ensure that your designs are achieved properly when you're working with contractors and architects and workrooms specifically, what types of drawings, documentation, and specifications are you providing to those contractors and build team? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:34:38 <affirmative>. Yeah, so we, we start out by flipping with the client. We start out by flipping through inspiration imagery and we sort of keep a p a paper trail there where we look at imagery that maybe they've pulled, we've pulled, and then even imagery that might be sort of testing the waters a bit because I like to know from the outset what are their likes and dislikes. And then that paperwork we keep throughout the project so that we can lean on it, look back on it and you know, draw schematics and, and ideas from there. And then the next stage is we, you know, gather our materials and fabrics and, uh, present to the client. This is typically presented in person with a folder the client to follow whilst we walk them through the design concept. And then from there we, you know, once things have been signed off on, they're happy, we will produce project documents, you know, conceptual millwork drawings to online folders which outline plumbing spec sheets and tile for the, for some of the subcontractors. And we send this off digitally to the contractor and other necessary partners to review. And then from there we usually will request a meeting with them, print these out and we'll go over everything together because it's so important to make sure and have a conversation around some of these ideas because there's things that definitely can slip through the cracks. And so I think it's really important to inform them properly in terms of what your, your vision was and what you're trying to do.
Speaker 1 00:36:13 So that's interesting. You say you send it ahead of time digitally, do you have a spec book on site? I know I talk to a lot of designers who are like, we paste it on the walls, it is so clear exactly what's supposed to happen. Do you feel like you have a lot of following up to do with your contractors or have you just found this secret special spot where contractors just execute it perfectly?
Speaker 2 00:36:40 <laugh>? I wouldn't say that no. We, we definitely will also tape up drawings and elevations and things on the wall, tile layouts on the wall so that it's well and fully understood. And then more often than not, we have a a binder that we will bring to each meeting with the contractor and we'll go through and walk through some of the paperwork and we have even provided a binder such as that to the contractor so that they also have a copy.
Speaker 1 00:37:11 Got it. Thank you. So in order to provide these items for all projects, what kind of technical do you require your designers to have? I know you have a smaller team, but I'm interested to know how much cad, SketchUp, et cetera is required in-house versus what you might outsource or are you hand drawing everything?
Speaker 2 00:37:33 Yeah, so I, when I first started out I had an outsourced drafter and over time during Covid I hired a drafter for in-house for an in-house role. And this actually became a position that was really crucial to the efficiency of our business and helping us produce drawings and designs within a tight, tight turnaround. So not only do we have a drafter, but we also have designers that draft as well.
Speaker 1 00:38:05 Got it. So you'll design and give that to your drafts person and then you'll also have designers on the team who are capable of executing their own drawings?
Speaker 2 00:38:14 That's right. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:38:15 Perfect. Just outta curiosity, do you personally use cad?
Speaker 2 00:38:20 Oh my goodness, I don't think anyone wants me doing the CAD work anymore. <laugh>, it's been a really long time, so no, I do not <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:38:29 With project spanning all over the east coast, I imagine it's impossible to have one go-to architect and contractor or build team relationship. Do your clients typically already have their architect and builder selected before they begin, begin working with you or do you usually make recommendations, interview people for them? What does that initial process look like?
Speaker 2 00:38:52 We honestly, we have had projects that have approached us from both directions. So more often than not though we do have, uh, potential clients that will approach us and ask us for recommendations because maybe they are embarking on a renovation for the first time. But however, we we're very malleable and working with some of their go-to favorites as well because we do have clients that will come to us with subs that they adore. They'll say, oh, I had this painter for years, or I've worked with this electrician and really enjoy working with him, you know, as long as they are licensed, we're happy to collaborate. We just won't work with like your brother-in-law on plumbing your faucet because it's his side passion. <laugh>,
Speaker 1 00:39:38 Do you have any tips or tricks up your sleeve for ensuring that your designs are executed with quality craftsmanship, particularly when it was a trades person that your client brought to the table? When a client is bringing a trade person to the table, I feel a little nervous that in my ability to ensure that they can execute the design exactly how I imagined it because I haven't worked with them before. So do you have any tips or tricks for someone who is working on a project with someone brought to the table that the client has suggested in fostering that new relationship?
Speaker 2 00:40:17 Yeah, I mean, I think as much information that you can give over is so important. Now I know that can be hard because there's definitely been times that we've spent hours pouring ourselves over specification sheets only for them not to even be printed out or used. And so I think just being very clear about that, not only with this, the contracts themselves, but also with the client. Just say, okay, well if we're going to be working with this painter that you love, we just wanna make sure that everyone will be on the same page. This is how we work. Do you think that he'll, he or she will be able to work within that and just explain your processes to them and you know, hopefully it'll be, you know, a synergistic relationship.
Speaker 1 00:41:05 So we recently had created something for Lauren Lease where she called it like her contractor welcome guide, and we put it together and now it's a product in the shop. We'll link it in the show notes, but essentially it's what you give to these tradespeople and say, this is how we work, this is what we expect out of you. Do you have anything that has your processes written out from a contractor side of things? Not necessarily what you hand to your clients?
Speaker 2 00:41:31 No, I don't, but I, I really love that idea. I think that's fantastic.
Speaker 1 00:41:36 I'll email you after this and we'll get you on <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:41:40 No, we, we really don't. And but I think that's a really key thing in that, you know, just being really communicative and just sort of black and white can often, you know, produce the best results. So I I, yeah, I do see the value in having something like that when working with someone you've never worked with before.
Speaker 1 00:42:01 So you mentioned that a lot of your clients will come to you and say, we have this painter that we adore. It makes me wonder, can you share how many of your clients are finding you on social media, on Instagram? How many of them are referrals from people who have seen your work in person and how many people are just reaching out because they could find you on the, on Google?
Speaker 2 00:42:25 So more recently it's been, we've found that we've had an uptick in search engine, but that's only because we've been really procuring reviews from past clients. But other than that, it's amazing the power of social media even beyond Instagram, Pinterest, we've had a lot of traffic come from both of those platforms, and so we've been really, really lucky to get some fantastic clients from that.
Speaker 1 00:42:53 Thank you so much for sharing that. I think it is encouraging for people to hear that because social media has been so hard over the last few years as algorithms change and you know, all of the, all of the differences that are happening from what it was like five years ago even. So don't get, don't get down on yourself if you're not growing as quickly as you thought that you should be. Because at the end of the day, what matters is if the clients are converting. So as always, Becca, I'd like to end the show with a little present for our listeners. Do you have anything coming up this year that you can give us the inside scoop on?
Speaker 2 00:43:31 Oh gosh. Well, yes, some, which I could say and some which I cannot unfortunately, but stay tuned. But, uh, we are, one thing that we are really excited about is we are opening our first brick and mortar store for our company Air, and it's going be the beautiful town of Westport, Connecticut. So right now we're looking at opening the doors in June, 2023, but it's just been a really fun and exciting project for myself and the team to embark on because it's commercial and it's sort of a different pace for us, but, um, very, very excited for that come to fruition.
Speaker 1 00:44:14 That is huge. Congratulations. I'm so excited for that. I think I will have to make my first trip to New England next fall so I can come see the shop after it's been open for a little bit. Well, Becca, thank you so much. This has been so incredibly helpful, so incredibly insightful. I know that there are so many of us who just absolutely idolize your work and to have this time with you in person is just such a gift. So thank you for being here. I'm sure we will chat very soon.
Speaker 2 00:44:42 Thank you so much for having me. This has been such a pleasure.
Speaker 1 00:44:52 For our listeners, if you wanna follow along with Becca, you'll find her Instagram at Becca Interiors for her design work. Head over to becca interiors.com or shop her thoughtfully curated [email protected]
. A written transcript plus links to all of the above can be found at ID code do studio slash podcast. We've made sure to list out every single vendor resource that Becca shared with us today on the show. Although we're just a week away from the finale of season two of the Interior Collective, there are so many great topics and conversations to get caught up on or revisit between the two seasons like you witnessed today. We are not afraid about talking numbers, asking the hard questions, and sharing candidly and our incredible roster of guests never disappoint. You can listen on Spotify, apple Podcast, YouTube, or whatever you're tuning into from now. If you'd love this podcast, please give us a review. If you have topics or guest recommendations for season three, please email me directly at [email protected]
. I'm your host, anesthesia Casey, and this is the Interior Collective, a podcast for the business of beautiful living.