Kate Abt: When Your Signature Style Trends

Episode 9 March 24, 2023 00:36:47
Kate Abt: When Your Signature Style Trends
The Interior Collective
Kate Abt: When Your Signature Style Trends

Mar 24 2023 | 00:36:47

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Kate Abt: When Your Signature Style Trends

 

Episode Details

In an industry where your look literally defines your brand, the pressure to find your signature style can be overwhelming. Defining your look in spite of trends can be critical to the success of your studio and crucial to attracting your ideal clients. So what happens when your look starts trending? Can you still stand out in a sea of lookalikes? Today’s guest is helping us navigate all of those questions and more. Kate Abt of Kate Abt Design opened her studio over a decade ago and immediately established her iconic aesthetic–timeless, collected, and livable. With her English roots and California influences, she’s found the beautiful balance between classic and effortless interiors, despite the ebbs and flows of design trends. 

In this episode, Kate and I discuss:

 

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Thanks for listening to this episode of The Interior Collective. You can listen to our episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or access all the show notes on our website.

 

You can follow along with Kate on Instagram, Pinterest, and discover more of her work on her website.

 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 In an industry where your look literally defines you, the pressure to find your signature style can be pretty intense. Whether you come from a background of working at a large firm where the style direction was clear but wasn't your own or you're self-taught and have always had a clear point of view, defining your look can be critical to the success of your studio in attracting ideal clients. But what happens when your look starts trending? How does that affect your business? Can you still stand out in a sea of lookalikes as people quickly copy the trends? And alternatively what happens when your look is no longer on those? What's in this year design list helping us navigate all of this is none other than the remarkable Kate abt of Kate App Design. Kate began her career in the mid nineties working under several top interior design firms until she opened her own studio over a decade ago immediately establishing her iconic Kate abt. Look, if you're not familiar with her work, we describe it as timeless, collected and livable with her British roots and a chapter Living in California, Kate found the balance between creating interiors that look classic while feeling effortless. Speaker 1 00:01:16 Hello Kate and welcome to the Interior Collective. I am so, so, so honored to have you on the show today and it's just such a pinch me moment to be chatting with you. Speaker 2 00:01:27 Hi, lovely to meet you and thanks for having me. It's very kind of you two chat to me. Speaker 1 00:01:32 I feel like we have been Instagram friends for a while now. You've always been so sweet and so gracious and generous as I send questions and chat you in your, in your story. So it's nice to get some real FaceTime. Speaker 2 00:01:45 Yeah, absolutely. It's always nice when we can meet Anta friend <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:01:50 So I'm particularly excited for today's episode because I'm just obsessed with your projects. I'm obsessed with your background. I'm obsessed with how you infuse your background into your California lifestyle and I feel like everything you are doing have been doing, we're doing in the past and will be doing is just so on trend. And I hate saying that it's trendy because I'm sure you probably fight that hard thinking that it's the opposite of trendy. But it is, it is so of the moment to have cozy English inspired spaces and then layering that with your signature California cool aesthetic is just such an incredible hybrid and I'm excited to talk about how you've merged those two, what those influences are and kind of how are we gonna make sure that it's not a trend that dies Speaker 2 00:02:46 <laugh>. So yeah, absolutely. Speaker 1 00:02:48 <laugh> to kick things off, let's go ahead and start back at the beginning. How did you find your way into design in the first place and when did you decide it was time to open up your own studio? Speaker 2 00:02:59 Well, when I moved out to the States, which was back in the nineties, that makes me feel very old <laugh>. I had the chance to start something new when I'd been working in the uk. I was marketing manager for a kitchen manufacturer and I used to help in the end I ended up styling photo shoots for products and things like that. And I got really interested in it and I loved it and just thought, yeah, I'd really like to do some sort of design, but never really knew what to do. Moving out to states, it was kind of like I could start afresh. I wanted to do something different. So I, I obviously had a lot of confidence back then. I thought, well, I'm just gonna call some designers and just see if they wanna take anybody on. I mean, I hadn't been a design assistant or anything per se. Speaker 2 00:03:41 I just thought, I'm just going for it. It's a passion and I think if you have a passion for something, it's something you just wanna go after and you wanna really work at. So I called and I dunno whether it was timing or what, but the studio was looking for someone and I had an interview and they hired me. So it was very much a, probably a luck, it was a studio that specialized in English interior. So I think obviously that helped and it kind of went from there and it was, it was really, I just thought I'd be going in gently and lightly and just thinking, oh, I'm just gonna learn little bits. But it ended up being full on pretty much running a business. By the time I got in, it was, I was thrown in at the deep end. Little did I know there was quite a lot of chaos behind the scenes. Speaker 2 00:04:26 So it literally, I had to suddenly absorb everything and just figure things out. But I think it's a really, it was a, at the time it was probably a nightmare for me because I think it was just scary. You're going in blindfolded and not knowing what you're doing, but it also teaches you to figure it out. And I had to figure it out quickly and learn. And it was a brilliant learning curve for me. I mean that's really what you need to know. It's not just the designing. You need to know how to run a business as well. Speaker 1 00:04:54 Couldn't agree with that more. That's why this podcast exists. It's trying to teach you everything that you can't learn in design school. So when you started working for firms in California, that first firm was an English style. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I feel like that was an easy adaptation. You could integrate yourself well, but was it difficult to define your own style, especially in a market that feels super different to an English style? And what would you say really helped you settle into defining what your signature style is now? Speaker 2 00:05:29 I think, I mean it was, and I think when you first start out, you don't necessarily have your, I mean obviously I had a British style because that's what I've grown up with and that's what I knew. But I think also you're sort of experimenting yourself. You're trying to figure out your way of like, what really resonates with me? What do I like, what, how do I want to do design? So it was, you know, obviously originally I was very traditional, very English inspired, but I loved it in California. I loved the clean lines, I loved love the simplicity. And it was somehow, it just, it resonated with me and I'm like, well how can I incorporate that into what I'm doing? I don't want everything feeling not stuffy at all, but just more, you know, it was so quintessential all the, you know, Fri at the time it was nineties so there was a lot of frills and a lot of, you know, over the top curtain treatments and things like that. Speaker 2 00:06:18 And I loved that it was completely very simple and clean lined with the California aesthetic. There weren't as many curtains and fabrics and things. It was quite different. I mean at first I sort of fought with it a bit and like, well why isn't everything like I'm used to it? You know, I knew it was a different country, but it just, it made, I think it opened my eyes to everything and it made me think, oh how, how can I incorporate that? Cause I really, really like it. So it was a good influence on me on how to kind of find my way in that field. But it's definitely difficult starting off not knowing kind of where you are going. And I think you have to experience bit, Speaker 1 00:06:55 This is off script, I always go off script, I'm sorry Kate <laugh>. But how do you leverage that or utilize that to your benefit when you potentially have clients asking for different styles? I know that our listeners battle with having a signature style and then also really serving their clients well and delivering what the clients are asking for. As you were navigating what your roots were, this California aesthetic, how do you help manage and set expectations with clients for this is what my signature style is, I am excited to try new things with you, but how do you really find that happy medium? Speaker 2 00:07:34 I think you're always, obviously when clients come to you, they've seen a certain, a certain look that you produce anyway. So to an extent they like what you're producing, but maybe they don't want to go the full way with it. And I think as designers you, I think we change over time. I think we learn our style can change a little bit as well. It can develop over time. So it's not that you are necessarily stuck in a certain type or you know, or look it, it's challenging to us if we're, if a client will come and say, Hey, I want something slightly different, that's great, I think we should be adaptable like that. But at the end of the day I think it's, they are coming to you for your specific, what they've already seen. And I think you can develop beyond that. You can have aspects of what you do in your design always when you are working with them, but maybe you're looking at something else, another avenue to go down and another look and you can kind of combine the two together. Speaker 1 00:08:27 So I don't wanna put words in your mouth, I know what I feel like your signature style is, but I'd love for you to describe to those listening who maybe aren't familiar with your work, what would you describe your signature style to be? Speaker 2 00:08:39 I'd like to think it's classic, but it's like no matter whether it's now or 10 years or something that it's not gonna fear appear too deep. I like it livable. To me that has always been really important of being from England. You know, it's very much like you pop around people's houses, you go and have a cup of tea, put your feet up, you can, you know, it feels relaxed. It feels like you can live in the, in the house. Not that it's staged, it just is, it feels like it's got a warmth to it and I hope that comes across with what I do for clients as well. So it's very much that it's a livable classic. But I also like things very clean lines and streamlined. I don't like over the top clutter either on in an interior. So not there's anything wrong with it, it's just not my feel. Speaker 1 00:09:29 If you had to say three signature elements to a Kate app design home, what would those be? Speaker 2 00:09:36 Classic, timeless and livable. Speaker 1 00:09:39 Okay. I'm gonna push you a little harder. And I don't mean conceptually, I mean literal elements that like you always want a color tile or you always want open shelving or what are things that you would say are really quintessential? Speaker 2 00:09:53 I love a mix of old and new, so definitely to bring in some, you know, if there's antiques that a client has had, if there's some artwork that has meaning to them. So it's a real mix of modern items as well as old things that maybe things that they've collated over time. They have got, you need to bring those into a space, you want to into that. Speaker 1 00:10:15 I've loved that. So I know you are a California girl now. I'm curious as to what are the best bits of English design that you feel like you are translating into that California lifestyle? Speaker 2 00:10:29 Definitely, like I said is the mix of the old and new, but I also think we can bring in the pops of the more of the color, the whimsy of the wallpapers and the fabrics and things like that. And that's where you can have some fun with it. It's not necessarily, you know, a, a coastal feel or the California life doesn't necessarily have as many patterns. I mean they do now cuz everybody's mixing it up. But I loved bringing in a hint of kind of both countries are mixing them together with pattern and style. Speaker 1 00:10:59 I love that pattern is like you said everywhere right now and I think you do a really great job of incorporating those layers of color that feels super British while still having that cool coastal feel. And I think you've just really perfected that. I'm curious if there are specific elements that you suggest designers focus on keeping timeless when designing. You mentioned that you don't want your projects to ever look dated or to be able to identify when that project was installed. What are some of the elements that someone could consider to make sure that that doesn't happen? Speaker 2 00:11:35 I think your foundation pieces, even just the whole scope of the interior of you know, even your flooring or window treatments or your foundations of like, you know, a sofa or a piece of furniture. I think if you can keep those more classic clean lined, those are gonna stand you and test then you can put in, if you wanna add some trend stuff, that's totally fine. I'm not against a trend but you just, those things are things that you can change out easily over time. If you in a couple of years, five years are like, no I think I'm done with that, you can change pillows or you can change out that rug or some artwork even and that's gonna help you just change it and adapt with time because there's always gonna be a trend, there's always gonna be something that's more popular over time in different eras. Speaker 1 00:12:19 I think that is really relieving to hear because as of right now everybody is wanting a patterned sofa and they want patterned drapery and walls and I feel like all of the most costly investments in your house are suddenly super bold, which I love. I think it's so fun but I feel like you have a much more timeless approach to that to ensure that those spaces are gonna stand the test of time. Do you, interior design trends in Britain usually mirror what's happening in the states. I want a little insight into that. Do you feel like it's totally on its own or do you feel like they work independently or congruently? Speaker 2 00:13:04 I actually think they're, they're different. I don't think they work hand in hand. I think out here there is a lot of, not trend, but I think there's a lot of European influence that comes out here and I think out here we look at a lot of what's going on in Europe or in England and things like that and it's, I mean you know they've, they've got properties that have been around a long, long time so there's a lot of materials that have been used for hundreds of years that we can look at. We're like, yeah it's a bit like the, the whole marble thing where people getting scared of using marble. It's been used for years, it's around, it's everywhere. Don't be scared of it, it's a beautiful product. So, but now and then, yes I do see it where it, it's kind of their, they're kind of doing their own thing. I don't know if there are so many trends back in Europe and everything as much as they are out here. I think it's a bit more they tend to, to just do what they love and what they feel right is right and not necessarily follow a certain trend. I think fashion wise it's slightly different. I think they do kind of work hand in hand but I think for interiors to me they kind of follow their own paths. Speaker 1 00:14:09 Well I think there's a lot of contributing factors to that as well as we're looking at projects that most of our listeners are doing, they're either full remodels or new builds with potentially a lot more space than what interior designers are working with in mm-hmm <affirmative> Great Britain. And so I think that's like a fundamental difference and like you said, they already have these incredibly well lived in materials that we in the states are trying to replicate and facilitate in our own spaces. So I think that's a big difference in them. Besides your English upbringing and your time in California, what else do you turn to for inspiration? Speaker 2 00:14:46 Definitely and I know a lot of people say this, but I love nature. I love love. I mean if you, people probably see it on my Instagram, I have a little garden, I love my flower veggie garden. I love being out in nature. I like when I go back home or even out here I like going to gardens. I get really interested with landscape and just na mother nature and her natural colors and things like that. I also love when I'm traveling obviously because there's so much out there that you can see. It could be a detail on a building and you're like oh that would look really cool in a design. But also I love it when like boutique hotels they tend to, they just can go all out and have fun and they can be really just luxury interiors and just lots of different designs. So I love hotels, even restaurants or little cafes or boutique shops and things like that. I love featuring also when I do on a Friday I do a clapping Friday on my Instagram and I'll feature shop storefronts and things like that. Speaker 1 00:15:42 So right now British inspired interiors are just flooding publications and are social feeds and including yours. You have a beautifully curated source of inspiration on your Instagram and I just feel like all eyes are on you. I have seen your name pop up in so many different places as a great inspiration source. I am wondering if you have felt a shift in attention from the design community or press because you have that British background and how does that affect your work? Speaker 2 00:16:14 I think to an extent I have, there's definitely Instagram and things are showing that there is, there is more interest but I think also what's helped the fact that so many people are into that feel and look to me it's got more manufacturers interested, it's got more companies interested, you know, often our feature uh kitchen company, there's many well known ones that we all know of or a European designer or something and I think people just are just gearing themselves more towards that aesthetic. They really like it. So there's definitely a lot more looks from, you know, just from Instagram and things like that For sure. Speaker 1 00:16:51 One of the first impressions prospective clients have of your brand is your website. If you don't have a strong online presence to show off your work though you're losing out on potential clients. ICO Studio offers a selection of limited edition website templates designed specifically for interior designers just like you. If you're looking for a more hands-off experience you can add on implementation and professional copywriting and we'll have your new website up and running within a few short weeks visit ico.studio to choose your favorite before it sells out. So I'm curious because your feed reads super English, your portfolio reads hybrid California English, and I'm wondering if you experience clients that come to you from Instagram looking for super English or do they come to you and they've seen your actual portfolio of work and where do you kind of like mesh the two together between like what's inspiring you of the moment and what's really your signature? Speaker 2 00:17:50 I think most come to me for the, for the blend of it, they go to my portfolio and they look on my website. I do feature heavily obviously on English because that's where I'm from. I love it, it makes me feel good, I miss home so I just feature things that are, that are good and lift my day as well. So I think and most people if they're looking at you, they're gonna look at your portfolio, they see what your style is and they can see that combination. Cuz I also do feature California design as well or or something that's clean lined. I, I love quite a lot of different interiors so I like to think that they can see both sides of it and see where I do that blend as well. Speaker 1 00:18:27 I love that you take that supernatural organic approach to your Instagram. I love following you. I just feel like everything as you said is just like a pop of joy in my day when I see it. I love how you explain what exactly is inspiring you by that. I feel like there is just so much knowledge to be had by following you on Instagram, so thank you for sharing and I hope you never stop because it's such a joy. Speaker 2 00:18:51 <laugh>, Speaker 1 00:18:53 Do you ever feel or have felt in the past that because British is having such an interiors moment right now, your signature style and your incredible blend of the two is like safe forever in the sense that it's never going to go out? Or do you ever worry that okay, if we're doing this right now then I know we're gonna go exactly opposite and everything's gonna go back to like crisp, clean, white everything because that's how things usually go, it's like one extreme to the other over the course of 10 years or so, what do you think the future of your signature really looks like? Speaker 2 00:19:30 It doesn't, in all honesty, it doesn't worry me because I will just do what I love to do and the star that I love, I, yes we're influenced by what is a trend, whether it's coming or going but even though British interiors are having that moment right now, it's something I've always done. So I feel like that is my way of doing design, that's what I'm gonna always stay at obviously I think we can tweak and you know there are things that come and go and I like them and I maybe want to go down a slightly different route, but it's who I am and I don't think people should be scared of doing what they do and feeling like they have to conform with what the trend is. Think just stay in your lane, keep doing what you're doing. There'll always be people, there's lots of different design out there and there's always people that will go for certain styles and that's why they come to you. If there's someone that does something completely different, they're gonna attract a different client to me. Speaker 1 00:20:22 I love that. I think that's so helpful, especially as it makes the perfect segue to my next question. How can you decipher true talent from someone? Again, someone who is maybe just regurgitating trending designs. Speaker 2 00:20:38 I think really you just looking at their portfolio and what they do, they're, they're true to their, what their design is, they're not necessarily going out and suddenly doing everything. That's the rage and everything that's popular right now. They're kind of staying in their line, they're doing what they've always done, they're not really deviating from it. I think to someone that, not necessarily people that regurgitate, but I think it's also people that maybe haven't quite found their way yet and it's having the confidence to do that and to not let other things get in the way of what you are doing and you just keep going down what you love. Speaker 1 00:21:16 I think that you do such an incredible job at staying in your lane and I think that a great example of that is the way that you curate inspiration and how that translates so differently into your actual spaces. You can look at what is currently inspiring you and you can look at your latest project and you can say okay maybe I see this one detail that was brought across into this project, but it certainly is not a copy and repeat of any significant element. For newer designers who are listening, how can you advise them to stay in their lane and avoid the pressure to look like whatever is the big happening thing with super successful public designers right now? Speaker 2 00:22:01 I always say cuz quite often I'll get people sending me messages and saying how did you start and what to do? Or it could be a student as you are a student and as you are starting your career, I think you'll find things that speak to you, you'll finder an avenue of design that really speaks to you. Just stay in that that line, stay in that route. Don't worry that you've got to keep up with everybody else. If we all did the same design, it's gonna be really boring. We need lots of different designers doing lots of different styles and different things, otherwise we're all gonna be the same. So don't be scared. It takes a lot to not be influenced and to stay with where you are and to not feel I'm behind everybody and I'm not doing well because you are doing well. You just need to know that your time will come. It takes, it's a lot of work, it takes a lot of time but it's not that anybody isn't necessarily liking your style, it's just maybe that's not the latest thing. There'll always be people that come to you and like your work and your work ethic. Speaker 1 00:23:00 Ugh, you're gonna make me cry Kate, that was so inspiring and so true. I just feel so much wisdom coming from you. I feel like you have really mastered the art of blending styles and I'm curious if you can shed some light to how someone literally starting to do a room can do that and still make it work. Speaker 2 00:23:23 Yeah, you'll obviously have a vision of what you're doing and an idea of what you're doing, you know, and I think you just build over time, you just build the elements to it. You just don't worry that because something is the latest trend that you've got to incorporate that into your room. Just do what your signature style is or if you're still developing it, do what feels right. You are gonna consult with your clients. They're always gonna be your sounding board. You always want to listen to your clients, never do just what you want. A client doesn't want that. They want to feel incorporated into it, they want to be involved, they want to feel like it's their house. At the end of the day you are shutting the door, you are going away, they're the ones living there. You need them to feel like it is their home. So you work closely with your clients, you're gonna incorporate things that they make or bring in new elements. It's a real um, collaboration I think when you're working with your clients and it's an honor to work with them as well. Speaker 1 00:24:19 I love that. You mentioned designing a room earlier in the show around their own articles, their own pieces. I think as people are trying to wrap their head around mixing styles, hard surface materials in particular can be really tricky and people can g get caught up on we have a new look tile and then we want this amazing reclaimed element brought in. How do you find the hybrid and not only how do you find the hybrid but how do you explain that hybrid to your clients? Speaker 2 00:24:52 I try. I think with design you're also trying to educate your clients. There's gonna be certain elements that elements that just don't go together and I think you have to be honest with your clients and say look, no, you are going for a com two completely different things that don't land. So maybe if it's not right then you can suggest that's where you come in and you suggest your experience comes through and you'll say well look, that may not be quite right but this is gonna go with it. You can find a compromise, you can look, there's always a material out there do they are gonna want, they just see it. They've seen a picture on Instagram and they're like, I'd like to do this, I want this. But it doesn't really go with their home. So that's your job to educate them and to guide them and to show them no, well maybe that's not quite right but this is what we can do and most of the time you don't have any issue at all. They appreciate that, that's why they're hiring your experience Speaker 1 00:25:39 100%. I think that's really, really a great bit of advice that you are there to serve your clients and you want to incorporate what it is that they want, but at the end of the day they are hiring you for your expertise and when there needs to be a line drawn you need to go ahead and draw that line. Kate, what is the balance between producing innovative designs that are still true to your brand as trends kind of come and go Speaker 2 00:26:06 For brand new designs and everything like that? I think really, you know, you can certainly experiment and bring in new designs and new elements to a project, but it's again, it's the same old thing of like being true to what you have. You can definitely bring in new things to your design product and and homes and things like that, but you need to make sure that you are incorporating it in a way that's not gonna feel like it's suddenly standing out in a room that it's sticking out like a sore thumb. You wanna make sure that you blend all those designs into what you're doing. Speaker 1 00:26:40 What advice do you have for a newer designer who is still in that experimentation phase and really honing that look? How do they get ahead of getting to try different things and how do they start to put together photos or portfolio of work that's really showing the type of work that they want to be doing? Speaker 2 00:27:04 I think really, you know like a lot of us it's been like you start with your home or friends homes or relatives homes, they're the best places for you to experiment really. That if people are willing to let you do that as well, if it's family or friends, that's where you can really start to get people to notice your work. You have the opportunity there, it's early days but you have the opportunity to try different things, see what you like, recommendation when someone has seen your work they are gonna recommend you. So if you do a project well it can be a simple room, it could be a simple styling but that's where you're starting off. People are gonna see it, they like it and then they're recommend to a friend recommendation. Even though we've got all of this social media recommendation is still huge to your portfolio and your business and that's where a lot of people I think sometimes get hung up on social media and they feel like they've got to do what they see out there, but it's not, it's what at the end of the day, it's your clients that you are gonna attract through work that they've seen you do. Speaker 1 00:28:03 That's so true, especially if you're someone who's not really interested in doing distance design. Your core market is going to be your client's neighbors and your client's friends. Right, right. Within your own city limits, Speaker 2 00:28:16 Right? Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:28:18 What would you say to those designers who have a little bit of a pause when it comes to developing a signature style? And what I mean by that is I have absolutely heard from our listeners and from design campers that they pride themselves in being able to design in any style and they can deliver whatever a client wants. What do you have to say to them? Speaker 2 00:28:39 I think, yeah, I mean I think we all, all of us want to be able to design for different clients and to be able to expand what we do and to try new things. But I think at the end of the day people come to you for a particular look that they've seen from previous projects. So even though you may not necessarily think you got a style, I think you do to a certain extent that's why they're coming to you. If they saw that you did certain interiors that didn't appeal to them, then they're not gonna come to you. So you do over time naturally develop a certain look and feel I think anyway. But I think it's also good for us to be able to change slightly what we're doing. We could have a client that suddenly comes to us and says, I bought a lake house, I want a completely different look from what you've been doing or you know, a cabin. And I think that's opportunity for us to expand and to do something different but still maybe keep our our key core things that we normally design. Like Speaker 1 00:29:37 You mentioned how important referrals are, referrals from your existing clients and I have had the experience where sometimes someone's looking for an interior designer and they ask a friend and the friend says, oh my gosh, I'd loved working with Kate, she's amazing, you have to call her. But down the road you realize that that friend's style is not necessarily what your client's style was and they recommended you based off of your incredible process and how lovely you were to work with. How do you navigate making sure you're still hitting the right clients when you are relying on referrals? Speaker 2 00:30:17 Yeah, I've had that happen to me. So our job also is not just that clients interviewing us, we interview potential clients as well. I think you have to be honest with clients. I think you have to ask very sort of tough questions in a way to see whether they've worked with a designer before. What is inspiring them at the moment? Why are they kind of going towards your portfolio? I think there's a lot that you can have in that initial conversation with a client that you can sound them out and see whether it's going to be a good fit, it has to be a good fit for them and it's got to be a good fit for you, otherwise it's just not going to work. So you can absolutely have people that recommend and like you say, maybe it is that they've seen someone's house and they're very excited and this person said, yeah, yeah please hire them. I think it, you know, go with them, it'll be great, but it may not necessarily be the right fit for you. And that's the importance is of running a business is to have clients that are correct for you and for the way you want to run your business. Speaker 1 00:31:16 How have you broken up with not the best fit clients? Speaker 2 00:31:22 In all honesty, it has not happened too much. There's only been maybe one or two instances where it has happened and it's just been, I think you've just the honest conversation and just say that it's, it's just not going right for everybody. You really have to be on it and I think if you do it in a nice way and a polite way and you just really are truthful with them, then I think normally it's, it's in some ways if you are struggling a bit, maybe they're struggling a bit as well. So I think really if you can be open, which you always need to be with your clients, then I think that's a way that you, you kind of have to say okay, this wasn't the right fit. Just be honest. It's not necessarily that you are not any good about things and you just can't design for them, not necessarily anything that they're doing. I think you have to have that gel, you have to have that good rapport with a client for the whole project to work. Speaker 1 00:32:17 You have a beautiful quote that I love and you say a home needs soul and should be a sanctuary for us. Your aim is to create that for your clients. How do you describe and how do you advise us to bring soul into a space that we design? Speaker 2 00:32:34 I think it's sort of like I was saying earlier, it's bringing clients, it's their own interests. It's their own mementos or their own, the furniture, not necessarily everything because after a while it's like yeah we can let that go but it's bringing parts of them into our home. It's making them feel like it is a livable space. Your home is so important to you and I think everybody's found that over the past few years with the pandemic that it really is important. You need it to feel like it's somewhere that you feel safe, that it feels comfortable to you, that you are always happy in it. And just bringing that, you know, parts of what things that have meaning to them, artwork or whether it's a special something they bought from a travel. Bring that in, it gives the home soul, it doesn't make it feel cold, it makes it feel cozy and welcoming. Speaker 1 00:33:24 I have a question. If you are sourcing artwork or small decor items or pieces, do you ever bring your clients along to source those possibly vintage items or those items that have more soul or do you rely on them to bring them to you or do you present them with a plethora and they select from there? Speaker 2 00:33:46 It's a mix in all honesty. It depends on the client. Some clients are just not interested in coming out and doing it and they leave it up to me cuz I love the hunt anyway, so I love doing that. But a lot more love coming along. They just like the hunt just as much as me and I think it's great fun. So we'll often go out together and we'll do, you know, I'll take 'em to, to places that I know of that we can find things and they may well come up with stuff as well. You know, there's a lot of FaceTimes that go on and we're like, you know what? What do you think about this? I'm busy shopping and I found something. So it's a combination of all things. I think the majority of my clients like to get involved in it really. Speaker 1 00:34:22 I think that is so fun. I know a lot of designers don't bring their clients along for it. I think it is such a fun tibit and I resonate with that so much. Kate, as we get ready to wrap things up, I like to end every show with a little sneak peek as to what you have coming in store in 2023. Do you have anything top secret that you're willing to share with us? Speaker 2 00:34:47 I wanna say top secret cuz I can never keep things to myself. Always hosting <laugh>. I always let everybody have sneak, but there's a couple of really lovely projects that one particularly I've been working on for probably it'll be about four years by the time we get this finished, another one that is finished. But of course like everybody, we're waiting for a few items to come in. It's taking ages and I've got some, a couple of really lovely ones that were just at the very early stages of starting, so there's actually a lot coming up next year. It's crazy busy there's, there's an awful lot that's so much fun and it's really given me so much joy for just doing different things. So stay tuned, <laugh>. Hopefully we'll have a lot more photo shoots next year. Speaker 1 00:35:29 That is so exciting. I cannot wait to see it. I cannot wait to drool over it and inspect every tiny little detail in every image you share. Kate, this has been so wonderful. I'm so grateful for your time. Thank you for helping me through our technical difficulties and your patience and grace to come back with us. I'm sure we will talk very soon. Speaker 2 00:35:49 Thank you. It's lovely to chat with you. Speaker 1 00:35:55 Thank you Kate, so much for sharing so unguardedly with us. It's been an immense pleasure learning from you in your journey. I could have continued to chat with you all day long if my producer was not kicking me off. You can view Kate's portfolio on her website, kate app design.com, or keep up with the latest on Instagram at Kate app design before our listeners. If you want to follow along with a written transcript or find links to any of the resources mentioned in today's episode, please visit idco.studio/podcast. There's plenty more of these good conversations happening in season two of the Interior Collective with topics ranging from the logistics behind distance design and the best systems for working with architects and builders to how you make your design business more sustainable and how to branch into commerce. You can listen on Spotify, apple Podcast, YouTube, or wherever you're turning in from right now. If you love this podcast, please leave us a review. If you have questions or topics you'd like to hear, email [email protected]. I'm your host, Anastasia Casey, and this is The Interior Collective, a podcast for the business of beautiful living. See you next week.

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