KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Business

Mar 30 2018

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Lessons from the Design Bloggers Conference


The Design Bloggers Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. this month drew hundreds of designers, entrepreneurs, journalists and others interested in unraveling the intricacies of what makes a blog a true business asset. They also covered how to create an effective social media marketing plan. Here’s some advice from the experts:

Be Serendipitous

Algorithms — those pieces of data that tell social media sites like Facebook an Instagram what you “like,” share and click on for more information — help expose us to more of the great things we love. The caveat, however, is that they also tend to weed out the posts that don’t fit into our “like” patterns. That in turn creates a narrow, highly-focused vision, eliminating exposure to different points of view and options for staying open-minded and well-rounded.

According to Adam Japko, founder of Esteem Media and the Design Bloggers Conference, this is why influencer marketing is taking off. Just let things be serendipitous and allow the unexpected to happen.

Build Collaborative Relationships

Build a network of professionals you can rely on, including photographers, trades, designers, trade associations, manufacturers and publishers. Provide each other recommendations and leads.

Chances are, if you are kind and easy to work with, you will be sought out by other professionals, thus creating a strong team in your design community.

Build Additional Income Streams

With technology at our fingertips, there are so many options for generating additional income streams. For instance, creating a blog provides opportunities to advertise manufacturers and brands, feature sponsored content, link to affiliate companies, provide advice columns and create eDesign for clients.

Stand Out

Find your unique story to stand out and capitalize on that as part of your branding efforts. Brands leveraging philanthropic initiatives are trusted, memorable and respected among all. Look at ways to connect your brand with something that gives back in a meaningful way.

At the conference, we learned about Savvy Designs, a company creating magical spaces for ill children enduring major challenges at a young age, and Save Iconic Architecture, a group that protects and preserves iconic architecture in California.

You can also look to create your own unique story promoting your specialty — what really makes you special. Do you have a story to tell with color? Are you specialized in small spaces, childproofing, yacht design or historic homes? Identify what differentiates you and play up these strengths.

Embrace the Evolution of Technology

Adapting to social strategies, algorithms and platforms is a way of the future — but remember, nothing is forever.

Be prepared for disruption. It is inevitable and will continue to happen. We’re all in this together, so ask for help!

Visit https://nkba.org/info/2018/03/5-tips-elevating-business for more information.

Mar 26 2018

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Why It’s Important to Have a Great Plumbing Supplier

So you’re a kitchen and bathroom designer, you went to KBIS, and you saw all these amazing fixtures you want use. Or, you just signed your first kitchen/bathroom client, and you are wanting to find the best fixtures for them. Many designers head online to purchase fixtures or order them through a company that sells fixtures. Me? I head to my plumbing showroom, and here’s why.

For my first kitchen, my client indicated that they wanted a granite sink. I went online and found what I thought was a good one on a big-box site. I ordered it and took it over to my client’s home. Days later, he asked for the flange and the disposal switch, and I had completely forgotten to purchase those. Had I specified the sink through my plumbing supplier, my rep would have asked me the question about the flange, etc. Also, I later discovered that she had a professional-grade granite sink that came with a better warranty for my client.

Then there was the time I specified a wand and an overhead shower for a client’s bathroom, and she wanted to use each separately and then use them together. Guess what? Because of the recent drought in California, the code has changed, and that’s no longer allowed. Do you know who I learned that from? My plumber supplier, who had just taken a course on it.

Of course, there have been many times I’ve walked in with a specific budget, and my plumbing supplier has been able to steer me in the direction of a line that would fit the overall design but still allow my client to buy soap and towels for the bathroom or kitchen. I could continue to list reasons to find yourself a great plumbing supplier, but you get the gist!

By Sarah C. Wilson, Chansaerae Designs, LLC

Jan 15 2018

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What Design School Didn’t Teach You

Wherever your trade was learned, it is unlikely that it taught you how to handle everything in your chosen field. Such things as difficult clients, marketing struggles and disaster installs are some situations a designer cannot learn in a classroom.

One Modenus Lounge Talk, “Things They Didn’t Teach You in Design School,” at last week’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show explored just this issue. Panelists included designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon of Pensacola, Fla.-based In Detail Interiors; Leanne Wood, principal of Flying Camel Advertising and PR; and KBB’s managing editor, Erinn Loucks. The panel discussed best ways to get published, how to use social media to your advantage and how to choose the best clients.

Picture Perfect. All three panelists agreed that good-quality photography is one of the best investments a designer can make. Professional photography on their websites and social media platforms can attract potential clients and can be used for pitches to interior design magazines. 

Using Instagram. This is an excellent tool for marketing your brand, however, it should not be mixed with your personal account. Unless it’s design related, save the photos of your kids at the beach for another place. Be sure not to always post other designer’s projects, and use the platform more to showcase your own designs.

Getting Published. Editors love to see new projects! All you need to grab our attention is to send us professional photography and characteristic features that might fit our publication. Designs that include universal features, sustainability, challenges or even unique colors or materials are great to point out. This goes for all trade and consumer publications; think creatively about how to present your projects, and consider what you as a reader would like to see and learn.

Choosing Your Clients. Starting out, it might seem like you should take every client who comes your way. However, knowing you can work well with them can start your career off with a good reputation and an easier project. Know how your personality works with other personalities and what kinds of projects at which you would excel. This will help eliminate problem clients and potential challenges from the outset.

What did you learn at KBIS 2018? Share with us on Facebook or on Twitter @KBBconnect. 

Dec 18 2017

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Market Smart: Make a Big Splash for Little Cash


If you’re spending big money on marketing, you’re probably wasting it.

Some of the best marketing that kitchen and bath professionals can do costs the least. Some of the most powerful promotion costs nothing at all. You can take the “price” out of your promotion and make a maximum impact for a minimal investment.

Step one in that process is to identify and promote your “Only.” This million-dollar marketing word can turn a bland brand into a killer commercial.

Are you the area’s ONLY kitchen and bath specialist who is also a Certified Living in Place Professional? Is yours the area’s ONLY award-winning design firm? Is yours the ONLY one that offers such a wide variety of cabinets? Tell me what only you do, and I’ll work only with you.

Once you have identified your “Only” phrase, include it in your social media profiles and in the “About Us” section on your website and Houzz site. Establish your expertise in the local marketplace, and communicate your credibility through videos, blog posts, articles and social media commentary. Use these low-cost and no-cost platforms to address kitchen and bath industry challenges, changes and trends. Include information wherever and whenever possible about your industry experience and accomplishments.

Make blogging the focal point of your “Big Splash, Little Cash” marketing campaign. Use your blog to offer solutions to the key problems your clients face. Your blog can:

·         Boost your credibility

·         Attract prospective buyers

·         Establish you as a resource for the trade media and other industry “influencers”

·         Enable you to start conversations about industry trends

·         Enhance your search engine rankings

·         Drive traffic to your website. Studies show that websites with blogs get 55 percent more visitors than those without them.      

Expand one of your posts or articles into a short report, and grow your database by offering the report online at no cost to those who provide you with their contact information. Then reach out to that database on a regular basis. Get into the “smile and dial” habit; make 10 contacts a day to those you need to know, and you’ll pump up your promotional pipeline in no time. Share that online special report with industry bloggers and the trade media, and offer to assist them the next time they’re looking for an industry expert to consult or quote.

Writing articles and columns and submitting news releases to industry and general media outlets are great ways to generate free publicity – the best advertising that kitchen and bath pros can’t buy. Savvy design professionals also use public speaking as an economical and efficient way to position themselves as industry authorities. Presenting seminars, classes and workshops to groups of prospective clients is smart marketing at its best.

You need not – and should not – fly solo in your personal marketing efforts. Partner in your promotion by aligning with allied professionals, and seek marketing support from vendors and suppliers. The good news is that you don’t need a big marketing budget to make a big marketing impact. There’s no need to be rich to get recognized. You can use no-sweat, low-cost marketing strategies to make a big splash for little cash.

Fred Berns, a design industry coach and copy writer, is the author of the audio program entitled Million Dollar Marketing on a Shoestring Budget.