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Beyond Décor: Rachel Nunziata

3 Requirements for Running a Strong Décor Business

These tips will help you connect with designers and set yourself apart from competitors.

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AROUND THIS TIME last year, I kicked off the Beyond Décor column with something along the lines of, “How is it already halfway through the year?” Every summer I’m amazed at just how fast the year has flown. Luckily, our industry has some good news as stated by Big Picture’s Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer in the May edition: We are officially back to IRL events and tradeshows for the first time since 2019! I don’t think any of us would have ever imagined this to be the case.

Despite all the hardships, most of us have collected new learnings or simply cherished the mundane things we took for granted, like slowing down or spending more time at home. On the flip side, we’ve gleaned a fair share of business lessons, too, like developing short-term revenue streams such as mask making, utilizing downtime to audit production rooms, or totally revamping supply chain strategies and committing to reshoring and sustainability. The latter shouldn’t be ignored, pandemic or not.

To keep your pencils sharp, add these evergreen business tips to your toolkit so you’re ready, no matter what life throws your way.

Creativity — From an article on Psychology Today, the World Economic Forum states, “Creativity is or is related to 9 of the top 10 skills that global executives say is essential for 2020 and beyond.” As many of you probably can relate to this, just like I can, that left-brain/right-brain personality really can be your best attribute, especially working with designers considering you already have the technical aptitude and understand wide-format print. Honing your creative skills sets you apart in many ways from your competition, from the design-led language you use to the problem-solving abilities you exude during custom projects and unique installations. Keep creativity close and you’ll go far.

Resourcefulness — Like creativity, resourcefulness is a muscle you likely developed very early on in your career. When you were running low on time and well, resources, having the ability to work with what you have can impress and keep your clientele. Reputation and project execution are paramount to designers, so if you’re low on a particular wallcovering emboss or fabric type, work with your vendor to find something comparable that won’t meddle with client pricing and lead times. Pro-tip: To stay within the confines of a specification or standard when swapping out a different emboss or texture, follow the same exact product construction!

Connection — As you’ve probably read in past Beyond Décor columns, the A&D community is all about word-of-mouth, but by “connection,” let’s look at a few strategies. If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that maintaining relationships is crucial. Now that you’ve mastered the Zoom call or Google Meet, you should continue being flexible and host virtual meetings with clients – phone calls seem dated. After the strain of the pandemic, we want everything stress-free, so make communicating and connecting easy. Other ways to stay connected is to have a good-quality online presence with a well-designed website, order or PO process, and smart use of social media. Social media doesn’t have to be complicated, but consistently using LinkedIn and Instagram can really benefit the connection your business has to the design community. And don’t forget to attend shows!

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There you have it: A simple, three-ingredient approach to building a strong business in the interiors market. Have creativity, resourcefulness, and a strong sense of connection and you won’t skip a beat.

Rachel Nunziata is a digital print business and market development specialist with an undeniable enthusiasm for interior and home décor segments. She is a graduate of Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida, and has a knack for enabling synergies between artists, interior designers, and industry experts. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter @RachelNunziata.

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