4.10.2014

DESIGN CONFIDENTIAL: HOW TO ATTRACT THE CLIENTS YOU WANT


Attracting your ideal client won't ensure your business will be a raving success, but constantly working with "your people" is one of the best ways to position yourself FOR success.
If you're feeling creatively stuck as a designer (or ANY creative artist), one of the first things you should assess is whether you're really working with your targeted crowd...because nothing will suck the life outta you like an "un-ideal" client (that sounds much nicer than calling them "bad", right?). An ideal client is to a creative like a weave is to Beyonce...you can still have a business without it, but it doesn't quite have the same spirit. (Get my drift?) 

HERE'S WHY (AND HOW) TO ATTRACT THE CLIENTS YOU WANT

1. Figure out who they are. I mean really sit down and figure it out. People always crack up at me because I can easily run off the demographics of my current client base (income, ethnicity, family size, education, location, age, marital status)--one thing you can be assured of, I know who my people are, and I know who I want to work with. Simply saying that you want to work with "people with money" might be the obvious choice but it isn't enough, plus...it cheapens you as a creative. Do you REALLY want to work with just anyone who throws a stack of money in your lap? I know I don't. I like clients with great energy & an appreciation of great style (fashion, makeup, hair, architecture, Interior Design, etc) who like to like to push past their boundaries and are confident in their selection of me as their designer not because I'm the cheapest, but because they want to work with me specifically. I like clients who want to take chances but hire me because they love my aesthetic and are not quite sure HOW to make the right choices in their decor. Simply having a big wallet just isn't enough.
As a creative, there are certain jobs you shouldn't take on and in order to be clear about which jobs to turn down, you have to identify your tribe. 

2. Know who YOU are. Wait a minute--are YOU even clear about what you're doing (or what service you're providing)?? If not, this is square one. Make sure you're clear about who you are as a brand & business owner and can clearly communicate your "who-ness" to others verbally (or if you wanna get all business lingo technical, it's known as your USP--unique selling proposition). If you're not sure about what & who you are, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize your people aren't going to be sure either.
And if they're not sure, they won't hire you. 

3. Create your highest standard (like attracts like). Look for opportunities to do the work you want to be doing now--no matter where you are in your business--and create according to your standard. I recognize that this isn't always easy, especially if you have a taste for fine linen, custom drapery from the finest silks and 100% wool carpeting with a $1000 budget, but you can always start somewhere. Use your home as a canvas. Create smaller vignettes that articulate your style. Imagine that you're working with your ideal client--what would you create for them? Even if it's nothing other than a case study or concept board, create like you're already where you want to be. After all...everyone knows that the fastest way to get what you want is to BE what you want.
And like Ray Kinsella said in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."
So get to building!

4. Be consistent.  Quality control, quality control, quality control! Be sure that the work you present to the world represents the kind of work you actually want to be doing in your business...all the time. If French Country isn't your thing but you happen to have taken on a few of those projects, don't share those images (or even pay for professional photography) on your website or social media accounts. A client would rather see one stellar project that represents the kind of work you're passionate about on your website versus 40 photos of a mix of styles that will confuse them about who you are and what your area of expertise is (besides taking the first check that comes along!). If you're a budding photographer and only 3 of your last 20 photo shoots met your expectations, only share the 3 you love and share those projects until the wheels fall off!
Again, when you're consistently communicating who you are and who you want to be in business, you make it easier for the people who are looking for YOUR area of expertise to find you.

5. Ask for what you want. If you want a certain type of client, ask for them! I don't mean beg and plead in their face, but when you're networking and sharing about your business, speak with confidence about who you want to work with. When you run across your ideal client in your daily travels, communicate your desire to work with them and share not only how you can be of assistance to them but why/how your business or product would be a great fit for their project (or a project you can create).
You have not, because you ask not...sometimes it really is that simple.

Are you working with you ideal clients? 
Have any advice to share?
If so, please chime in below!

image via

4.04.2014

BABIES LOVE MOD! A MODERN NURSERY DESIGN IN BLACK & WHITE...



My roommate-road dawg-goeverywhereanddoeverythingtogether-BFF from my days at Spelman College just had a baby 6 weeks ago and I was thrilled when I found out she was pregnant! Waiting to find out the sex of the baby was kind of like torture, but when I found out she was having a boy I was over the moon to know that there'd soon be one more cute little boy walking this earth with an intelligent, classy, fun & very stylish gal as his mama (and that his mama also has a friend like me? Double bonus)!

Thankfully I have a group of pretty stylish friends and as such, SpelmanBFF would NEVER even consider using novelty bedding/accessories for her baby-man's new home. She gave me a few inspiration images but overall, told me to have at it. 
And that I did. 

Her nursery is about 9x9 and had some distinct challenges including window & door placements. She planned to maximize the use of her closet but wanted a dresser as well as a changing table, a place to sing baby-man all the little lullubys his heart can handle PLUS a place for guests to sleep. In the end we had to nix the sleeping area (after all, the priority IS the baby!) but still came up with a plan that's modern, graphic & sophisticated. 

The plan was to keep the walls white (my favorite is Alabaster by Sherwin Williams) and paint a huge 4' vertical black stripe directly behind the crib. Color & visual interest, but not what you'd expect in a boy's nursery. Anchoring the stripe are 3 images from her baby-man's newborn photography session enlarged to encompass the width of the wall. Directly opposite the crib sits the Ikea Hemnes dresser which, when equipped with a changing pad, also does double duty as a changing table. The ambient lighting (which plugs into the wall) is positionable and when pointed in the right position (like against a wall) also acts as dim lighting for late night/early morning feedings in her modern, Poang leather rocking chair. The dresser wall is anchored with a mix of prints (some custom, some stock) from my favorite Etsy artists and the room is finished off with semi-custom ombre drapery and a large black drum pendant. 

Now how's that for a modern & stylish baby-man cave??

4.02.2014

MITCHELL GOLD + BOB WILLIAMS ATLANTA CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF MG+BW!


Close to 500 people gathered at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Store in Atlanta on Thursday, March 13th for the renowned home furnishings brands 25th anniversary celebration.    The company is kicking-off a year-long celebration of their milestone anniversary by hosting events at all of their Signature Stores nationwide and making donations to a select local charity in each city.  
Isn't this awesome?? 
In Atlanta, the evening was a benefit for Project Live Proud, which is an organization of Interior Designers and volunteers who are dedicated to helping homeless families transform their house into a home they can be proud of. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams presented Project Live Proud with a $5,000 check to help support their mission and Mexico City’s hottest DJ’s Tom & Collins flew in to spin tunes all night.  Catering by A Legendary Event featured an elegant and delicious array of passed hors d’oeuvres along with the most incredible and abundant cheese buffet and sweets like silver cake bites (in honor of the 25thsilver anniversary celebration).   
As usual, it was an awesome party and really the first chance that I've had to be back engaged in the design community and catch up with friends I hadn't seen or spoken with since I've been back from Seattle. I LOVE my MGBW Atlanta family and am so thankful for their support in everything I do. 
Looking forward to next year when MGBW Atlanta celebrates 10 years in our wonderful city!! 











In honor of their 25th Anniversary Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams will be giving away a silver inspired prize every month. Go onto www.Facebook.com/MitchellGoldandBobWilliams<http://www.Facebook.com/MitchellGoldandBobWilliams> to enter to win the Sweepstakes and for more details. For the month of March, the prize is the Major Chair in Silver Leather.  In December, the 25th anniversary sweepstakes culminates with a grand prize of a $25,000 shopping spree redeemable in any of the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores nationwide.

3.24.2014

BEFORE & AFTER: SPACE SAVING LIVING ROOM IN GLENWOOD PARK

(Preface: If you notice that every time I talk about a client project I happen to mention that said client is "my favorite", it's probably because it's true. I tend to love all of my clients...I'm lucky that they're just the kind of people I want to work with, personality-wise AND aesthetic-wise!)

Now.
Onto Glenwood Park, which is a great PUD (Planned Urban Development) community in East Atlanta.
My client is a faaabbbbulous woman who runs a busy diversity consulting company and leads, by anyone's standards, a very full life. She'd relatively recently downsized from a large, estate-style home in the Atlanta suburbs and had tons of great furniture that she'd spent a pretty penny on, but almost none of it worked in her new place. Whether the scale was wrong, the style was wrong, or a mix of both, things just weren't working anymore.

Client Fabulous contacted Dayka Robinson Designs to help tame her living room and we went back and forth for awhile, debating which pieces to keep versus getting rid of most of her old stuff and starting again. Thankfully, she chose the latter.

BEFORE:



(The second blurry pic is just to illustrate how much furniture was in the room originally laid out in the room, plus the pub table.)

AFTER:






Sometimes less is more, and sometimes more is more...it really just depends on the space you're working with and the specific pieces you're using.
In CF's case (Client Fab), I ended up selecting a linen, tufted back, Tuxedo sofa with a larger footprint than her existing one, but the lines are straighter & cleaner than the more traditional Roll Arm style she started with. While her reclining leather arm chairs were a crowd favorite (all of her friends raved about them), we were able to relocate a pair of Channel Back Slipper chairs she had in her office and they worked perfectly with the custom pillow fabrics we'd selected for the LR (Added bonus? They're SUPER comfy.) Her leather arm chairs were saved from furniture purgatory and sent down as a swap for her office, so we each got what we wanted--I got my "new LR chairs" and she got to keep her leather recliners.
Win-win!

Because she frequently entertains guests and hosts events at her home, having ample additional seating was a must on my list. By flanking her new, modern industrial glass console with 2 wooden Wish Bone chairs and bringing in 2 natural fiber Samar stools from Crate & Barrel (this pair is a favorite of mine that I use often!), we were able make room for 4 additional guests while also keeping the floor plan open, which was a goal. The walking path behind the stools is somewhat narrow and as this area opens directly to the kitchen, I wanted to make sure the view wasn't blocked and guests could easily (visually) communicate with each other. As such, lightweight stool seating also allows for an easily mobile & versatile seating plan (which is great because the stools look terrific in front of the window as well).

Other points to note? I love how the tufting on the ottoman mirrors the sofa but the difference in textures (linen vs. iridescent vinyl) gives the room depth. When you look at the sofa, ottoman and rug in context you see a monochromatic palette full of texture, but it also makes the space feel  warm & inviting. In every space I design, I always try to make sure that you can see a mix of textures around the room. The biggest impact in the space are the 6 bronze metal Wimberly mirrors from IO Metro which anchor the wall and pull your eye up to the 12' ceilings. The drapes & mirrors sit at the same height and then all of the main furniture pieces have a similar scale and clean, modern lines. While you can't see it in the pics, the built-in bookshelves flanking the fireplace were also backed with a dark grasscloth wallpaper. Such a beautiful contrast.
The final look of this Living Room is clean, modern, tailored and most importantly, comfortable.
To date, this space still gets rave reviews!

And me?
I get a comfy place to watch Scandal with her on Thursday nights.
Not a bad tradeoff...if I do say so myself. ;-)

Photography by Christina Wedge

3.20.2014

NEW PRESS!! DAYKA ROBINSON NAMED "NEWCOMER TO WATCH" IN THE ATLANTAN, MARCH 2014



Great Press for Dayka Robinson Designs!!

Click here to scroll the pages of The Atlantan and read about the other designers (and friends!) who made "The Hot List" in the March 2014 issue. So honored to be mentioned as The Newcomer "emerging as a serious talent on the contemporary interiors scene" and recognized for my work in last year's Cathedral Antiques Inspiration Show House (remember this?).
Now that's something to shout about! 

BTW, this pic was taken at the home of one of my favorite clients and happens to be one of my favorite projects of last year. Be on the lookout for before & after pics next week! 

3.17.2014

WHERE I'VE BEEN, WHAT I'M DOING...OH, AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Happy New Year!!!!

I can't believe it's been 3 months since my words have touched this blog! I never intended to be away for this long but life got in the way around Thanksgiving of last year and rolled right on through February, which then kicked off a super crazy month of work, a bad gastrointestinal illness AND a milestone birthday. Are you tired yet?? Needless to say, I figured I better get something together before you all think I deserted you! 

I typically love the beginning of the year for what it represents--a fresh start & a time to set challenging goals and plans for the upcoming year...lots of thinking about what I'd like to see happen in my personal life and business during the year and figuring out what it will take to make those goals happen. Everything has been so back to back for me over the past few months that I JUST clarified my goals last week! I really wanted to do a post like the one I did last year--and maybe I still will--but for now, just sharing them with you will be an accomplishment. I figure they're better late than never!

So on to the news. Last year.
Right before Thanksgiving we found out that my 91 year old grandmother, the one I talked about here, had lymphoma or cancer of the lymph nodes. She found a lump during the summer but has always been in really good health (I mean, she was substitute teaching up until about 2 years ago), so she didn't really see a pressing issue. She spent her summer going to the centennial anniversary of her beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and then spent October visiting friends in California and attending her high school class reunion with her lifelong best friend. When I tell you granny had some spunk, know that I tell you no lie! After visiting the doctor while in California her diagnosis came back end of October and though we didn't know exactly how much time she had, we knew that it was serious. My sister and I immediately rearranged our Thanksgiving plans and flew to Seattle to be with my mom & grandma for the holiday. My grandma was still very chatty and VERY much her normal self (runnin' things AND people), minus her ability to get around on her own, but it was clear she was in pain. She was put in hospice (home care) shortly after we arrived and my mom asked me to extend my visit to help her care for my granny. My 8 day visit (with 4 days of clothes!) turned into a 6 week experience that I'll never forget. 



To be honest, my grandmother and I were never really close. There was always a love there, but she and my sister were the ones with the extra special relationship. I never planned, nor wanted, really, to be a caretaker in her final days, but that's just what ended up happening and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. My grandma passed away right before Christmas and she was pretty much coherent until 1 or 2 days before she passed. I'm thankful that I'm self-employed and had the ability to take off to be with my mom & grandma during those 7 weeks. I was able to make my grandma's food, give her her medicine, prepare her water bottles (everything to her exact specifications!), and talk with her about her life during our weeks together. In the end, we were able to share a love that we never really could during the course of her life and it was...dare I say, kind of magical. I was also able to spend a ton of time with my mom, which I never would've had otherwise, and it reminded me why I like her so much! Even in the midst of the chaos, I'd definitely say that I had a good visit.
So I stayed with my mom until after Christmas, at which time she flew back to Atlanta with me for a week and then back home to prep for my grandmother's memorial service at which we were hosting a lot of people from as far as New Jersey and Florida. Though it wasn't the opportune occasion, it was SO good to see all of the people my family has loved and known for years come to Seattle to celebrate my grandma's life. In the end she was very comfortable and ready. She told me one day, "I'd like to live to 100 but if I don't that's okay...I can't really complain about getting cancer at 91." I loved her perspective.  So the end of January meant another trip out to Seattle which meant that December and January flew by in a whirlwind...not much time for anything other than family obligations. 

And that brings us to February. In the midst of catching up on all of my unattended business from November, December & January, I'm working with 3 new clients, 1 renovation project, my own laundry room makeover and am also working with FlynnsideOut Productions as a Project Designer which consists of lots of design work, prop styling, and getting to work with great brands like Target, HGTV Home, AutoTrader and more. To say my cup is running over is an understatement! When I was writing out my goals I took stock of all that's swirling around me I realize that everything I've said I wanted over the past few years has been spoken into existence.  It's exciting to know that there's so much more to do and much higher goals to set...believe me, I'm setting them. I've also been really reflective about the power of speaking words of positivity and encouragement into your OWN life...things might not always happen when you want them to, but they WILL happen. I'm living proof. I should tell you, things are going well for Dayka Robinson and Dayka Robinson Designs.

Oh! And I celebrated my 35th birthday on February 25th (but I don't look a day over 25, trust me!).  For the first time in a decade I threw a great dinner party with 18 of my closest friends and had thee best birthday.
Everything I ever wanted. 
(see proof below)





So things are good.
And while I've been super busy with family obligations & work there's been lots of cause for celebration on the business front, too.
More on that to come!
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