15 REFLECTIONS TO CELEBRATE 15 YEARS: #11-15
This month marks the 15th anniversary of Affordable Interior Design. And I’ve been looking back over the years. In a series of posts this month, I am going to be sharing stories of the company’s journey.
Here, I share reflections 11-15.
I hope you enjoy the journey.
#11: BEHIND THE SCENES
Running a design business is so much more than picking our pillows and selecting paint. Thanks to our amazing salesperson, Megan, our talented content writer, Suellen, and my right-hand woman, Shannon, we have been able to thrive!
There are SO many more helpers, too. We rely on amazing business mentors, skilled marketing managers, generous mastermind groups, etc.
This support has buoyed us during tough times (like 2020!) and inspired us to tackle new ventures. We are cooking up lots more over here, and I can’t wait to show you what we are working on behind the scenes.
#12: THE STOREFRONT
I was tired of working from home or seeking out quiet coffee shops. So I rented a raw, factory-converted loft in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It was huge, in a great neighborhood, and truly felt official.
When we expanded to Westchester in 2016, I looked for an equally inspiring space. I walked past a store for rent on Main St. in Dobbs Ferry. It was from 1913–it looked old and smelled old. But it had beautiful shop windows, and I could see its potential.
The landlord wouldn’t get back to me. I called the number on the FOR RENT sign, I asked passersby, and finally I found his info on Facebook. After a few weeks of relentless pursuit, the lease was mine!
On a budget, I furnished the space with Wayfair and Overstock finds, painted the walls, and built a new nest for AID. Not only is it an inspiring place to work, it has also helped us become part of the local community.
People stop in, they compliment our window design, they tell us about town happenings, and we stay on the pulse–all while staying cozy in our beautifully homey storefront.
#13: THE MISSION
When I started Affordable Interior Design 15 years ago, budget design services weren’t really a thing. In NYC, if you wanted to hire an interior designer, you needed to have LOTS of money. There were plenty of people in NYC who made money–but not necessarily LOTS of it. Who was going to help them?
I also noticed that the interior design industry got a bad wrap. Rumors swirled that designers would try and get you to ramp up your budget so they would make more. They would only recommend expensive things to earn higher margins. Or they would only work with certain retailers because they would get hidden kickbacks.
There was a lack of transparency and that bothered me. My business was going to be different. Fair, transparent, no mark-ups/kick-backs. These are principles we still stand by today.
I am starting to get more vocal about my stance as I see companies entering the market that are shady and again giving the interior design biz a bad name. Read more about my thoughts and our company’s philosophy here.
#14: GIVING BACK
It is wonderful to be at a place where we can give back and thank our communities for the support they have shown us.
We donate design services to local charity and school auctions. When we see a need, like the hurricanes in Houston or the Black Lives Matter movement, we don’t just stand by. Donating our time or a portion of our proceeds is something we are grateful to be able to do.
Do you have a cause that needs supporting? Do you know of a community that could use some pro-bono interior design? We are always looking for ways to be of service. Please reach out to us.
#15: THE FUTURE
September 2020 marks our 15th birthday. We had grand plans for this year and this month. But things look a little different as COVID still looms, threatening so much–including small businesses like ours.
While it feels a little risky to look forward during such a turbulent time, taking risks is something we are used to at AID. So here goes…
In addition, one of our designers will be welcoming a new baby. Another will be sending her son off to college. And, of course, we will be designing many new spaces–all while navigating our new normal.
We also plan on taking some time to get quiet, reflect on the years, feel the gratitude, and celebrate this very special occasion. Happy birthday, Affordable Interior Design! Here’s to many more…