Thanks for sharing your story with us Beth. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. My husband and I started this company 12 years ago, during a very difficult time of economic recession. We quickly realized that this was an extremely difficult industry to grow in organically, without the backing of a huge corporation. We saw companies going out of business and closing their doors for good, which was nerve-racking to watch! But through it all, we knew that this town was exactly where we wanted to be and that designing and building was exactly what we wanted to do. Because of that passion and conviction, we sold our house, moved in with family members, and invested every dollar we had back into our new business. For those first few years, it was tough! Living in a 10×10 bedroom with no closet wasn’t fun, but at the end of the day, we knew our clients were thrilled with their remodels and referrals and 2nd and 3rd phase repeat clients were constantly reaching out to us, so we knew we were doing something right! It was many years of just Marshall and me, doing it all. Now, we are so proud to say we have an entire staff dedicated to the success of every project. From the design staff to management and operations professionals, our team still offers that small, husband and wife boutique vibe, all while still delivering a highly professional ‘experience’ that all clients deserve.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? The Great Recession of 2008 was very difficult for us, especially as brand new business owners. It didn’t help that we were also in our early 20’s (and looking very young!) asking people to trust us with their most important investments and valued spaces! After weathering the economic storm, our biggest struggle was finding people who believed in the same level of quality, ethics, honesty and value that we did. We didn’t want to go the way of the large corporate design/build models who hire high pressure, high commissioned sales people which inflates the bottom line cost of the job to the homeowner. We also didn’t like the high volume models who farmed out armies of lead generators who did not even know the building industry. Finding our niche and sticking to our values has, in the end, been the absolute best move for us. As a higher end boutique, we can be small enough to offer people superior value, commitment, and personal care, but with all of the systems of big business and the bells and whistles of the high end design world.
Please tell us about your business. Our business is design/build, but our process and approach to this growing industry are what make us unique. It always seems like there are only two models to choose from. First, the large, corporate giants that ‘turn and burn’ big volume. That approach gets the job done but at a high cost to clients who have to absorb the huge overhead of high commissioned sales people and costly marketing strategies and campaigns across all mediums (internet, TV, Radio, etc). This higher cost has to be absorbed somewhere, and usually, the trade off is with the design itself, the scope of work, embellishments, materials used, and other client concessions. By staying smaller, we can deliver high end design, innovative floor plan concepts, and thoughtful attention to detail in the scope of work and build process. We don’t need to cut corners to save people money. We offer incredible value and quality, and at the same time, the personal attention that every client deserves. The other model is the ‘one man show’. This approach is one contractor or builder wearing all of the hats. He serves as a sales person, estimator, designer, project manager, and everything else needed. While the heart is in the right place most of the time, this model isn’t able to offer the quality and cutting edge focus on design or an efficient way to schedule a project through to completion.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success? Listening! Our whole approach is centered around the client and what their individual needs are. Each project is a custom tailored gem that is brought to life through active listening. We want to know what our clients like and dislike about their current home. What is their sense of style? What color pallet and design aesthetic speak to them personally? What are the long and short term goals of the home we are remodeling? What budget goals are they trying to meet? All of these questions are critical to our ability to understand and interpret what the client is desiring. This doesn’t mean a homeowner needs to know all of the answers to these questions. We help expertly guide people through the education process for all of these points of information. But we want people to know that we are here to help them achieve their dreams, not push a design agenda, something trendy, or a budget that puts them in an uncomfortable spot. Collaboration through education is one of our greatest passions.