I recently had the honor of being interviewed by design colleague and friend Laura Martin Bovard on the Business of Design Podcast, where I shared an inside look at the approach I’ve taken to grow Niche Interiors (Hint: slowly and methodically). Laura and I have known each other for many years, so it was a lively and candid discussion which I thoroughly enjoyed! If you haven’t had a chance to listen yet you can find the full episode here.
In preparation for the interview, we also had an email discussion and Q & A, which contained some useful nuggets that I also wanted to share.
Q & A: Laura Martin Bovard and Principal Designer Jennifer Jones
Laura Martin Bovard: As an interior designer, what would you say are the superpowers that enabled you to build your business? And what challenges have you had to overcome?
Jennifer Jones: Organization and process are definitely my strong suits. At Niche, we have developed a very focused and streamlined design process that we use for all of our projects. My biggest personal challenge in running a business has been getting used to putting myself out there and asking industry colleagues for their time. I used to feel uncomfortable making cold calls or emails and I always felt like I was imposing. With a lot of practice, it’s become more natural for me and now I really enjoy catching up with friends across all sectors of the industry, from landscape architects to general contractors.
LMB: What would you like up-and-coming designers to learn from your experience? What advice do you want to impart to them?
1. Organization and project management are equally (if not more) important than the actual creative work! You cannot have a successful project without all three.
2. You are only as strong as your team.
I’ve slowly and intentionally grown our team from one employee to five over the years because I knew that finding the right people was more crucial to our long-term success than growing quickly. I feel so fortunate to have this amazing team of women to collaborate with every day. Shout out to Lynn and Anna, our Senior Designers who have been with Niche Interiors for 9 years and 7 years respectively!
LMB: Who have you had to become or how have you had to grow, in order to grow your company? Did you ever envision it this way — that it would become what it has become?
JJ: Letting go of second guessing myself and just taking action every day towards my goal has been a game changer. I try to break down all of the larger long-term goals into actionable items for each day, week, month — and that helped keep me going.
Having an entrepreneurial spirit has also given me the courage to try new things and be bold.
I could never have dreamt of the caliber of projects and the incredible clients that we have the honor of working with today. I’m forever grateful to a few special clients that trusted us early on with their homes and helped propel us to the next level.
LMB: What is one piece of advice that impacted you early on, that you’d like to share with newer designers?
JJ: This really comes full circle. Laura, you once told me:
“There is no perfect way to run a business.”
This one simple piece of advice has helped free me from overthinking decisions and focus on how to run the business in a way that feels right to me and my team!