All this month I'm interviewing real-life designers about what it is like to run a design business. As you'll see these ladies have all different backgrounds and experiences, but one thing they all have in common is that they have taken my course, The Golden Blueprint.
The running of the business is the majority of the work. The design part is only about 20%.
About Grayson Pratt
After studying interior design for 3 out of a 5-year program in college, Grayson Pratt became impatient and got a degree in Political Science. Armed with a great base of drafting and color study after college, she worked for a large furniture store in the furniture mecca of High Point, NC and later for the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. Then 3 years ago she started Grayson Pratt Interiors in Atlanta. Like so many designers, most of her clients start with a couple rooms in their home and grow into the rest of the house.
What traits or talents have made you successful?
My drive absolutely has helped me but I also recognize that I don’t have all the answers. I seek ways to learn more about managing a business and about the industry in general. I think learning is like swimming for a fish; when you stop learning, that’s when trouble happens.
How do you charge?
I currently charge an hourly rate with a procurement fee on goods from trade sources. I’m beginning to look into flat fee pricing but I’ve not taken the leap yet.
What has been your biggest sacrifice in running your business?
I think that I am my biggest sacrifice. In the balance between family, friends, volunteer work and work, I leave myself out of the equation. If I’m short on time, and when is a business owner not, making downtime for me is the first to go.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned running your business?
That the running of the business is the majority of the work. The design part is only about 20%.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is being well-known as a designer who produces beautiful work that leaves my clients ecstatic. Being published or being part of a showhouse has also been a goal of mine.
I’m fortunate to have a wonderful group of fellow designers to call friends. We raise each other up when we face struggles. We celebrate our successes.
When you stumble how do you pick yourself up?
I rely on my “design tribe”. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful group of fellow designers to call friends. We raise each other up when we face struggles. We celebrate our successes. I could not do it without them.
What drew you to interior design?
My uncle, aunt, and cousin have all been either designers or in the industry. My mother was a textile’s artist and my other aunt is also an artist. I grew up around beautiful design and an appreciation for beauty in the home. Since I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a designer.
Do you have a favorite quote, motto, mantra, affirmation?
My company’s goal is to bring joy to all we encounter. That’s not only clients but industry partners, vendors, media, employees, etc. I use that as my guide.
How do you wish the design industry was different?
I wish we spent more time as a collective group in educating the public on the value of a designer. It’s up to us to deliver that message. Particularly in the DIY world we’re in people need to know the “why” in hiring a designer over doing it themselves.
Looking back, is there anything that you wish you could've done differently running your business?
I wish I would have had procedures in place earlier. For the first two years, I flew by the seat of my pants.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the end results in projects. Although I’m always confident in the design plan I put forward, when it comes together I squeal (literally).
What is your biggest struggle in running your business?
Juggling running the business while servicing my clients is the biggest struggling. One always seems to suffer.
Any sage advice or words of wisdom to fellow designers?
Seek ideas from others that have been there and from those that can look at your business with outside eyes.
What is on the horizon for your business?
Recently, I completed a project for a sorority house. It was tons of fun! I would love to delve more into that area and make it central to my business.
How has your business changed since The Golden Blueprint?
My business has become more of a business. Although I’ve known this was a career and not a hobby, I’m actually treating it this way now.
The best way to contact Grayson is firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos courtesy of Grayson Pratt Interiors.
The Golden Blueprint will launch again soon, be on the list to start your business off right.