Residential Interior Design During Coronavirus
Sharon: Hello, everyone, this is Sharon Heller with Network in Action in Denver, and I'm here with Michelle Ku today with KU Interior Design. And Michelle, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself.
Michelle: Hi, as Sharon said, I'm Michelle and I've been a residential interior designer since 2009. So when I started, we were in an economic downturn. So I have a little bit of experience about what's going on right now.
Sharon: Great. Well, along those lines, maybe you can talk a little bit about how this current situation is really affecting your customers out there.
Michelle: Well, it's kind of a mixed bag. It kind of depends where they are in the process. I had a kitchen remodel that was right in the middle of happening when this whole situation came down. So, of course, that needed to finish. They could not be left without a working kitchen during this situation.
Michelle: So just a matter of making sure trades are spread out, one at a time in the house, taking precautions as they go in and out to clean up, before and after. Make sure they're not spreading any germs around the house and just giving it wrapped up as quickly as possible. Other clients felt very uneasy and just put things on hold. So that was kind of my situation at the moment.
Sharon: And it sounds like some more critical projects are able to move forward even in the midst of what's happening. Is that right?
Michelle: Right. Well, construction is considered essential. And so, of course, anything that's in process really needs to wrap up if that's the case. If you're not started yet, obviously those can wait.
Sharon: Yeah, and just given everything that's happening, how are you finding some unique ways to adapt and help your customers during this time?
Michelle: Well, as fortune may have it, before this happened, I redesigned my website and it came online the Friday before, I think, the shelter in place directives. And I started offering design packages, the entry level package is a DIY project that is very easily converted to be completely virtual design.
Michelle: All of my projects start with a two-hour paid consultation, and because I wouldn't be coming to your house at this point in time, I'm waiving the cost of that consultation. And we'll be doing those initial intake interviews about what you're trying to accomplish virtually. And the client will be doing some of the work themselves, whereas I would measure and photograph. They would be doing that for me. And that's part of why I'm not charging for that.
Sharon: That's an incredible opportunity. And I imagine so many of us are cooped up in our houses and it's actually a good time to be looking at our environment.
Michelle: It actually is. You're going to really be forced to look at what is and what is not working for you. And now that everyone's working from home, maybe they didn't have a space for that before. And now they need to figure out how to carve that out. Or they had it, and it was not great, but it didn't really matter because they weren't using it that often. So it's just becoming more pertinent right now, I think.
Sharon: Yeah, I can relate. Our list of things we want to change around here is growing daily.
Michelle: Yeah, I was just on a virtual call with Schumacher there doing some "How to survive through this" for designers right now. And one of the designers was saying now that she's home cooking three meals a day every day, she's like, we need to redo our kitchen. We have a great kitchen, but it's not really working for us.
Sharon: So why don't you share how somebody who's interested in learning more about your services and what you have to offer, how how can they find you? How can they get in touch with you?
Michelle: Well, they can always start at my website, which is KUinteriordesign.com, look at my portfolio, see what I have to offer.
Michelle: And actually, if you have the financial wherewithal and you want to help support small businesses and just businesses in general during this time, now is a really good time to start a design project. Because the upfront part where all the work happens on my end can take from four to eight weeks depending on the size of the project. So there's all the planning that happens.
Michelle: And then once you decide to move forward, then there are very long lead times before a product starts arriving. Usually, the smallest lead time is four weeks. It's usually more like six to eight go up to as long as 20 weeks. So you could be looking at a good four months from now before the first product arrives and is ready to be installed in your home.
Michelle: Also, if we're going to be continuing to stay sheltered in place for several months and you want to be getting out of your house and you don't have an outdoor space, now, it's the perfect time to be planning your outdoor spaces and outdoor furniture.
Sharon: Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time today, Michelle, and all of those kind of great tips and ideas that we can apply when we're looking at our space. And say one more time your website.
Michelle: KU, which is KUinteriordesign.com. Thanks, Sharon.
Alright, thank you.