podcast image

Podcast

Episode 122: Growing An Interior Design Business with Tavia and Monet

Feb 04, 2021

Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters are the co-founders and principal interior designers of FORBES + MASTERS.

The two met when Tavia was called in by a client to rescue a project Monet had been hired to design. Even though Monet was ultimately fired from that job, the awkward situation blossomed into a beautiful partnership.

Over the past 5 years, their work has been featured in, Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Essence, and many more. More recently, they released a wallpaper collection with Mitchell Black. During our conversation, they shared how they continue to attract international clients, land partnerships, press coverage and so much more.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

You’ll learn:

  • How to create a lasting business partnership
  • Landing press coverage
  • Source of clients for an interior design business
  • Structuring your company for growth

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Business Instagram: @forbesmasters
  • Website: https://www.forbesmasters.com/

Ready to Launch Your Business?
Join Our Membership Community

The She’s Off Script podcast has a membership community to help you launch and grow your business with resources, coaching, and collaboration with other founders. Join our Boss Off Script community today by going to serwaaadjeipelle.com/community


Episode Transcript

undefined

our wallpaper line just came from asking. Hey, we want to create patterns. How do we do this? And they're like, Oh, my God, yes, it's always gonna be a yes, just like the magazine press opportunities. I thought back in the day that you had to just be popular enough and wait till they call on you. But these writers are always looking for content, and you can simply call them up and say, Hey, I just finished this kitchen. I have photographs. Can I show you my phone pictures to see if you'd be interested in setting up a photo shoot in doing a story, Whether it's digital or print, they're they're waiting for that information in that. In that content, they need it. You can create that opportunity for yourself if you just simply ask.

undefined

Hi Off-Scripters. It's your host, Serwaa Adjei-Pellé and welcome to Episode 1 22 of the She's Off Script podcast thistles, the show where we hear and learn from women who pleaded their own unique blueprints for business success. My hope is that you'll hear their stories and translate their gems into a unique path for yourself.

undefined

In today's episode, we meet a via Forbes and Monet Masters. They are co founders of interior design firm Forbes Masters Theo. Two of them met when Tae Via was called in by a client to rescue a project Monet had been hired to design. Even though money was ultimately fired from that job, that awkward situation blossomed into a beautiful friendship and eventually, a business partnership. Over the past five years, their work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Essence and many other publications. More recently, they also released a wallpaper collection with Mitchell Black. During our conversation, they shared how they continue to attract international clients. Land partnerships, press coverage, grow their business and so much more before we hear the rest of the forms. Master story. I would love it if you could subscribe, rate and review our show on iTunes or anywhere else. You listen to podcasts. This'll help to spread the word about our podcast. So amazing stories like Tae via and Moans can continue to inspire women looking to launch their own Off-Scripters Ernie's.

undefined

If this episode has inspired you to launch a business, the She's Off Script podcast also has a membership community to help you launch and grow your business with Resource Is and coaching.

undefined

Join our both She's Off Script community today by going to Serwaa Adjei-Pellé dot com forward slash community. Let that Let's go off script with Talia Forbes and money Masters The founders of Forbes Masters todavia Forbes Monet, Masters Welcome to She's Off Script. Thank you for being here. Thank you for

undefined

having no. Therefore, any of

undefined

our listeners who have not come across you and haven't heard about you could you share who you are and what you do? We can start with you teII via

undefined

I'm Savior Forbes. And I'm one half of a corpse masters and interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. We've been working together for

undefined

going on five years now how we both had our respective businesses and decided to join forces a few years ago.

undefined

And we are classified as a boutique interior design firm located here in Atlanta, Georgia. But we work with clients in and out of Georgia in and out of the United States, primarily focusing on residential design.

undefined

Okay, how did you each start your journey into into your design?

undefined

Let's do the cliff notes version, I guess. Um, I my dad is a contractor on a furniture maker in Jamaica and so kind of just grew up around build things and tagging along with him on different jobs. I was always interested in like what he was doing, whether he was putting in a kitchen or bathroom and so on. But, you know, it's a young black child. You don't know that an interior design nerves an actual career. We don't

undefined

so we don't grow up with that. Andi, even seeing an interior designer, it just did not click in my head that this person gets paid to do so. Um, and I went a more traditional route, going to school for business and marketing, but really enjoy doing event design and design and art in school and started on that journey and ended up managing doing operations for spas and hated it. So I quit. Um, and within the time period of quitting, I met my now mentor at an event and designed her home and designed her friend's homes, and it kept going exponentially from there. So I've been designing ever since. It's been a little over a decade now

undefined

to say that, um and I gosh, my interior design or just professional career started. I'll say um in my junior year of high school, I got turned on to the idea of interior design by way of a show by the name of Trading spaces on HDTV was in my home in class, in my home at class, and our teacher was actually obsessed with the show should the show so she would end our period with that show every day. And so I took a liking to it. I started watching it on my own at home, and then I just started to kind of research like, What is an interior designer? Is this reality? TV is this are these actors? I didn't know that the profession actually existed and just to gain more insight with my research. Um, because I don't even think Google was that popular back I started to. I looked in Houston, Texas, at the time, so I started to go around to neighboring communities. Um, in Houston, there's always communities being developed, and they always would have model homes. And so that was my daily have it going around the city of Houston and finding new construction homes and just touring the models and acting like

undefined

I was looking for a house. But really, I was I was literally with my disposable camera, taking pictures of, like, these different spaces. And I was so inspired by then and so simultaneously doing research on the profession and realizing that, Wow, this is something I could go to school for. Um And so I started to do research on different schools, and I knew that it was important to find a school that was accredited. Um, that was highly ranged and and so forth. So I was looking at Pratt, which was in New York, and I was terrified of moving there. I wonder if we would have met if I went to private New York

undefined

Way

undefined

probably would have meant because this is our destiny, um, or or scad, which I was just looking at the Savannah campus. So I toured the semantic campus. I end up loving the Atlantic campus. I submitted my portfolio within two weeks, was approved with scholarships, and I moved to Atlanta to pursue my interior design career. And, um, while in school, I waas working with a lot of the interior designers that were known in Atlanta, just assisting, trying to get us much exposure as I could while working at showrooms. I was just doing multiple things. I've always been a busy body or hustlers. I would say, um, to the core. And so that's what I was doing throughout school. And so when I graduated, I got my first salary job at a hospitality design firm, and I didn't even know what I wanted. At that time. I was just kind of wound up in what all of the kids at school were talking about, what all the professors kind of expected you to do after school, which was find a salary job and work for a large corporate firm.

undefined

Of course, that could be a good training ground for you, but that doesn't have to be your

undefined

path. Oh, absolutely, And in a lot of ways, I think that it confirmed my path and S.E.O while there I was there for a year. I absolutely hated it. I didn't feel like I was applying anything of what I learned or had the opportunity to explore my real passion within the within the industry or within the

undefined

job of an interior designer. So I end up leaving and I'm starting my own company and he did it. I absolutely hated it. I would I would drive to work crying. Andi. I had my own office with big, beautiful windows and I had this big white board and I would write scriptures on the whiteboard to just try and encourage me. And I would come in the next day and like my scriptures would be raised. It was just it was a toxic situation and I always say that Had it not been for that experience, I don't know if I would have successfully struggled for two years before really graining gaining ground in my interior design profession.

undefined

So I left. I trusted God. Thio, open up doors. I continue to put a lot of time in building my audience, building my brand building. My awareness with the design community by way of online resource is profiles events. I was just very active and became well known and very familiar amongst, you know, the people in the industry and I started to get jobs

undefined

and just toe wrap up my story. I remember the turning point. I called a friend to ask her for some money for rent because I was struggling and I had this guilty conscience of like I'm choosing the struggle like I'm choosing not to go get a job isn't even fair for me to ask for help.

undefined

And I remember her telling me like it's none of my business, what you're doing It's on Lee my business to support you and help you in any way that I can. And with that a client from

undefined

Bermuda called me. She said, My husband and I are building a house here. We love Atlanta. We love the architecture in Atlanta. So we're also hiring in Atlanta architect and we want you to be our designer. She flew me up, put me in a beautiful hotel. Where did

undefined

she find you?

undefined

It was house. It was house, one of my online profiles that I kept updated and she flew me up and between my friend telling me what she told me in this project. It was the turning point of my career, and I started to get more clients fast forward. I get my first commercial job.

undefined

It was a very large hair salon. The client was also Jamaican, so I thought this was gonna be great. I designed the heck out of this salon. And that is the extent of what I could dio I had absolutely no experience in commercial design. I simply was not ready. Um, but it waas it was again a pivotal point of my career because it's where I meant Avia. Um and, you know, there's a whole second season of of that story, and

undefined

that's what I do want to know is it sounds like you were both getting momentum on your own. Why the decision to then come together and partner?

undefined

Oh, it was an incident. Um, So while when it was on the commercial job actually got called by the same client, she reached out to me to let me know that the project wasn't really going anywhere. And though she was happy with the design, the designer on the job at the moment wasn't able. Toe

undefined

furnished the design and so they had us meet at a coffee shop altogether and awkward.

undefined

Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be kind of a mediation or a big trying to figure out how we can all work together. Um, the meeting did not go very well. It was just It was overall, just awkward is like first thing, something that happened that just was not gonna go down. Um, and the long story. We stayed behind and chatted for a little bit after the clients because they left us to talk with the assumption that at the moment that maybe we would work together on the project and they ended up calling me that evening to let me know that they actually let Monet go from the job and that they were hiring me. And I was still new to interior design and, of course, eagerly at work. So of course I took the job.

undefined

And then when he called me the next day and all the oldest girls about the curse being because that's her job,

undefined

it

undefined

wasn't bad at all,

undefined

you know, Never think about it. I'm not sure, because of like the hustling me I was more focused on learning, gaining opportunity to learn more Thio, move my career forward. And so when in that meeting when in that meeting I was my eagle waas

undefined

was heightened. I was very embarrassed and angry that the client would go behind my back to try Thio, get some assistance for me, of which I did not need. Like what? My sentiments at the time.

undefined

And, um And so I came in very bitter. I thought this was gonna be, you know, yelling match. And really, they were trying to work with me and they were They were trying Thio assist. I just could not

undefined

get to the point Thio acknowledge or agree that I needed help. Although I know I needed it. What made me call Tae via Waas? Just her calmness in that meeting. And then I think, really the talk afterwards. So when the clients left tibia, then like, kind of took off her professional hat a little bit and she turned to me and she was just like, Look, you cannot let these clients get to you. This is how you have to deal with situations like this and just kind of like, you know, it's kind of like, you know, we don't have any beat. There's no there's no issue between you and I. And so I appreciated her taking a very awkward moment, especially after me being rude. Thio, help me still and and then at that point, I was just like I need to take advantage of this opportunity. I went home. I Googled her, Probably on Cem. Cem still like, you know, hey to rate type type stuff. I was just like, what does

undefined

she think she is? E

undefined

mean, at that time, I feel like, hey to read with.

undefined

I think you brought that one

undefined

bag. But I was just like, who is this person? You know? And then everything I saw online, which which wasn't much, which was wasn't much. And I later found out because she she's just the client relations type of person, Which is why I think her business thrived. Oh, I know it thrived, but the little that I found, it was just very. It was

undefined

nice. It was informative in the sense where e became attracted to like who she was, what she was doing. And I thought I could learn from this person. So that's why I called her. And I said, You know, essentially, I want us to stay in contact and be friends. I know you primarily work in New York. If you're ever in Atlanta, I'd love to help you on your projects, oversee. I'm just being attendance and and that is what formed our business. relationship, which then formed later into a riel friendship, which then produce the opportunity for us toe work together. That didn't come until we became friends and not just business friends, because in the beginning it was still very much business. I was still somewhat reserves because, like she took my job,

undefined

of which I needed to be fired from, it's

undefined

good to look back and be like, Yeah, I was wrong. I did need to fire.

undefined

I'm all about self reflection, so that's no problem for me.

undefined

E. I have to say Partnership is something that's difficult for people to go into because Number one there's a little bit of selfishness because you want the whole pie for yourself, not realizing that the pie could be bigger if you partner up. So what did you have to work out from a partnership perspective? I've already heard you alluding to the fact that TV is better with client relations and maybe you have a different strength. So how did you work that all out? To make sure that your partnership would be successful?

undefined

Going into a partnership is like going into a marriage like it's a full blown relationship and One of the major things for us was to stop trying to stop looking at the other person, expecting them to be another version of you. Otherwise, what can two of you really accomplish? You're gonna both make the same mistakes. You have to have a foil. So someone that's going to see something from a different perspective approach something differently or have a different idea or opinion. So, um and actually honor and respect that it's helpful. It doesn't make it easy. It's not. It's but but we're both in

undefined

therapy, right? Um, and I also thio Add to that. I'll say that that conversation and that realization actually came at least a year into our partnership. Um, at the very beginning, we were looking at opportunities just to not be stressed out to make more money and to get help because we were getting clients at this point. But we weren't necessarily making enough money to hire help,

undefined

and and then we kept seeing a very consistent habit from the client or issue within the project. And so, uh, you know, with with several different conversations, we started to talk about the idea of merging and initially again I was reserved because I felt like I wanted a little more experience on my own. I wasn't ready to kind of share the title

undefined

on DSO fourth, and, uh, and then we you know, we continue to just talk about actually another business, uh, that we were thinking about forming together another service pertaining. Thio, you know, just, uh, enter design community and clients

undefined

consumer. And so we got thrown into a project together, and that is what essentially started our business. But we did not.

undefined

We didn't start growing and get on getting on the same page until about a year later. And I would say, because from the beginning, we had been busy from the very beginning. It was project after project after project and we didn't have time. We barely had time to really form a name, but we knew that we would always be complimented on our last name. So we're like, Let's just put those two together, and I think it took maybe even 30 minutes to decide whose name would go first. I think at first we were trying to just, like, respect the other, and we didn't want the other to fill any type of way. It was like

undefined

silence is just like light or the names. And we're both looking at

undefined

each other like so it could be masters, Forbes or Forbes Masters. And then we just kind of let silence. And then finally, I was like, Okay, let's be honest. Like Force Masters just sounds better in the tables like I agree

undefined

Masters for so in your mouth.

undefined

Like just Yeah, but But yeah, So that just kind of speaks Thio the business, Um that that that we had at the time. And then a year later, when we started to clash a little bit, we sat down with our mentor and had a yeah, start talking to and a 4 to 5 hour meeting at her dining room table about all the things we needed to dio and one of those things waas therapy

undefined

Mhm

undefined

for, like a couple's business couple partner

undefined

their individual. Okay,

undefined

Yeah, because I think sometimes if you haven't dealt with your own baggage, you start toe reflected on someone else or you're on your partner. But I'm glad you were able to push through to this point because now we have forms masters as you guys are today, but you spoke about the fact that you were busy right off the bat. Let's talk about client acquisition because I think that's something that new interior design businesses may struggle with. So what did client acquisition look like for you before the partnership vs? Now, within your business,

undefined

I would say a combination of both of our strengths at the time. Um, I was heavy on the referral side, so most of all of my business came to a referral when it was heavy on social media and house. And so when we would do a project that we were each refer like Mecca came via house and Swinton came via

undefined

referral and those who are first to projects together. But taking one of those projects and having that professionally photographed and adding that are pro folio. We've been throwing a couple of our old projects in the visually on our on our profile and just started Thio work on both ends, and now I think we're heavier on the I don't know. Sometimes our our semantics changes like, Oh, we're high on referrals this time. And then now it's where high on social media in terms of where we're getting our business from. But I think the combination of both is,

undefined

you know, was what really kept us consistently busy. And the fact that there are two of us we could get through a project faster means that we can move on to the next one. So we're turning around things very quickly,

undefined

right? The other thing that add to that is like in the most simplest explanation. There's two of us now. So the work that table was getting by herself literally merges with my clientele. So it just so happened that after after the client reached out to me about the nursery, the very the second project that we had after completing that TV then had a referral. And so it was like that that break that either of us would feel from project to project was filled with the others referral or client inquiry. Eso we just We didn't have time for that reason Now, Now, that whole that we would have had individually, um, is filled with the others. Um,

undefined

work. If you were starting out today, would you focus heavily on social media?

undefined

I personally would absolutely still started out on social media. We get a lot of enquiries from all of our press opportunities and basically non referral. We get a lot of non referral, um, enquiries. And you're working with one client for I don't know, maybe a month to three months on their project

undefined

and a year and sometimes a year. And so you're essentially waiting until that client refers you on tape, you could speak more to this. I mean, nowadays, you have clients kind of speak on requesting referrals at the end of the project or different things that they'll do to try and gain a referral. But back then, we weren't doing anything like that. So at the very at the very beginning of your career or of your your business, Yes. You're not gonna have a client to refer you or you'll have one. And so you have to start from somewhere. And it's going to be your image. What do you look like? Who do people know? You know you for, um

undefined

and you know so forth.

undefined

I know you talked about not having enough money to bring on help. In the beginning, it was helpful that it was the two of you. But

undefined

when you think about startup capital having enough money to get your business running and get your business in front of the right people, what does that look like for you to

undefined

e think that's still something that we're

undefined

working on a way have hired in the past? We currently have

undefined

pretty much 1.5 other employees right now, and we're taking some time from work. But it's not working, um, to really work on the internal structure of the business and think about things like hiring in those investment. We did remark on the difference in black and white businesses and that there, uh, it's easier to go out and get alone or just the mere fact that they just simply believe in themselves to just get out and go do it, whereas were filled with a lot of doubt. And that can come from our upbringing, A multitude of various. Yes, it's easier to be what you've seen over and over again, right? For certain people, this is what they grew up with. So the fact that I go I asked for a loan is a given, whereas for other populations, if you've never seen it happened. You don't know that. It's even an option for you. And then how to then invest that in human resource is, or technology and how to actually grow in scale of business that is essentially easily scale level. But so we seem Thio take the slower route whereas others kind of just run past and and run past in different lanes. And not to say that one link and you know, you

undefined

they're not enough space for everyone in the market. But so we're working on the part where we're wanting to scale and where we can, um, based on our current business structure and her enquiries until on in the amount of press we've been afforded. But we may not, you know, shoot up Thio the moon, right just a second. But

undefined

we're working hard on figuring that part out.

undefined

Thank Thankfully, we have taken, like, pretty bold steps to kind of get where we are now. So we have that that history within ourselves to kind of refer thio and know that, you know, once you put your foot out, um, you're more secured about taking the next step. And, um and so that's what we're continually trying to do, especially looking at, um, the others within the community who are not of minority and the steps that they're taking and how easily they're doing it and seeing the very close parallel, um, to our business. And that's why I love platforms like this, or even the opportunity to share, because the more that we changed our narrative and and let our community no, that it's safe to take the same steps and that we should, and this is how you do it. It will. It will change our trajectory, obviously, but it will also change the perspective and about process behind how we grow

undefined

lutely. So I know another hot topic for people is pricing because once again, if you're not confident about what you can command in the field, sometimes you may not price in the way that allows you to grow. So how did you structure your offerings and then make sure that you are pricing enough so that that year long project didn't end up draining your your reserves?

undefined

So this is This is also something that we're discussing now, and it's something that I think should be looked at every year. What are you charging? What are you bringing in? What are your projects or your clients rendering and just reassess? I think that we've been honest with ourselves, um, in the past and even leading up to with looking at some of the other designers in the community. What are other people charging? What are they and what are they delivering? You know, what does their product look like in terms of ours and not on not necessarily comparing apples to apples, but more so looking at, um, the structure and the organization and the value put around different design firms and what they're offering, And we oftentimes we'll use that to determine what we've been to dio. We're finally at a very comfortable place with with our early structure, but we are kind of tuning tuning, tuning up the type of clients that we take on based on what we want to produce. Um what what? What are they going to render? It's no longer just take everyone as they come, because now we have enough experience to say, you know, this is the product that we're going to get from this type of client versus this type of client. If we want to grow in this way, we're going to have to buckle down, reject you, are turned down some projects and start taking more of this. And every time we do that, even even the time that we've changed our hourly structure,

undefined

the world provides and we're and we're totally fine the moment that you have the confidence to say This is what I want and you go after it, you continue to get it like it's It's literally a simple is that I think the hardest part about that is being bold enough to say This is what I want E

undefined

Yeah, especially in your world. Your portfolio is what attracts the caliber of finds that you're going to get the next go around. So if you say that your luxury designer but you continue to take on, you know, Grandma's living room, it's just not going to attract the, you know, luxury caliber people that you're looking for.

undefined

Absolutely. But you do need to question why you keep getting that that type of clients because I remember our last company retreat, which was not too long ago. Very recent, we were sitting down were like, We want to be on this level. This is what we want to produce. We want to bring in and, like, you know, just cut everything else. This is what we're doing. And then we sat down and looked at the inquiry that we were getting the budgets that that came along with those what we're making. And we're like, You know, this This client got us to where we are now, so we can't just turn our backs from them. Obviously, they can continue to be a vehicle into where we go next. So how do we continue to service them? Um, but market ourselves differently, and I don't know what happened. This here, considering the pandemic way, were just very fortunate enough to not have to apply any of that information that we went over in the structure that we decided we were going to move forward with a year ago when we sat down by way of just the business and all the injuries that we got this past year. And now we're just, you know, having that conversation again. But I say that all to say you need to be honest about where you really are who you are attracting what you what you provide. It's not about what you necessarily uh, it it is about what you want in terms of aspirations and making all of the small goals to get to that big goal. Um, but to cater to where you are now and continue to oil that machine, you have to be honest with yourself about, um, what you're doing, what you're offering and who you're attracting. What

undefined

I mean, It's a more temperate version of that service for that client that you're not giving 40 hours of your time to that space. But you're devoting 20 hours, and this is what you could do within that, because that's that's literally your bandwidth. That's all you can do and being confident about saying that. So if you have X budget okay and design would be a great option for you, we're going to create a design, and you're going to implement it. It's not in our best interest to do these things and having a lot of those conversations. They're always awkward telling that to a client, but we find ourselves repeating that it's just you have to understand and respect that we're running a business. So what we do is very personal. We are instead of this very true. Be honest with yourself where you are and where you're trying to go. I have to say I love the design space, Which is why when I saw you guys starting to pop up on the news, I was just like, Oh, I haven't seen black designers like this that are showcasing work of this caliber, so I definitely have to reach out. I have watched designers go from showing their work on Instagram than YouTube and then land Netflix shows. So what does the path to amplifying the Forbes and Masters brand look like for you guys?

undefined

That's, Ah, social media visibility. And with that, a lot of production companies have reached out and we've done a few interviews for various shows. Uh, they a lot of them do come in on day. We're working on something right now, So

undefined

where that goes,

undefined

okay. And then, aside from that not being afraid Thio Thio, Ask when you when you build your brand thio to the level that that were at which we have a you know, a long way to go. I think that opportunities continue to present themselves to collaborate with other companies. And

undefined

as you do more collaborations and have more press opportunities or just opportunities to be more visible to others, they will render you, um been more opportunities to be even more visible or partner with with others. Um, and I think that comes from just building your building, your brand and, um,

undefined

and your relationships within the industry on then. Aside from that, once that is developed asking Thio partner with other companies, maybe that have not reached out to you yet If there's anything that you can dio ah, line that you can establish with them Our wallpaper line just came from by way of asking, Hey, we want to create patterns. How do we do this? And they're like, Oh, my God, yes. Um, it's it's always gonna be a yes, just like the magazine.

undefined

Um, press opportunities. I thought back in the day that you had to just be popular enough and wait till they call on you. But these writers are always looking for content, and you can simply call them up and say, Hey, I just finished this kitchen. I have photographs Can I get from my phone? Can I show you my phone pictures to see if you'd be interested and setting up a photo shoot in doing a story, Whether it's digital or print, they're they're waiting for that information in that in that content they needed and eso

undefined

you can. You can create that opportunity for yourself if you just simply ask. I think that having

undefined

on getting some of those, like you could do cell phone pictures. We're getting some things professionally shot and just taking initiative to make sure that you already have kind of like an editorial ready for them. Desperate just quick, um, entry into the

undefined

publication space? Absolutely. Before I emerged with A Via I took pictures of all of my projects. I bought a $500 camera off of another designer, and I took pictures of all of my all of all of my projects and waas featured in Ebony and a few other small

undefined

local magazines because I just because I had inventory, I had I had something to show and it had nothing to do because, as you know from earlier I was struggling. During that time, S.E.O it had nothing to do with the value of my Brandon and business and anything like that. And I don't think Social Media was even that big. But I had something to share. I had something to to share and show that I'm capable.

undefined

Yeah.

undefined

Yeah. And the fact that all you had to do was ask is incredible because so many of us will just sit here waiting for people to come toe us and miss out on opportunities like having a whole wallpaper line. That's incredible.

undefined

Yeah, it's it's unreal. But we're

undefined

we It's just the beginning on we're excited. Thio do more,

undefined

and now you also know how to approach those kinds of opportunities. So next time you will make a bigger askin a bigger ass. And that's the beauty of starting with one small step. Um, you know, like, if you hear a no, it's

undefined

fine.

undefined

Yeah, it's just the practice, right? I think even a no teaches you something about your approach. Speaking about getting no. Have you guys ever taken any risk that did not pan out for you?

undefined

I'm sure I'm sure. No way would view it as

undefined

like it would be like Oh, well, we learn from that. And then we just like

undefined

or yeah, or it was just like we must have dodged the bullet. It wasn't for us, e think that's all that's just kind of are set up our sentiments, like how we how we think about the world and what's for us is for us and all of that. But, um, I would say, sometimes we'll go on consultations or will meet clients who have reached out to us and we'll do a consultation. And, you know, we'll get a message like, Oh, well, we decided to go with another design and were like, really e wanna work with But, you know, But we move on. I remember recently we had a we had a consultation and was running a little behind on time. Of course, the client was notified and it might have been 10 to 10 or 15 minutes. And then, uh the the assistant called us and basically said, You know, we decided just to go ahead and cancel the consultation. You know, you guys are late, blah, blah, blah,

undefined

and I was like, Wait. But like I called Dorothy, who serves as our everything She's our chiefs, our junior designer at the time, she was just dealing with more admin and logistics, and I called her and I was just like, did we Did we notify them like, did they know that we're running like, Did we let them know in advance like, What's what's going on? And, you know, I just kind of wanted to make sure, you know, looking inward again, making sure that we did our part, you know, and and did everything that we could. But after that, it was just like, Well, all right, moving on.

undefined

But a lot of our job is delivering like disappointments. So if that small disappointment it's very difficult to be ready for an interior design project at that face like this, Murphy's Law loves interior design. S.E.O half of our job is saying, Hey,

undefined

I'm going to show up on mhm,

undefined

especially during the pandemic. And then, of course, I'm the H G T V addict, and so they always talk about when you're doing a demo, you may find surprises that will eat into your budget, and now you can't get the fancy, your version of the furniture or whatever it is Mm. I also wonder looking at the state of the world as it is right now. How has the pandemic redefine the way you guys are doing business? Initially, I think we were very nervous and afraid because luxury businesses, You think that's the first to go? And what what it did teach people started to value their homes more being stuck way. We're getting a lot of increase for just very personal spaces, meditation rooms, um, home offices, gyms and a coworker. Yeah, that was a huge one. And

undefined

and we have not. We've been busier because of this, like, shift to turn inward and look at home. Um, what? Because of the business, we've had to go through so many different projects and a lot of different mistakes at the same time, and so that causes us to them, look inward and try to work on some systems that will make it have a more seamless 2021 going forward that there are some things that we need to implement and just take a step back to do. And we were applauded by some clients, and another class were like, Wait, no, you're

undefined

leaving us.

undefined

Um but it after we explain what we needed to dio we're taking the time to do that now And so, um and then being okay with not being okay last year taught us that it's okay to have to be upset today. Your feelings are hurt. The world looks like it's gonna fall apart for a minute, but take a step back, it's it's okay to stop. We were talking a long time like, you know, the price goes so you know, of course, work hard and so on. But you need thio like give yourself some grace and some self care and and and honor You know, your feelings around the world right now it looks really scary. E can't stop watching the news, and I'm like, I need to stop

undefined

E Yeah, and I honestly feel like the pandemic has, like, served as accountability Thio the hard worker or the hustler, um has served as accountability to just, like take, um, take some time for self

undefined

and

undefined

and relaxed and and rest and just take care of yourself in general. If anything positive, that's that's something that has definitely come out of it, and it's afforded us the um, the accountability within our company to say, Hey, we need to break. We need to step back and again. Some people weren't the happiest, but like they didn't end there. Project. And

undefined

everyone has celebrated us essentially. So taking a step forward and again being rewarded or being shown that that it's okay, one thing that we've experienced during the pandemic as well as an influx of virtual design Um uh, influx of client enquiries from all over the world because at the time we were offering virtual interior design assistance and, um and so that that that played a big part in our profits this year. Um, and moving forward. We are no longer offering that service again because we assessed our current situation where we want to go and the time and availability that we wanna open up for other projects. And we're saying we're going to take we're going to take a step back from this type of service or this type of client. Although it was an aid this year in taking us Thio Ah, higher place than than last year.

undefined

Mhm. I feel as though for some kinds of business as you mentioned, the pandemic did cause an influx of business, but they weren't ready for it. So there was just a mix of emotions because their their operations, their systems were just under stress. So yes, success came in by way of enquiries. But sometimes on the tail end, their reputations also took a hit. Because, I mean, I won't say who, but I've ordered from some people where I didn't get things for three months that I've ordered, and I understood I ordered in order to support. So I understood that they were under stress. But if you're not ready for that influx of success,

undefined

it could take a toll is Well, I'm glad you guys are taking a step back just to make sure that you are strong enough to continue with the success that you're seeing.

undefined

Absolutely. We we Although we're very excited about the influx, there would be times every Monday we meet as a company and we'll talk about what's going on with each project. And we'd be talking and we're like, Oh, yes, Vanessa Hilson were like, Wait, who is that? We were We were signing contracts and working on designs and didn't know who our client Waas. Wow! And we did not like that. And so you know, a lot of people I think in this time are saying is giving too many yeses and not enough knows there. The influx is great and I think maybe the fear of the pandemic and the unknown of like, you know where this can go are making people continuing to take, take take. But again, we got to a point where, you know, with the accountability and the A sureness and and encouragement we get from each other, we said we will be fine. We've again have tested. We can testify to the fact that when we make a decision to go left or right, we will be rewarded. And during this time, we're going to say no. We need to take a step back so that our integrity is it doesn't change the value of our company. Everything it was affecting everything, or even just the passion and love that we had, for what we do is changing because of the influx. And so instead of just primarily looking at the dollar amount changing, we were looking at the overall health of the business of our relationship the relationship with our work and said, You know, we don't we don't like this. Let's take a step back, reassess and decide what we're going to do with it. Thank

undefined

you for saying that because success isn't just the money. A lot of people start businesses because they want a change in lifestyle. They want to be able to take a hold of when they work. They want people to say yes and no as far as what comes

undefined

into their their

undefined

spaces. And if all of a sudden you're business is running you, it's just not a comfortable place to Beaton's. I'm glad you pointed that out.

undefined

Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, it was just a few months for us before we realize okay, that we can't do this way, don't we don't know our clients names. We we there's there's no connecting to them in order to produce, like a design that weakened, then connect with and really produced specifically for them that's accustomed to them and it it really was just derailing what we do S.E.O it was it was obvious for us

undefined

and expectations were not matched, so we had to go into match because of how we come off into particular ways and how we treat our full service clients. Some of the virtual clients were not getting the same level of service to which we cannot offer. That is just that simple. And so having to explain that is that it doesn't it doesn't feel good. But you do have to stand your ground that this is a lower to your service for this,

undefined

Um, at this price point, because this is what we offer. And if you would like this portion of the service, that's a different level of

undefined

service.

undefined

No, I mean, I do that. I think you always try to get a little bit more for your money, right? So you, if you're not, if you don't stand your ground there's always that scope creep that happens with projects where people try to take, take, take human nature. But through it all, how are you staying inspired?

undefined

I heard that breath

undefined

I

undefined

e.

undefined

That was a big inhale

undefined

e. I get a lot from traveling. I get a lot from going back to New York. I haven't been to New York and

undefined

a year which is weird for me. Some place that I go every few months, and but I've gotten a lot of books lately, Just

undefined

hiding them right now. Um,

undefined

yeah, it's it's difficult, Especially while things are a little stressful and that there are other things to focus on, like the world is still happening. And, um, and giving that some time to let that all process

undefined

but then thinking about like, you know, what does the future look like? And then translating that in a creative mind, your gear start turning again like what's gonna happen? What's gonna come out of this

undefined

right like that Architectures

undefined

e think I think for me. Um,

undefined

I think for me the pandemic has caused me to connect with my meditate, meditating and yoga and just time with self a lot more

undefined

and and then also through there be talking through all the things that are going on in the world as well as well as in my personal life. Um, I think the constant resolved tends to be, um, just trust that trust that things were going to be okay on Daz cliche or as surface as that sound, um, looking back into your history and your trajectory

undefined

and seeing seeing that actually take place in the past.

undefined

And I think for me I stay encouraged by,

undefined

of course, just the

undefined

constant confirmation through opportunities like this. Doing a podcast with you are through recent things that you guys will hear about us doing, you know, in the later weeks and months that serves as a constant, um, encourage from encouragement and confirmation that we're on the right path and that, you know, this is this is literally are our destiny. Like there's no struggle. You you have to be honest and listen to what the world is telling you. What God is telling you. What the universe is telling you. Whatever you want. A coin that, um,

undefined

you will you'll get all the answers that you need. And so I think for for me during this time I've just spent sitting still and listening Thio, um,

undefined

what's been going on and really seeing what's been going on and using that as encouragement to know that it will be fine. The fact that we've been able to just surf through smoothly this entire year or the pandemic Up until now, I should have absolutely no worry. I've been fine up until now, the company is still thriving. There's no need to worry. Um but I think for everybody you have you have tow find where that is, where you find that comfort. And I think it starts with, um, a practice that I love, which is just gratification, journaling, just journaling about all the things that are going great because I think by nature we're thinking about what to do next. What to fix. What am I gonna have toe, You know, what am I gonna have to do? What are the chances of this happening? We're constantly just especially me. Preparing for the future of which we have absolutely no idea will entail. Onda. We don't celebrate ourselves enough TV, and I have this constant testimony which is going to change this year. This constant testimony of like, Oh, my God, Can you believe that we actually have a wallpaper line? Can you believe that? We actually worked with that client and because we're so boggled down with, like, Okay, this is what we need to do next. We don't take time to celebrate, and I think taking time to celebrate is literally acknowledging the good that's happening and therefore, just confirming that you're on the right path and you're fine.

undefined

You're fine. E

undefined

love that I love That that is a good way to inspire yourself is take stock of everything that's going well,

undefined

absolutely

undefined

actually sitting in that I like it. So what can we expect from you all in 2021? What's next?

undefined

I think just

undefined

us working on like internal structure is just a big deal for us. It feels like a, um, Thio Walk into a fully functioning office, um, and a library of our materials. Just

undefined

those things will be

undefined

wind for us. And

undefined

I think if it's a win for us, it's a win for all.

undefined

Absolutely, Absolutely. I I'll just say that you'll be seeing more Forbes Masters, uh, by way of many different platforms. You'll see more of us. Ah, lot of the work that we're doing right now. You'll see if you are working with us or if you are a client. So if you are really inspired to know what we're doing, check out www dot force masses comments. Please let us

undefined

know all the places. We're hoping to actually see a lot of these new homes that we're building actually be built. We're working a lot of new construction, and it's been a while.

undefined

It takes it takes a long time. Uh, it takes a long time for a house to be built, and we are working on a lot of homes like that. But you will see more of us. Hopefully. More partnerships, um, show houses, show houses, different platforms, and, uh

undefined

yeah, and just it's a better product.

undefined

Let us know. Where else can we follow this progress? Especially when the announcements roll out. We wanna be. We wanna have a front seat. Where can we find that

undefined

our social media page Instagram is forced Masters.

undefined

We'll go to shop for his masters in

undefined

the near future. Yeah, you can

undefined

You can actually follow the page Now it's shop Forbes masters and you'll get updates there. Um, for product product that that we love that we that we feel are just essentials for the home. Um, so out

undefined

of our little style guides, um,

undefined

we tend to like some of the same thing, so we'll be offering those to client. Oh, wow. Well, let me go follow that page because I wasn't following that one yet. Okay, well, I really appreciate it, so I'll give it some time. Well, I'll get in there just so I'm ready when you guys are ready. But I really do appreciate you taking the time to share your story today because I will say a lot of people are listening because they want to hear vulnerability. They want to hear a reald depiction of what your journey has been like. And you ladies have really given us that today. So thank you. Thank

undefined

you. Thank you.

undefined

Hi, Off-Scripters. I'm so glad you made it to the end of this episode. If you enjoy listening to our show, please pay it forward by sharing us with your network. Between episodes, you can find me on instagram. Our handle is at She's Off Script, or you can catch up on past episodes at She's Off Script dot com. See you on the next one

hey there!

I'm Serwaa, your new business strategist.

I’m a digital business strategy expert, headstrong high achiever, mom of two girls and wife to a strapping African man.

Embracing these facets of my life has been the key to breaking through my plateaus!

hey there
steal it

Every Expert Needs a Personal Brand. Not Sure Where To Start?

Steal my playbook! In the age of social media, it’s not enough to expect your product or service to speak for itself. Whether you’re a corporate queen, side hustler or entrepreneur, you need a brand that creates trust with your audience.