What Really Makes You Unique As A Designer: How the coronavirus helped me figure this out!
Written by Lindsey Murillo of Lindsey Murillo Interiors
I recently underwent a re-brand in my organization. I entered into the interiors industry as a home stager and when I went full service interior design, it was time to make a change. The choice to re-brand was one that I waited nearly two years to make. I wanted to be sure the new brand and image I was creating for myself was perfect.
I changed every single one of my systems, processes, and procedures, along with my logo, color scheme, and website. Basically, I completely changed the way I was doing business. I re-evaluated every aspect of my organization, I took a course on the business of interior design, I updated every single form and contract I was using, I designed new business cards, I hired a marketing manager and an assistant. If you have ever re-branded, you know that it is not a quick or an easy process. I had to create new email accounts, update my memberships, and notify my bank.
During all of this, there was one common question that everyone was demanding an answer for… what makes you unique as a designer? My business coach was asking me. My marketing manager was asking me. Even my husband was asking me!
At the time, I didn’t have an answer. I would go to design meetings and panels to hear great tips and advice from some of the most amazing designers across the US who would all say something different on this topic. While one would say that you have to create a unique niche for yourself so that you stand out among the masses, the next would say that it’s best to be versatile and have the ability to service every kind of client and style. GGGGAAAAHHHHH… what was the right answer!?!?!?!? I didn’t know. What I DID know was that I needed to figure this out before I could launch my new brand.
I knew I didn’t just want to present myself through pretty images on social media. I knew I didn’t want my brand to be identical to any other designer, even though there are many who inspire me daily! I knew I wanted my voice to be heard through my brand. I knew I wanted to make my clients’ voices heard through my designs. And I knew that I wanted who I was as a person to come through in my brand image.
So, the new business name was filed. The logo was created. The social media campaigning began. The website was under way and I was feeling good about the momentum I had created - like I was on top of the world! Go me!
I very soon realized that my social media was filled with lots of pretty pictures and projects just like most other designers, that the only thing anyone on the outside looking in would see is that I can create a great design and transform any space into something wonderful. It wasn’t a bad thing, but it didn’t answer the question - what makes me unique as a designer?
There are so many things about me that make me … ME! But how did I translate that into my brand? And then - the coronavirus happened!
WOWZA! We all began to find creative ways to work from home, service our clients and stay in business. Everyone who didn’t have an E-Design program, created one fast! Luckily for us, this was something that we were already offering, and our online viewers were familiar with. So now we just had to promote it.
And then it occurred to me – the coronavirus pandemic was the perfect opportunity for me to show who I am, in my brand!
When someone is backed into a corner or pushed up against a wall, whatever is on the inside of them … will come out. They will show their true colors and their character will be unveiled. And this is the exact affect the coronavirus had on me. It backed me into a corner and squeezed me so tight that I had no choice but to respond as I always do in times of sudden disaster. This is where the Small Business Initiative was birthed.
When something as devastating as the coronavirus happens, my first response is to jump into action! To get on the front lines and do absolutely everything I can to help and support those in need. This is exactly what I did. I immediately put together the Small Business Initiative that would help those who are on the front lines better reach our communities and those who are in need. I invited several other small business owners across DFW to join me in this initiative and give back by donating to an organization of their choice. Many have joined me, and more are reaching out daily to participate. And you can too, no matter where you are located!
We all have an opportunity during this time to respond as human beings who care rather than business owners trying to stay afloat. We have an opportunity to reflect on what is coming out of us as we are pushed up against a wall and challenged like never before.
This is what makes you unique as a designer. It’s what makes me unique as a designer. I am one who loves to connect resources with needs. I am one who cannot help but throw myself into the fire if I see someone burning. I am one who stands to defend the helpless. I am one who does everything in my power not to be wasteful and to protect our planet. I am one who calls people to action when it is in our power to act.
This is what I wanted my brand to be about. This is what I wanted people to see when they looked at Lindsey Murillo Interiors. And this is the opportunity COVID-19 gave me when it hit our nation.
As you are being squeezed - what is coming out? Take notice and turn it into action. This is what makes you unique as a designer. This is the answer to the question every business coach, marketing manager, publication and the public want to know. Who are you? Not just what is your brand and what makes you different from the designer to your right or to your left.
Who are YOU?
As an industry we also have an opportunity right now to shine by continuing to use our resources and creativity to help solve problems the world is being faced with.
Who are WE?
If you know someone in need of resources or looking to help/serve/donate, please direct them to my blog. I have a list of organizations and information for anyone looking.