Friday Focus on Design – Interview with Meredith Heron

I met Meredith on Twitter. Actually on a twitter chat #designTV with @jonathanlegate & @abcddesigns

both who I adore and will interview and share at a later date.

Meredith Heron

Meredith was a guest. It was all about breaking into tv. Meredith has actually done it. It’s a funny story. I lifted  from @modernbirds “It was a rather karmic bit of luck actually. I volunteered to put together a package to be auctioned off for a Children’s Charity – it was a Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction so I was part of the package if you will, being auctioned off (side note: it was One Room in your home totally redecorated by moi – my MOTHER ended up beating out a local newscaster for my package. I still groan about this to her). A casting agent saw me on stage and asked if I would be interested in doing a screen test for a production company that was looking for designers...

so glad Meredith explained what she was being auctioned of for – I did wonder for a moment.. I have to say chatting to Meredith was like connecting with a best friend.

a well thumbed book, Meredith reveals is “A tale of two Cities” by Charles Dickens

she has read it over and over. Meredith studied the French Revolution and is drawn to the historical aspects (notice I said historical not hysterical) of the book and the play  of the same period Les Miserables (based on book by Victor Hugo).

What really makes you laugh?

She really does have an incredible sense of humour.  I love her wit and fast retorts on twitter. Damn you Auto correct – where Ordinary becomes hilarious, made her laugh out loud.

Meredith also revealed when she was pregnant she would break into hysterical bouts of laughter, over the craziest stuff.  Definitely loves to laugh.  No wonder I like her.

What is your favorite element of the design biz?

The concept. Beginning with many sketches, choosing the fabric samples and then sharing with the client.  The powerful synergy between client and Meredith forms a basis for possibilities and challenges.

She tells her clients to imagine the design process is like getting married.   The first blush of dating is so promising, getting to know one another, then the courting stage means dealing with mistakes or unforeseen circumstances, like a product that is no longer available, which leads to doubt & reassurance.  Finally the engagement party is on as the difficulties are ironed out and everything is flowing.

As they get ready to walk down the aisle there is lots of hard work, planning, and adjusting to changes, which come from implementation, timing, fights break out. Everyone is stressed.  Its’ hard for clients to be objective about their space when they cant see the end in sight. Till finally the big day:  “The big Reveal” when the new space is uncovered and everyone is delightedly enjoying the fruits of the process.

I never thought of it like that, but it makes complete sense.

What is your biggest strength and how do you communicate this to your clients?

Meredith has the ability to turn mistakes into possibilities, to be objective (for the client). She calls them happy mistakes, detours. It is an opportunity to step it up and revisit the project with fresh eyes.

What has been your biggest challenge or roadblock with regard to maintaining & growing your business?

Meredith admits that life has been full of roadblocks.  They have moved their offices 4 times.  Not from choice but from situations beyond their control.   They are now in the Designers walk in Toronto, which has proved to be their best move.

What key strategy have you implemented to help keep you focused, on track and motivated?

Originally they opened a store and design business. Meredith shares that they have learned to focus on what they do well.  Look at problems and figure out how you need to fix them.  She suggests that as an interior designer, decorator, you should think about hiring a branding coach. Talk to clients.  Take a proactive stance in your business in order to thrive.  Being open to possibilities puts you in a better space.  Meredith has learned that its not worth dwelling in a negative place

Have you modified your pricing structure or any business strategies in the past 12 months?

Meridith Heron Design positioned themselves to tailor their services to their clients budgets.  If the client doesn’t have the money right now, they invest some money in coming up with a plan. Everything relates back to the big picture. Confidence, planning and educating the client are key to maintaining a thriving business.

This way they can look at where the client is and offer a half day consultation at a set fee.  Or a proposal for a one room plan, which is an affordable alternative. Set goals so client can get focused planning a budget to execute.

Meredith is leery of Room in a box design because  it appears that as a designer you have no control over the design.  You are giving people room for interpretation.  And whatever the result, you get the credit.  There could potentially be lots of questions on the backend, which the client might not spring for.

How does one, transition services? Design is an unusual business. Timing is hard to calculate, and the client appreciates that a designer’s time is worth money.  Finding the right pillow can take time. There is an art to the process.  This is all part of knowing your niche.

Meredith finds getting a client to be upfront with their budget simplifies how they can help the client. If the client is reticent, she throws out a number, say $10,000.00  Explains how she can help the client within the budget.

She encourages the client to be really upfront saying if your budget is $2,000.00 that is just my fee.

So we need to find another way to help you, maybe a junior assistant guides your luxury look.

I really like how Meredith defines her market and how she can help her client in a way that works for both of them.

Since the interview is so long and juicy, I have decided to save part 2 for next week.

Meredith’s contact info  Meredith Heron Design
Meredith on Twitter

Restaurant Makeover  TV Show Episodes

Here is a very cool visual of what Meredith can do with a restaurant  Jerry’s makeover

in the meantime let me know what you think by commenting below

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