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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Comments

Friday Focus on Design – Interview with Meredith Heron — 34 Comments

  1. You just know the most interesting people, Jen 🙂
    I enjoyed reading the interview with her a lot! My favorite was comparing her engagements (!) with a couple that is about to get married. Can’t wait to read part II.
    Love,
    Franziska
    @FlavorDesigns

  2. Jennifer,
    I love reading about other designers and how they work/think. Meredith sure sounds like a hoot! It’s important to combine humor with work. I do have to say from an ediiting standpoint that I was a bit distracted by all of the headers. Loved the video!

  3. It is so amazing to me how many talented and creative people there are in this world! I love how you are interviewing other designers and it is interesting to me to learn about the thinking and planning that goes into design. The video was fun to watch…I love to watch makeovers! Looking forward to part 2 of the interview and hope to see more videos or photos of how a room or rooms are transformed!

  4. What a fun idea Jen to feature other designers! She’s a complete hoot as someone else said. I look forward to part 2 of your interview too but I also found the headers rather distracting….
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears For Freedom
    http://louiseedington.com

  5. Loved meeting Meredith and getting to know her via your post. I like the format of you interviewing her along with the video so we can see her work. I am attracted to funny people, you captured her personality very well. Will look for part 2!

  6. Great post, interesting, love the wedding analogy, so true! The video of her working on Jerry’s place was fun to watch too.

    I like the splitting it up into two posts as well, that’s a good idea for long posts.

    Lisa Vitale
    http://lisawifemom.wordpress.com

  7. WOW! Is wish I had $10K for a designer. Is there a economy version.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    Vibrating positive energy…what are you vibrating?
    http://www.imagedevelopmentgroup.com/index.html

    • There is always an economy version. I give my clients a map with clues to make it happen for the cost of 5 hours of work. Of course you need money or smarts to make it all happen and I know you can do it Lisa

  8. Nice interview Jen! I liked her analogy to a wedding, as I can see how it is just as stressful. We are protective of our homes (or businesses in the case of the video) and it is probably a fine balancing act introducing good design and honoring the clients desires.

    Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero
    http://www.PatZahn.com

    • Thanks Pat. It is so true. Our homes or business are like our children in a way. It is true, us designers need to walk a fine line, be creative, supportive, and encouraging, while making sure that everything falls into place

  9. Hi Jen,
    Thanks for yet another fascinating interview! Always great depth and breadth, both in your questions and the responses. Think your session is so revealing because you both share vocational interests, and you know what questions to ask?
    Robbie

  10. Cool interview…I like this idea…may have to employ in my own blog. Great way to expose your readers to new people. I can’t BELIEVE her mom outbid the newscaster…such a mom move 🙂 LOL!
    Brandy Mychals
    Communications Coach
    Creator of Split Second Perceptions

  11. Great informative post Jen , looking forward to part 2. I love before and after videos and this one was great. What a great idea with the baby pictures on the wall.

  12. What a beautiful thing you do here, bringing other design experts to share their creative process and business prowess. It’s brilliant!

    I used to think that my varied background was a bit disjointed. Only a few years ago did I start to realize how the many entrepreneurial and professional endeavors I’ve expressed in the passed 30 years weave together a rather interesting tapestry. You touch on a few of those expressions here in your post. (Wedding Specialist, Designer, Entrepreneur)

    Someday soon, Jen, I’d love to connect… perhaps it’s time for a phone chat!
    Tambra
    http://TambraHarck.com

  13. This was fascinating.

    Do I see a book in your future?

    “Dialogue with Interior Designers.” In order to explore the essence of the interior design experience, Jen Duchene interviewed many of the women and men who are considered the pioneers, the masters, of interior design. These interviews cover a broad range of topics, as varied and engaging as the subjects themselves. “Dialogue with Interior Designers” examines the principles and philosophies that guided and continue to guide their paths. Together in book form, these interviews constitute an oral history of interior design.

    P.S. I will take all the portraits!

  14. ooohhh- I loved how Meredith talked about the design process of her business. That is exactly what authors go through when I work with them on their book! I know it’s probably just a process anyone goes through when coming up with something, but it was fun seeing it applied to another industry.

    Nice interview Jen

    Candace Davenp;ort
    www.ourlittlebooks.com ~ Little Books with a Big Message

  15. What a fascinating woman. She’s so bubbly and upbeat. I must admit I hardly recognised her in the video. Two totally different faces. I like how she sits the clients down and tells them what she could do for a hypothetical budget.

    I’m looking forward to part 2 of this fun interview Jen. Thanks for introducing Meredith.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living
    http://fionastolze.wordpress.com

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