How To Book High-End Clients Without a Large Portfolio

Establishing a portfolio can be a hurdle for even the most talented of beginning designers. How will you assemble an impressive portfolio with few—or no—clients? How will you book your ideal clients without that large, impressive portfolio?

The experience (and gorgeous images) that comes with having a few projects under your belt cannot be replaced, BUT an extensive portfolio is not the only way to land your dream clients.

Here are a handful of strategies for attracting even the most high-end clients, whether you have a catalog of $100k remodels or are just breaking into the industry:

How To Book High-End Clients Without a Large Portfolio | modern white dining room mixed with vintage decor | The Identite Collective

Design: Kate Marker Interiors | Photography: Stoffer Photography Interiors

 

Don’t Skip On Quality Branding

 

Potential clients should be able to surmise a great deal about your style and work from your brand imagery alone. It should evoke the style of your spaces. Some of the most high-end editorial sites don’t even include portfolio images. They use quality typography, color palettes, and animations that attract the personality and style of the clients you’re looking to book. Instead of looking inside someone else’s home, they’re left imagining what your work would look like in their own.

 

Don’t Put Too Much Focus on Yourself

 

The key to booking high-end clients is marketing yourself to serve them. Your site should be about them—what they like, what they need, and how you can help. Don’t come from a place of vanity or spend too much time focusing on your “about” page or bio.

 

How To Book High-End Clients Without a Large Portfolio | Modern marble slab bathroom vanity | The Identite Collective

Design: Sean Anderson | Photography: Rett Peek

 

Rethink Blog Content

 

There are plenty of ways to offer inspiration on your blog and social media without portfolio images. Create product roundups that showcase how you source products and create graphics; these mood boards perform really well on Pinterest and also give opportunities to earn affiliate income. (If you’re not already a RewardStyle member, more on that here. And good news, you can utilize all your affiliate links on this IDCO template.) Don’t forget that you can post images of your own home, too, which leads me to my next point.

Style a Shoot

 

Source products and style/restyle your home or a friend’s home. You can return everything after you photograph it, and then link to the products on your blog. Those images will exemplify your personal style and the options are literally endless as you can trade out pieces in the same area. Even better, you have full control and the ability to really communicate the personality of your work. If you can swing it, hire a professional to get a few high-quality images you can use.

 

How To Book High-End Clients Without a Large Portfolio | black and blonde wood kitchen cabinetry | The Identite Collective

Design: Ames Interiors | Photography: Kate Osborne

 

Above all, position yourself to be seen. Think of where your ideal client goes, what she reads, where she hangs out online. Insert yourself and your brand in these spaces. Present them with branding and a process that fits into their lifestyle, and watch the inquiries roll in.

 


 

For more tips for elevating your interior design business, check out these posts:

 

 

IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.

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  1. Samantha Buxcey says:

    Some great ideas on this blog post, I don’t have a large folio either but this gave me the idea to use my own concept and mood boards from my previous design assignments, I can also create new “get the look” pages so clients can see what my style is like!

    Thanks
    Sam

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