Establishing a successful design brand hinges on a few key components. It takes an incredible amount of hard work, strategic decision making, natural talent, and in case you hadn’t guessed it — networking. Like any industry, who you know can be equally important to what you know, and networking for interior designers is make-or-break for a growing business.
Over the past several months, social distancing guidelines have left a massive impact on the design community, but staying at home doesn’t mean networking should come to a screeching halt. Whether you’re looking for friendships, mentorships, or just a sense of support within the design community, we’re sharing how to make meaningful industry connections, both online and off.
We’ve written many words on the importance of leveraging social media as a marketing tool. And while it’s one of the best places to showcase your work, don’t overlook social media’s ability to connect you with like-minded professionals. Sometimes platforms like Instagram can feel like an endless cycle of self-promotion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, we’re big advocates for “community over competition” and believe in building a successful business while lifting others up along the way.
While it might feel counterintuitive, supporting fellow designers — yes, even your “competitors” — will foster community like no other. When you implement practices like joining hashtag movements, engaging with others’ content by commenting and liking, properly re-gramming beautiful work, and supporting fellow designers and artists within the industry, it’s truly a win-win scenario. Not only are you curating content and inspiration for your own platform, but you’re networking with designers across the country and the entire world. Believe it or not, some of the best connections have been forged over a shared hashtag.
Networking for interior designers is absolutely worth the investment and nothing replaces the value of connections made *face-to-face. Whether it’s an educational workshop, a creatives’ retreat, or a spontaneous cocktail hour with designers in your city, these events are where online acquaintances can become real-life friendships and invaluable support systems.
We’ve seen the power of networking countless times at Design Camp and it’s incredible to watch complete strangers forge relationships over the course of a few days. We know being a small business owner can often feel isolating, especially if you work from home, but having other designers and business owners who understand your day-to-day is so comforting. Networking events and business workshops are the perfect opportunities for finding “your people” within the industry.
*In a time of social distancing, in-person networking might be temporarily on hold. However, we still encourage you to research retreat and workshop opportunities down the line. By intentionally planning ahead, you’ll be able to jump on an opportunity when the time is right.
Everyone needs an inner circle who understands the nuances of their profession and can offer relevant advice, but networking for interior designers is also a smart move for any growing business. Connecting with designers who have different styles, services, and pricing tiers creates opportunities to establish a strong referrals network as you work towards filtering inquiries that best align with your business goals. We’ve previously outlined exactly how to set up a referral program, and we strongly believe it’s one of the best ways to make lasting connections and support your fellow designers within the industry.
Sliding into someone’s DMs may seem like the new norm of connections, but never underestimate the power of a well-written email. Not only is an email a more professional move, but it allows you to thoughtfully express who you are and exactly why you’re reaching out. If there’s a designer you’ve been itching to meet, take the time to send them a short but sweet note (conciseness is key!) and see where it takes you. Make sure to include an introduction, how you came across their work, and your action step request. Whether you’re hoping to schedule a coffee date (in-person or via Zoom), hire their mentoring services, or otherwise, a kind note can go a really long way.
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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.