From the desk of Kelly Schellert, Past President ASID Missouri East; Founding Partner/Visionary/Interior Designer/Entrepreneur of Ethos Design Collective and Ceanii Artful Interiors – Design/Renovations
“You set off a dream in me…”
For any one of you who have watched THE GREATEST SHOWMAN recently, or listened to their songs, you know this line from the beautiful song by Loren Allred (Never Enough). It speaks to me, about dreaming of better things, and persevering (much like we do as design professionals). It gives me chills and brings me to tears with it’s clear and pure emotion.
As an interior designer (24+ years), and entrepreneur (design/build firm owner) since 2006, like many of you I have faced the same challenging obstacles of growing a business (while maintaining the best parts of design that brought me to it in the first place). The fears, the frustrations, the times when it felt like I needed more resources than I could find to create the edge I needed in this industry. Endless hours of searching for quality CEU’s that I could do from my home, now that I am raising a child and was not as able to get to networking events as I used to during her first years. I KNOW you, because I AM you. If you have done it, I have probably done it too, or felt it, or faced it. Especially if you are a sole-entrepreneur, trying to wear all the hats and do all the things.
Above all of the benefits you’ll see below, you’ll want to know this as our main priority of the EDC: A national ad campaign, direct to consumers, about the benefits of hiring a designer.A campaign that leads back to a designer list and highlights a blog written by the members of our EDC community and helps consumers find YOU to hire YOU. This is a campaign that your membership dollars will help underwrite, as well as our manufacturing trade partners and network service providers who are aligned in our vision and who seek to win the hearts of designers everywhere, by supporting our livelihood. We will have a regional list, by discipline, with opportunities coming for you to place your business at the head of the listing, by area, with images.
The EDC will be a place of community and a resource rich aggregate, with opportunities and courses all in one place to help you grow your business and be the best designer you can be. We will be doing quarterly educational business webinars with Mydoma, available in our Academy to our members on the pressing topics you need NOW, tailored direct to our industry, and content created by my two partners and advisory board members: Julia Molloy of the THE BOLD SUMMIT (a master in her field of helping designers build the very best business models) and Leslie Carothers, owner of SAVOUR AND KALEIDOSCOPE PARTNERSHIP, who with her partner (Sam Henderson) serve designers in areas of design marketing for interior designers.
(Left: Leslie Carothers; Right: Julia Molloy)
When I first spoke to Julia in February 2018 about my vision, what naturally expanded to include Leslie, has made for a meeting of minds and hearts of three individuals who have spent much time devoted to bettering this industry, and bring to the table our collective strengths for your ultimate benefit. Leslie has a wealth of knowledge and experience from the furniture industry and writing protocols for furniture wholesale groups. We will be working with vendors to create a fabulous group that affords you as members a better buying price point through our collective. Your membership # will allow you to buy direct from those vendors and manufacturing trade partners aligned with the EDC.
I have also been working with service providers to the industry and we are proud to align with them to create a fabulous Network of Service Providers Listing of supporting professional services that we all need in our businesses: professional photography, technology, websites, coding, lifestyle, health and wellness, virtual assistants, etc… As a member, YOU will have access to these contacts and so much more, just for the mere price of membership.
Ours will be a place of community with peer to peer opportunities, designers supporting designers with product and service lines to our own membership. We boost our own profession and design professionals from the inside, out, just as we design spaces! We will have a regional list, by discipline or product and/or service offering, with opportunities coming for you to place your business at the head of the listing, by area, with images.
We create the value of designers by building each other up and making our designers’ businesses more profitable. As a leader in the field of building the most stable and profitable interior design business models, Julia will have courses available in the Academy for our members as well. By strategically aligning with industry manufacturers to underwrite courses, we offer you access to relevant, timely and high quality courses at lower to no cost, to increase your professional knowledge and maintain your CEU’s where possible, from all areas and disciplines of interior design.
Your business will benefit from having access to our aggregate resource site that eliminates your hours of frustration and searching, and cobbling the individual sources together on your own. Time that is better spent serving your families, interior design clients, and going directly to your bottom line and profitability as well as making for a better project for your clients (WIN-WIN).
Those of you who seek to hire, or those who need employment, will be able to connect. It did not escape me during my ASID Missouri East chapter presidency the need for rural designers to have better access to job opportunities that would allow them to qualify to sit for national qualification testing and advance to professional status, opening up the ability to access better product lines for their business. I fought alongside other presidents of our chapter at the state level against the title act that would prevent designers from practicing design. We will not go silently into THAT dark night.
Technology has advanced to where we are no longer bound by the limitations of where we live for internships and jobs. Even when we seek to hire virtual assistants, my idea was that our members could offer internship credits to interior design VA’s who need the experience, and you get the help you need as a business owner wearing many hats. We are creating the ability to connect through our board. Bringing our world together, by design and through technology. Harnessing the best of what the world has to offer.
Our well-thought out website is laid out in sensible navigation, with a secure designer login experience, and robust site ready to grow and evolve with our membership.
And if all of these benefits for you and your business is not enough, our vision did not stop there. Together, Julia, Leslie and I are allowing designer members to support the EDC at tiered levels, in return for financial windfall should the company ever sell (along with other tiered perks). Even those of you at the lowest paid membership level will benefit. As the saying goes, you get out of it what you put in (plus some). We are currently working with tax and legal professionals to make this happen after we launch, in a future phase.
It is a WIN-WIN-WIN for everyone involved. Our members, our Manufacturing Trade Partners, our Clients, and our Network Service Providers, but mostly, your business, and thus your livelihood.
If you are moved to join us on this wild ride, to once and for all join together to make the Interior Design Profession and thus, our businesses, more valuable in the eyes of those who need our services, we would love to have you.
Welcome to the new interior design paradigm. Our time is NOW.
In the spirit of community, ..in design and in life,
Kelly Schellert- Ethos Founding Partner