Testimonial of an experienced design team --Jerome & Catherine Pulcine, 8/11/2016
After running a successful independent design studio for 15 years, my husband and I began looking at franchising to help us build a larger business, not only to increase current income, but so that we would have an internationally branded business for eventual resale 5 to 10 years from now. When we first started our decorating business, it was a long haul. In retrospect, we should have been with a well-established franchise company from the beginning.
We had known of Decorating Den Interiors for years, but were too busy keeping our own business going to investigate; you know, networking and marketing to make the phone ring, finding and keeping good vendors with reasonable pricing, me running the business while Catherine did the design and selling, doing everything from scratch from our own resources. We needed a systems approach, so we finally made the time to investigate the DDI business opportunity.
With their 45 years of innovation, Decorating Den Interiors is the perfect fit for us. Their low-overhead, in-home business model is vital to the success of most start-up. Many, like us, fairly quickly grow into outside design studios with staff when they are ready.
DDI has great contractual relationships with national suppliers that we could never have gotten on our own, and they sell to us a true wholesale pricing! Most vendors, especially furniture manufacturers, would never deal with us as independents. But with my hundreds of colleagues, they not only listen but are clamoring for our business. And we love the cash rebates they give to us each quarter to pay our way to conferences, markets, and other business meetings.
The marketing support and the business systems and analysis we get with Decorating Den are amazing. Our new customer management system has all the bells and whistles, and facilitates our regular communication of offers and tips to our prospects and past clients (the offers are special quarterly discounts given exclusively to us by our Preferred Suppliers).
Everyone in the company wants to help, both managers and our peers, so we always have someone to turn to, no matter what the question. Our intranet system, DecoNet, is the vehicle for those conversations.
These are things we could never put a price tag on, but will help us grow. When we’re ready to retire, we’ll not only have a great track record, but a branded business with extensive records and helpful tools to sell to our successor. Without question we have made the right decision by joining Decorating Den Interiors—we just should have made it 15 years ago!
Jerome & Catherine Pulcine
Decorating Den Interiors
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Testimonial of an interior design graduate- Angie Bonomo, Allied ASID Jan 14, 2016
Armed with a new BFA in interior design from the Art Institute (2009), I began my new career in the middle of the recent recession. Since there were very few positions available in the industry, I decided to work independently as a free-lance designer. It turned out to be far more difficult than I had imagined.
The obvious problems—how to acquire clients; how to showcase my talents to the prospects; where to buy furnishings at wholesale pricing so I could be profitable in re-sale; and how to manage the ‘business side’ of my business— quickly became overwhelming. I struggled on without much progress or future.
Finally, in frustration, I contacted Decorating Den Interiors to see if their 40-year franchise system had anything to offer a design grad like me. The programs and support systems were thoroughly explained over several weeks during my pre- qualification process by the Florida regional director (an NCIDQ-certified ASID member and active franchisee).
He listened carefully to learn what I needed, whether I had the talent and the determination to be both a designer and a business owner, and finally worked with me to qualify for a franchise of my own, which was awarded in July of 2014.
The local managers helped me set up my business and prepare for operations prior to my initial training in October and I opened my business the next month with marketing plans and office systems already in place. When I learned of the advanced programs offered thru Decorating Den, I basically scrapped everything I had done on my own and started over with proven systems that work. During my first two months of local sales training and business start-up assistance, I acquired several new clients and had already banked more gross profits than I did in my five years as an independent designer.
Most importantly, I have the support of an experienced team who will help me to grow my talents, experience, and income for years to come. My colleagues in the region are my helpful friends, and the regular supplier support keeps me on top of my game every day. Our national Conference and Suppliers’ Market is in May, and I’ll be there with my entire #1 region!
Angie Bonomo, Allied ASID
Decorating Den Interiors
Testimonial --Lance Hatch, 6/29/2015
Having worked as a certified project manager (PMP in a semi-technical capacity in the publishing field) most of my adult career, and having also done some free-lance and store-based interior decorating in the Boston area, I responded to an ad to join a Florida Decorating Den franchisee as a staff decorator. After initial discussions with the regional manager to learn more, I quickly became interested in a franchise of my own.
The south Florida regional directors here have been very successful franchise owners themselves for over 20 years. They have also trained and mentored dozens of new decorators like me. They were very thorough and helpful during the pre-qualification process. The support systems explained were extensive and well-developed, and the process of introducing, qualifying, and awarding me my own business franchise went smoothly.
The qualification process does take a couple of months, but that gave me plenty of time to set up my new corporation, get my marketing plan in place (with Cliff’s assistance), and prepare for initial training at the corporate headquarters in MD--an intensive, two-week educational commitment jumpstarting a life-time of learning in the dynamic field of interior design and home furnishings sales.
I met most of my soon-to-be regional team members early in the qualifying process and immediately felt their sincere warm welcome. We are a very diverse group of friendly individuals and consummate professionals. And, we enjoy being the top regional team in North America (so named at our last conference in May 2016). The other designers in my immediate vicinity generously have introduced me to all of the their favorite vendors and workrooms in the area.
I’ve been fortunate to attend several regional meetings by now. Everyone shares generously; the business portion of the meetings is well prepared – at our last meeting we learned more about the changing world of search engine optimization (SEO) for our individual websites. The presentations from our Preferred Suppliers reps (that offer us true wholesale pricing) are always invaluable and help keep us on top of decorating trends. In addition, I and another franchisee had the opportunity to present to our regional team mates the advantages of leveraging social networking toward optimizing our marketing plans via such sites as Houzz, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and even our own corporate-initiated Facebook business pages. We’re truly a collaborative bunch!
Since I graduated from initial training, my participation in four ‘Directions’ training sessions offers an opportunity to explore aspects of our business in greater detail with other designers. I find these training sessions not only immensely informational, but quite enjoyable, too. Our most recent class – on selling high-end furniture – will provide very important information and strategies for successfully introducing my clients to the eight new top-notch suppliers who have recently joined the DecDen suppliers list, including companies like Century and Henredon.
To date, I’m very satisfied with my new venture. Frankly, it hadn’t occurred to me that I could actually have a successful interior decorating and residential design business of my own until I took the chance to register and get started learning about all DecDen has to offer. It’s hard work and there is a lot to learn and absorb, but the process is well-organized and the support turns out to include more options than I could ever have anticipated. I am grateful and optimistic about my current and future affiliation with Decorating Den Interiors. I have no hesitation about recommending to others that they explore their desire to work in the interior design and home furnishings business by contacting DecDen to explore the opportunities, training, and support offered.
Lance Hatch, Owner
Decorating Den Interiors
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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