Kendall Simmons: Southern Charm with an Edge
Today in The Lounge, Nick talks to Kendall Simmons of Kendall Simmons Interiors, Southern charm with an edge. Kendall talks about her journey to design, how she developed and grew her business, and plans for the future (hint: E-Design!).
Kendall’s Journey to Design
Kendall was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, but lived in Tennessee for high school and has relocated back to Nashville, and loves it there. She grew up in a home with a very artful and creative mother and believes this is where her interest in design developed. She has traveled all over the world and feels that when you are limited in language by being in another country or culture, you become an observer and really pay attention to lots of visual information. Kendall knew she wanted to pursue design in college and said she was able to intern during the summers for a few weeks at a time. During these internships, she felt she really learned valuable information about what she did and didn’t want to do.
Kendall moved to New York after college for a job with Campion Platt (an architecture firm). She then returned to Tennessee and took a job with McAlpin (an interior design and architecture firm) and got a world of knowledge and experience. She then opened her own firm and has had it for 4 years now. Kendall says going off on her own was like “jumping off a cliff,” but after contemplating it over a year she gave notice and jumped in. Doubt immediately filled her mind until she received 2 emails pretty quickly asking for her help to design spaces. She’s glad she did not open the business too soon and admits the timing was “serendipitous.” Kendall’s upbringing in Nashville gave her a splash of Southern Charm and it’s combined with the “edge” of her New York experience and her younger clients’ perspectives. The perfect combination!
Kendall Simmons Interiors is run by just her and her husband, Kane, who helps with business development, management and outreach – this helps free up her time to be creative. She has had some interns, but these have not been consistent, so she doesn’t rely on them at this time. Although Kendall admits she does not really do any “true” marketing, she has found success in other ways. Her husband, Kane, will outreach to bloggers and other individuals and companies they think will be a good collaboration. Kendall is also very involved with her website and supervises everything on it to make sure it is user-friendly with lots of visuals. She wants it to feel approachable and be a good representation of all the projects she has done and the services she provides.
Kendall talks with Nick about the success she has had from Instagram and how she has over 9,000 followers. She talks about how most of her clients are young and love the visuals on Instagram and she gets referrals this way. Kendall recommends Instagram updates every day with new content to always keep followers wanting more. Kendall gives 3 tips to build success on Instagram:
1) Invest in getting your work professionally photographed. Check to see if there are local photographers who are looking to build content as well – team together.
2) Post on a regular schedule. Kendall will post every day, sometimes twice. She says this consistency keeps you in their mind and they want to see what you’ll post next.
3) Devote time – put posting on social media on the calendar every day as a “to-do” item. Make it important and it will pay off.
The Future is Bright in Nashville
Kendall’s younger clients typically have not had experience with a professional interior designer before and some want to do the work on their own and just need a roadmap of how to get there. So, Kendall started a web-based E-Design service for those clients with lower budgets. Interested clients give her a detailed questionnaire (including measurements) and can upload an inspiration board. She gets back to them within 2 weeks with information about designing their space with a furniture plan, detailed notes, and even a shopping list! The shopping list is on an interactive PDF with active links to the vendors mentioned in her plans. Kendall let E-Design happen organically at first, but it is becoming more popular and she is now talking about it on Instagram as well. She wants to find a way to have people submit before and after photos and is working on this component.Kendall also has a side project where she designs rental properties just for the freedom to do what she wants. Learn more about these rental properties at www.theHousePunch.com.
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