Andrew Mitchell's interview with Boyd Blue.
The Design Coach founder Andrew Michell recently presented to a wonderful group of interior designers at the Boyd Blue Showroom in Sydney: 'Make More Money Doing What You Love'. Prior to the event, Andrew sat down with the team at Boyd Blue for an interview to find out more about his motivations for starting the business, and his passion for helping designers to run profitable businesses.
The project images featured in this article are from the recently published Toorak project by MR. MITCHELL, Andrew's successful interior design business, established in 2000. Many of the furniture pieces, light fittings and accessories were purchased through Boyd Blue, one of MR. MITCHELL's preferred suppliers.
As discussed at the events hosted by Boyd Blue, a pivotal aspect of increasing a project's profitability is to ensure that margins on product are worthwhile, and Boyd Blue is certainly a company dedicated to supporting designers in their bid to make more money.
The Sydney event was the first of three Boyd Blue events featuring Andrew Mitchell as keynote speaker. Click HERE to register for Brisbane (20 May) or Melbourne (3 June).
BB : Thanks for speaking to us today Andrew. We’re big fans of the work you do at The Design Coach. What prompted you to start the business?
AM: Prior to starting The Design Coach, I worked with a company where I was managing over 90 interior designers nationally. They were mostly new up-and-coming designers who had a creative flair and passion for the industry but lacked the skills to sustain a successful business. I mentored these juniors and provided them with the skills and knowledge they required to create fee proposals, understand project scope, design processes and the ability to be confident in charging.
Whilst doing this I quickly recognised a large gap in the market and a real lack of support for the new generation of designers. This is where The Design Coach began.
BB: In addition to your coaching service, you offer a number of classes, courses and retreats at The Design Coach. Where would you suggest that a new member of TDC start?
AM: At The Design Coach we understand that the world of design can be quite overwhelming, especially in the early stages of establishing a business, and for that reason we really encourage our new members to reach out. We are here to direct new members into the right courses, classes or coaching programs that will suit their unique needs.
Every designer that joins us at TDC has a different story and are at a different level of business, so we put a great importance in treating everyone as an individual by accessing their needs accordingly.
BB: What are some of the biggest challenges that Interior Designers face when working in small business?
AM: When you finish university, you have a degree of creative talent, a passion for design and an impressive book of design skills, but what most people don’t have is the knowledge and understanding to run a successful business. Without understanding how to set up good processes, its very difficult to run a profitable business. A lack of these skills can eventually have dire consequences.
Early in my career I made some very poor business decisions, and I was forced to learn through trial and error. I made mistakes… Mistakes that my members don’t have to make! I now understand what resources my members need to learn the business skills necessary to thrive in the industry.
BB: You’re joining us in our Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne showrooms over the coming month for some inspiring talks: “Make more money doing what you love.” Why are you so passionate about this topic?
AM: I'm passionate about it the topic of making money, as most designers don’t consider it. They do what they love because they are naturally good at it, they enjoy all the elements involved, but they don’t reward themselves financially. They enjoy working in their field of their passion so much that they don’t feel like it’s fair to charge their full worth, which can have a severely damaging effect on their personal finances.
With many years of experience under my belt, I have learnt that if you don’t charge clients correctly and follow sound systems, you will fall out of love with your work. It’s important to educate clients about what we do, and how much that costs.
BB: How can designers make the most of suppliers, like Boyd Blue, to help improve their profitability?
AM: Establishing and nurturing relationships is the most important thing designers can do, across the entire industry. It’s vital to remember that you’re not just designing interiors. You’re running a design business that needs to make money.
Suppliers like Boyd Blue are here to provide incentives to support you in running a profitable design business. It’s very important to establish relationships with suppliers who look after you and enable you to make money.
BB: If you had 3 pieces of advice to designers starting out in business, what would they be?
AM: Number one, operate with Integrity and Transparency – Transparency builds trust with clients and suppliers.
Secondly, Build Relationships – If you are wanting to be in the industry for the long haul never take for granted the importance of getting to know people. Client relationships are, of course, important. However, trades and suppliers will be around for your entire career and they will support you, if you support them.
And, thirdly... Ask for help! The biggest leap a designer can take is to put up their hand and ask for help.
Andrew enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the Sydney design community and would love to see all interior designers interested in making more money doing what they love at the upcoming events in Brisbane and Melbourne.
To reserve your ticket for the next Boyd Blue event, click here.
Time & Location
Boyd Blue Event Series: Make More Money Doing What You Love
Guest Speaker Andrew Mitchell, Founder, The Design Coach
Brisbane - 20 May 2021 Melbourne - 3 June 2021
4.30pm - 6.30pm
Boyd Blue Showrooms - Brisbane & Melbourne
Click here to reserve your ticket.