We were lucky to catch up with Kim Armstrong recently and have shared our conversation below.
Kim, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Can you tell us about a time where you or your team really helped a customer get an amazing result?
I was working with a client who wanted to do a pretty significant remodel. They were gutting their kitchen/living area and adding a room above the garage. They worked with an architect for an entire year and never found a floor plan they loved because they had a fire place smack dab in the middle of the room that the architect never thought of moving. I took a stab at the plans and instantly knew the fireplace needed to go and that resulted in a beautiful flow to the design for their family. This resulted in the open area they wanted for the kitchen and allowed for a mudroom/office area off to the side, a gorgeous walk in laundry room and an open plan kitchen, family room, dining room. They lived in their home for almost 10 years before doing the remodel and like I mentioned, they worked with an architect for a year so when we found the solution, the home owners were really pleased.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Kim Armstrong Interior Design is a boutique design firm serving clients in North Texas and beyond through colorful, eclectic spaces.
As a D1 college athlete, Kim always knew she’d bring drive and determination to her work…she just didn’t know what type of work that might be. So she pulled out the course catalogue and started flipping. When she got to interior design, she knew she didn’t need to look any further. The thought of working with art, texture, and space lit her up; she declared an interior design major and hasn’t looked back since. After a couple of years of working in the corporate world for companies like Ethan Allen, she desired to serve clients on a more individualized basis. With the $250 in her bank account and a handful of flyers, she started Kim Armstrong Design in 2003.
Today, she is recognized worldwide as a leading designer who has helped hundreds of clients create spaces they can’t wait to come home to at the end of the day. She lives to travel (her favorite escape is Cape Cod), spend time with her family, and knock client’s socks off with gorgeous designs.
Kim has a strong love of color, pattern and fabric. Creating unique, one a kind designs is something she strives for and achieves because of these loves. In addition, finding one of a kind pieces or custom designing furniture is something she won’t hesitate to do for a project. Kim prides herself on really getting to know a client, their lifestyle, their likes and dislikes and their family prior to starting a job. Her Discovery Phase is an intense one and is the key to clients saying things like, “I’ve used a designer before but they never really got me. Kim totally understood what I was going for and delivered it.”
Do you have any insights you can share related to maintaining high team morale?
The key to this is all in the hiring. We have a very small team but everyone truly gets along and works well together. We all understand the roles each of us play in order to have a successful project, happy clients and profits to keep the business going. In the past when I’ve hired people who didn’t mesh well or weren’t meeting client needs, I was pretty quick to figure that out and let them go. Go with your intuition – if you’ve given someone several chances to get it right and they continue not to listen or improve, it’s time to cut ties. It will make their life better and is much healthier for the business.
We have weekly team meetings, I try to communicate to them when they are doing things I appreciate and when we do run across problems – we work together to come up with the solutions, we don’t finger point and we try and figure out ways to avoid those issues in the future.
Also, utilizing apps to help with their jobs has really helped us. For instance Harvest to track hours, Asana to assign “to dos” and keep track of potential clients, Quick Books to send out invoices and Planoly for our social media batching. We also know when to hire out talent. When we re-did our website, we found a wonderful woman owned small business to help us. She pointed us in the right direction of a copy writer and a person for our team photos. Things we’d never find on our own. Remember that there is always someone out there who has the skills to do thing you have no idea how to do and they do it really well. Know when to invest in that talent.
Can you tell us about what’s worked well for you in terms of growing your clientele?
Strong presence on social media and Google.
So many of our inquires come because they saw us on social media or did a search on Google. We recently moved to Rockwall, a suburb of Dallas and although we were nervous to loose our Dallas cred, we’ve been thrilled to get so many new clients BECAUSE of the move. Our area does not have a lot of designers but does have a lot of folks who want good design. They are excited to not have to go to Dallas for a designer and we are excited to make it the best dressed suburb of Dallas. When we redid our website, the website designer really helped us with our SEO and letting us know how to increase our chances of coming up sooner in searches. In addition, we are updating our content on a bi-monthly basis to continue keeping us at the top. We also utilize Planoly so that social media is less stressful and we can batch our posts instead of trying to come up with something daily.
Another thing that helped us is to come up with client intake processes that we implemented. we used to just take calls and make proposals haphazardly but now we have a system in place from the first phone call till the proposal is signed and they are on our calendar. It creates a lot less chaos and gives our prospective clients confidence in our ability to execute a project.
- Website: www.kimarmstronginteriordesign.com
- Instagram: kimarmstronginteriordesign
- Facebook: Kim Armstrong Interior Design
Misti Davis – pictures with Kim and team Nathan Schroder – Picture of bedroom and fireplace Michael Hunter – Other