We were lucky to catch up with Melanie Zaelich recently and have shared our conversation below.
Melanie, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. To kick things off, we’d love to hear about things you or your brand do that diverge from the industry standard.
Thank you for having me. Yes, my company, Happy Place Interiors, offers a different approach to interior design.
Traditionally, Interior Designers are full service, meaning they “do it all” for a client. Full design, furniture and decor selection, implementation. It is often “hands-off” for the client. This approach works well for some people.
Our twist is offering interior design “guidance”. We work with people who want to be involved with the design and decorating process. Our clients want to learn how to style their own house and they want direction and insight of a professional designer. We always start by helping clients create an overall vision of their home, then we empower them with ideas, resources and the know-how to complete it themselves. We can assist in furniture and decor selection and we can even do the final styling, or, we can simply guide them as they do it themselves.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Sure. I’m a Home Stylist and True Colour Expert. My passion is helping people love the space they are in and empowering them with the knowledge on what makes a happy home. When I decided to start Happy Place Interiors, I designed the company to be the type of business that I like to work with: flexible, easy, transparent and clear. Therefore, all design fees are posted, services are very detailed, expectations are clear, scheduling is easy online, I’m able to flex to what the client needs.
I also decided that Happy Place Interiors would have a strong social-responsibility component. We are part of the Minnesota Keystone Program and a portion of profits are donated back to several Minnesota charities that help people in need, find, fix or furnish homes. We also help spread the word about these charities and volunteer with them.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
Being very approachable has definitely helped build my reputation. Most people I work with have never worked with an interior designer before and are often nervous or intimidated. I put people at ease quickly.
As a business owner, it’s important to know who your target market is and what they want. Of course, you may not know right away when you first start, but it’s important to “listen” to the feedback. This might be looking at your Google Analytics, following social media comments and shares, and paying close attention to what clients/customers may say — verbally and non-verbally. Getting reviews is also very important in building a strong reputation. I have nearly 50 five star reviews and I know that really helps people feel confident in hiring me.
Are there any books, videos or other content that you feel have meaningfully impacted your thinking?
“Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek (both a book and a TED Talk) has been instrumental in my business. I can’t thank Simon enough for sharing his insight. Every business decision I make for Happy Place Interiors goes back to my “why” and I believe that is what makes my business stand out. My business is all about helping people be happier in their space through the power of design. That is my “why.” I want people to smile, be happy and comfortable and love their home. This shows through in everything I do.
- Website: www.happyplaceinteriors.com
- Instagram: @happyplaceinteriors
- Facebook: @happyplaceinteriorsmn
- Linkedin: Melanie Zaelich
- Yelp: Happy Place Interiors
Spacecrafting, Autumn Lee Studios