Creating an additional revenue stream in your business may come with a clear financial incentive, but that doesn’t mean it has to lack passion. We asked four industry pros—Alicia Bailey, Jenni Kayne, Rachael Simon and Kathryn Hunt—to share the parts of their firms that go beyond design services, and the value that they add to their practices.
Work of Art
“The [painted] art walls [I make] called ‘Wow Walls’ came about in 2018 as a desire to have my interiors be a little bit more creative. I also wanted my clients to feel like they were the muse. Of course, they are the muse, but this gives them a larger-than-life mural that is inspired by them as part of the space. A lot of times the walls are part of my projects, and I have had some clients reach out to me for extra walls later on. I also have some people that call me for walls and not design services. To have a mural commissioned like a piece of art definitely adds another layer of income for me. I think in this day and age, you have to have multiple streams of income in order to really thrive.” —Alicia Bailey, Bailey Li Interiors, Glen Ridge, New Jersey
“I always envisioned Jenni Kayne as a lifestyle brand encompassing apparel, home and all the details of everyday living—and the apparel side of the business existed for many years before we decided to venture into home decor and furniture. I’ve always been passionate about interior design, and as we started to pursue brand projects like the Jenni Kayne Ranch—a home in Santa Ynez that we designed to embody our brand—it felt like a natural next step to launch Jenni Kayne Interiors. While product design plays a major role in my work in interiors, in April 2022, we launched our membership program, The JKH Membership. For $150 annually, our members receive 20 percent off every furniture and home decor purchase—they also have access to exclusive perks from partner brands like Aero, the semi-private jet company; Avocado, the luxe mattress brand; spice and kitchenware company Evermill; and Portola Paints. The JKH Membership is also open to designers through our trade program, so in addition to all of the perks that regular members receive, trade members get an exclusive 25 percent off all furniture and decor. We’ve seen incredible success with the program, too: 70 percent of all furniture purchases are made by members; the average order value for our members is nearly three times that of nonmembers; and we have seen high renewal rates.” —Jenni Kayne, Jenni Kayne Interiors, Santa Ynez, California
“I worked at [hospitality brand] Sonder for a couple years as a senior designer. I had people coming to me all the time—on LinkedIn, or friends of friends—asking, ‘How do I get into interior design? I really want to do it, and my job is not fulfilling.’ This happened so much that I thought there was really a need for something there that helps people with the business side of [setting up an interior design business]—how to make a floor plan; how to connect with your clients; how to make a mood board, a presentation; all of those things. When I created The E-design Workshop in 2019, there were a lot of up-and-coming websites like Havenly and Decorist that were hiring freelance designers consistently to serve their clients. It seemed like a good opening to create something useful that people want. I have been absolutely terrible in marketing it, but we still have people signing up a couple times a month. It’s kind of an evergreen thing.” —Rachael Simon, Rachael Simon Studio, Chicago
“I’m a fourth-generation artist—my family is full of women artists, painters and musicians. I’ve always loved painting; I’ve just done it more as a hobby and a meditation. It was something that was part of my heritage, but I never knew how much of it. I worked for textile company Holland & Sherry for a few years, assisting with product development and designing the showrooms. [While I was] there, I learned a lot of resources and about color and texture. During Covid, when everything shut down, I pulled out my paintings and was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I need to start putting this together in the textile form.’ So I started researching. I found a great local printer, and they use eco-friendly inks, which I really loved. Designing wallpaper was something that I just felt very moved to do, and I’m doing it slowly.” —Kathryn Hunt, Kathryn Hunt Studio, Mattituck, New York
Homepage image: While Jenni Kayne began in retail and apparel, when her business model grew to include interior design services, she built out a product line and a membership program | Bliss Katherine