Mariam Ejaz was doing a design consultation for a friend when the conversation turned to a familiar complaint: a child’s room, unorganized to the point of being unsafe, needed design help. However, not having a budget to hire a professional made it difficult; meanwhile, unwanted (and expensive) boxed gifts from a recent big birthday party were cluttering up the space. It was three problems in one—presents the client didn’t need, no budget to hire a professional, and no clear way to start. Ejaz, a budding design industry entrepreneur who studied at UC Irvine and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, saw an opportunity.
What if there was a way to gift a professionally designed space in lieu of boxed gifts for hosts, banish the stress of gifting for guests, and also support talented interior designers? The result was Outlive Design, an online invitation tool that allows family and friends to RSVP for events while also contributing towards a home design project in any monetary amount as a present. “Monetary giving is key to the approach—it gives hosts, guests and designers flexibility,” says Ejaz. “It’s a cross between Evite and Kickstarter for the interior design world—not a registry.”
Interestingly, Ejaz conceives of Outlive less as a consumer product and more as a sales and marketing tool for talented interior designers—a way for professionals to help clients secure a budget for a much-needed project. It’s also an organic way for designers to showcase and promote their work, giving family and friends exposure to what they are contributing towards (and also turning them into potential clients).
Once interior designers register to access the invite tool, they can add it to their services, spread the word among their social followers and use it however and whenever they prefer. Currently, there is no cost to register or access the tool. Those who need advertising support can request to be listed on the platform.
“Designers tend to think if clients like my work, they’ll hire me,” says Ejaz. “But the truth is that they have to build a real personal relationship by educating and most importantly, making design accessible. By collaborating with today’s generation, who can do a lot on their own like source and place orders, designers are only gaining more clients in the long run.”
Professional, independent interior designers with an entrepreneurial vibe can learn more about Outlive and register here.