In this episode, we chat with Audrey Crisp about what it's like to run an online interior design shop, the perks of drop shipping and her experience working with Souler an influencer commerce platform.
In this episode, we chat with Audrey Crisp about what it's like to run an online interior design shop, the perks of drop shipping and her experience working with Souler an influencer commerce platform.
Audrey Crisp Interiors
Jess: [00:00:04] On the show today I have Audrey Crisp who's behind the brand Audrey Crisp interiors. She's based in Orange County California and today she's in it tell us a little bit about what it's like to run an online shop and her interior design business. So welcome to the show. Audrey thanks so much again for joining me.
Audrey: [00:00:22] No problem happy to do this. Thank you for inviting me.
jess: [00:00:26] So Are you from California.
Audrey: [00:00:29] I'm actually from Utah. I met my husband while he was going to BYU. So we got married there for a year and then went to law school in California. He's from southern California. So we lived all over the place with his schooling but we've recently were in Houston before this and now we were back in California.
jess: [00:00:45] So yeah I saw you mention that you guys just moved into your new house. Yeah.
Audrey: [00:00:53] We just moved in last week's I've been crazy busy just trying to organize and decorate and unpack.
jess: [00:01:12] I appreciate you so much joining me especially with your busy schedule.
Audrey: [00:01:16] No problem.
jess: [00:01:17] So is this the house that you guys Built. I know that. I know. I was reading on your meet the designer blog that you guys built a house before.
Audrey: [00:01:29] Yeah we rebuilt the house in Houston and I did have as much say on the finishes and whatnot. So this one was really fun to kind of pick the finishes and it's not totally custom house it's kind of a big semi-custom. But I couldn't. You know it's like I could pick anything I wanted. I went to the design center and picked out things that I had available. So yeah it's been fun to see it come together and put my own touch on it.
jess: [00:01:54] Yeah. That and the pictures that you posted on your Web site is that from the first house that you guys have I saw your boys rooms.
Audrey: [00:02:06] That's from our house that we were in before this one and that was a flipped house. It wasn't a new build it was a house built in the 60s someone flipped it and then we bought it and with a there for about two years now. So yeah it was bad but it was a cool little house but it was small. We wanted to get a new one. More room so yeah.
jess: [00:02:28] Can you tell me about your background. Like what. You know why did you pursue to go into interior design.
Audrey: [00:02:35] Well I've always loved interior design. My mom loved it growing up, and I kind of you know I guess following her footsteps but I've always loved it and just did it a little bit for fun.
Audrey: [00:02:44] And I started posting pictures on my page of like inspirational photos and then I kind of thought, OK my followers probably don't care about design so I should start a separate page just kind of post you know pictures that are interesting to me. Inspiration for me. And then I kind of thought well maybe I'll try e-design just like and stay home with my boys. Kind of help people from afar just to sort of help you know pick out finishes and refresh the rooms and that just kind of grew from there and that was about a year and a half ago I think I started June 2016. It used to be e-designe by Audrey and I changed the name just so that you know just like start posting more of my own house everything so.
jess: [00:03:21] Ok so. So a year and a half ago you started your blog.
Audrey: [00:03:26] Yeah I started the Instagram page and not much of a blogger. I probably should get into it but I've got a few little posts so I probably should do that more often. But I Instagram's my main thing for sure.
jess: [00:03:37] Yeah. Wow. It's impressive how big your following is to have grown that for a year. Because even Instagram itself you have to be really consistent.
Audrey: [00:03:48] And yes a lot of consistency. Yeah it took about a year to get to 10000 and then after that it kind of grew a lot quicker. So once you hit 10000 it's kind of easier to grow quicker. And it's also a lot easier when you're not posting your own work. I mostly post other people's pictures right now so it's kind of easier to find things and posts and grow that way and so.
jess: [00:04:09] So that's mostly like a kind of like Apartment Therapy they show you know other people's work and like a magazine.
Audrey: [00:04:18] Yeah . And so now that we have our own house I'll try and do more of my own home. But I also still you know enjoy posting other people's beautiful work and just inspiration for everybody so it's kind of a mix thing. But I have my hashtag at the top of my profile just to kind of make it easier to spot my own house pictures better.
jess: [00:04:35] So your self-taught and have you been mainly doing e-design projects or have you taken on you know some traditional design projects or in person.
Audrey: [00:04:52] Yeah I've only I haven't really done any and personally I've helped a few friends just here and there but mostly just e-design. And I'm honestly just kind of still starting out at that I did a few projects. So that's been a slow thing and kind of something just kind of on the side. I helped to do it a little more in the future, but for now, it's kind of my Instagram. You know posting and things like that taking priority.
jess: [00:05:14] So yeah. So would you say the Instagram shop is your area of expertise is for Audrey Crisp Interiors?
Audrey: [00:05:23] Kind of yeah I mean the shop souler is kind of a cool platform. It's a bunch of influencers. They've invited, and I was one of the first ones to start.
Audrey: [00:05:32] What it is is its influencers who choose from their vendors products that they like and then they post them and then you get like a small cut of you know the commission. But it's a lot better for me because I don't have to have inventory on hand at all. Worry about shipping. They kind of take of all that. So basically all I have to do is promote the products. So that's why it's kind of a cool for me and you know I'm a busy stay at home mom with two boys. So for me it's it's kind of a nice way to not have a traditional shop. So there's pros and cons of the press the pros the cons are that I can't choose anything I want I can pick through their vendors and they have I have found some good products but if I could pick anything I mean I would you know part which has a few other things.
jess: [00:06:12] So this is Souler I've never heard of them. So they obviously probably saw you had a big following and they invited you on is that how it works.
Audrey: [00:06:20] Yeah they approached me and just kind of told me about it. They were just starting out and I kind of you know there are very first people just to kind of test it out. It has been slow going but it's you know a little bit of success at it. But I definitely am trying to promote it in other ways and I'll get hopefully more vendors will join in. I can you know post more products.
Audrey: [00:06:40] The page will get more organized by category and it's kind of you know been slow but it's been at the beginning. So it's kind of cool to be at the beginning of it. Hopefully it'll be successful.
jess: [00:06:51] I'm completely new to I know nothing about having an online shop especially through affiliates like this. Can you walk me through it a little but so people go on your Instagram and then if they click on one of your images it automatically adds you as a referral.
Audrey: [00:07:15] Basically. So if there's, I have something set up in my shop my feed, and if they click on a product and if they do buy it then they get a small cut. Both the online store with souler it's a little bit different it's kind of I get like a small cut of whatever I sell, and they fill it links are the same thing. But it's not through souler. So it's does that make sense. Sorry I didn't explain it very well.
jess: [00:07:37] So someone clicks on Instagram they go to your Web site. And then from there there I they're like I saw on your website you have like some you know inspirational pictures. It's like mood boards, and so they click on that. Then they're sent to their website. Is that right?
Audrey: [00:08:03] Which side are you talking?
jess: [00:08:09] OK. So I have shop my Instagram.
Audrey: [00:08:12] OK. So yeah those are pictures from my feed that I found products that are affiliate links.
Audrey: [00:08:17] So this is some products it's not everything but if I know something is I'm signed up through that affiliate company that I will post about it slightly and then it takes me a souler.
jess: [00:08:27] Got it. So you don't have to deal with like you said you don't have to deal with. So this isn't drop shipping.
Audrey: [00:08:33] It is drop shipping. Exactly they actually run Crate and Barrel. I think a lot of the Crate and Barrel stuff it's called Red Cascade. And then it's through souler it's confusing but they basically take care of all the things.
jess: [00:08:48] That's nice that you don't have to deal with all that.
Audrey: [00:08:52] Yeah I think that will be stressful. I think that's what stopped me in the house from opening some shop is I don't want to worry about shipping and lost orders and have to have inventory on hand because I have to buy stuff and then you make money and then you have to you know. So for me, this is more appealing its a lot easier.
jess: [00:09:08] right especially with significant products like furniture products they're heavy. Right. I mean you have to have a warehouse to store all that stuff too.
Audrey: [00:09:17] Exactly. And with souler they do sell mostly small items but they but that they can offer free shipping and fast shipping, so that's what's appealing.
jess: [00:09:28] You're basically like an ambassador for these products for.
Audrey: [00:09:34] Yeah. So I'm just trying to you know promote them and everybody gets a little bit of the Souler gets a little take of the cut the cut the vendor does, and then I get a small cut so it kind of just you know it's a team kind of effort I guess
jess: [00:09:47] And what have you found works. The most recent posting on mood boards that you have. Like I said I see they you have to go to different products or you have finished spaces, or you have the product itself. Like were like get most of your traffic when you post these images.
Audrey: [00:10:14] Yeah I think through you know I think their stories are beneficial because once you get 10000 followers, you can have the swipe up feature. And I think that's very appealing for people because it's super easy just to swipe up and you see where the products they don't have to go to your profile and click a bunch of links such as easy to kind of swipe up and go see the product and see if they like it. But for me that's I think been you know helpful and well you know I've made a few sales that way. So that's been good. But all this is kind of new to me. Last month or so. So I'm not sure like all the analytics, but I think that the swipe up feature helped me out.
jess: [00:10:49] And then the curated home decor shop.
Audrey: [00:10:52] That's through souler.
jess: [00:10:56] Yeah. Got it. OK. And there's a few other companies that I promote like Oak & Make made and Luman market and those are just kind of you know those haven't been quite as profitable. But I also have promoted them as much so that's kind of what I focus on is kind of where I see the results basically.
jess: [00:11:17] would you say most of your business revenues coming through your your online shop.
Audrey [00:11:24] Yes. Either that or through affiliate links. I mean it's been slow starting out. They haven't made very much money yet, but I'm trying to kind of focus on that. But at the same time I don't want to always be plugging a product and you know people always think I'm trying to push something on them so it's kind of for me to try and find a balance and hopefully people aren't annoyed with you know all my links and everything but at the same time I do spend a lot of time working on my page and you know doing things like that. And so it's kind of nice to make a little bit of money on the side.
jess: [00:11:56] Yeah definitely especially as an option as a stay at home mom too you know. Yeah I looked into dropships awhile ago and it seems so complicated. I know. Yeah. Like I couldn't find like how-how you get into contact with these vendors because it looks like they want someone that's pretty big. It works for someone like you that has a significant following, but then otherwise they won't even get back to you.
Audrey: [00:12:31] Yeah it's difficult. That's why, souler has been so helpful. They've taken care of everything, and they've contacted the vendors and got them on board. And I really had to do anything. There's been a couple of people I've you know mentioned souler too and asked if they'd like to be vendors.
Audrey: [00:12:47] One of them wasn't able to because they don't ship from the U.S. and they souler wants people that you know can do fast free delivery so I kind of didn't work out but I'm always keeping my eyes open for people that I think would be a good fit for my shop to kind of you know be on there so.
jess: [00:13:01] So did you build yourself like through Shopify
Audrey: [00:13:06] No it's through souler. So yeah they did everything I picked the cover photos and then I just added the products and if you want you can add a description. Other than that you know the one that comes with I've added a few little blurbs to some of them but. They've just kind of taken care of everything and that's why it spends just super easy and nice to have. So they're
jess: [00:13:26] So. LinkTree is that the same as souler?
Audrey: [00:13:33] Link tree basically just makes it so that someone can click once and then have multiple cause you know how you could only write. You can only type in one website in your profile. There's multiple places I want people to be able to see. So the basically just you know you can add whatever links you want and people can just click once and see the menu and then click from there. So yeah it's helpful if you have more than one site you're trying to promote.
jess: [00:13:56] Okay. And did you have to be invited to be able to use this service
Audrey: [00:14:02] it's free it's totally free. I think they have a paid option. If I can get analytics and everything by just doing the free option
jess: [00:14:08] Yeah I ever heard of that before.
Audrey: [00:14:12] Yeah it's super helpful. I think everybody should have one and if they you know you need more than one website they're trying to you know promote.
jess: [00:14:19] So have you been promoting locally in OC.
Audrey: [00:14:25] Not really. Mostly everything's online.
jess: [00:14:28] Does that interest you in on or do you want to keep it totally on line.
Audrey: [00:14:38] Possibly. Maybe when my kids are a little older and both in school full time then I'd be down for stuff like that for now. She's easy to be able to do everything from my phone and be at home. Oh yeah.
jess: [00:14:49] Yeah. Nice. So for I know you just started this past year what would one of the biggest things that he learned from starting a business.
Audrey: [00:15:00] Man just to kind of not be discouraged if you don't get cells right away and everything kind of takes time and you know just to be grateful and know just kind of I'm definitely still learning and growing and trying to figure things out. Definitely not professional but just doing the best I can.
jess: [00:15:16] So are you finding any clients through Instagram.
Audrey: [00:15:21] Yeah. That's where all of them have come from you know a lot of people you know message me and see if I'm a good fit and some decide to go with me and some people don't. And that's fine you know I don't do big projects or anything like that. It is kind of small room refreshes.
jess: [00:15:39] Do you offer that on your site?
Audrey: [00:15:42] I don't have prices but well if you go to my Web site there's a little bit about me. If you go to contact you can message me through there are you. You know DM'ing or emailing me through Instagram works too.
Audrey: [00:15:55] Have you tried any third party design platforms. Yeah. I was online and it didn't really get any business from it and they want to charge people a lot more than I felt comfortable with. So I kind of I'm not gonna say who it was but anyway I tried to not be on them anymore. I'm still on there but I'm not. I un-clicked available for hire as I just kind of you know I didn't I don't like how much they were charging and I think it was a fair price.
jess: [00:16:25] So no I went through the same experience. I was a part of platform and I removed myself from taking on projects cause it's you know you're spending a lot of time on these projects and it's the payouts could be so small for these might seem worth it.
Audrey: [00:16:47] Right. It's just so expensive and they get a huge cut and I just figured I don't really need to go through that and I can just do it on my own. So I wasn't getting any sales from them anyway so it just kind of didn't seem like a good fit for me. So I kind of bowed out. But anyway. Yeah.
jess: [00:17:04] So this year do you plan on just working on your shop.
Audrey: [00:17:08] Yeah I just kind of working on my shop and trying to get my house you know all the way down so I can post more of that. And I just made a lot of friends through here and it's just it's been really fun to get to know people and support other you know shops and I love collaborating with other shops and really been fun for them to send me things and then I post my house and I just kind of a cool collaborative effort and I've been really grateful for that. It's been really fun for them for me to do that.
jess: [00:17:36] How do you collaborate with other shops.
Audrey: [00:17:39] A lot of times it's kind of a 50/50 must where most the time will reach out to me and say hey we like your style can we send you a pillow exchange for a post. And so that's kind of how it works or sometimes if I'm really interested in something I actually message them and just basically ask for you know say hey is there any chance you know we could work together. I love to feature your product and promote it in my house. You know would you be willing to send it to me and a lot of times they'll say yes. So it's been really cool to be able to do that especially for a new house.
jess: [00:18:07] Yeah. And then you have you have your new house that you're building right now so you'll be able to share. Are you planning on sharing photos of your house
Audrey: [00:18:16] Yeah I've already shared three so far. And I'll be sharing more. Pretty soon I have a professional photographer coming in a couple of weeks so he'll take some better photos but for now I posted a few pics from my iPhone just excited to share it and everything but it definitely takes time to kind of get it all you know ready and everything but it's been fun to work on that.
jess: [00:18:37] Are any of these companies willing to let you sort of borrow their products to photograph.
Audrey: [00:18:46] You know what none of them have been borrowed they all been just for for me to keep. which has been nice. So the biggest one so far has been our mattress for purple. I received as a guest. Yeah so I was super excited about that. A big chunk of money around.
jess: [00:19:07] Yeah especially if you are moving into a new place.
Audrey: [00:19:09] We finally had the space for a king size bed so I was able to get the mattress from them which was super super awesome of them a super generous so I'm have some posts coming up that I'm going to be doing for them
jess: [00:19:19] I saw the video they did for your sons bedding. You did such a good job with that video.
Audrey: [00:19:29] Oh thank you. It's a little iPhone no video but I'm not very good with real cameras so that's something I need to kind of work on and have a goal for myself this year.
jess: [00:19:38] No it was good it shows that the product and the space itself was really cool.
Audrey: [00:19:45] Oh thank you.
jess: [00:19:47] Do you do videos often.
Audrey: [00:19:52] No not very often. I probably should do more sometimes on my stories. I'll do a little bit of video but maybe once our house is totally done I'll do like a video walkthrough.
jess: [00:20:04] I mean it's like you get like some of these products for free from these companies.
Audrey: [00:20:10] I know it's been an awesome perk and I'm super grateful for it's one thing I guess just you know what's ever been following that's something that you can get and it's just super nice of people to do that kind of you know advertising for them and it's kind of a win win for everybody. So hopefully by me promoting these products that will lead to a sale. That's the hope anyway.
jess: [00:20:31] Okay great. Thank you so much for chatting with me today and for telling me about your shop I learned a ton. I've always wondered about drop shipping and it's just it's good to talk to someone that's doing it right now and to hear your success with it.
Audrey: [00:20:55] thank you.
Audrey: [00:20:57] Yeah. Thank you. I'm excited to see everything goes for you and to see more pictures of your house.
Audrey: [00:21:04] Thank you so much. So nice of you to invite me to do this.
jess: [00:21:07] So take care and it was nice chatting with you.
Audrey: [00:21:11] You to thank you so much.
jess: [00:21:12] OK. Have a good one.
Audrey: [00:21:14] Thanks. Bye bye.