Interview with Havenly E-Design Platform

By The Design Cure

In Episode 4 we speak with Shelby Girard the head of design at Havenly. Shelby shares the three things they look for when bringing on designers to their virtual platform.

Show Notes

Havenly

Design Board Bootcamp

Episode Transcript

jess: [00:00:09] In this session I speak with Shelby who is head of design over at Havenly.com So Havenly is if you're not familiar with them they're one of the leading e-design platforms. Really excited to share this episode with you because I know a lot of you are wanting to get into e-design you're looking to gain some project experience and you don't know really how to go about it. So Shelby sheds a ton of great advice on what she looks for when bringing on designers to the heavenly platform such as software experience and project management skills. She also shares what the designer client experience is like inside the platform. So if you're wanting to get started you just don't know how or you're interested to know more about the Havenly platform. Listen up because this is going to be a good one.

 

jess: [00:01:32] You're the head of design over at Havenly.

 

Shelby: [00:01:35] Yeah I am I'm the head of design. I've been with the company basically since the beginning and you know kind of what we do or do need a background on here only.

 

jess: [00:01:46] Yeah. I would like to go over that as well. So I know like you guys do e-design and I just wanted to talk about you know the experience with Havenly and how it is for designers on the platform.

 

Shelby: [00:02:07] Sure.

 

jess: [00:02:08] Yes so you've been with Havenly since the beginning. Yes you are. Where are you guys based are you in Colorado.

 

Shelby: [00:02:17] Denver Colorado.

 

jess: [00:02:19] Okay cool. Yeah. So your your background is interior design.

 

Shelby: [00:02:25] Yeah. My background interior design I have my Master's in interior design and have worked for some residential designers and most of my career actually in design has been with me.

 

jess: [00:02:37] Okay awesome. And with Havenly. You said he started it with them since the beginning where it was Havenly since the beginning did they start with e-design.

 

Shelby: [00:02:51] We've always been yes always been an e-design all virtual company.

 

jess: [00:02:58] OK. And so inside the platform I'm looking at the Web site right now so how does it work like a client goes online. And do they get to pick their designer

 

Shelby: [00:03:11] Yes. So you take basically the client you take a really quick style survey kind of diagnose your style and based on that we show you some designers that we think would be a really good match. So the great thing is you do get to choose your designer and you can browse their portfolios and see who speaks to you and choose someone based on basically style and their availability.

 

jess: [00:03:36] Got it. OK. Yeah cause I know for you know some other e-design companies that are out there and designers bid on the same project where they're kind of providing like a first look. So is it different with Havenly.

 

Shelby: [00:03:53] It is different. Yeah you're kind of guaranteed your project and you know once you get started on that that's kind of yours to own. So there's not that sort of competitive nature.

 

jess: [00:04:08] And so inside the platform. OK. So after that the client picks their designer. It's all the communication that they do with a designer is it online or do they schedule

 

Shelby: [00:04:22] Yeah OK they can schedule a call. They have that option either before the process or kind of throughout. Sometimes people just prefer to hop on the phone. But otherwise it's all done via our messaging platform. So basically after you sign up and you decide what room you're doing the work on a room by room basis and you saw a room profile as a client so you kind of share information about your space your budget your style preferences any specific need you have you know inspiration you might have. And then from there the designer and the client communicates via our messaging system and the designer delivers mood boards concepts and renderings directly through our platform. And then with that there are rating systems in place so the client can actually provide expanded feedback at each step of the process and include specific feedback at a product level as well.

 

Shelby: [00:05:18] And you also designers are sourcing products for you so the clients will receive a shopping list with each design and it usually includes some alternate options and they can shop for everything directly on the Havenly website. So across all the vendors we work with you can purchase in one place. So that's really convenient and something else that kind of distinguishes us from some of the other e-design companies I know.

 

jess: [00:05:43] So with that with the shopping list our designers are allowed to to source products that are outside of that vendor list. Is it exclusively.

 

Shelby: [00:05:55] We do have a vendor list but it's really comprehensive. We work with hundreds of vendors so you pretty much can find what you need within that set.

 

jess: [00:06:04] Got it. Okay. So you guys offer three different packages. You have a mini design full design and then a chat with the designer. So they know the mini design is that is it just accessories or what is that exactly.

 

Shelby: [00:06:19] People that tend to opt for that package usually don't need a complete room design but it can be furniture it's really whatever you need. The main differences with that package you don't get a room rendering in a lay out. So if you don't need help planning or you don't you know like really visualize where it hang the art on the wall and every little detail. It's a great package. So if you just need styling help then you already have some of the big pieces and you know how to lay them out. That's a good package for you but the full package actually includes another step which is a room rendering in a layout.

 

Shelby: [00:06:54] So it's really a blueprint for you to look at while you're implementing your desire to know exactly where everything goes.

 

jess: [00:07:01] So for the full design. Are they providing different options to throughout the process to choose from. So I see you have three ideas to capture. So is it just design boards that they're putting together

 

Shelby: [00:07:16] Yeah the first step is those mood boards so it kind of just to align on style make sure we're going in the right direction in terms of colors and you know just general vibe. And then at each step we ask for feedback from the client. So it's really a collaborative process. They'll provide feedback at that stage and kind of rate each idea board. And then we move on to a concept which is a little more comprehensive with all the items you're going to need for your space. And you get a shopping list with that. And again we provide feedback. We do have revisions in place if they're needed and that's kind of where the mini package deliverable and that many package and then the full package goes on to include the rendering and the layout.

 

jess: [00:08:00] Yeah I see it says after two rounds of design revisions and I know with like some other companies that I've worked with it's they'll offer unlimited revisions with with the project. So it's kind of cool that you guys have that set for designers you know like where it's a timeline for the project.

 

Shelby: [00:08:22] Yeah. I mean at the end of the day we want the client to be really happy we've just found that that's kind of what's needed to get to a place where they really love the results. And it's you know a good kind of a good set expectation for the designer to know exactly what they're getting into as well.

 

jess: [00:08:41] And so say the client comes back. Are they allowed to communicate with that design directly. No not directly of course has to be on the platform but if they just want to work with them one on one again. Will they be able to to sort of contact them through their profile

 

Shelby: [00:09:02] Yeah we kind of your we work room by room so after a month or so I think you can direct message your designer. But we do encourage them to come back for multiple rooms and all that and a lot of clients through customer service and reach out that way but at the end of the process our designers you know they have their unique referral codes and they encourage clients to kind of work with them again. And we have so many clients who do multiple rooms and just really establish a great connection with their designers so they tend to come back for more.

 

jess: [00:09:38] Yeah that's good. Is it mostly residential projects that you guys get on the platform.

 

Shelby: [00:09:44] Yeah. It's it's mostly residential. We've done a couple of office commercial office spaces but just with our vendor set we work with residential vendors so it makes the most sense to do residential.

 

jess: [00:09:59] Okay. And then so I know it's like for know different companies they require different softwares that you need to know. What are some of the things that you look for when you're hiring your designers to come onto the platform.

 

Shelby: [00:10:18] In terms of software or just overall

 

jess: [00:10:21] Overall

 

Shelby: [00:10:24] I think there's kind of like 3 things that we always look for. One is a client first mentality so a large part of the designer's job of communicating effectively with clients you have to really have that nailed down. I think designers really need to be highly organized and then the third thing I would say is actually a great a really great eye for design. So we obviously need designers that are technically savvy and have experience and the tools we use. But we've actually hired designers that have learned some of those technical skills in order to apply for me. So in my mind technical skills are learnable we need those but you know they're relatively easy to learn and if you're motivated to do that. But having a unique style and a really great eye for design is brought talent that I think is harder to come by. So that's something I really look for.

 

jess: [00:11:15] So they so they would have to present some type of portfolio when that when they're applying.

 

Shelby: [00:11:22] Yeah we look at resumes and portfolios and we also have a little test that we have candidates go through just to do kind of a mock up of a room and show us a little bit about your style and your skills.

 

jess: [00:11:36] Okay. And the design is on the platform are a lot of them freelance or do. Do any of them work full time

 

Shelby: [00:11:46] yeah all of our e-designers are contractors.

 

jess: [00:11:53] Got it. Okay awesome. So what advice would you give to designers that are wanting to get into the e-design industry and you know wanting to prepare for it.

 

Shelby: [00:12:07] I would say you know for us we use Photoshop really frequently as well as some space scanning software so having a base understanding of that and being able to understand tools that allow you to visualize your thoughts is really key. But beyond that knowing industry trends and the assortment from vendors both retailers and wholesalers that can kind of go a long way for you as you're getting started I think so just being really in the know in terms of trends and developing your unique perspective. So you know we get a lot of applicants and I always look for even if it's not my style if it's if it's really cohesive and really different and just really tells the story I think that's what our clients ultimately want. They don't want to feel like they could have done this themselves. So they want that designer perspective. So I think kind of developing your eye and understanding where you really thrive and what your unique style is is really key.

 

jess: [00:13:11] Yeah absolutely. And for is there anything new that you're excited about for Havenly coming this year.

 

Shelby: [00:13:21] I think the overall theme of 2018 for Havenly is really just growth. We'll be hiring lots of designers as our client demand grows. And we've also rolled out a junior e-designer program to help designers who are kind of just starting out gain some experience. They basically work with a smaller subset of our clients who aren't doing complete room designs from scratch but they're more focused on styling.

 

Shelby: [00:13:44] So if you don't have all the technical skills yet you have a really great eye it's a great way to kind of get your foot in the door.

 

jess: [00:13:51] Okay awesome. And most of the I just thought of this but most of the clients are either guys have are in the US.

 

Shelby: [00:14:00] Yeah they are the vendors resource from you know ship within the U.S. mostly so that's who we focus on.

 

jess: [00:14:09] thank you so much Shelby I appreciate your time. And you know tell me a little bit about the Havenly platform. Do you see anything changing in the e-design industry in the next couple of years.

 

Shelby: [00:14:26] Let's see it. I think that as the industry develops automated product recommendations for people are getting better and smarter and you know people are able to find things that match their style needs pretty easily. But I think there's always going to be that need for a designer's talent. And there are some aspects of design that can't be automated well at least yet. So I think really you know again it comes back to having that great eye and being able to understand how a space functions for someone so it's more than just recommending products and like but putting together a whole package that makes sense for someone's individual needs is still really important. I think I do see maybe like larger renovation projects moving over to e- design platform. So you know traditional spaces like kitchens and bathrooms are larger commercial spaces are pretty challenging to design completely virtually. But I imagine there will be some innovation there and you know more of those are vendor types like tile countertops cabinets will kind of become more friendly to e-design. So I think that would be kind of an interesting thing to come.

 

jess: [00:15:38] Yeah because the way technology is going out to like you could do pretty much everything online. So I completely agree. Yeah I know e-designers that do condo renovations and that and though mainly working online and they they manage all of their their calls with their clients just through FaceTime. So it's definitely possible.

 

Shelby: [00:16:10] Yeah it's great. You know there's talent like all over the world we have designers who are international events so if you can you know find your match even if they aren't local to you as a client designer match then it's really great.

 

jess: [00:16:27] Yeah. well thank you so much. Yeah great.

 

Shelby: [00:16:30] Thank you. Yeah. All right. Thank you. Thank you. Have a good one.

 

jess: [00:16:37] All right. Thank you for your time designers. I hope this episode I hope you get a better understanding of what it's like to be a designer on the Havenly platform. If you're looking to grow your portfolio and gain a bit of practical experience this may be a great way to go. Also as Shelby mentioned having software skills in Photoshop is a great skill to have when presenting design boards to clients. You may want to check out of course Design Board Bootcamp at the design cure dot come where we teach you how to create 3d realistic boards from start to finish using photoshop. Thank you so much for listening. I make sure to get the subscriber and if you listen to watch our podcast.