EP 004 | Styling and Accessorizing Matters with Gillian Gillies


About this Episode

Accessorizing and styling your design project is not a frivolous pursuit, nor is it an optional extra. Rather, styling is a key component of the finished project. As professional designers, we want to plan for this process, budget for styling items and deliver them—all as cohesive part of the client experience. If your clients want “wow”, then you need an effective styling strategy.

In this episode we learn:

  • how to introduce the styling conversation
  • why projects that aren’t styled are not projects you want
  • strategies for building a styling budget
  • how to leave a lasting impression on clients

Show Notes

0:27  |  Send us your episode and course suggestions
1:24  |  A referral-lead design firm
2:35  |  How to blow client referrals, plus Canadian fired
6:36  |  We love our sponsor
8:30  |  Gillian’s styling process
9:17  |  Styling makes the space “sing”. If it’s difficult for pros to do right, imagine how hard it is for the clients to do on their own.
10:18  |  Talk about accessorizing at the first meeting
11:47  |  Gillian follows the Business of Design™ method
12:42  |  No room is finished without styling
13:42  |  Worst case scenario, the client finishes the projects on her own
18:21  |  What the contract says about styling
19:24  |  Taking a deposit for accessories up front
21:01  |  How to budget for styling, questions to ask
23:44  |  The budget is never as small as the client hopes; true for styling too
24:33  |  Gillian gives clients monogrammed bathrobes or tissue box covers, Legacy Linens
27:01  |  The little things clients get excited about, making clients feel cared for
30:10  |  Don’t hesitate to bring in something that’s a splurge
32:00  |  Not every item is expensive
33:10  |  Two methods for getting to the styling budget
35:27  |  Items to select for master bedroom
37:40  |  Collecting styling budget up front means you don’t have to ask for money later
40:25  |  Get testimonials on your website
41:23  |  Profitability and styling
42:33  |  Tracking accessory line items
44:56  |  The packaging involved with styling and how to organize
46:43  |  Hiring movers for an internal move
48:25  |  Gillian’s hourly rate
52:56  |  Rapid Fire Value Bomb: What you love about your contract
54:05  |  Rapid Fire Value Bomb: Technology you love
55:20  |  Rapid Fire Value Bomb: Fave system, deficiencies
56:45  |  Rapid Fire Value Bomb: Advice for newbies

Meet Gillian Gillies

Gillian Gillies, Principal Designer and founder of Gillian Gillies Interiors Inc. is an award winning British residential designer who has called Toronto, Ontario home since 2003.  In addition to running her referral lead Toronto interior design firm she is also co-founder of DesignDocs Inc. and the designer behind the flourishing upholstered furniture range Essence. Gillian describes her personal style as eternally classic with a twist; our homes are our stage so best dress them well!  She firmly believes that living in a well-designed home can make us all kinder, happier and more present in our day-to-day lives.


Take Aways

Budgeting for styling up front means you don’t have to ask for additional money at the end of the project. 

If you move items on your own, and you are not a professional mover, your insurance will not cover you in the event something is damaged.

Legacy Linens  – Source for monogrammed robes and tissue box covers.

Design Docs – software to run the backend of your professional design business.  

Dropbox – online file storage and sharing platform.

Recommended Learning

COURSE: Step 10 – Furniture Installation and Styling

COURSE: Step 11 – The Client Reveal

COURSE: Budgeting with Precision

Legal Disclosure | This podcast is for educational purposes only and should not be used for any legal decisions. Kimberley Seldon Design Group, Kimberley Seldon Productions Inc., Kimberley Seldon Design and Media, Inc., Business of Design™, or any of its affiliated companies or staff is not responsible for any errors or omissions effecting accuracy in any content, and they will not be held liable for the use or misuse of information, facts, details or any other aspects should there arise any defects, errors, omissions or perhaps inaccuracies. Extensive research has been conducted to put this podcast together for the purpose of educating our industry in order to better serve the public. Care has been taken to acknowledge ownership of copyrighted material. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is offered with the understanding that we do not render any legal, accounting or other professional advice. Seek the advice of a lawyer and/or other competent professional person in all matters of law. Further, listeners should be aware that internet websites mentioned may change or disappear between when this was recorded and when it was listened to.

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