February 6, 2015

Restructuring The Business- The Studio

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our design studio and have decided to change our business model a bit because it’s not quite working for us as-is.  After much debate- and worry about disappointing others- we’ve decided to no longer offer retail services at our studio in Great Falls.

Our studio/retail business is a very TEENSY TINY facet of our business (truth be told, if we had to pay the bills with what happens over here retail-wise, we’d be out of business) and we’ve been really busy (in a good way) with our design business, so we need more space for the actual design studio- more room to spread out and work on projects, more room for samples, storage and supplies- which means moving out of the tiny room we all work in and into the showroom.  We realized that we’ve all been squeezed into such a small amount of space on a daily basis for all design work- which is 99% of our business-  and that we’ve dedicated the majority of our floor space to showroom/ retail space, which is only 1% or so of our business.  It just stopped making sense to us.     

Time has also become a big issue for us.  We’re often asked why we don’t have weekend hours, and it’s because in our location, we don’t have enough retail traffic to financially justify hiring an additional person to work the studio for the weekend or for the week.  Currently, Meghan- my right-hand lady & designer- handles the showroom area of the studio Mondays through Fridays whenever we have visitors- which is fairly infrequently for the most part- but things have been so busy on the design-business end of things that she’s not able to get all of her work done when it does get busier in the studio.  The same goes for me or for Dave or whoever is working in the showroom, and we’re just not able to keep up with all of our commitments.  Our installations are becoming larger and larger, and sometimes it takes our whole team working together to complete them, and with the open studio, we can’t do that because someone needs to be manning the studio at all times.  We’re also starting to travel for special projects and having the open studio has made it difficult to get away.

So… we’ve decided that we will focus more heavily on the design side of our business, and rather than selling products out of the studio, we’ll offer more services out of the studio.  We’re opening up the waiting list for in-studio design consultations again, and will no longer be selling anything out of the studio, unless our consultation clients are looking for specific furniture/ window treatment/ fabric/ lighting etc. recommendations.  We will maintain our showroom for our clients so they can sit in our furnishings and try them out, but we’ll no longer be “open” on a daily basis.  We’ll do Open Houses every now and then when we’ve collected a large enough assortment of vintage goodies and to do fun seminars and that type of thing.  

 

We started rearranging yesterday and- though not even close to done- I’m happy with how much space we now seem to have.


{Meghan’s new desk…  The leather wing chair is there for me so I can bug her 😉 }

We moved our work islands out of the small room into the main showroom and have set them up along a wall as more of a standing counter space, which is how we actually use them: 


{Please ignore the messy- jumbled look because we literally just pushed the counters up against the wall and existing artwork, plopping things on the floor, and haven’t rearranged all that yet.  I was literally just tossing things into general place yesterday …  I promise I’ll give you some pretty ‘after’ pics soon!}

I’m also working on putting together a collection of new key pieces to sell in our online store so that anyone- not just locals- can shop with us.  (Upholstery mainly – with both basics and new designs-  mixed in with some select lighting, and vintage & new case goods.)  I’ll keep you posted and CANNOT WAIT to share the collection with you!!!

 


{My favorite track arm sofa- above-  with down-wrapped cushions and washable slipcover will be available online soon!!  There’s obviously no rocket science to a track-arm sofa and they’ve been around forever, but this one is made to my exact specifications with my ideal dimensions/ pitch/ seat height & depth/ back & arm height/width etc…  all those little details that make the difference.}

After thinking long and hard, I realized that the only thing keeping us from making the decision to close the retail studio was the fear of disappointing any of you and all of the incredibly sweet and supportive  people we’ve come to know through having our shop open… and while I hate to do that, I also have a responsibility to make sure that our entire team is performing its best at work and that we’re not taking on more than we can responsibly handle.  I can’t thank all of you who have visited and shopped with us enough… we’ve loved meeting every single one of you and knowing how far some of you have traveled to shop at the studio I just wanted to thank you for your visits, kind words, and smiling faces.  Seriously, I’m getting teary and it means so much.  I hope you’ll still visit when we have Open Houses!!

I’ll be sure to post Open Houses on the blog in advance, and if you’re interested in scheduling an in-studio design consultation, email us at mail@laurenliess.com so we can send you details & fees.  I hope you can understand, and, as always, I’ll keep you posted on any changes around here! 

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