May 16, 2024

SideDoor's Impact on Ettie & Co: Process, Sales, Financials

SideDoor's Impact on Ettie & Co: Process, Sales, Financials

We’re back talking with New York based SideDoor designer, Eteannette Seymour (Ettie and Co.). Last week we had the opportunity to look at a project she designed using SideDoor. If you missed that email, you can see it on the blog here

This week, we’re asking Ettie about the success she’s found using SideDoor and how it’s impacted her business overall: process, sales, financials—all that good stuff!

Here we go! 

CONVERSATION 

SideDoor: To recap the last couple weeks: we’ve heard some background on you and your clients, and we’ve also seen a beautiful example of a project you designed with the SideDoor platform. So now we want to know, what has SideDoor done for your business as far as financials, process, etc.?
Ettie: I’ve told so many designers about SideDoor! If I had known about it when I first started, I feel like I could have made so much more money. I was sending folks to retails like Crate & Barrel, and that’s fine, but for you to be able to have that revenue stream is invaluable. 

I think it allows you the opportunity to work with a wider variety of clients, and I think it also helps you build up design skills through having access to that many more vendors. 

I’ve quickly learned it’s so much easier to increase revenue through product sales than it is [through design fees]—there’s only so many hours people can work, so as a business model, focus on the infinite growth you could get through the furniture sales vs. your hourly rate. 

I think people [clients] would rather spend money on furniture than design hours anyways, so it’s nice when you don't have to feel like you're nickel and diming every minute if you’re providing furniture that can be a revenue stream for you as well.
SideDoor: That’s such great advice! Can you talk about how you specifically utilize the platform with clients? 
Ettie: Basically, I have the curated collections for folks, and I share those with them. From that point, they’re either going to check out themselves, or they’re going to approve the collection, and I’ll check out for them. 

In the past I’ve left it open ended whether they want to do a white glove service or order it themselves. I’m getting to a point based on my limited availability where I’m going to make it so that it’s just me ordering because I want to control that experience for them. So in the future, their experience of SideDoor will be to see the pieces and prices, but then I’ll purchase for them.

Photo by Elisabeth Gordon

SideDoor: How about selling—can you talk about what’s worked for you as far as getting clients comfortable with the platform? 
Ettie: I think one of the biggest hurdles when clients purchase through the platform is that, you know, they might want an experience like they’re checking out from Target or Pottery Barn, so they kind of have to learn how it all works. 

SideDoor has really increased their communication and features, which I so appreciate. But one of the things I did was create a PDF for my clients so I could walk them through it: “Okay, you’re going to purchase from SideDoor, you’ll get an email that it was received, you’ll get email updates, etc.” 

And we’ve made it so that we’re CCed on those emails so we know what’s happening with the client. But, I do think you need to front load a bit of information for your client so that they understand how the shopping process works.

Photo by Elisabeth Gordon

SideDoor: That’s such a great idea! Thanks for sharing that tip with us. Would you have anything to add about communicating to clients what SideDoor is and how it works?
Ettie: Yeah! Some people have worked with designers before, so they know that the designer really takes over the curating of furniture. But some folks have never worked with a designer before, so when we initially meet, I tell them that one part of my job is to curate their item list.

So [I tell them] as a designer, I have access to hundreds of vendors, so we can create a really custom look for them. I say, “The platform I use is SideDoor, you’ll have a custom collection with all of the images of your furniture so you can see the prices and the pictures, and it really allows you to have everything in one hub.” And then that’s linked to the spreadsheet they get for their project.

Photo by Elisabeth Gordon

SideDoor: You touched on this a little bit, but are you able to say more about how, since using SideDoor, it’s impacted your overall revenue?
Ettie: I don’t have specific numbers, and again, it depends so much on the person and the hours you're working a week, but in my best year, I probably made more in furniture sales than I did in billable hours—so that’s really exciting! 

If you think about your time as a valuable resource, you only have so much time. But if you get the right client that has a pretty big budget—I feel like that’s the best case scenario; finding someone really wonderful to work with that trusts you and you can really take care of them in that regard. 
SideDoor: We’re so happy you’ve had such success using the platform! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us, and we can’t wait for our community to meet you live during our SideDoor University Q&A [schedule to be announced]. See you then!

We love introducing our SideDoor Superstars to our community of designers! If you want to follow along with Ettie & Co’s design work, you can find their website here, as well as their social media profiles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Watch out for our announcement on the upcoming SideDoor University episode featuring this month's featured designer, Eteannette Seymour. We can’t wait for this community conversation! 

Are YOU a SideDoor Superstar? Would you like to be featured in our series? Just respond to this email and we’ll start the conversation!

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