Week 7: Work Outside of Work

This week I learned that sometimes in the design world your work doesn’t end once you leave the office. I had some family obligations occur this week that caused me to miss 2 days of work. Outside of work, I had to work with several clients over text and email and help them the best I could without being at the store. Thankfully, they were patient with me and willing to work over text and email and I was still able to provide them with the best service I could possibly give without being there in person. It actually ended up being one of my biggest orders yet! It was $8,800. It just proves that if you’re willing to put in the work outside of the designated hours, then it can really pay off. This is the order. 

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Week 6: Selection Process

Customer’s often come to us in hope that we can guide them in the selection process. Many come in not having any previous knowledge about natural or man made stones. It is our job to inform and guide customers through the process. This weekend I had many customers who were interested in remnants. Remnants are pieces of stone that are left over from various projects. One customer in particular was interested in a marble, but voiced her concern about the durability. I informed her that in fact marble was a very soft and porous stone. This quickly changed her mind about wanting that product for her vanity. As a designer, I must offer many different options to our clients to create a solution to their design. I found a stone (pictured below) called Macabus. It is a very hard and durable stone that looks like a marble. They quickly fell in love with the material and we were able to move on with the business end of the deal. It is very satisfying being able to help clients find what they have been envisioning. IMG_1500 (1)

Week 6: Problem Solving

This week has tested me in ways I couldn’t imagine. First of all, I’m overloaded with deadlines and having to work. All week I’ve been figuring out ways to delegate and plan out times to work on assignments. It’s been difficult but I’m making it through and learning a lot about how fast and how well I can work under pressure. My job has not been a walk in the park either. This week customers seemed to be unbelievably difficult which in turn has left me frustrated. I know that my frustrations must remain to myself though and I must work hard to work through any issues or problems with customers. One issue I had this week was on Thursday. I had a family come in looking for a vanity for their daughter. We found the perfect one and when it was all said and done he was frustrated that he had to wait 3 days for his items to arrive and that he couldn’t take the floor model with him. Normally, our policy won’t allow us to sell floor models, but after talking with my manager I was able to work Soemthing out for them so that they were able to take the floor model with them. The little girl was extatic and thanked me over 100 times. It felt great to make her day. This was the vanity that they purchased. 

WEEK 6: Headquarters

This week at ORI was not nearly as busy as it has been. On top of the lighter project loads, as many of the bids that were worked on last week were closed, we had the beam signing at the new ORI headquarters in Louisville that the downtown location will move into late December or mid-January. With the signing in Louisville, we also had a company meeting that all employees from all 3 locations met as we discussed our performance over the 3rd quarter and what measures need to be taken as we move into our 4th quarter of the year. So far we are above benchmark and on track to meet our goals before the end of the year (which means a bonus for the whole company). Below images are attached showing the building progress.
At work, I have been working closely with the designer that works with UK healthcare as well as the salesperson. This week I made revisions to the UK Healthcare Standards package I created over the summer as well as ordered the finishes for the materials board that will be used in future building on the medical center campus. In my project load, we worked with trying to create schemes in CET that would allow all future projects I do to have the same finishes and features according to the standards. This also applies to the panels and power packages for the panels. Every week I am becoming more comfortable with the software and the workload.

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Week 6: Crazy Busy

This week has been extremely busy with our studio getting new projects on top our current projects and us helping other studios out. Me taking on a side project with another studio has added even more to my plate and as a result I have been working 12-15 hour days and that includes weekends, so busy busy. Our studio is currently working on a second GE project which is exciting because this  project is based in Canada. This week I did some branding options for their lobby wall which you’ll see in one of the images below. I have continued to work on the mall project and had 2-1/2″ hours on Thursday to design, space plan, model and export a view of a lounge area for the mall. This week I have spent time on finalizing finishes, furniture and space planning the remaining lounge areas and the goal is to have a finalized rendering by Monday. The Marriott project has been taking a lot of my time this week since the client wants to finalize everything for the Construction Set that goes out to Marriott to approve for construction. From having to space plan public spaces, picking furniture, doing furniture cut sheets, selecting fabrics and finishes and selecting outstanding finishes for some of the areas for the meeting on Friday it’s been a non-stop project. Friday was also our company meeting which I missed the majority of since I was with the Marriott client, but at least I made it to the food part 🙂 which you’ll see an image below. Next week is continuing work on Marriott, wrapping up the mall project, have GE’s furniture bid package to be sent out by end of Tuesday so I need to start working on that Monday and I have one new project on my agenda that I’m very excited about. I can’t say which university but they are going to re-model their basketball teams locker-room and it’s a no-budget project which is the best! I have to come up with some conceptual space planning and concept presentation for next week so I’m hopping to get started on that mid-week. To all that I also have to finish RCP construction plans for MJ Insurance since the CD Set is going out end of day Wednesday. Along with the my list of things to do my other 4 studio members have their own projects that need help on and from our studio meeting on Monday it sounded like they’ll need help so I might be hopping on and off help them push their deadlines.

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Week 5: Furniture Specs

This week along with still working on the mall project I have been involved in taking on the whole furniture package for a new Marriott hotel here in Indiana. When is comes to the interior design component of this project it gets pretty messy. The designer that was head of this project left the company and the head architect requested help from our studio in taking on all of the interior design components of the project. Taking on projects half way through can get very complicated because you have to get up to speed quickly and along with meeting fast deadlines. We’re lucky that the client was extremely understanding of the situation and is willing to go over everything with the new design team assembled to tackle the short deadlines.  Now there’s a total of 3 designers taking care of this project with one designer taking care of finishes, another designer taking care of artwork and guestrooms, and me taking care of any space planning and furniture specs. Thankfully I’ve worked on several million dollar furniture packages in the past so it’s easy for me to take on the furniture specing component of this project. It becomes  really challenging when you have to constantly ask the client for clarification on things that perhaps where decided before but no record was left by the previous designer so we need to constantly double check with the client that things are being speced correctly. No matter how many times I work on furniture packages especially large scale projects I get paranoid in triple checking my work because one small mistake in large projects can cost the company thousands or millions of dollars to fix. What’s even more scary at times is that I’m solely responsible of checking my own work when it comes to furniture packages, so I constantly have to keep a close eye on what I’m specing at all times.

 

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Week 5: Client Relations

This week taught me a lot about the importance of building a relationship with every customer and client and the benefits those relationships create. On Tuesday, I had a return customer from a previous order I had done. She was so pleased with the customer service I provided her on her last visit that when she returned she specifically asked for me. Because of this, I developed a loyal customer who will always return to work with me. Building relationships like this is important in the design world. 

I also learned in example of bad a client relationships. I had a customer come in on Saturday and tell me her experience that she had with her interior designer. Her experience overall was a negative one. She spoke of how delayed the process was of selecting fabrics, colors, and furniture with her designer. When you establish a negative relationship with a client, odds are they will not return and work with you again. I worked with the customers and helped them select beautiful furniture to fit the spaces needed quickly, easily, and painlessly. They were pleased with how efficient our store and I were at helping them through the process of selecting furniture and promised to come back and work with me in the future. The pieces they selected are below.