Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas: Creating Another Revenue Stream for Your Interior Design Business
Today with Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas:
Welcome to A Well-Designed Business! Today, I sat down with Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas. Dennese has worked in both the residential and commercial sides of the industry, but has recently drawn a line in the sand—she’s only working with general contractors who value and respect her as a designer. But how do you get to that point? How do you build those relationships with general contractors? How do you bring your expertise to the table? How do you prove your value? That’s what we’re talking about today!
Pick it apart:
- [7:24] Dennese shares her story of transitioning her business during a recession, determined not to close her doors
- [22:10] LuAnn and Dennese break down the unique challenges of the window treatment business and why you need great partners as a designer
- [30:30] Dennese explains how she positions herself as a unique expert when dealing with general contractors
- [40:40] Dennese highlights some of the moving parts in the commercial world that designers might not know about
- [48:50] LuAnn and Dennese discuss the difficulties and challenges Black designers face
Ah-Ha moments from LuAnn and Dennese:
“I want to deal with general contractors who understand what I bring to the table as a designer.” -Dennese
“The other people are just trying to deliver you a product. I’m trying to use my artistic eye to make sense of what’s trying to be translated into that window.” -Dennese
“We sell people, not product. We don’t reduce ourselves to a commodity. We sell our value and what we personally bring to the table.” -LuAnn
“[When working with contractors,] most of the time, you have to be willing to carry the bank on the job…if you don’t have the operating capital to be able to tide over a $50,000 project and carry it over 60-90 days, it could bankrupt your business.” -LuAnn
More About Dennese:
Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas began her career in the design field in 1991 and holds an A.A. in Interior Design from Bauder College in Miami, Florida. Although Dennese resides in the Washington Metropolitan area, her projects have taken her from coast to coast to include the Caribbean. Her motto is consistent and simple: “Maintain authenticity in style and texture, atmosphere is everything…” She brings over twenty years of experience and versatility that comes from dealing with a diversity of projects in both commercial and residential settings. Dennese brings her sense of elegance and impeccable eye for detail to each project. She possesses both the technical and interpersonal skills needed to manage and oversee the entire scope of the design/construction process. These crucial skills make Dennese a true asset to both project and client. Due to her hands-on approach, she is always refining each design until all the details are met with the proper balance in the creative aspect of each project. She describes her relationships with each client as paramount, and her goal is to assist in creating a home that fits the client’s persona, lifestyle and values. The philosophy behind Interiors by Design is the creation of a woman- and black-owned design company that blends the individual’s needs and desires with experience and talent to create a stunning home environment. Dennese offers a robust reference list with an impressive portfolio of homes in the Metropolitan area throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. Dennese strongly feels that two crucial factors in the client-designer relationship are mutual respect and trust. The client needs to trust the designer, which makes him/her open to professional suggestions. In turn, the designer needs to show the respect due to a client by listening and giving full credence to their desire and goals, both of which are primary. The trust factor is always key. Her clients trust that they will be guided in the right direction, one that adheres to sound design principles while adding that touch of magic.
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Kirsch is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to window treatments. They’ve been an industry leader in drapery hardware for more than one hundred years, and they also have a custom window coverings program. They also provide great resources to educate the design community to help educate you about their product so that you can properly educate your clients and position yourself as the knowledgeable designer you are. Go to kirsch.com to find out more.
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