What Level is Your Design Business?

Jessica Duce, Jane Dagmi and Ericka Saurit: Learn About the Profitable Niche of Vacation Rental Design at the 2024 VRD Summit

Episode 947 of A Well-Designed Business®
947: Jessica Duce, Jane Dagmi and Ericka Saurit: Learn About the Profitable Niche of Vacation Rental Design at the 2024 VRD Summit

Today With Jessica Duce, Jane Dagmi and Ericka Saurit:

Today on A Well-Designed Business I am joined by Ericka Saurit, Jessica Duce, and Jane Dagmi, the masterminds behind the Vacation Rental Design Summit, happening this spring at High Point Market. According to my guests today, Vacation Rental Design is much more than beautiful spaces—it’s a scroll-stopping, memory-making, profit-building business model. And they want to teach you all about it.  We’re discussing what Vacation Rental Design is (and isn’t), what kind of designer it’s best suited for, along with the content and what to expect at this year’s summit, because the more educated and better prepared you are as a designer in this niche, the more value you’ll bring to vacation rental owners and property managers, who will want to use your services again and again.

Pick It Apart

[2:25] Jessica defines what Vacation Rental Design is (and isn’t).

[7:17] Ericka, Jessica, and Jane all share how serendipitous it has been finding one another and creating together.

[11:29] LuAnn asks what type of designer Vacation Rental Design suits best.

[15:10] Ericka speaks to some of the topics they cover and educate on at the Vacation Rental Design Summit, including marketing and branding.

[20:28] The guests explain what the upcoming Vacation Rental Design Summit is and the topics covered there.

[31:30] Jane covers the structure and schedule of the upcoming summit at High Point’s Spring Market.

[33:16] Jessica explains how this category of design has different needs from brands and vendors versus standard designers.

LuAnn Nigara and Jessica Duce, Jane Dagmi and Ericka Saurit’s Ah-Ha Moments

“Vacation rental design is not staging, it’s not residential design, it is unique…It has a lot of layers. But it also has, in my opinion, some of the greatest rewards for a designer for creativity.” – Jessica Duce

“Any one person can be inspired to “take an action” at any moment in time. But it’s the taking of the action that is the key, right? Not just hearing and feeling the inspiration—you’ve got to move. And you have to move through fear often.” – LuAnn Nigara

“The more educated and the more prepared [vacation rental designers] are, the better of value they can sell, the more they can sell design as a sales tool [for the vacation rental owner].” – Ericka Saurit

“Designers are real arbiters of taste. They curate lifestyles for their clients. They can curate vacations. Their expertise goes beyond picking the furniture…[to] create more income that way. They are really curating that person’s entire experience. That’s a big responsibility and one to really accept and embrace if you’re up for it.” – Jane Dagmi

More About Jessica Duce, Jane Dagmi and Ericka Saurit:

Ericka Saurit:

In 2020, after a 20 year global career in interior design and marketing, Ericka Saurit founded Saurit Creative with a mission to support and elevate brands across the entire home industry. Ericka believes that the more clients and customers who understand the value of working with a designer, the better world we’ll create for everyone. Ericka began her career as an interior designer, working with ESI (now NBBJ) in New York and Ralph Appelbaum Associates in Beijing for numerous cultural and hospitality clients throughout Asia, the United States, and Europe, and transitioned to a career in marketing for home brands in 2012. As a global brand marketing leader, she has overseen digital product development and brand strategy at Airbnb in San Francisco, created immersive physical and virtual brand experiences for Tag Heuer, Estee Lauder, and Procter & Gamble in addition to working with top home and lifestyle brands around the world. Ericka is an inspiring and motivating public speaker—frequently invited to lead industry discussions on marketing, brand strategy, and storytelling at conferences in the US and abroad. A southerner at heart and traveler by trade, she maintains residence in both North Carolina and the south of France.

Jessica Duce:

Jessica Duce, owner of JDuce Design LLC, has been in the design industry most of her life.

The daughter of a designer, Jessica has been creating unique and comfortable spaces since her Barbie house as a child. Jessica’s clients are nationwide with a variety of styles, budgets, and needs.

A client once referred to Jessica as a room whisperer, and it stuck.  Her gift to imagine the potential of a space with or without your existing items while consciously helping the client to create their personal style is her talent and passion.

In addition to her residential clients, Jessica was asked to design a VRBO on the Oregon Coast in 2015 for a client. This learning experience inspired Jessica to create a new company specifically for the needs of the vacation rental industry — Vacation Rental Designers. Jessica saw the opportunity to share her skills in vacation rental design in 2023 and formed the Vacation Rental Designers Collective to mentor and support other designers in this category.

Jane Dagmi:

Jane Dagmi is a career storyteller, educator and connector, currently serving as the Managing Director of High Point by Design (HPxD), a non-profit organization that champions for High Point, North Carolina as a year-round destination for design, creativity and innovation by uniting and promoting the city’s rich and productive ecosystem. Prior to this role, she was the Editor in Chief of Designers Today magazine where she spent four years successfully growing the publication’s reputation, audience and community. Jane’s first trek to High Point was in the mid 90’s when she was an editor at Country Living magazine. Enamored with the city’s legacy and intrigued by its fresh potential, Jane has called High Point home since 2018, and enjoys being an active player in High Point’s changing landscape.

Connect with Ericka Saurit

 VRD Summit – HPXD – High Point x Design

VRD Summit’s Instagram

Ericka’s Website

Jessica’s Website

Jane’s Instagram

Ericka’s Instagram

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Other Shows Mentioned:

AWDB #351: Power Talk Friday: Jane Dagmi: Editor in Chief of Designers Today

AWDB #368: Jessica Duce: VRBO Interior Design

AWDB #437: High Point Market: Plan a Successful Trip

AWDB #606: Phoebe Oldrey: How a Niche Can Give New Life to Your Business

AWDB #770: Tiffany Cassidy: Niching into Vacation Home Design

AWDB #868: Jill Cole: Sustaining a Prosperous Hospitality Design Firm in an Ever-Changing World

AWDB #894: Jessica Duce: The Vacation Rental Design Summit at High Point Market

Other Resources Mentioned:

 VRD Summit – HPXD – High Point x Design

What Level is Your Design Business?