Interview with Award-Winning Interior Designer Rachel Moriarty
Each month, we interview a Socialite Influencer, one of our members who has shown exceptional skill at marketing her business in the interior design, home staging, or workroom spaces. We cover the emotional, strategic, educational, and brand-based facets of running a business in the fast-paced home industry.
Meet Our Guest
What is your name?
What is the name of your business?
Rachel Moriarty Interiors & Design+Style Podcast
Where are you located?
San Diego, CA
What services do you offer?
Residential design services, product designer for Elegant Mosaics, brand ambassador, Biz-ibility Mentor
How long have you been working in the home industry?
I initially got my certification in Home Staging and Interior Redesign in 2005. I was a Photo Stylist in the fashion and home decor catalogs and publications. I also, had a brick and mortar boutique that specialized in children's clothing and decor.
A note from our Socialite Influencer of the Month:
Rachel Moriarty is a leading home style expert, best selling author, speaker, brand ambassador, product designer and cohost of the popular Design+Style podcast. Recently, named one of "2018 Most Influential People" in Real Estate Staging, Rachel is also an award winning designer with more than 14 years of experience redesigning the houses, vacation and investment homes of successful professionals in and around San Diego County and nationwide via her online services.
The Emotional Side of Biz in the Home Industry
When you first started your business, how confident were you?
When I first started my business, I was not confident at all. During the recession I had gone into the financial services industry as a Private Corporate Banker working with high net worth individuals and businesses. I had become comfortable in that industry even though my natural gifts are as a creative. I was insecure about the fact that I'm a self taught designer as well as the fact that I had just spent the last eight years as a banker.
What fears did you have as a new business owner in the home industry?
The landscape had changed so much from the first iteration of my business in 2005 to the post recession relaunch in 2014. Social media hadn't existed at all so that was a huge hurdle for me. I had to learn to become the face of my own business and a personal brand.
What part of your experience or education helped you grow your business?
ALL of my experience as: a photo stylist, a boutique owner, product designer, visual merchandiser, furniture sales and especially my experience in financial services, has all played an integral part in my current success.
How have you grown as a person since, and because of, starting your business?
I have become so self-expressed as a result of taking the leap and leaving corporate. Personal branding and online marketing are my jam as it turns out and I love it as much as I do design work! Now I mentor others in visibility or what I coined as Biz-ibility.
Advice for New Interior Designers, Stagers & Workrooms
If you could give yourself (and any other new business owners in the home industry) a piece of advice, what would you say?
Stop hiding behind your laptop and your projects, stand proudly in front of your work and get comfortable being the face of your creative business.
Do you have a business mentor or idol?
Iris Apfel and Frida Kahlo are both my idols.
Secrets to Success in the Home Industry
What is the #1 problem you seek to solve for your clients?
My specialty is elevating spaces by incorporating her clients family heirlooms and I'm also known for my use playful patterns, bold strokes of color and serious style.
What type of project brings you the most joy?
I love working on historic homes. My sweet spot is finishing touches, which makes sense with my background as a photo stylist!
How do you spot and avoid a potentially ill-fitting client?
I feel like I magnetize a certain client to me by putting myself out there a lot. There is a lot of content on my website and on social media. They can self select whether we are a good fit or not and they are usually correct. That is the biggest benefit to my Biz-ibility strategy.
How do you handle people who say, "You're too expensive" and expect a discount?
I'm one of those people that put "starting" prices on my website so that prospects know if we are playing in the same sandbox or not. The first question I ask a prospect is if they looked at the various services that I offer on my website. Since most of my clients come from social media, to my website and then contact me, they are aware of my pricing before our Discovery Call.
The couple of times that I have come across that issue, I will offer them a lesser service like online design or a consultation only. If that's still too much, I will let them know the various furniture showrooms around town that offer free design services.
I have worked on design teams for both Ethan Allen and Bassett Home Furnishings and still know many of the Design Consultants, so I will refer them. They are obviously not my ideal clients so I'm more than happy to refer them, but I do not budge on pricing.
In what ways have you intentionally set yourself apart from competitors?
Honestly, by just being "me". I lean into the certain things that I'm known for like fashion, bold pops of color and maximalism. I have many designer friends here in my local market and each of us have such a different point of view and niche that there's rarely any crossover.
What is your big dream or goal for your business within the next 5 years?
One? I have SO MANY! Scale my business so that I can take on larger design projects, design products, travel for business more (Hello Maison et Objét), give back, podcast, lots of video content and continue to mentor newer designers or side hustlers.
Marketing Tips to Use & Avoid
What is the biggest marketing mistake you've ever made?
In the beginning, I was posting a lot of random stuff and other people's work that I liked. I wasted a lot of time and energy doing that.
What is one marketing tactic you use now that you wish you had used "back in the day"?
I'm very strategic about what I post and I how I post on social media. I'm very authentic and pretty much everything, even when it seems personal, is very tied to my business. I didn't have as strong of a brand presence back in the day like I do now.
What is your favorite way to market your business?
Instagram and Facebook.
How do you use Socialite Vault to help market your business in the home industry?
Leaded magnets / branded magazines, Client welcome packets, Facebook & Instagram ads, Email newsletters, Social media posts & captions
If a new business owner wanted to contact you for advice, how can they go about doing that?
They can PM me or DM me but I would encourage them to join my Facebook Group, Visibility With Rachel.
What is your web address?
What is your Instagram handle?
Socialite Vault is marketing platform for interior designers, home stagers, and workrooms. Start a 14 day trial by clicking here.