Imagine you have an appointment with an interior designer, a well-established member of ASID, the American Society of Interior Designers. You are driving 150 miles round trip to make this meeting and you are driving from a relatively small town to a big urban city with impressive skyscrapers and a reputation for sophistication. The address has a name with an implied connotation of class such as “The Ritz”. When you arrive at the designer’s address you see instead a building that looks an awful lot like this one below (emphasis on ‘awful’). You step onto the porch and see missing chunks creating a jagged zig-zag from the sagging wooden floorboards like the photo above, but worse.
Not sure you’re at the right place, you finally notice a sign to the left of the door. The designer’s business sign is paint on wood. It is so old, so raggedy, faded and peeling, that it is invisible at first glance. I visited this designer and I must keep her name and her city anonymous.
The entire impression was that this property had been abandoned beyond neglect. When the designer opened the door, I was half expecting to be overwhelmingly surprised by an exceptional interior. I’m sorry to report that the inside was as decrepit as the outside. Only worse: cluttered with swatch books on every surface, dark and dingy. This was one of the worst examples of professional business feng shui that I have seen in quite some time. For somebody that makes their living off of providing interior design to others it is an absolute imperative to have a space that reflects one’s talent, design philosophy, and at the very minimum be well-maintained, clean, and professional looking.
I know it is difficult in this economy to splurge on fixing up your place. I am not even sure if this designer owned the building or was just renting. Either way, some things could be done to immediately improve the feng shui of the business:
*Move your design business to a better location, even if it’s smaller.
*If you can’t move, fix the floorboards to your entry. They are a hazard to any who visit you and they are like jagged spears preventing any positive opportunity from entering your space. Try to get the landlord to paint the exterior of the building.
*Repaint your sign. Do it yourself if you have to. Make the time. It’s only a 16″ x 20″ piece of wood with a couple of words on it. It will indicate that the business inside the wabi-sabi building is alive and well so people won’t decide to turn away.
*Clear out those front rooms where you meet with clients. Organize the swatch books, eliminate anything you don’t use or need.
*Paint the interior rooms bright colors or even bright white.
*Show a little bit of your design personality so that it’s obvious you are in the interior design business.
*Add some lighting.
Does your space have a similar story? Please share your professional space nightmares with us. Have you lost business because your space did not match your talent? Please share in comments section.