CHALLENGE: I own
a very successful interior design and window decorating studio on
the West Coast. My design team consists of some very talented designers
and salespeople. I would like to give back to the community in appreciation
for their support.
I would like to ask my employees to participate in some sort of volunteer efforts within our community. They all seem to agree and the energy is high. Do you have some ideas that will encourage our interior designers to participate? We seem to always think of profit potential in our work, but for this part of the design process I hope we all can put profit aside. Do you think this is too much to ask of my employees?
SOLUTION: Not at all! In fact, in the classroom I encourage my students to volunteer as much as they can. Volunteer activities are a great asset to any résumé.
Seeing how this is February, a great Valentine’s gift for someone this year would be to volunteer! Let me share a personal experience. When I landed my first full-time job, I had an opportunity to get involved in an organization called Junior Achievement here in Southern California. Each week four executives would go into a classroom and share with high school students their experiences in the corporate world and encourage students to stay in school and focus on achieving their goals.
Yes, this took a lot of time, but the time spent was well worth it. In fact, I think to this day, this is why I enjoy teaching in the classroom so much.
Sharing your experiences in the interior design field is very rewarding. The thought of possibly encouraging students to stay in school and letting them know they can achieve their goals if they are focused is very rewarding!
An especially good way to become involved and to volunteer is to seek out organizations in the community surrounding your business. Areas of involvement for businesses that are interior design focused would include: Habitat For Humanity, designer showhouse tours that donate the proceeds to local charities, volunteering as a guest speaking at the community college level or Career Day at a local high school, or becoming involved in a charity event with your local design organization.
Another excellent way to give back to your community is to donate materials from your business to pre-school programs that can use donated craft materials for student projects or to your local community college’s interior design program.
You might conduct a search on the Web of organizations in your area that are asking for volunteers. It’s amazing what you can find right in your own community.
Volunteering not only creates a community among your employees; it will quickly spread throughout your own community and may even encourage a new flow of customers into your business!
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.