Quick Culture Change: Turning An In-Person Design Culture into An Online Success

This post is part of our COVID–19 business stories series, where we share how different brands have responded to the pandemic.

The Collective Dallas is a local-focused boutique featuring curated home furnishings by owner Sarah Hargrave with an eye to the vintage, expressive, and unique. In the day to day operation of the boutique, clients were used to being treated to consulting one on one with each of several all-star designers to find their perfect fit. But as with many things, their operations are changing in fundamental ways to accommodate quarantine protocols.

We talked to the team to see how they’ve adapted their business to continue to serve clients, and pursue their design passions.

How has your company been affected by COVID-19? In what ways have you had to change your day-to-day business operations?  

“We are a very collaborative group and focus on face to face interaction within our team and with our clients.  We, like so many other businesses, are working from home with a heavy focus on video conferencing and a heavy push on social media.  We are an interior design group but we also have a retail showroom which is obviously closed.  We are focused on the e-commerce portion of our business that has always been there but is now more important than ever.  We are developing more strategic stories and video in order to give our audience a glimpse of our world.”

Taking advantage of The Collective’s collaborative spirit, they have transitioned smoothly to working at home and finding new frontiers in social media. As an interior design group, their focus is on creating personalized and beautiful spaces, but they’ve had to shift focus to e-commerce with renewed vigor. With social distancing at the forefront of everyone’s mind, The Collective is finding new ways to bring a personal touch to online shopping.

How are you strategizing your brand messaging at the moment? 

“We are enjoying being more collaborative and supportive with other firms in our area and banding together to keep up morale and a positive attitude.  We are focusing heavily on the homes of our audience instead of only the homes that we work on because in the current environment, one’s home is more important than any other place. “

Are you changing how you market your business, or selling new products or services to meet changing market needs? 

“Yes, we are now offering Virtual Design Services for clients that need help with small projects, construction plans, or entire rooms.  This is a service we have never offered before and I think we will continue to offer it after this whole thing is over.”

One of these ways is integrating the ideal with what already exists, focusing on drawing inspiration from client’s existing homes, using Virtual Design Services for clients that need help with small projects etc. They are also staying positive, working with other firms in the area to keep morale good and the new ideas flowing.

What trends are you seeing in your industry? Are there other brands you admire for what they’re posting right now? 

“We are in a very competitive, almost hush-hush business and we are seeing more and more designers open their homes and share more than they generally would.  We love the messaging from Jean Liu, Amanda Stone Talley, and Luann Nigara.”

Creating an ‘inside look’ feeling for design audiences is new for some in the industry, but it meets the need and helps the end user feel like they’re in the moment, experiencing the design at that time.

How far ahead are you planning your customer communications right now?

“We are planning 2 weeks in advance in terms of social media. The landscape is so unpredictable right now, but the positive piece is that it has inspired us to think on our toes and put out more dynamic content.”

With leading brands opening their own homes up in ways never seen before in a formerly private industry, they are keeping things fresh on their social media platforms. Circumstances, trends, local regulations, or customer demand could change at any moment, but The Collective is staying on their toes, looking for new ways to reach their audience.

You can see more of how The Collective Dallas is bringing beauty and style to homes – through products and virtually, on their Instagram @thecollectivedallas.


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