Expand your comfort zone
Erika Ward wants to get to know you.
No—really know you.
If she’s going to design a space for you, Ward (BBA ’01) wants to nail it. And to do that, she asks for three hours of your time beforehand.
“Most consultancy services are about an hour, maybe two,” says Ward, founder of the award-winning Erika Ward Interiors design firm, which is based in Fayetteville. “But three gives us an opportunity to sit down, not be rushed with the potential client, and also be able to freely give them any kind of information they want.”
That conversation helps Ward determine the type of service a client needs, whether that’s a full-on design refresh or just some advice on how to solve a particular problem.
“Sometimes we have people who I consider design enthusiasts who just need a little handholding as reassurance and some validation,” she says. “They take the information we provide for them and go execute it on their own. And that’s okay because the end goal is really for us to help you make your home your personal sanctuary.”
That relationship isn’t a one-way street. Ward is an open book. She regularly talks about her husband and kids, her religion, and her life in general on her blog and social media channels.
Sitting down with clients and getting a feel for who they are and what they need from a space is key to making sure they love the end result. Sometimes that means pushing clients ever-so-slightly outside their comfort zones when it comes to colors or patterns.
“You put your neck out there sometimes,” Ward says. “But most of the time, almost 100% of the time, it works and becomes the client’s favorite thing about the design. If they’re design enthusiasts or if they’re someone looking to hire us for full service, they want something that they haven’t seen before or something they wouldn’t ordinarily choose for themselves.”