Meet Renee Bush
Brand and business strategist, Renee Bush, will inspire and impress you with the wealth of knowledge she brings to the design industry. Her boutique agency, Tandem, specializes in strategy and design for interior designers. Renee’s wisdom is equally matched by her ability to actively listen to and connect with design creatives, which is why we’ve invited her back for a second time to speak at the Haven Workshop. Keep reading to learn how she puts business strategy to work for interior designers—like Alex Adamson shown here—and can help solve your most common pain points.
Tell us about branding and business strategy. What does your work encompass?
Here at Tandem, we work with interior designers in the premium residential space to understand and communicate who they are and what they do to attract ideal clients, and elevate their value to increase revenue and success.
This typically starts with diving into their overall business and personal goals and defining their ideal client and ideal project. From here we start to map out what makes them unique and different (differentiator). We want to hone in on something their ideal client will value and get excited about. Then we work to create a visual and brand identity that supports those pieces. It should be a representation of who they are and what they do best, but in a way that resonates with exactly that kind of client and projects they are hoping to attract.
When you’re on discovery calls with new clients, what pain points do they most frequently mention?
Great question! For most clients, their biggest pain points come from not being able to see their own blind spots. It can be so hard to see what makes you special and unique. I ask designers a lot “why should someone work with you over any other designer?” And they struggle to answer that! But if I said are you good at what you do? Do your clients value you? Do you trust yourself to do a great job for your clients? And they can confidently say yes. Sometimes they just struggle to know what it is that makes them special. This is something we can help you figure out and see from an outside perspective.
Along those same lines, a lot of designers approach me about pricing. They aren’t sure how to price or value their talent and experience. It’s important to match all these things up (what you offer, the scope, the price, and what your ideal client is willing to pay). So we can help work through those things with you to make sure that your pricing is strategically aligned and is set up to make you profitable.
Have you taken a huge leap of faith in your career and did it pay off?
Oh, man! Absolutely! I don’t know anyone that owns a business that hasn’t had to take risks that felt absolutely terrifying. For me, jumping into entrepreneurship was a big one. Stepping up to take the lead of my own team and my own vision was much harder than I thought it would be. I was used to translating other people’s visions. But it’s a different story when it’s yours! Leaving a wonderful and stable corporate job to chase my own personal passions was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But looking back, it really was all in my head. Overcoming the fear of doing the thing is often much harder than doing the thing.
Who gave you a piece of advice that changed your career trajectory, and what was it?
I had a dear friend who was a few years older than me and an interior designer. She introduced me to the challenges of the industry and spoke to me often of her desire for strategic support, operations help, and vendors who understood how her business worked so they could give better quality service. I was much younger in my career and really doubting myself and my potential impact, but she always saw my skills and talent and pushed me to go off on my own. She was a major inspiration for Tandem and really set me off on the path that got me where I am today.
How do you measure your success?
This is a tricky question because I want to answer it in two ways. First, how do I want to measure success? And second, how do I often measure success? I think like a lot of business owners I get caught up in the numbers. Revenue streams, income, team members, number of clients, and so on and so forth. But at the end of the day, for me, success really is freedom. It’s financial freedom, flexibility in my life and schedule, and the ability to design my life in a way that works for me and my family at any given time. I always joke that when I can go on 5-star vacations a few times a year that’s when I know I’ll have made it. If I had all the money in the world, I would definitely spend a lot of it on resorts and restaurants that are too expensive. Ha! (One of the many perks of attending the Haven Workshop—the hotel is amazing!)
The Haven Workshop is an intimate, community-driven learning experience for interior designers who are looking to up-level their business and build a successful brand.