Monogram Luxury Appliances and ThinkLab present “Top Tech Platforms to Streamline Your Business,” a webinar from their Industry Insight Series that addresses the industry’s most pressing questions with experts. This webinar explores how technology in the design field rapidly evolves and advises designers on how to stay on top of your design game.

Led by Erica Waayenber, Head of Research and Content at ThinkLab and including Studio Designer Chief Marketing Officer Rachel Wagman. They discuss what tech tools and platforms have helped to make the interior design process more efficient, creative, and fun.

Highlights of the webinar:

6:00 – 9:15 minute mark: What top tech platforms help interior designers be more effective and efficient?

Erica Waayenberg, ThinkLab: For the design process, top mentions included Canva, HOUZZ Pro, Material Bank, and Chief Architect. Top mentions for the design business include Studio Designer, Quickbooks, and Asana.

11:20 – 13:43 minute mark: Tell us about the history of Studio Designer and how it’s built with the interior designer in mind.

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: Studio Designer is the leading digital project management, product sourcing, time billing, and accounting platform for interior designers. We are a fully integrated system and have been around for over 30 years. While the platform has evolved over 30 years, our core mission is to empower the creativity of interior designers. Studio Designer’s products and solutions were designed initially and continue to be designed for how interior designers run their businesses. Everything from the beginning of a project, accepting client payments, tracking your time, to running reports to see how profitable your business is in one place.

14:20 – 16:19 minute mark: Does the design community know Studio Designer for one function or another, or is it well known to have a full breadth and capability of streamlining their business?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: I don’t know if we are known mainly for one thing. I think part of it is because all of these things I described, project management, time billing, accounting, those processes don’t exist in a silo. All of them are happing at once. Studio Designer is super flexible. It can accommodate the multiple ways design firms operate. Whether they are focusing on a particular design for residential or hospitality, whether designers have a retail business, with Studio Designer, you can utilize certain components of all those solutions. You make it work for your business.

17:19 – 20:00 minute mark: How does Studio Designer support an interior designer in making that client-facing portion of the platform a positive and streamlined experience?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: It goes back to that flexibility piece. Studio Designer has many options for sharing information with clients based on their needs and wants. It can be done in the platform through email and interactive documents. For more tech-savvy clients, we have the Client Portal, a secure place where designers can invite their clients to log in and see everything related to their project. It is all in one place and easy to share and provide to clients simultaneously. Then for those clients who prefer traditional means of communication and want to avoid logging in to anything, we offer great-looking solutions that designers can use. That is something we are always thinking about, how to meet the need of the designer and their clients.

20:28 – 23:55 minute mark: How does your CEO, Keith Granet, fuel the vision for Studio Designer?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: As I mentioned, Studio Designer has operated for over 30 years. In that same time, Keith Granet, our CEO, has also been working in the design industry. It has been his life’s work to work with interior design firms and architects on ways they can make their practices grow and thrive and learn better business practices. Keith has worked with countless design and architect firms over the years; he leads retreats and has written three books on the business of design and creativity. He knew of Studio Designer because he had been recommending it to his clients. Then about eight years ago, the opportunity presented itself for Keith to come and buy the business with a group of investors. It has been a perfect marriage of Keith’s desire to promote, empower and enable design industry creatives with better solutions and business practices. That’s what Studio Designer is all about; a platform that allows designers to focus more on the creative side, knowing that their business is operating efficiently and productively on the business side. Our mission is to create software solutions, but we also want to share Keith’s knowledge and expertise, so we recently published an online magazine called The Work of Design. It’s not about Studio Designer at all. It covers important topics for designers when thinking about growing their business or making important decisions for their business.

25:25 – 28:27 minute mark: What size business is Studio Designer fit for, and what is the learning curve?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: In terms of the size of the business, we have over 4,500 accounts, which include over 12,000 users. All are raging in size. We have a lot of firms made up of just one person, and then we have firms with more than 20 employees. That speaks again to the flexibility of Studio Designer. One of the great things about Studio Designer is that you can make it your own. You can join just as you are starting out. Studio Designer is great because you can build up the foundation of your business and establish good business practices with a tried and true stable platform. But there are features you might never need or need right now. Studio Design can grow and evolve with you as you grow and evolve. In terms of getting started, because so much of your business can live in the platform, there is an investment in the beginning so that you your assets are uploaded accurately. Everyone likes to learn the platform differently. We have a knowledge base, training webinars, and videos for those who want to learn independently. We also have the support that can help with implementation and custom training to help ease the transition and in using the platform once you are up and running.

29:20 – 30:38 minute mark: Does Studio Designer include CRM along with the Project Management side?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: You manage your address book/client list, third parties, and vendor relationships. So you have that insight, but we would not call ourselves a CRM.

30:44 – 32:52 minute mark: How does procurement work in the platform?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: We sometimes say we are an “items-based platform,” as it always starts with the sourcing piece. You can manually add all the product details, images, and pricing you are sourcing. We also have Studio Capture in the platform, an easy-to-use tool that works on any vendor’s website. It allows you to pull in information on a product on a vendor’s website in a couple of clicks. From there, you can contact the vendor for additional information or go directly to create a proposal.

33:43 – 35:33 minute mark: What does the future for Studio Designer look like?

Rachel Wagman, Studio Designer: For us, we are going to remain focused on the interior design and architect industry. That is who we were founded to serve and where we want to continue to provide the best tools and solutions to help the industry do its best. We are always thinking about what other tasks/things designers are doing/thinking about outside the Studio Designer ecosystem that we can integrate into the platform to provide more seamless solutions.