Behind the Design: Jessica Lynn Williams
Designer Spotlight: Jessica Lynn Williams – New York, NY
How did you get where you are today?
I’m originally from Frederick, Maryland and moved to Baltimore for art school (MICA). After graduating, an internship opportunity with Nate Berkus led me to Chicago and it was there that my interest in interior design was solidified. I had a fulfilling summer internship and freelance gigs with Jonathan Adler during college, and it was always my goal to return to New York for work. Currently, and for the foreseeable future, I’m in New York City and excited to continue growing my business and life here.
How do you ensure that the foundation of each space you design pays homage to its original building elements, while telling a visual story of your client’s aesthetic?
I’m a naturally curious person and ask a lot of questions about the space or home before I propose a vision for my clients. The questions may include when it was built, how long have they lived there, the origin of the tile floors/mantles/millwork, etc. One “designer rule” I try to set for myself is to select pieces that contextually and visually make sense, rather than chase after trends. This plays into my hope to do more restoration and preservation work in the future as well. Once I understand the groundwork for a home, I help clients layer accents that may tell their story, like hanging a collection of plates from their travels abroad.
Who photographs your finished projects? How do you prepare a project space for a photoshoot?
My husband, Luke Williams, has photographed my work starting from the early days of shooting tableaus on the floor of my college dorm, to my current larger projects. As my clientele and scope of work grow, I will begin working more with Brooklyn photographer, Tory William (no relation, I wish!). We are in the infancy stage of documenting new bio and interior images which I’m excited to share in the coming months. I find that preparing for our photoshoots requires more legwork than most of the design process. I pack my Jeep with accessories found from high and low sources and physically clean and style the vignettes for a few key shots. This exercise of styling has been successful for two reasons – the client and I are able to see how details can transform their space, and they’re able to purchase the accessories directly. It’s a rewarding finale, and the hustle is certainly present!
How do you maintain healthy relationships with the vendors and tradespeople you work with?
Simple manners go a long way! I trust my makers to provide quality goods and encourage creative freedom whenever I can. Most vendors also prefer to have one spokesperson to avoid any miscommunication or overlap, which I’m often sensitive to.
Who are some of your favorite New York vendors?
Studio Four NYC, Holler & Squall, Rooted Construction, Pacama Handmade, and my upcoming venture (with fellow designer, April Bovet) called The Parlour New York.
How does designing make you feel?
What’s your business mantra?
Interior Design is a conversation; it only works if all voices are active and flexibility is understood.
In your opinion, how essential is the look & feel of your website to the success of your business?
A website is a digital version of yourself. It should express your personality and the ways that you can help potential clients.
Do you dabble in e-design? If so, which platforms do you use?
Not officially, but many projects are completely virtual.
Which tools do you use to create 2D floor plans and 3D models?
I use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, CAD and SketchUp to create presentation docs and renderings.
When you start a new project, how do you get to know your client and the space?
I ask the client questions, look at the accents around the home, observe how the clients are dressed, and request images for an aspirational look.
How do you build your billing structure for new projects?
I charge flat fees for quick moving projects (bill half up front and half at completion). Other projects are hourly when there’s not an endpoint in place (bill at the top of each month).
Why did you join Ivy?
I was craving a digital platform like Ivy for years as a way of consolidating all project details. It helps that the Ivy interface is simple and beautiful too!
How has Ivy helped streamline your workflow?
I’m invoicing more frequently, managing individual project dates more efficiently, and becoming organized with purchased items per project.
What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?
The business stats on the Ivy dashboard. It shows growth or distribution of funds.
Are you an interior designer in search of an easy interior design software and project management tool to run your business? Learn more about Ivy here.