Presenting & Collaborating Ideas With Wecora
Our friendly fellow, Wecora, is an online destination for interior designers, allowing them to visually manage projects from idea to presentation. Professionals use “Wecora Boards” to collect, organize, present, and collaborate ideas with their clients, enabling designers to virtually visualize and communicate ideas more effectively.
Wecora Boards help interior designers stay creative and organized by collecting, storing, presenting and discussing ideas in one secure place, saving time from the back & forth conversations happening both on and offline. Wecora Co-Founder Stephanie Dixon discusses the details of a living and breathing Wecora board, embracing modern technology in this traditional industry, and our shared passion for easing the lives of interior designers.
Photography courtesy of Wecora
What’s Wecora all about?
Wecora offers creative professionals a place to land all of their ideas, organize them, share them, discuss them, and decide on them in a focused, visual fashion. Let’s face it – design projects can be messy and very, very “involved”. Wecora provides interior designers with a professional platform to share with clients – a place where designers can clearly communicate their project details and selections while staying in charge of the narrative. This process helps clients make up their minds 1.8 x faster than ever before.
Josh & Stephanie – why did you feel the need to open up shop and create a digital moodboard platform for interior designers?
Approximately four years ago, Josh and his wife hired me as their interior designer for a massive renovation of their home. It was a great working relationship, but by the time the project came to close, Josh and I both had an “itch” for something more. Josh, being the entrepreneurial businessman that he is, felt that there had to be a better way of connecting with designers, collaborating on projects, etc. I had a four month old at the time and had fallen madly in love with her and found my previous passion for working starting to fizzle. So, we started talking! While I still loved designing, I was overwhelmed with the hours taken from my day (and now my daughter) doing the “business side of design”. We quickly learned that most designers in the industry were desperate to make their days go further just like myself, seeking a “better” way to work, and even more importantly, a “better” way to communicate with those that they were working with. Josh and I began focusing 100% of our efforts into creating an online, collaborative tool that would enable designers to do what they love doing (actually being creative and designing!) and stop wasting time doing everything else that seemed to suck the time from their days (searching through endless client emails, trying to remember how many yards of a fabric they needed, spending hours making presentation boards to show to clients, etc.). After years of having my own business, I knew all too well these frustrations and was beyond excited to be a part of developing a solution.
Who are some of the strong assets behind the fabulous Wecora team?
Our team is small! We have worked very hard to build a site that is user-friendly and intuitive. That being the case, we are able to service thousands of designers with a whopping team of three people. It’s Josh, myself, and Jenn (who we just hired to help new subscribers with on-boarding, customer service, etc.). We set out to hire a support role on the client side, to make our pros’ lives even easier, but the reality was, there simply wasn’t the need! Since clients’ abilities are limited to simply voting on and/or commenting on board items, their experience is truly seamless, thus self-serving. We have someone who helps us part-time with social media, but I’d have to say that our biggest asset, by far, is our users. These are our ambassadors each and every day. We have grown exponentially year over year through the efforts of word of mouth. One designer who loves Wecora tells six others about it, then those pros start running their entire business off of the system as well. Then, that designer’s builder, tile shop, workroom, etc. all hop on board, no pun intended :-), and it’s a win-win for all!
In your opinion, how has technology impacted the interior design industry?
Technology – ah, the blessing and the curse, the double-edged sword! The reality is that even if a designer doesn’t want to embrace technology, their clients already are. The tables are turning a bit and clients are starting to become in control of the design process more and more. They find their own inspirations. They stumble across one single image on a design blog then want to change their entire direction. They can shop the heck out of prices. Information and trade pricing is a free for all now, so resisting technology will only do a disservice to the professional. The key seems to be staying two steps ahead of this fast moving design world! If your client wants to purchase, collect then! Don’t give them time to shop, second-guess, etc. If they want blue, show them blue, before someone else tells them they need to love green.
I think that’s why Wecora is so successful. The professional is able to work at such a speed, which is refreshing (without all of the complicated fluff), and keeps clients on their toes and involved, but in a way that is profitable to the designer.
Why should a traditional industry such as the interior design industry embrace modern technology in this digital era?
One of our latest subscribers is 64 years old. She admitted that she was resistant to any change, but only now can she see the light for how much technology could have been working for her, instead of only working to her clients’ advantage. This industry is one that ranks high in “burn-out”. It’s sad to think about how much talent is leaving the design world due to being fried! And no wonder, with tools that take months to learn and clients’ expectations increasing. I would love to see more and more professionals become empowered to do what they do best, design, and to allow the right tools to assist them with the tasks and processes that must be done, but that are no fun!
How is Wecora a great platform to discuss ideas and present inspiration?
Because creativity is subjective, it is often hard to effectively communicate ideas that live solely in the mind of the designer. How frightening for clients though! It’s their budgets, their homes, but the interior designer’s vision. Wecora boards allow clients to simply view the board and immediately understand the designer’s vision. There is visual clarity to these boards, eliminating any possibility for miscommunication. Project details are clear and easily understood when the professional is at the client meeting sharing samples, but once the designer leaves, the details can get mixed up for the client. Wecora alleviates the need for questions like “now what is this fabric for?” when the fabric is very clearly tucked inside of a group called “custom sofa options” on the board.
How does a moodboard maintain strong client-designer dynamics in regards to collaboration and communication?
There is so much dialog that is required to bring visions to life, and those discussions can get messy when spread amongst emails, text, Pinterest boards, etc. It takes the pro a good thirty minutes to revisit which finish her client approved, or the client often has to call and interrupt the designer to simply recall which size rug the designer suggested for the hallway. With all of the collaboration happening on a single landing page (the Wecora board), that extra, unneeded headache is removed from the equation. I can go to the item and see every conversation that has ever happened about the item in one place. Plus, with Wecora, clients can’t ever eliminate comments, so our pros use Wecora boards as a secure place to document all conversations, essentially having the board itself become the PO.
Based on your knowledge, how does a digital moodboard influence client happiness and an overall well-executed space?
While we work exclusively for professionals, we receive countless emails from clients each week. Most clients were already burnt out before their project even started. That’s why they end up throwing in the towel and calling the pros. The last thing they want is more complication. The boards allow clients to feel confident that their designer fully understands their wishes and that there aren’t any surprises along the way. We often hear that since Wecora keeps the client focused, clients don’t wander onto items that they ultimately cannot afford or that simply will not work, which is a bummer, a time suck, and most definitely depletes happiness.
Does Wecora cater to both e-designers and traditional interior designers?
Wecora works just as well for the designer who wants to work with clients down the street as it does for those who want to work remotely. Even if the designer wants to meet in-person, armed with fabric and paint swatches, Wecora boards still serve as the place to budget all of those ideas, organize them, document decisions made in the meeting, etc. Even though I’m a co-founder of the company, I can honestly say that I would never go back to the design field without Wecora. When I think of the way I used to have to do things, and how much time I’ve wasted, it grieves me. It took me six steps to accomplish one task. With Wecora, even if I’m showing a material to the client, I still drag and drop that material onto my board. That way, the item is forever stored in the Wecora image library for me to pull from. I can enter in dimensions, wholesale vs. selling price, source, or any other details I want to document, and never search for the same information twice. Plus, as soon as the item enters the board, Wecora takes those details and auto-calculates my budgets as well as my profit (no need for excel!). Even though my client may seem to totally get my vision face-to-face, this board serves as the reminder (I don’t get the calls about what goes where or what finish the paint should be ordered in) during my project as well as for years to come (no more client folders or calls for color names when touch-up time comes).
Wecora works for E-design as well, which is why the platform is promoted by several e-design platforms in the U.S. and the exclusive tool of choice by a few others, such as Homewings in the UK. There is so much back-and-forth that happens in the design process: an idea, feedback on the idea, a decision on the idea, then implementing the idea. When the pro isn’t stepping foot in the client’s home or office, it is even more crucial that all of that back-and-forth is documented, organized, and secure. Wecora makes that possible.
What’s Wecora’s focus for 2017?
We have some pretty exciting things happening in 2017. The first of which will be the launch of our first app. Wecora allows gathering all of your ideas in to one central place to be wickedly fast, through our own web-clipper, our built-in web search, Pinterest integration, and more, but this app is only going to further enhance this process.
The common issue we hear with all of the professionals that we speak with is that since there really isn’t (and probably will not ever be!) an all-in-one solution out there, we’re focusing a lot of time on building industry partnerships. We’re figuring out exactly who our users are already using to get their jobs done, and we’re doing our darnedest to make Wecora as compatible with those solutions as possible.
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