We often get the question, “r.o.i. Design, what is that about?”
We explain that we believe the execution and build out of the design will bring a return on their investment. Said another way, the fees paid to us come back to our customer through their company’s improved efficiency, improved team performance, improved recognition, etc.
Probably one of the best of testimonials we got was from Lori Terpstra, owner of Rylee’s ACE, after the opening of her store on the corner of Michigan and Fuller in Grand Rapids, MI. She sent us a card that read, “From picking colors, laying out departments and designing our graphics, we certainly felt the ROI of r.o.i. Design.”
Some might say that we build an ROI by creating an interior design that reflects our customers brand while being sensitive to budgets. Some might say we build an ROI by adding services and expertise to our firm in addition to interior design where our customers are looking for solutions.
We have been including graphic design as one of our services for more than 10 years. It became clear, especially for our developer customers, that one-stop-shopping to create a brand, an interior, a logo, and a message was key to their success in conceptual development of their projects. When we are working with our customers on projects, we develop a relationship with them and if we do our job right, we understand their needs and have the opportunity to serve them in many ways, including graphic design and signage design. Ryan Bright, our Creative Executive, graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design and senior member of our team, has been serving our interior design customer graphic design needs since we added the service to our list.
Sharon Fisher, owner of Apothecary Gift Shop in Holland MI
We designed the store interior when it was Model Drug Store and Apothecary Gift Shop. Ryan developed the logos for both identities and worked with the sign companies to create the signage in the store. Recently Sharon sold the “Drug Store” part of her business and needed to redesign the exterior of the store to read just “Apothecary Gift Shop”. We were happy to work with her to create new awnings and signage for the exterior and interior. The store still looks great and is one of our favorite spots to shop for gifts.
Jordan Hoyer of The Law Office of Jordan C. Hoyer
We did the interiors of Jordan’s office in the Trust Building in downtown Grand Rapids. We also created her logo, developed her website and created a half page ad that she ran in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, ArtPrize edition. Jordan claims that so many law firms have horrible websites and branding and she feels that with Ryan’s and r.o.i. Design’s help, she is getting a lasting return on investment.
We focus on selling our time. But a long time ago, we saw the difficulty some of our customers were having staying within budgets with product procurement. Either they didn’t have the staffing time or expertise,and when they did, they were often paying for too many layers of distribution. We have offered a return on investment to several customers by finding the right manufacturers for the right job and tracking the purchasing and receiving process.
Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility in Bellaire, MI
This group is just finishing the 4th phase of a complete remodel and expansion of their facility. They knew on the onset that they didn’t have the time or experience to set budgets, solicit bids and negotiate prices to stay in budgets. We became their purchasing department for two years. Like most jobs of six figures or more, up to ten percent of product can be a disappointment, either by quality or service. David Schultz, the point person of the facility, had the ability to focus on the positive and help us help them work through the glitches.
The Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph, MI
Edgewater Resources, a fairly new development group with several marina developments on their boards realized half way through construction that they wouldn’t be able to manage procurement without adding staff. The construction group, Lamar Construction, recommended us to help them be their staff with the selection, bidding and purchasing of FFE. Again, no huge purchasing project is without flaws, but this group worked with us as we had some items reworked, rehung and corrected. Thanks Michael Woods for your support!
Spin Dance Offices with Tops
To create unique spaces, sometimes that means custom decorations. We have never been afraid to offer to get the custom decor made and installed in order to keep the design intact. Sometimes we can actually make it in our little shop and sometimes we can manage all the parts and pieces and assemble it.
Van Wingen and Mandeville in Traverse City, MI
Rockford Construction engaged us to design this pediatric dental office where they see 40 children an hour! Their lobby had to accommodate and engage kids from ages two and up. We had a vision to create an office that had three themes; water, land and sky. We wanted to “float” felt boats in the lobby to help with acoustics and everyone looked at us puzzled. “We will make ’em,” we said. And that led to us making a boat house and boat for the lobby.
The Millenia Companies in Cleveland, OH
One of their properties in Clinton Township had just been remodeled and they were looking for a group to come in and add wall art, occasional furniture and floor plants. They wanted the final step of decor to feel local. We said, “We can do that!” We researched images of the Detroit area and their local environs and came up with a package that they said “fit the bill”.
So how we provide a return on investment is based on our holistic approach to getting a design interior to be the best that it can be. And if we can do more than interiors, we are all in.
r.o.i. Design provides a return on your design investment and creates lasting customer experiences.
We are a creative team who leads the process of collaborative planning and design
Our methods and problem solving skills produce outcomes that are based on budget, brand and beauty.
A few years ago, when r.o.i. Design was in the midst of a large project, the construction project manager joked with us saying, “You should create t-shirts that say Trust Your Designer and maybe folks would relax and not try to second guess recommendations”. We all had a good chuckle, but we actually did print those t-shirts. We proudly wear our shirts, not to say we have all the answers, but that we might have some really good ones and ask to be heard.
Here are some comments from our 2014 customers that support the “Trust Your Designer” philosophy:
“I would have never thought to use so many colors in the office. I thought it would look kiddish or unprofessional, but it looks great and our customers love it.”
“We thought you guys were nuts when you asked us not to replace the carpet but seal the concrete instead. We didn’t want a cold environment or to look like we didn’t have enough money to carpet the place. Well, we had to take back our words when we saw the final product. It looks like amazing.”
“Stripes, not just stripes but yellow stripes! You had to convince us to let the painter paint one to show us. We were ready to kibosh the whole scheme and were second-guessing the rest of the paint colors after that. We hate to admit it, but it looks amazing! We almost had a heart attack in the process, but we have gotten so many compliments and our staff loves working in a youthful energetic place.”
“We really wanted a first class office and were ready to pay for it. We couldn’t believe you were telling us to spend less money. When you came to us with a budget that was 75% of what we wanted to spend, saying that it would be great, we had our doubts. We thought for sure that the actual costs were going to end up being closer to our original number and were getting annoyed at the delay of the start of the design process. Well, we did spend more than 75% of our first budget, but not by much and the style and look of our offices actually looks like we spent more than we did. We won’t say that we will never doubt you again, but the next time, we will be more willing to listen to your pre-design ideas than we were last time.”
“When we hired you, we told you we just wanted consulting on finishes and that the plan was set. We didn’t want to engage in any conversation about layout since we had been through several months of space planning. We believed we had the best possible plan. I remember when you came to a meeting with some tracing paper and a Sharpie pen. You said, “We have to show you something on the plan that we believe is a mistake”. Do you remember how upset we were? But you went on to demonstrate that we had eaten up space with hallways that weren’t needed and we ended up with a 2nd conference room and a facilities office that we sorely needed. We probably have told a dozen people about our experience with r.o.i. Design. We didn’t realize all your experience in so many areas of design and how you could offer us a return on investment if we let you.”
Providing a return on investment is our goal for all our customers. We want the fees that are paid us to be returned back to them with improved performance and customer satisfaction. r.o.i. Design has been in the business of helping our customers create environments that “work” for more than 20 years. It is our passion to partner with them in creating positive change.
“Awwh… do we have to talk about the budget?”
Probably the most difficult thing for a recently graduated design student entering the workforce is the perceived limitation that a budget has on their design. And it isn’t always just the young professional, sometimes the customer is deflated that initial planning has to start with a discussion on budgets. “We don’t want to limit your creativity” is the cry, “Can’t we just let you design and then price it all out?”
The answer is “of course”, but we caution that redesign also creates more design fees and in some cases an extended schedule. And always some disappointment.
So what is the r.o.i. Design solution to managing budget and creative expectations? We focus on the customer:
- Overall, we are open and flexible about product selections, knowing that the budget isn’t completely known on start and change will be needed.
- No design should be dependent on any one element; everything is replaceable.
- We also remind ourselves continually that the perception of quality is a standard the customer sets, not the designer.
- We are happy when our customer is happy.
Then we practice at least six budget disciplines when designing. They are: (more…)
The business world for designers is constantly changing. We have to do more for our customers with less. We have to continue to find new ways to bring value to our clients. If they read in the Wall Street Journal that designers offer new opportunities for corporations because we have been trained to problem solve, then we better “problem solve”. If their brother-in-law got a great deal on furniture through a designer, then we better be ready to do the same. If they are connected constantly to their smart-phone, we better be technically “smart”.
r.o.i. Design is first a consultative design firm making revenue by charging fees for interior design, graphic design, planning and programming. But over the years, we have taken on seasonal products or services with the goal of giving our clients enhanced services; we have offered to decorate for the holidays, organize closets, design custom furniture, select art, create schedules and manage projects.
Today we have four projects that we are promoting in addition to our design services: (more…)
The gang who are connected with “The Hope of Design” often ask this question. What is our customer looking for? What do they really want from us?
Our list gets shorter every year so not listed by any importance or interest, here it goes, for 2011:
What do they really want from us?
To get a deal; find designer furniture & accessories at discount prices.
They don’t want to invest the time to figure out the formula for a project and don’t want it to be “wrong”. So they are willing to throw a few bucks our way.
They feel like they are creative, just don’t have all the tools, and want a designer to give them accessibility to resources so they can design it for themselves.