The owners of House Meraki, an interior design firm in Denver, believe in making every space feel like home. They help clients through the often overwhelming process of renovating or keeping a home organized, whether it’s a full home remodel or a virtual consultation for apartments of all shapes and sizes. “We should all feel like our homes should be revitalizing us, not draining us,” House Meraki co-owner Adriele said.
At first, Yelp reviewer Jéssica N. was surprised to learn that hiring expert help didn’t have to be out-of-budget for her small, Washington D.C. apartment. She’d just moved into a home with roommates and was looking to maximize space in her bedroom. Thankfully, after receiving Jéssica’s inquiry over email, Adriele stepped in and provided a whole portfolio of options—including recommendations on affordable furniture.
“After sending the measurements in my bedroom to Adriele, she was able to create a custom model with four different layout options,” Jéssica wrote in her review. “I was so amazed at the variety of layouts I could work with. And after trying a couple of layouts, I chose one that really maximized my space. My roommates were also so impressed with how my room turned out.”
Interior design often excludes customers without the budget for tile, furniture, and other expensive design elements. Adriele and her business partner Elizabeth want to make home design accessible to all—and going virtual gave them the perfect opportunity. They regularly present or consult with clients across the country over Zoom.
“We’ve always wanted to have a package that is beneficial to anybody with smaller budgets, not really sure how much they want to do, or dipping their toes into the water of the interior design world for the first time,” Adriele said. “We have a package that’s called ‘designer for a day,’ where we come out and spend a day with a client in their home or shopping. Sometimes people are doing renovations themselves and they really just want a final look to make sure they’re doing things right.”
House Meraki is happy to provide that final—or early—look. Unlike some interior designers with a distinct style, Elizabeth and Adriele focus on drawing out the client’s existing taste and desires. Being a client-driven firm means they design a space for the customer, not for any kind of recognition or accolades. Elizabeth said: “This is a space that our client is going to live in. It’s what they’re paying for. It’s theirs, so we want to design it for them.”
Of course, sometimes the process doesn’t go as smoothly as the customer or owners planned. And even with House Meraki’s client-first customer service and successful pivot to virtual technology, it is not immune to the occasional 1-star review.
Elizabeth and Adriele recall a time they overbooked themselves and had poor call reception at a job site. By the time they got in touch with the potential client, she had already left a negative review.
It taught them a valuable lesson. “If there is something that’s kind of felt like a hiccup or would have made the experience better, we want to make those changes,” Adriele said. Now, the duo gives clients exit questionnaires to gather feedback to improve their process and systems and make it even more enjoyable.
Already, Elizabeth and Adriele’s flexible and affordable service made a repeat customer out of Jéssica. When she moved to Denver—home of House Meraki—she sought out their services yet again in her new apartment. More importantly, she became an advocate for the firm to her neighbors. “Everyone who’s living here recently moved in, like in the past two months,” she said. “So I was like, you need to send me information, so I could share with my building.”
That’s how small businesses grow. And these used by House Meraki can be executed by any new expanding business:
- Always be thinking of your client first. House Meraki employs a “client-driven-design” strategy, which allows them to utilize their expertise while making it personalized for each customer.
- Don’t ditch virtual technology completely. Going virtual has major benefits. For House Meraki, the pandemic accelerated virtual consultations, allowing them to expand their services nationwide and work with clients when allowed around their busy schedules.
- Use reviews to learn and grow your business. They provide real insights into your service and can become an opportunity to improve the quality of your product or service.
These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Elizabeth, Adriele, and Jéssica, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.
We're sorry you didn't find this post valuable.
How could we improve it?
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.