Even in the midst of a pandemic and probably the worst economic downturn in modern history, startup business activity shot up in the United States. Business startups increased from 3.5 million in 2019 to 4.4 million in 2020, a 24% increase.
If you are keen on jumping on the wave and you have a passion for transforming homes using creative decorating, then a home decor business may be right for you. While interior designers have to be certified, decorators can set up their businesses on their own without the need for certification.
On matters to do with starting a home decor business, you’ll most likely find yourself at a point where you have to make major decisions.
For instance, you might be asking yourself:
- What do I need to do to establish my business?
- How do I come with a business plan?
- How do I market my business
- …and so much more.
In this piece, we will take you through all the steps from the inception of the idea all the way to running your business. Let’s dive right in!
Is a Home Decor Business Suited For You?
There are many aspects to look at when setting up a home decor business. Let’s take a quick look at the major pros and cons:
Perks of starting a home decor business
1. Can start from home
You are not restricted to having a physical office space or storefront so as to kickstart your business. You can get everything accomplished exclusively from your home, at least in the initial stages.
2. Is rewarding
Setting up a home decor business is usually rewarding work. Most of all, you are getting to solve issues that plague your customers while putting your time and effort into something that is dear to you.
3. Rapid build time
The normal time you take to set up your product is quick- normally around nine months. This will enable you to have a product in the market faster.
4. Amazing benefits and discounts
Being a player in the home decor business is accompanied by multiple benefits. As a seller of these services or products, you usually also get to leverage industry benefits and discounts.
5. Being your own boss
When establishing a home decor business, you are responsible for making all the decisions for pretty much all of the operations. Getting to make these decisions can be both empowering and freeing.
6. Locations are crucial
When managing a physical storefront, its location is a beacon and acts as its own marketing tool. For this reason, it’s paramount that you pick a location that is in a high-traffic area. This will in turn spark curiosity and have people coming through the door.
7. Multiple places to sell your product
There are diverse markets to sell your services or products. This in turn helps you get to different audiences as well as revenue streams.
Starting your own home decor business enables you to have control over every matter of your life such as making your personal dreams come true each day.
9. You get to do something you love
By starting a home decor business, you get to use your energy on something that you are honestly passionate about. You’ll find it easy to devote your time and energy to the business so as to make it successful.
10. Inspire others
The success of your business will encourage and inspire others, and in itself, will be very fulfilling.
11. Low maintenance clients
In this niche, customers are often low maintenance and appreciative. This will pay dividends in low-stress levels and enable you to direct your effort towards growing your business.
Cons of setting a home decor business
1. Crowded marketplace
Competition is cutthroat when it comes to setting up a home decor business. As such, it’s crucial that you take your time to study the market and establish where the demand lies.
2. Getting the right supplier
Most businesses in this niche take the supplier/manufacturer route. This is not a bad thing, but getting the right supplier will take up a lot of your time and energy.
When done right, this process could take months (if not years) of your time and energy.
3. Niche market
Getting into a niche business shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, it could lead to your success. On the other hand, it can be further challenging and cumbersome to determine the right target audience and niche market.
4. High overhead expenses
With starting this business, there are usually overhead expenses that are associated with selling a tangible product. Before you start, ensure that you strategically budget to meet these overhead costs.
5. Repetitive work
You might come to the realization that making the same product continuously is repetitive and tiresome. One way of steering clear of this is diversifying your product lines as well as revenue streams. This will ensure things are interesting.
6. Time commitment
When you are initially starting a home decor business, you are responsible for all the decisions and responsibilities. Although we saw this as a positive thing, at times, work-life can take over. This in turn places a strain on family and friends and piles on the pressure of starting a new business.
7. Be ready to leave your comfort zone
While this may be exciting to some entrepreneurs, it can be a huge setback for others. You might find yourself between a rock and a hard place in terms of social as well as business situations.
Also, you might have to take up tasks and responsibilities that you are not conversant with, and also have to push yourself all the way.
8. Financial struggles
If you decide to bootstrap your business or choose not to take a salary (or take less than you were earning at your corporate job), it will end up being financially taxing.
It is crucial that you tweak your lifestyle and devise a plan for yourself to avoid ending up in a stressful situation.
9. Work may not always be thrilling
While in the initial stages of setting up your home decor business, you may have to get your hands dirty. Though it may seem thrilling from the outside to set up this business, the work needed may demand much physical activity and repetition.
Starting a Home Decor Business
Now, let us see how to start a home decor business step by step.
Step-1: Start with a plan
The first step to starting a home decor business is writing a business plan. Establish whether you’ll become a product-driven designer who brings to life the design and sells needed products to the client, or just a consultant who doesn’t sell products.
Designers with little experience often start off as product-driven designers.
Additionally, a business plan will establish what the overall structure of your business will look like, and what you want to achieve in the future.
For most entrepreneurs, coming up with a business plan helps to invalidate their idea and helps them determine whether or not they should go on and start the business.
When coming up with a business plan, here are some of the sections that you want to expand on:
- Executive Summary: This is a brief outline of your service or product, the market as well as growth opportunities.
- Overviews and Objectives: This is an overview of your enterprise, your target customers and what you require to run the business.
- Products and Services: Details on the products and services that your enterprise will provide.
- Market Opportunities: This is an analysis of your customer demographics, buyer traits and if there’s demand for your product.
- Marketing: State your marketing plan and how you intend to differentiate your business from other businesses.
- Competitive analysis: This is an analysis of your competition, their strengths and weaknesses
- Operations: This is a hierarchical structure of the business and what will be needed to run the business every day
- Leadership team: This section details the roles and responsibilities of every manager in regard to their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis: This section comprises all the expenses, operating budgets, and estimates for the future
Step-2: Study the competition
Before you get into the business, research other home decor businesses in your area to see what they major in, how much they demand in fees, and an idea of their designs.
Determine how you can be unique from the other home decor businesses by presenting a unique style of design by concentrating on specific types of design, giving lower prices, or by falling into a niche such as window treatments.
Step-3: Curate a list of what you need to start off
Come up with a list of equipment that you will need so as to start off and figure out the amount of capital that you need.
Step-4: Licenses and registration
Get a business license by heading to your local city hall or the county clerk’s office to fill the application form. You can also do it online if it is an available pick in your jurisdiction.
If you plan on employing others, delegate to a builder or seek credit in the business’ name rather than yours, you’ll also need to seek an Employer Identification Number or EIN through the Internal Revenue Services.
Step-5: Get industry contacts
You’ll require to connect with suppliers. Carry out research on companies that manufacture flooring, carpet, fabrics, furniture, and wall coverings, or distributors that cover multiple lines.
Interior decorators are able to get discounts of even up to 50% from some manufacturers. As such, look around to know where you can get the most ideal deals. You can in turn pass savings to your clients.
Furthermore, contact carpenters and painters to know their rates for designers. You’ll need them sometimes in your line of work, plus they can also be sources of leads for you.
Step-6: Get ready to launch
Start off by getting basic office necessities, such as a PC, word processing software, and telephone. You might also want to go for specialized design software. It will enable you to present designs that are professional-looking to your clients.
You’ll need wallpaper, carpet, and paint samples from the suppliers you’ve picked to deal with. Steer clear of fabric and wallpaper companies that require you to buy samples every month.
Step-7: Build a portfolio
Even your initial clients will want proof of work or your portfolio. As such, start off by working on your home and documenting the process using before and after pictures of the changes.
You can also volunteer to redecorate for family and friends, leveraging the widest applicable range of styles and techniques, and document these projects as you work.
Choose about 20 pictures that you believe represent your work and compile them in a physical or virtual album. Include letters of recommendation from the people’s homes you’ve worked on.
Step-8: Promote your business
Promoting your business, once you’ve set up shop can be one of the hardest parts of the process. Mingle with other professionals such as real estate agents, architects, or home furnishing businesses who may give you business leads or referrals.
Furthermore, list your business in the local phone book and in print or online versions of local publications and newspapers.
Come up with a website or a business Facebook page, and upload pictures from your portfolio. Use Instagram and Twitter to showcase before and after shots of your work, or of work in progress, to spark interest.
Set up a local Google My Business Page. You can register in relation to your city, say, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Texas.
Print business cards and brochures to give out to potential clients, and ensure you carry your portfolio with you when you are going to see interested individuals or leads.
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- 15 Business Ideas That Can Help You Earn While Traveling
Home decor businesses are a great outlet for a person’s passion for interior design and decoration. As such, if you fancy delving into this niche, the above steps should direct you in the right direction. Be intentional in building a portfolio as clients are greatly interested in what you have done. Furthermore, ensure you carry out research before starting your business to avoid costly mistakes along the way.
Bijay is an entrepreneur and start-up founder having more than 14 years of IT industry experience. He is the co-founder of TSInfo Technologies, a SharePoint development company.
A dedicated professional and very passionate about public speaking and also wrote thousands of technical blogs in various technologies. He also wrote a lots of blogs on entrepreneurship, investment, startup, business, manage money tips, etc.