Tips & Insights

Grow Your Network, Grow Your Business

The right referral partners are the foundation of a rising design business, by Vicky Serany, Southern Studio

The interior design business is all about relationships. As I’ve watched my firm grow, one key element to our success has been our referral partners. Nurturing these relationships takes time and effort, but it is certainly a wonderful way to not just grow our business, but also to maintain it, year in and year out.

Our business is not like other industries. Our clients don’t continue to buy our services in an ongoing manner, year after year, creating an automatic source of constant and repeat revenue. As designers, our projects have a start and an end. This is why your pipeline of repeat referrals is so important, and why we’ve come to look upon these referrals as critical to our company’s financial health and wellbeing.

“We make the assumption that we have happy clients, and they will refer us.”

Here at Southern Studio, when we talk about our Referral Partners we mean all those people with whom we work closely. From our luxury custom builders, to our architects, to real estate teams and our clients, too, these are the people we’ve worked hard to cultivate relationships with for many, many years.

Luxury Custom Builders

Having builders we’ve worked with for so long has allowed us to learn about their processes and their vendors. This enables us to make their construction process more efficient. We bend over backwards to make their job easier. It’s not rocket science, but it is the science of smart business practices.

Real Estate Teams

Aligning with the right real estate teams has generated multiple repeat referrals for Southern Studio. We strive to provide extra services that help realtors close the deal. We offer to preview homes with their clients for renovation advice, and they’ll also call us in to provide a vision for the home, when the potential homeowner has none. Or, in the case of a remodel, we’ll help them estimate the budget. Being available when help is needed ensures a quality referral when the time is right.


We’ve seen our business grow by working closely with architects; this is especially true for us because our ideal is the high-end, luxury client. Partnering with architects who share the same ideal client has been a win-win; we both appreciate the collaboration, and our greatest successes have come when the architect/designer team has been open to the creative process.

By nurturing these relationships, we’ve seen that repeat referrals are almost always guaranteed. At the end of the day, I believe that what’s most important is not the homes themselves, though we love designing beautiful and functional homes, but rather the people who will happily live in those homes. Getting them there is all about great relationships with our referral partners.

For more of Vicky’s insights into how to grow your design business, join us for the Interior Design Summit at Fall 2017 High Point Market. During the Shared Brilliance session, 2:30-3:30pm on Friday, October 13, she and five other successful design firm owners will share their inspirations and best practices, as part of a full one-day program of CEU-accredited seminars, followed by a three-day curated Market experience.

About Vicky Serany

An Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Vicky is Founder and Principal of Southern Studio. Using fresh combinations of texture, pattern, and color to create luxury interiors that meet the needs of each client, her work in residential design and new home construction has earned local and national awards.

Sponsored By:
Lexington Home Brands, High Point Market, French Heritage, Stanford Furniture, Theodore Alexander, Woodard, Currey & Company, E. by Design, IM Centers, Julian Chichester, KMM Consulting, Mr. Brown, Nourison, Picture Source Somerset, Stemper & Associates, Studio M, Steelyard Designer’s Lounge, The Chaise Lounge, The Media Matters, Inc, Universal To The Trade, Weather or Not, Verellen