When you run your own business, every choice you make needs to be a reflection of your brand. This seems like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many startups and independent business owners seem to think that “everything” is limited to marketing and promotional efforts.
You’ve probably run into this yourself. The hip new store with the amazing marketing campaign but whose actual shop is dirty and has a funky smell. The new “IT” tech wizard who projects the air of someone who is running a wildly successful conglomerate but whose business address is his own house. The man who builds a multinational company but never speaks to the press because he refuses to brush his hair or get a suit made after 1974.
While sometimes it’s okay to “fake it ‘till you make it,” not every industry offers this cloak of authority. For example, if you want to start up your own personal styling business, you probably shouldn’t run it out of your kitchen–at least not any longer than you absolutely have to. If you’re starting your own salon and trying to attract the millennial crowd, you don’t want to fill your windows with glamour shots from the 80s and 90s.
So…what should you do? How do you create a space that is as reflective of your brand as your marketing campaign suggests? Here are some tips:
Start With Your Walls
So many companies keep their walls blank or hang up a framed print of a famous painting and call the job done. If you want to convince your clients and customers that you are hip and trendy, your space cannot look like a generic office from the last millennium. Experiment with color (we’ll talk more about this in a second). Order some custom wall murals to help add character. Remember: blank is bad.
Yes, color psychology is a real thing. If you work within the style industry, you likely already know this. It is important to understand, however, that color psychology works differently when designing an environment than it does when designing a person’s look or style. For example, bright red is great for an outfit or a lipstick choice. If you paint your office bright red, however, you will be doing yourself a disservice. Think about the mood you want your space to encourage. Choose a color palate that will encourage those feelings and emotions.
The type of lighting you use is going to depend largely upon the type of business you’re running. If you’re running a salon, for example, you’ll want bright lights that help you see what you’re doing, but your individual stations should also feature some flattering lighting for the person you’re working on. After all, nobody looks great under fluorescent lighting!
If you’re a personal stylist, however, you’ll have more freedom with your office lighting. Ditch the overheads and use flattering and soft light instead. Softer lighting helps the space feel cozy, which will help put your clients at ease and encourage them to trust you.
Depending on the type of business you’re running, some furniture is going to be standard and non-negotiable. For example, if you are running a consultancy, your employees will need desks. If you’re opening up a salon, you’ll need station desks and chairs that can be easily elevated.
There is, however, some “wiggle room” here. For example, yes, your employees need desks, but instead of the boring standard issue metal contraption most office spaces use, consider outfitting the space with adjustable desks so that people can stand up. Let your individual stylists decorate their individual spaces however they like.
Using the Space
It is customary to line up stylish desks in rows facing either the wall or bumped up against each other. If your shop is small or is just you and a partner, you can play around more with angles and corners. You might even put up a spatial divider so that you each have a clearly separate space for yourselves and your clients.
If you’re running an office, the open office plan has been the trend for the last few years. While it is true that this helps you look like you’re keeping up with the current styles, it is also worth noting that many employees report that open office plans have a negative impact on their productivity. While nobody likes the idea of a cube farm, it might be worth looking into methods you can use to decoratively break up an open office plan.
There are a lot of different details to consider when designing your space. Hopefully, these tips can help you create the atmosphere you want for yourself, your employees and your clients!