Where Are They Now? Follow Up with Design Your Monday! Founder Jennifer Gaggion
Innovation Destination Hartford met with Design Your Monday! LLC Owner Jennifer Gaggion in December 2017 (read the interview: Entrepreneurial Center Cultivates Startup Interior Design Company).
Launched in 2014, the woman-owned startup provides unique commercial interior design by integrating a business’ brand and culture with office aesthetics. IDH Website Curator Nan Price caught up with Jennifer, who shared updates about her entrepreneurial journey.
NAN PRICE: When IDH featured your story in December 2017, you said, “I am always working to develop a positive brand reputation.” How’s that going for you?
JENNIFER GAGGION: It’s been going well! I’ve been doing a lot of networking and using social media. I created The Social Blueprint for brand awareness. It uses social media to allow people to vote on specific styles, like a kitchen cabinet or sink fixture. The goal is to get communities we’re building in engaged online and a give them chance to get to know who we are.
NAN: Do you focus on a specific industry?
JENNIFER: Yes. One focus is commercial real estate groups. I partner with commercial brokers because I can be a resource as they’re presenting properties, particularly if they’re trying to get a client to envision a space or determine if their existing furnishings will fit on a new space. Helping clients visualize space can help brokers close the deal.
Another focus is manufacturing. Workspace has a tremendous influence on culture and employees’ overall perception of the business. It can also be detrimental to recruiting new talent. I help manufacturers create environments that will appeal to the profile they’re trying to attract. Also, manufacturers sometimes want to make the most of their space. I can help them maximize their profit-driving real estate versus their office/administrative space.
NAN: Your startup is going into its fifth year. What have you learned on your entrepreneurial journey? Anything you would have done differently?
JENNIFER: With each client you work for you learn more things about your business and your process. The first two years were a constant evolution and confirmation of what is and isn’t working.
I’ve learned there is value in building your voice and your brand. And I’ve learned to market to your buyer personas. When you truly understand what your client wants you can more specifically communicate your value to them.
I’ve also learned how to incorporate my 20 years of business experience into my design offerings. Focusing on the value of project management I bring to my clients has been a big turning point. I view design as a strategic component of your business strategy. As a project manager, I bring value to my clients by acting as a strategist for their business; representing them as the property owner and thinking about their bottom line, not just choosing the floor plan.
NAN: Let’s talk about your involvement with other local businesses. Are you still involved with the Entrepreneurial Center/Women’s Business Roundtable?
JENNIFER: Yes, I still get value from the Women’s Business Roundtable at the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center, which is where you and I met. I’ve also been networking in smaller circles. For example, I’ve become involved in the Connecticut Manufacturers Resource Group (CTmrg), which hosted the Manufacturers Only Workforce Summit in conjunction with the Hartford Business Journal on June 12. It was a great event for me to attend as a panelist to share with business owners the impact workplace design has on their bottom line.
Learn more about Design Your Monday!