Misty Molloy is a strategic leader with an innate ability to see the big picture. In this episode, we delve into her work to facilitate a brand-new interior designer network that helps to establish and cross-promote professionals around the nation and help their respective businesses take off.
You can learn more about Misty and her business CoCreative Interiors at https://cocreativeinteriors.com/
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Hello everyone and welcome back to Digital Wave Writers. I'm your host Brandon Casciano and this morning I am joined by founder and co-creative director of co-creative in, oh my goodness. Let me start that over again because I, all right, let's see here.
BC Babbles (00:22.564)
Okay. Hello everyone and welcome back to Digital Wavewriters. I'm your host Brandon Cassiano and this morning I am joined by founder and co-creative director of co-creative interiors, Ms. Malloy. How are you doing this morning, Ms. Malloy? I'm doing very well. Bit of a dreary day today, but it's Halloween. So I'm looking forward to tonight's festivities.
Good, thank you. How are you?
I have little ones we are excited to go out and just dress up. They're young enough now where they still like to dress up so it's still fun right now.
BC Babbles (00:57.436)
It may not go away when they get older, trust me, but I mean, the kids, yours are always fun.
BC Babbles (01:05.052)
So thank you for joining me this morning. I'm really excited to have you. So you are, as I just mentioned, the founder of Co-Creative Interiors. Now you come from a pretty stellar background from the corporate sector, where a lot of your background already involves facilitating different organizational aptitudes for businesses. So talk about how you're talk about your transition from that
particular side of the business industry into co-creative interiors.
So it's funny how you look back on your life and you see how there's a common thread that runs through everything you do. And I would say the common thread that I've always been interested in learning more about and figuring out how to incorporate that into every role I've ever held is setting expectations is ultimately what it boils down to. So how can we set expectations for our employees? How can we set expectations for organizations? How can we set expectations for customers?
And I think ultimately, when you set expectations, you are able to create an incredible experience for everybody involved. So we all need a measuring stick, right, to know whether or not we're doing our jobs well, to know whether or not we are delivering the service we promised we would deliver. And that ultimately boils down to communication. So I'm really big on communication. Design has always been a love of mine. And I decided to jump into my own business.
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really had never considered myself an entrepreneur growing up and kind of gotten bitten by the bug. I've had the opportunity to work with many talented entrepreneurs, one in particular who encouraged me into my own path and design was just the thing that ended up catching my attention. So once I hopped into design, it's funny, people will say, oh, your job must be so much fun. And yes, it is fun, but I would also argue that it's about
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20% design and 80% people in project management. And it's a complicated industry, I think overly complicated, just between how do you price and how do you source for product and how do you package all of that for your customer? So I set out to figure out how to deliver an exceptional experience for my clients and also quite honestly, just to have an exceptional experience for myself. It kind of got to that point where if I couldn't figure it out,
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I didn't want to keep doing it because it just wasn't fun. So that's how I ended up here.
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And so talk about from that point of view, the kind of the importance of having these kind of back, not backlogged, not backlogged systems, but having systems in place behind the scenes because I think a lot of times people think of entrepreneurship and starting a business, they think of the front end, making the sales, acquiring clients, and just having things move, but there's so much background development and organization that needs to happen. So talk about how
you approached making sure you had kind of all these systems in place to help this machine of yours work.
My philosophy is that you should answer questions before they're asked. So obviously you can't do that for every question that comes up, but to try to anticipate what you're going to need to be able to do your job well and to deliver the service well. And then also to anticipate the questions your customers and clients are going to have. Because I think if you can anticipate those questions, you can build out a system that supports that model overall. If you can answer those questions, everything else stems.
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from those answers. So for example, one of the first things I developed was a complete system of communication, mainly in the way of emails, but it includes supplemental documents and things like that too, so that they know what's happening from the minute that they come through my initial contact form all the way through the off-boarding phase where I request a review and give them a packet that helps sum up everything we've done over the past.
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six months, a year, sometimes that we work together. And then once you have that information, then you can go in and try to figure out, well, how do we automate everything to streamline behind the scenes, which again, makes everybody's experience better. I think the other thing that is key for this mindset as well is once you can figure out exactly what you're offering and how you want to offer it, your client and the ideal avatar becomes
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very clear because you know exactly what problem you're solving and that translates into marketing. So it kind of is the foundation for everything else that you put into place.
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Now, what I find, one of the things I find really incredible about your business and aside from its vibrancy, aside from what you offer, aside from how you like to engage people, is that we live in this digital age, which is fast moving. And one of the big elements that everyone kind of heavily pushes for newer and even more established businesses that have been around for a long time, is that everyone needs to have the central digital focus.
AKA the website, which should be the central hub. Everyone ultimately finds their way to it to learn about the business, all the things that make it work in Twitch. But with co-creative interiors, you don't have that. But there is this flow and there's this level of activity that I think people usually wouldn't expect to happen without one. You're thriving in this digital sphere without that central hub.
So I would love to learn about your initial approach when it came to engaging the digital landscape and when and if and when you ever approach the question of should I do a website for Co-Creative Interiors or, and from there, how you chose to, let me try to give you that question over again. Because I had a really way too long lead up to that. Yeah.
So, and just for hopping in here too, I do have a website. I don't have a co-creative collective website yet, but I do have a co-creative interiors website.
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if that's helpful information.
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Okay, is that the, I'm so sorry, is that the tap link?
It should be on the top link.
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got buried because co-creative collective has been the forefront right now. It does not have a website, which is also a very interesting difference. So I can talk a little bit about that if you'd like, because I went straight out of the gate with the website, spent $10,000 on website development, copyright and development for co-creative interiors. And then I'm taking a completely different approach with co-creative collective and I don't have a website yet. And that's intentional. So I can talk about why I'm doing that, if that would be helpful or an interesting topic.
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Yes, yes. So I'm going to like explain the whole shebang that I just gave out. Yeah, I'm sorry. For some reason I saw the tap link and I thought, oh, it's like a link tree, which is, so I thought differently. Okay, so.
BC Babbles (08:46.012)
Yeah, we'll tackle both of those. Okay, sorry about that. All right, so.
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So, Co-Creative Interiors, which anyone can find at co-creativeinteriors.com, you've got this beautifully vibrant platform, which in today's mainstay of a digital, fast-moving landscape is kind of argued as the main essential push for businesses. Talk about your approach to the platform. What were the important elements that you wanted to make sure were evident when it came to building this website for yourself?
When I started Creative Interiors, one of the first assets I focused on developing was my website. And it's interesting, I think a lot of the reason I wanted to develop the website is for credibility. You know, as a new designer in the field, I wanted to be able to show that I knew what I was talking about and establish that credibility for myself. But creating the website itself was an interesting exercise to force me to develop my own voice and my own brand.
different theories on when should you launch a website, how should you launch a website, that type of thing. I just went straight for it when I started. I have another business, well, an arm of my business, I should say, called Co-Creative Collective, and I'm not immediately jumping on the website, basically based on all of the experience I had when I first launched Co-Creative Interiors. So with Co-Creative Interiors specifically, when I...
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When I launched that website, it was a way for me to create one central hub where I could not only draw customers to work potential customers as well to the website and to my services, but also a way for me to showcase the work and the different services that we offer. Co-creative Interiors is a little bit different from what I would consider standard full service design.
BC Babbles (10:37.376)
service design experience, but in a very collaborative way. So clients are involved with the process from day one, and they not only are involved in the design aspect, but they're also involved in some of the ordering, the pieces of furniture and things like that. And then we finish it up at the end with a very full service experience with doing the styling and the reveal and all the fun parts that you think of when people think of design and HGTV. So being able to say,
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This is why you should work with us. It's not just because we have beautiful designs and we have a pretty aesthetic. It's also because of the process that we offer. And we wanna be very clear about what that process is from day one, because if you're not a real client, we need you to know that upfront. Which I also think it's so interesting the number of people who contact me now and have no idea who we are. Never visited the website, have no idea how we do. But at that point in time, it was really helpful for me.
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to be able to point people in that direction and say, you wanna learn more about how we work, here's where you can do that. It's just evolved over time.
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And then of course we know that website development is a process. It's a sometimes lengthy. Um, and there are several aspects that we try to approach when making this central hub that we will treat as the main thoroughfare for our business and for inquiries. So for you and working with the team that you did, what were the elements that you found were the most important in trying to make sure that this platform
came out to represent co-creative interiors the way that you needed it to.
God bless the people who helped me put my website together initially. I think it was challenging because I was developing my brand as I was developing my website. And that can be, I think, a really hard thing where you have to sit down and say, well, going back to what I mentioned at the very beginning of our time together, knowing who it is you serve and how you serve them is central to being able to develop a website because obviously that has to capture that information succinctly too. That's something I struggle with is.
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I have all these things that I want to say. And how do you say it quickly enough with enough attention grabbing information to be able to get people to stay on your website. So that was a big part of that process was having them help me work through. What do they actually need to know? What information do we need to share with them to initially grab them and pull them into the website and then secondarily the information that they need to be able to make decision when they start to go down those digital rabbit holes of.
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start one place and then it leads them to a question which leads them to another place and eventually building out this web of information that makes it very obvious that you know what you're talking about, but then also get the point. I'm a big believer in oversharing. Like it's just, I think you should give away as much as you can and then it all comes back to you as well. So sometimes what I find is people get so immersed into all the information, they're like, you know what? I'm just gonna call her.
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do this for me because there's too much information on here for me to digest. If they want it there and they can digest it, but if not, it's easy for them to find where they need to go to get the information as well.
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And in further expansion on being active digitally with your community, you previously mentioned Co-Creative Collective. And you're actually just on the heels of your first virtual summit that you held this past Friday on the 27th. So talk a little bit about that and what you learned from that first virtual summit experience and what kind of plans you have for future iterations.
And so as a bit of a background, Co-Creative Collective has been developed to support designers who are looking for a plug and play solution for their design business. So I say it's for designers who love design, but don't love business. Having started out over four years ago and going through this iterative process, starting with my website all the way through determining the best way to deliver the services has been long and challenging.
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So everything from proposals to contracts to how do you express what you do and how you do it. And so to essentially bring together a community of designers who all work off the same model and a bit of a business in a box where I say here's exactly how you do everything that you need to do to follow this specific interior design model. And that's really kind of where the genesis of the whole thing. So
Our first digital event was a virtual summit called turning red flag clients into raving fans. It's all about getting expectations. So red flag is a very common term that you'll hear in the interior design industry, where if someone isn't doing things the way you want them to, a client isn't on board with how you're doing things. They're a red flag client. I'm like, well, if you have a red flag client, I'm guessing it's actually more your fault than theirs because
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You didn't set expectations, right? So if they know what to expect, then you can either say, this really is a Red Flag client and we need to not work together. Or this seems like a Red Flag client, but they're not, they're just asking questions that are good questions to ask before engaging services with someone. So it was really great. I think one of the things I loved most about the virtual summit was it was,
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delivered by three different entrepreneurial women who have all been pivotal in helping me build my own business. So we took this idea of setting expectations and broke it down into three different segments of proposals, pricing, and proactivity. Got a little alliteration. So this idea of proposals, right? Setting those expectations. You know exactly what you're delivering to your client. If you know what you're delivering, you should be able to price your services accordingly.
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once you have those two things in place, you have to communicate. So, for the proactively communicating, answering those questions before their ask comes into play. So, I loved being able to bring these phenomenal women with different backgrounds and perspectives, not really any of them in the interior design industry either, but the information that they shared was so valuable and the perspectives that they brought to the table was phenomenal as well. We brought in a lot of...
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facilitated a lot of discussion. What would I do differently next time? I would market the heck out of it more and just push it. I'm a big networker. I love networking. It's hard for me to put myself out in the digital space just because it's not something I enjoy doing really. But I've learned that if you want something and I truly believe in Code Creative Collective and if you really want something, you gotta figure out how to get the message out because otherwise it doesn't matter.
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I don't know if I can make it.
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So from here, after taking in that first experience with the summit, do you already have plans for like a future frequency of iterations of co-creative collective, or what does that outlook look like for you?
I think that's an interesting question. One of the things that I'm really focusing on doing right now is figuring out how to maximize the summit that we've already had. So breaking out the videos, turning it into a mini course that we can use perhaps as a lead magnet or something of that sort for people who are interested in co-creative collective. So I think that's something that entrepreneurs in particular need to focus on doing is maximizing what you've already done because there are so many different things you can do to be able to
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10X what you've already done, right? So even taking that information and putting it on your website, for example.
I think the part that was most challenging for me and why I wanted it to be a success was yes, because I want to grow a co-creative collective, but I really wanted it to also be successful for the women who donated their time to be there for the summit. So something I'm gonna have to work through is how can I continue with the same vein and provide the same amount of value for future summits without necessarily having to tie up other people's time.
BC Babbles (18:59.072)
while doing that. So that's the biggest thing I think that I have to consider. But in terms of having future summits or webinars or something along those lines, I think that it's a pivotal way to bring in people to any business because they get the opportunity to see the business owner face to face.
BC Babbles (19:32.14)
Now, if you were to come across any entrepreneur in a similar avenue of yourself who is wanting to build kind of a central hub for their business, but also find ways to balance building up an extended community from that business, what would your four thoughts be in suggestions on how they should approach that particular endeavor?
using things outside of the website.
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Yeah, so with you, you've got the central hub for co-creative interiors, but you're also building this incredible kind of community out with the collective. And so balancing out, making sure everyone has that kind of main thoroughfare, like we said before, for the business, but also maintaining the building of this extended aspect of the business, which is the collective. And someone who came across you and who had a similar ambition in mind.
what would you give them as like your key points? Like keep these things in mind so that you don't hit too many obstacles or that you at least know how to go around your obstacles in the future.
I would say that you have to keep in mind that it's an iterative process. And to go in from the beginning with a streamlined approach as much of a streamlined approach as you can and not overthink it. And then once you've gotten to the point of having a product that you can deliver or somehow package to use that as your starting point. So this is where the difference is coming in from co-creative interiors and co-creative collective and how I'm built.
two out. So I right now have a PDF file. That's it really that breaks down co-creative collective, what it is, what it offers. Very robust in terms of what the information provides, but it's a PDF that I created myself in Canva. Once I've had the opportunity to test out this information and network with people,
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start talking to people who are interested in the program, then I can continue to refine what it is I'm offering, how it is I'm offering it and how I'm talking about it. And then using that information to take the next step, which would be for me to create a very basic landing page with that information to continue testing. And then after I fully refine that information, then going to a web provider who can help me.
build out what I've already created in essence, almost like a wire frame to say, this is what we need to deliver in a website. So it's previously where I was very heavily dependent on my website creator to help me with that iterative process. Now I'm going the opposite approach and I want to be prepared to be able to have that conversation with my web designer. So when I go in, I can say, this is the exact message. This is what we're offering. Help me figure out.
BC Babbles (22:13.257)
how to translate this information into the best way to add this to a website. You know, it's a different form of medium. Everything needs to be shared differently based on the medium that you're using. So yeah, tailor it for the website now. Iterate, iterate, iterate is I think the key point there. Start simple and then go from there.
BC Babbles (22:51.956)
Beautiful. Now for anyone who hasn't yet to come across your platform and might learn about you through this episode, how many spots can they find you to get like little insights on who you are, what you do, and why should they, why they should consider hopping onto your community?
You can find me on co-creativeinteriors.com. You can also find me on co-creativeinteriors on Instagram, so just at co-creativeinteriors. And Facebook is at co-creativeinteriors as well.
BC Babbles (23:23.124)
All right, well thank you so much for joining me this morning, I really appreciate it, and I hope you have a great day. I'm gonna stop the recording, it needs like.
Likewise, thank you.