Tanna Edler didn’t study interior design or even begin her career as a designer. With a business degree and 15 years in corporate America, however, Edler decided to follow her interior design dream. Much has happened along the way, and the coronavirus crisis has proven to be yet another turning point in Edler’s design career.
Based in Seattle, WA, during the rise of Amazon, Edler suddenly found herself with the opportunity to design spaces for people settling in the area. “All of a sudden, I’m designing flats and condos with clients,” she says. It was a pivotal moment. Edler took some design classes and launched her design career as a solopreneur. That was 10 years ago. Edler says she’s grateful for her business background. “The business side of this is so key to being successful.”
Growing a Business
As Edler settled into that career, she opened two brick-and-mortar design studios in Seattle and was traveling extensively to work with clients. She has had quite the range of clients — from residential to commercial. “I wanted to make sure I diversified to a larger clientele so we made money. Between the brick-and-mortar lifestyle and traveling all the time to clients, we were going all the time,” she says. “We eventually shuttered the brick-and-mortar on the west side and headquartered out of our central location.”
At the start of 2020, Edler decided to improve process workflow and messaging. She redesigned and rebranded her website. And she hired a coach. “I needed someone really bold,” she says. The next step was a virtual staff, redesigning her processes and making her system easier to navigate, she says. She outsourced tasks she’d been doing. For example, Edler has a virtual CAD designer and social media manager now.
As coronavirus disrupted business as usual, being cloud-based helped Edler take the next step. “When COVID arrived, the demand was there, but I didn’t have the aptitude to travel and see clients in person,” she says. She created virtual design packages and shoppable rooms. “I don’t have to be present for the clients to take advantage of that.” Those virtual offerings now make up the bulk of her business. “Virtual has been added to my core,” she says. “The e-design piece has been huge.”