Check out these samples of my work for a small furniture store in Baltimore, Maryland! As a Jill-of-all-trades, I unloaded and built furniture, made floor sales, met with clients in their homes, and updated the online store and social media accounts. From April 2017 until January 2018, their Instagram followers increased by 40%, and we were even invited to the WBALTV station to discuss interior design for the holidays live on air.
From bathroom humor to cultural movements and femme-powerment, Nouveau’s brand reflects its setting in what is known as the Gayborhood of Mt. Vernon, Baltimore City, as well as the owners’ affinity for antiques, mid-century furniture, and design with personality.
^Just part of a little bedroom scene I created on the floor, hon.
When I first arrived at Nouveau, their social media presence had lagged a bit, and the quality of some of their photos were not quite as eye-catching as the pieces on the floor or in their clients’ homes. After researching some other interior design accounts, I began taking sharper, more exciting photos, and pairing them with concise, on-brand captions. Whenever possible, I tagged or mentioned other local businesses nearby, in the spirit of supporting small Baltimore business. My hope was that county folks or out-of-towners would be drawn to our little shop in the city-of-neighborhoods, known for its quirky charm and entertaining locals.
Every time a new truck arrived at the store, we’d unload each piece, mark it for customers or the floor, and build it. That included sofas, artwork, dining tables and chairs, desks and dressers. As I twisted allen wrenches and tried to fit the pieces into a vignette with accent lamps, statuettes, or striking books, I began forming a mental narrative: to whom would this object speak? What would they look like, and how would their partner/family react when they saw it for the first time?
Sometimes, overcome with my own associations, I called them as I saw them, as they say.
Between July and December of 2017, sometimes in conjunction with Ignition72, I wrote and managed the blog posts on nouveaubaltimore.com. Its name, Studio Notes, was inspired by our little ruled notepads after visiting a client’s home, noting overall aesthetic theme, measurements, and keywords for research later:
Blue Rowe chaise
We needed these posts to be more than any other furniture store’s blog posts. They needed to reflect both the company’s 30-year legacy in expert interior design, and the tongue-in-cheeky, Culture Club-blasting, champagne-bubbling fun that characterizes the average customer’s experience at 10 W. Eager St. These posts were designed to be useful to someone trying to solve a design problem, and authentic to Nouveau’s brand. From Wonder Woman worship to Baltimore kitsch, posts like “Orange You Glad” reflect the boutique’s merchandise and attitude.
I used the expert designing tools available on VistaPrint to make promotional leave-behinds. We took the 20% off coupons around Baltimore’s Midtown, Inner Harbor, and Locust Point, and left stacks with the lobbies of luxury condo complexes, many of which were home to clients. Then in the interest of customer retention, I designed these simple Thank You cards to hold a gift card, a reminder to a previous customer that Nouveau Home has the best customer service for furniture sales in town.
I’m no Emily Dickinson writer, shut away in my room. I like to be in the world and meet new people, see what my city is up to, and smile at strangers. This matched perfectly with Nouveau’s personality and presence in Baltimore City. While at Nouveau, I loved when we set up at Oktoberfest in Mount Vernon, or at a holiday market at 14 West right around the corner. Cultivating these relationships with other business owners was just one facet of Nouveau’s investment and pride in its Mt. Vernon address.
On Dec. 17th 2017, at 9:20 am, owner Steve Appel and I were guests on the WBAL morning show to discuss holiday color stories and décor ideas. If I seem a little out of breath, it was because we had just moments before moved in all the furniture and unwrapped each accessory, scrambling to arrange it just in time to go live!
At the last minute, we had to drape the luscious brown throw blanket over the mirror of the minibar so the camera wouldn’t shoot itself. Such a shame, since it really looked great draped over the back of that turquoise chaise. But if I learned one thing from working in the furniture industry, it’s that you have to learn to be flexible!