Energized and Engaged: Advocacy Symposium Recap

Have you ever had a weekend that made you feel a part of something bigger than yourself? During the innaugural IIDA Advocacy Symposium, Sept. 11 – 13 in Austin, Texas, I did. Over 90 people attended, staffed, or spoke at the symposium, where the energy was infectious. Interior design advocates from every IIDA Chapter but one listened, talked, learned, advocated, and shared their experience, advocating for the Interior Design profession. The event highlighted the passion, dedication, and persistence of amazing design advocates from across the country.

“Teamwork, tenacity, and clear communication are the key to advocacy,” Rep. Celia Israel said. And she couldn’t be more right. The rest of the presentations echoed her sentiment. But we can’t just rely on social media. Rep. Israel added, “Good advocacy can start online but it has to hit the streets.” The key to advocacy is to talk to everyone! Some fantastic IIDA members took it to heart. Corinne Barthelemy, IIDA, LEED AP, and Aimee Schefano, IIDA, from the New England Chapter had a cab driver tell them about a previous group of interior designers who had been advocating to him earlier in the day! He couldn’t believe all the things interior designers did.

In addition to Rep. Israel’s presentation, we heard the story of Melanie Bahl, IIDA, President of IDEAL–Utah, and Amy Coombs, IDEAL-Utah’s lobbyist, who have worked tirelessly to introduce interior design legislation in the state of Utah. Amy shared this quote with us: “To rise above the din and be heard, voices must be linked in something approaching unison.” Interior design advocates must share the same message to be heard about all the other voices. Donna Vining, IIDA, FASID, shared her bountiful knowledge on empowering and mobilizing advocacy efforts in the state of Texas including having meaningful events and building a great team of advocates.

One of the best parts of the weekend were the opportunities for advocates to share with fellow advocates techniques and strategies that worked or didn’t work and why. Among many amazing ideas, advocates advised making strategic relationships in your community like working with the Special Olympics, adding a $1 fee to all events that will go towards advocacy, and being agile because sometimes you’ve got to embrace a new direction. I can’t wait to see the amazing initiatives and events this will inspire!

The symposium wasn’t all talk though. We toured the impressive Texas State Capitol and learned about Texas state government and the architecture and interiors of the building. Everything really is bigger in Texas; their capitol dome is taller than the U.S. Capitol dome!

A special thanks to the wonderful Texas and Oklahoma Chapter who served as the host chapter for the first Advocacy Symposium. Krystal Lucero, IIDA, RID, and Clara Karnei, IIDA, RID, took over the IIDA Instagram account and did a fantastic job capturing the spirit of the event. Check it out!

We can’t wait until the 2016 IIDA Advocacy Symposium! We’ve barely scratched the surface of what it means to be an interior design advocate. Next year’s IIDA Advocacy Symposium will take place on Sept. 23 – 25 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver, Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Chapter will serve as host chapter. Stay tuned for more details as they become available!


Be a part of something bigger. Advocate for your profession. Learn more at advocacy.iida.org. #IIDAadvocacy

IIDA Response to White House Occupational Licensing Report

Today, the White House released a report, “Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers,” on occupational licensing. It provides a cost-benefit analysis of occupational licensing based on current data and suggests a number of best practices for state legislatures in regards to occupational licensing.

In the report, best practices for occupational licensing include:

  1. Limiting requirements to those that address legitimate public health and safety concerns.
  2. Applying the results of comprehensive cost-benefit assessments of licensing laws to reduce the number of unnecessary or overly-restrictive licenses.
  3. Harmonizing regulatory requirements as much as possible, and where appropriate entering into inter-state compacts that recognize licenses from other states, to increase the mobility of skilled workers.
  4. Allowing practitioners to offer services to the full extent of their current competency to ensure that all qualified workers are able to offer services.

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) believes and supports the best practice of allowing practitioners to offer services to the full extent of their competency underscores the reason the Commercial Interior Design industry is striving to pass meaningful legislation. In most states current architecture licensing laws prevent qualified interior designers from providing services to the “full extent of their current competency.” IIDA is working to expand the number of practitioners providing interior design services to consumers in the code-impacted interior environment. We also believe lawmakers should apply cost-benefit analysis to ensure laws serve the best interest of their state.

The report also states that one of the reasons licensing laws exist is to protect the public’s health and safety, and is especially important in situations where it is costly or difficult for consumers to obtain information on service quality. Licensure of interior design would alleviate the consumer’s burden of design service quality verification.

Additionally, IIDA agrees with the White House report that licensing should not impede a designer’s ability to move or provide services in more than one state. Laws should reflect the mobility of workers and provide for reciprocity between states.

IIDA is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates as needed. IIDA does not believe that the White House report is damaging to our efforts to pass meaningful interior design legislation, and we will continue to advocate on behalf of the Interior Design profession.

Edwards, Julia. (2015, July 28). House Report Calls for Eased Job Licensing Requirements. Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/28/us-usa-employment-licensing-idUSKCN0Q220C20150728 

Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers. (2015). Washington, DC: The White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/licensing_report_final_nonembargo.pdf 

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH: KI

September’s IIDA Product of the Month features KI’s new collection, Soltíce Metal, designed by Paul James. With superior attention to detail, award-winning designer James has taken the incomparable durability of steel and refines it to an art form. James’ vision with Soltíce Metal was to take the established design of classic Soltíce, with its beautiful, inviting curves, and give it a fresh form. Its modern silhouette offers a stunning simplicity and creates a clean and contemporary aesthetic suitable for all environments. For more product details, visit the KI website here.

FACT OR FICTION?

Fact_or_Fiction

FACT: Interior Design is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life. An Interior Designer is an individual who has been trained to identify research and creatively solve problems pertaining to the development of an interior environment, and who possesses the knowledge and skills to implement these solutions. Interior Designers apply their expertise of Design and the built environment to solving problems at the interior scale and at the level of direct human experience. To learn more, visit our advocacy page here.

Use #IIDAAdvocacy to connect with IIDA Headquarters over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

PROCESSING PRESENCE: WHY IS BRAND AWARENESS IMPORTANT?

No matter the industry, size of your business or type of goods or services, having a strong brand presence is vital towards growing and sustaining a business. It reminds me of the old adage “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound”. If your brand isn’t making noise, turning heads and gaining referrals, then does it really exist? While I may speak in hyperbole of the existence of your brand, it clearly isn’t possessing strong brand awareness.

Plain and simple, brand awareness is how well a consumer identifies with your brand and your business. To properly engage an audience with the process of brand awareness, it’s essential to use every medium of advertising and marketing possible. Digital platforms, personal statements, and overall customer relations are the most accessible and prominently used methods of building brand awareness.

At this point, in our fast-paced digital age, advertising your brand through social media is second nature. Every business and brand has a Facebook and Twitter so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle within your marketplace. Make a conscious effort to set yourself apart from the more “traditional” social media outlets, and cater your presence toward a more personal bond with your consumer. Use avenues like a blog posts and Pinterest boards to give an inside look into how your personal brand functions as it relates to your mission statement to build brand awareness.

To further expand on creating a personal bond between your brand and your consumer, it’s best to follow a two sided approach: customer service and a personal connection. If it’s done correctly, both of these methods can be achieved together and can certainly go hand-in-hand. When dealing with a potential consumer, the manner in which you approach your relationship can speak volumes. Always speak to the consumer the way they need to hear the information and not the way you wish to say it. Every consumer will have a different level of education on their industry and marketing principles, so do the research on what they need specifically and share the information with them in an easily digestible manner. Dedicate yourself to making the consumers’ needs your priority and you will undouble gain trust of the customer and increase the presence of your brand.

High brand awareness suggests that the brand is easily recognizable and accepted by the market in a way that the brand is differentiated from similar competitors. The ultimate goal of any business is to be immediately thought of by your target market when they’re ready to purchase your services.

DESIGN CHALLENGE : ICONIC REINVENTION

The always innovative and ever-expanding company, Unbranded Designs, has created the Iconic Reinvention Design Challenge – a breakthrough competition centered around timeless furniture revitalized for a modern lifestyle. Participants are asked to select an iconic piece of furniture and recreate it, making it relevant to today’s manufacturing processes or materials, or the way people live today.

“This competition is all about reinventing classic furniture you love,” said Sameer Dohadwala, Co-Founder and CEO of Unbranded Designs. “These items are staples of the industry with the opportunity to reimagine them for modern day.”

Contestants can win prizes ranging from T-shirts, a featured blog piece, and as much as $1,000 in cash. However, entering the Challenge can bring far more benefits for a designer than prizes can provide. The opportunity to gain exposure as an innovative designer and have your work seen and judged by some of the biggest names in design; Jason Hall (Charlie Greene Studios), Chris Hacker (Herman Miller), and Harry Allen (Harry Allen Design), could be the most invaluable reward of the Challenge.

“The biggest reason to take part in the competition is the recognition you receive when you enter, and when a project is selected,” said Dohadwala. “It’s also an amazing outlet to grow as a designer and have your work critiqued by some of the biggest firms in the industry. It’s truly a great learning experience.”

Unbranded Designs is a global community that helps discover Design ideas and distribute them to industry professionals. Their overall goal is to support and connect cutting-edge designers to manufactures around the world.

“Unbranded Designs is really about empowering designers,” said Dohadwala. “Our philosophy is to introduce our designers to big markets.”

Submissions for the Reinvention Design Challenge are due by July 23, 2014. For more information on Unbranded Designs and the Iconic Reinvention Design Challenge, click here.