Episode 85: Are You a Business, or a Brand? with Ericka Saurit
My next badass guest is Ericka Saurit. She began her career as an interior designer, and now as a brand marketing strategist, focuses on helping interior designers transform their businesses into unforgettable brands through strategic storytelling.
In this episode, Ericka shares what a brand message is, why a clear and consistent brand message is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your marketing plan, and ways to conduct your own Brand Audit to make your message more clear and consistent.
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For your own Brand Audit check out https://sauritcreative.com/brandaudit
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Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
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Have ideas or suggestions or want to be considered as a guest on the show? Email me!
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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.
Michelle Lynne: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I would love to introduce you today to a lovely babe that I met, gosh, when did we meet Ericka?
Ericka Saurit: August.
Michelle Lynne: It was at the Design Influencers Conference Yes, in August of 2022. So Ericka, Ericka Surratt is a brand marketing strategist focused on helping interior designers transform their businesses into unforgettable brands. And I just loved meeting you when we connected in Atlanta and think that you have so much to share with the audience. So thank you for being here.
Ericka Saurit: Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to talk.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. You know how you meet somebody and you're like, oh, I need to know them a little bit more. This is gonna be fun. I look forward to it.
Ericka Saurit: Cool. Me too.
Michelle Lynne: So let's take a step back, Ericka, you are a brand marketing strategist. What does that mean?
Ericka Saurit: So I help brands, like you said, interior designers and home furnishing manufacturers, those that are to the trade or B2C, I help them really polish their brand message. And what a brand message is, is exactly the story you want to be telling to exactly the right audience. So as far as strategy goes, strategy digs into how a business works also, so I'm able to look at, you know, are you positioned in the marketplace correctly? Are you kind of with the right competition? Are you positioning, even product-wise, is your product in the right category? And when it comes to design services, are your design services positioned properly, right? Are you focusing on telling a story that really differentiates who you are as a service provider or firm, or as a product maker? So strategy digs deeper, a little bit more into, you know, on the level of marketing, it digs deeper into how a business might work, and how some internal shifts and changes might need to take place to allow the true authenticity that we work on with the messaging, and the marketing, to really shine through and connect with the right people.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. So as the owner of an interior design firm, we would contact you and you would help kind of re-evaluate how we have positioned ourselves and maybe just make a tweak or two, or 10.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah, usually it's not a big dramatic shift. Sometimes that happens more with product manufacturing than with services. Typically, you know, as an interior designer running a business, what's resonating, you've been able to, if you've been running a business over time, you've been able to kind of shift and understand who's your right client. Are you really resonating with and attracting them? That's where the brand messaging comes in. It's what I see a lot of times, and what people come to me for is to say that, you know, I'm attracting the wrong kind of client. I'm attracting clients that aren't doing the scale of projects that I want to do, or aren't, you know, just we're not in sync, we're not calibrated. And how do I get myself in front of other clients? And sometimes that's a marketing problem, you're on the wrong channel, and that's the positioning issue. But you're also maybe saying the wrong things. You're not addressing them in the right way. And so that's where we step back and say, okay, maybe there's something with your messaging. But before we get to your messaging, where are you positioned? That's where the strategy piece comes in.
Michelle Lynne: That makes sense. Yeah, because sometimes, of what I've seen in the audience, and I struggled with this myself, as ML Interiors Group evolved, I wanted to be all things to all people, and you just can't do that. And I see a lot of designers doing that as well. And I can speak to it from my heart because you really have to kind of find your lane and own it.
Ericka Saurit: Absolutely. Yeah, that's the single most powerful bit of business advice, I think, that you can get, but it takes experience to really, truly figure that out and implement it.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, a lot of heartache. That and also, I think, stepping into, and as women, I think sometimes stepping into our power is not something that we're comfortable with, and owning that badassery, which is a term I've coined
Ericka Saurit: I love that.
Michelle Lynne: is sometimes difficult because you have to own it and be that professional that others are going to come to.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah, absolutely. You're doing a lot of coaching with your clients, so you have to be a leader yourself. You really have to understand your authority, you have to understand what you bring that's unique to that particular client, and really show it to them. That takes time, it takes courage. It takes boldness, right?
Michelle Lynne: Yes. And standard processes so that you can repeat exactly what works over and over.
Ericka Saurit: Yep.
Michelle Lynne: So in your opinion, what does it take to become a brand, say versus a business, in our industry?
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. So I will start by saying, we just, and I'm not sure when this is going to air,
Michelle Lynne: Me neither. Sometime in 2023? I think.
Ericka Saurit: Perfect. Okay. Well, so this past fall was a really exciting time in our industry. You know, there were quite a few conferences, including the one where we met in August, the Design Influencers Conference, but I'm just coming off the heels of High Point Market, which I thought this, and were you there?
Michelle Lynne: No, I was there in the spring. I wasn't there in the fall.
Ericka Saurit: This past fall market was just, it felt like kind of business as usual. It felt like we were back to, you know, the showrooms were super busy. All the manufacturers felt like they had full collections. It was really just a great, there was such a great energy.
Michelle Lynne: Magical.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. And I have a longtime partner that I work with, and we had just finished, Jenna Christianson, we had just finished doing a panel and a series of events, a workshop about being a creative renegade. And during this kind of, we called it this to, you know, really be provocative and capture people's attention, because the secondary prompt of this kind of panel of discussion was around, are you a business or are you a brand? And that really pokes people because, as you know, becoming a brand takes time, right? I think, again, a lot of designers and manufacturers come to me because they see the success, you know, there's examples we could all talk about and identify, but they see designers being very successful, they see brands kind of catapulting quickly through the ranks, and getting a lot of attention, a lot of awareness, but how do they do it, right? What is it that it takes to become a brand and I will say, what we talked about here was one of the key elements of becoming a brand is really being bold. Having the audacity to stand for what you believe in, to be authentic to who you are, even when it feels risky, to really kind of continuously, well get your message really straight, get your story straight, and then know that you've got the right audience coming back to you, right? So really hone in on who your clients and your target customers might be. And then repeating that over and over again. So investing in, you know, a long-term investment, and that takes time, it takes capital, to really invest in making sure that you've got that internal brand strategy figured out. So we talked around this, we talked about some designers that are doing this really well. I love Leanne Ford, I think that she's been able to kind of really own a very specific aesthetic, and then create multi-channel marketing all around that. She has a magazine now, which is super cool, TV, of course, and she just, she really personifies and has really stepped into who she is and what her brand represents. It's very clear. I think Kia Weatherspoon does that too, I actually ended up meeting her in High Point at an event here recently. And I find like, she is the embodiment of her brand. I really, really love what she's doing. So, you know, the idea that successful designers in our industry, it's more than confidence. It's more than hard work because we all can bring that but what they're doing is really investing in, you know, making sure that all their business systems internally follow the same guiding brand, you know, values and strategy, and that they're putting out the consistent message over and over again.
Michelle Lynne: So how do you help people do that? Because you explain it and it sounds like oh, yeah, I can do that, not a problem. And then just like, half a second later, I'm like, oh, no, no, no, no. So how do you, if somebody comes to you like, what do you do? How does it work?
Ericka Saurit: Yeah, so I work with business owners who know how to delegate and have an implementation partner, either kind of an agency or a series of agencies that they work with, or they have an in-house team. It can be small, a marketing team, someone who can help push their messages out. But that need a guiding light, right? They need like a roadmap on how to get their brand strategy consolidated and calibrated with their clients or their customers, and then how to, you know, again, how to share that. So, we do a lot of copywriting, that is writing out that brand message, that brand story, as well as visual design.
Michelle Lynne: Let's go down a quick bunny trail because copywriting is not just writing.
Ericka Saurit: Oh gosh, no.
Michelle Lynne: There is an art to it.
Ericka Saurit: There is an art to it. I deeply respect journalists and writers, people who write for a living. They are artists, they are researchers, they are professionals. And I think, certainly copywriting, content development, and writing in general all come from the same place. But to be able to do copywriting for a business, in a business context, takes a very special skill set, it takes a different type of thinking, it has a very different outcome. So, yes, copywriting, especially for the interior design and home furnishings industry, and from the way, my approach to it, is that it always has to be customer-centric, or client-centric.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that makes sense.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. And so going back to kind of what I do a little bit, sorry, just to say,
Michelle Lynne: That's exactly what I was gonna ask.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. Putting that back. So, again, building that brand story. And I'm heavily influenced by StoryBrand, I was listening to, I know you love StoryBrand
Michelle Lynne: I was gonna ask you. if you've read Donald Miller. Yes.
Ericka Saurit: Yes, I love Donald Miller. I went through the StoryBrand training, that's part of one of the systems that I offer my clients, and I was listening to Ben Rutledge on your podcast.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, in fact, he's redoing my website for ML Interiors Group and we're totally doing StoryBrand. Yes.
Ericka Saurit: Oh great. Excellent. StoryBrand, really, I think kind of set the bar for how businesses can start to tell better stories, and I'm so grateful for him and his business and his message. And now being able to share that framework with my clients, because I feel like, you know, again, no one has really made a system that I know of that's so clear. I layer on top of that my experience in branding and marketing, to kind of, you know, make it unique to my business.
Michelle Lynne: Yes.
Ericka Saurit: But I really lean heavily on, you know, foundations. And one of the things he says, is the answer to confusion is always, no, and I love that. And that means if you are throwing, you know, just, I see a lot of business jargon, I see a lot of really beautiful, flowery, exquisite words and stories that don't really make sense to anybody outside of our industry. Like, we're talking to other designers instead of talking to our clients.
Michelle Lynne: There you go, yeah.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. And so what happens is, your client who might not have a background in any kind of creative field at all, might not really identify with your copy. It might feel intimidating, it might feel like a word salad, it might feel like it doesn't make sense. But for whatever reason, they're confused. And so they move on to someone who is maybe more direct or more clearly states how, again, how you're going to help change their life. And this is going back to StoryBrand, one of the tenants of how to build a really great story is, tell the problem, state how you solve it, that's the solution, and then talk about how it's going to really change their life. This is what people care about when they come to read your copy on your website, or your email, or your social media.
Michelle Lynne: They don't give a shit about us. They just want to know how we can help them.
Ericka Saurit: Absolutely, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: But we get so stuck in our head trying to make ourselves sound so important.
Ericka Saurit: Oh gosh. Designers and brands, really, I always get, okay, send me, you know, I want to do an audit on your brand. Send me what you're saying already. And they're so good. And I say we, because I was an interior designer, too. We're really good at telling people what we do, right? And that's great. But what people really want to know is how you can help them. Like how you can help them transform, and become a better person, or have a better place for their family or, you know, yadda, yadda, yadda, whatever those reasons really are. But honestly, that's the place to start.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I'll tell you StoryBrand changed my sales process.
Ericka Saurit: Oh, great. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: It's one of the things I teach. We've got a, I do a five-day workshop every few months called Rolling in the Dough, and that sales process of getting people to sign up, yeah, I had a really good copywriter.
Ericka Saurit: Talk about great copywriting. Fantastic.
Michelle Lynne: Rolling in the Dough, and then it leads to the bakery. Isn't it funny? So yes, the whole StoryBrand process, I love the fact that you have based that around there, and then you layer on top of that, you put frosting on it. Hahaha, there's some more puns, you put some frosting on it with your branding and your marketing, and you've got the interior design experience, so you've got the whole cupcake.
Ericka Saurit: So I started my career, so I studied Fine Art in my undergrad degree. And then I went to grad school for interior architecture. And then I started working, after school, I taught at a university on the side, but then I also did exhibition design. And that's what I spent the sort of next 10 years of my career doing. And I worked for a firm called Ralph Appelbaum Associates that does museum exhibit design. And what we did, his firm did the original, like the Holocaust Museum. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that.
Michelle Lynne: Which one?
Ericka Saurit: In DC. So the idea, yeah, super powerful, but the idea was like, how do you take history out of this really kind of didactic place where it's just like, this happened in this area, you know, like, here's a timeline, and you immerse people in it. How do you immerse people in a story and make them care about something, more than, and by the end of the experience, like, how have they transformed? How has the story of history transformed them?
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I was crying like a baby. It works.
Ericka Saurit: Oh, my gosh. I still think about like the experience, the best experiences I've had in space, as a designer, go back to a story. It doesn't have to be about history, or, you know, science or anything like that, it has to be about telling an emotional, making an emotional connection. So over time, like over the 10 years, I started getting pulled into more marketing roles where I was pitching to clients, like what those stories were. I had like five minutes to tell what our design concepts were, and really seal the deal, get the business, right? Get buy-in from the clients. And I learned super quickly then like, you've got to lead with a story. Because if you lose people in the first two minutes of your presentation, it's really hard to get them back, really hard.
Michelle Lynne: Well, it's kind of like when you're at a cocktail party. Standing around just giving snippets doesn't do anything for a conversation. But when you start telling a story, you can have people gathering around and laughing and enjoying things and remembering and all the things.
Ericka Saurit: And remember you.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you were talking about like, differentiation, and kind of positioning.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: How do you consider each of those in our like, as a designer, brand marketing stuff?
Ericka Saurit: Okay, so I'll start with positioning, because here's a really cool way, because both positioning and differentiation get like, those are big words and I get like, ugh.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly.
I get a little overwhelmed with like what words mean. So I'm gonna break those down into two, like, into a story, right? So my favorite story to tell to get people to really buy into what positioning means is, I don't know if you know the story about Joshua Bell, who's a violinist.
Michelle Lynne: No, I don't think so.
Ericka Saurit: Okay. In 2007, so he's a world-famous, like, super well-celebrated, so this was in 2007. But he's a violinist and plays all around the world. Sells tickets for $100 a piece minimum or whatever. So in 2007, The Washington Post reached out to him and wanted to do kind of a social experiment. So they asked him to do a small concert in the Washington DC Metro one morning during rush hour.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, I saw that on Instagram. Didn't know who it was, but I know what you're talking about.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. So what happened was okay, like I said, he's selling tickets and at the time, I mean, they kind of go like for $100 or more like, he's just celebrated and he's famous. And so their question was, you know, would people stop, would people give him money? Would people continue about their day and not listen? What happened was he played for about 45 minutes, he played obviously, like really beautiful chamber music pieces, by himself, acoustic. So seven people stopped, like over a thousand people coming through, like quickly going by, he made $52 total. And so the point of that, in this positioning story, is to say that, like you can be the very best in the world at what you do. But if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're never going to capture people's attention because there's too much going on. They're distracted. They're thinking about other things. They don't have in their mind, like okay, I'm not ready to sit down, even if they knew who he was and enjoy him. They can't take the time to really appreciate what he has to offer to their life. And this is true for interior designers. This is also true for people who make things, brands, makers, whoever. If you're not in the right position, if you're not in the right place in the marketplace, and that can be anything from, you know, the services you're offering to who you're talking to.
Michelle Lynne: Or the colors on your website.
Ericka Saurit: Any of it.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Ericka Saurit: All of it any and all.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
Ericka Saurit: People are not gonna pay attention.
Michelle Lynne: Ericka, that is the greatest story example. Because you can picture this gentleman standing in the middle of the Metro, playing his heart out, you know, who's a world-recognized musician, and people are just walking past him. So that's us on the Google sometimes. Or we can even be found on the Google because we're overdoing a stupid dance on Tik Tok.
Ericka Saurit: On roller skates.
Michelle Lynne: On roller skates, exactly.
Ericka Saurit: Oh, my gosh. Exactly. Yep, Agreed.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, that's a great example.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. So I mean, it's something to think about, obviously, it's really, I never want to take someone's business and make a comparison to their competitor. But I really want to know, when someone makes a decision, and this is where brand comes in, right? So if you take a look around you, and everything, what you're wearing, what you're driving, everything, like what you're sitting in, where you are now, the space you chose to be in, every kind of decision, purchase decision, or, you know, decision to do something is based on brand. Whether we like it or not, it's based on a story we're telling ourselves when we decide to, you know, call a designer, make a purchase of a piece of furniture, or whatever, it's always based on brand. And so that brand has built up either a series of stories over time, you know, companies like Disney, Apple, you know, Nike, they've been doing this for generations.
Michelle Lynne: And how does it make you feel?
Ericka Saurit: Exactly. But there are other brands in our industry that do this as well, right? And I won't name names, but I will ask you to go through this exercise in your head to think like, okay, how do I make, you know, in my mind, look at, let's say take two furniture brands, right? Compare them in your mind. What are the emotions and the ideas and the stories that come up about those? And do you have an inclination or a preference for either one of those? So they're going to lean on positioning to kind of make sure they're in the right category together, right? But they're also going to look at, and so here we go with differentiation, right? Differentiation is essentially, that very specific thing. And this requires a lot of questioning, like introspection, asking yourself, why, why, why, why, why? What is it that really makes me different? And what do I need to do to lean into that story, to make sure people see that and recognize and really are excited about that? Because, again, you can be very different and be nervous that it might affect your business. But if you're attracting the wrong clients in the first place, don't you want to work with people who really understand what you do and really understand, you know, your shared values?
Michelle Lynne: Or your personality. Now I love that because in my paid program, the Interior Design Business Bakery, within the first module, one of the, well, there's a few exercises, but that is like, who are you? What makes you special? What is your badassness? Okay, yeah, we actually do an exercise on that, but like, what is your unique selling proposition as well, because we all are special, and we all bring something unique to the table. So I've told this story before. But I used to think because I didn't go to interior design school because I didn't have any experience, that I was lacking, that I wasn't enough or good enough, or I didn't have it. And then when I figured out well, you know what, I've got all this other experience, I'm going to finally leverage that. And then also, like, I've got a quirky voice. Once I figured out that I could be quirky,
Ericka Saurit: Do you?
Michelle Lynne: Oh, my gosh, yeah, totally.
Ericka Saurit: But I love it. It's so, okay, I got it. It's you.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. And it's just like, once I figured out that I could be myself and just embrace my weirdness, it was so much easier to be. Because otherwise, like, I was stepping up trying to be a, I was trying to be an interior designer who was very proper and very fancy. And Lord knows, like, they can see, right through that. That is not me. So I love what you're saying. And I encourage our audience to just be you and I say be-you-tiful, be you-tiful.
Ericka Saurit: Oh, that's great.
Michelle Lynne: Because you're perfect the way you are. We just have to embrace that. And I think our clients, when you find that authentic space, and you can own it, the clients feel it, and then that's what you're talking about. You're attracting people who are attracted to you. It's like dating.
Ericka Saurit: Oh yeah.
Michelle Lynne: I when I tried to be who I wasn't, I was attracting some ya-freaking-hoos. Thank the lord I didn't marry any of them. My husband was worth the wait. So yeah.
Ericka Saurit: Oh, so cool. And good clients are worth the wait too, you know?
Michelle Lynne: Yes. And you have to say no to the good to say yes to the great. Right?
Ericka Saurit: Oh, preach.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. I just love that though. And I think that so many times we're looking at other designers comparing ourselves, when what you're saying is just find your own niche and ride that lane till the end.
Ericka Saurit: Yep. Find your tribe.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. And one of the things you said earlier in our conversation, is that sometimes you just get in and you make just a little bit of a change, like just a little tweak here and a little tweak there. But think about this. I know you already know this, but for our audience, think about this. If you are on an airplane, and you're flying from Hawaii to New York City, and you are off one millimeter over and over and over and over and over again, from Hawaii to New York City, you're gonna land in freaking London or something, right? You're never gonna make it to New York City, actually, you're probably gonna crash into the Atlantic Ocean. So those little tweaks over and over and over again, make a huge difference to keep you on track.
Ericka Saurit: That's brilliant. Actually, that's a really, really good way to explain it. And yeah, I feel like there's some engineering term for that, but I don't know what it is.
Michelle Lynne: Probably, yeah, we're gonna stick with creative, creative renegades.
Ericka Saurit: Yes, embrace it.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. And I love the answer to confusion as always, no. Because you're so right. So is there something that the audience can do? You had mentioned that you do brand audits. How could we do one internally? Like, I would love it if our audience went and hired you. Right? That would be badass. But so what can we do on our own that could potentially just give us enough to be dangerous in a kind of a brand audit?
Ericka Saurit: So this exercise is super fun, it gets really quickly to the point of where you need to double down on refining and clarifying your message. What you can do is take screenshots, or if you want to write it out, whichever your process is, either one works. Take a screenshot or go to each of your, start with your social media channels, go to Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, wherever you are focusing your energy and putting your time, go to each of those channels, write down what it says in your bio, and then go to your website, write the first line that comes up. People are going to land on your homepage or landing page, what's the first line of copy that they see? Then I want you to Google yourself or go Google your business. And tell me what the, it's called the SEO copy, what does that say underneath your business name? So write this down, go to your business card, your email signature, any kind of first client maybe onboarding messaging, or workbooks, whatever you send them, I want to know what the very first thing is people are seeing about you and your brand. I also want you to think what, two kind of physical things, one when you go to a party, or you go to a networking event and someone asks you, so what do you do? Tell me what you say. Write down your first, you know, like, whatever that pitch line is back to them.
Michelle Lynne: Right.
Ericka Saurit: Also write down what would a client, and maybe you have testimonials so you might already have these, but what's a client saying about you to refer you to someone else? What are they saying, how are they describing your business? And I want you to put all of that on one page or in one doc or again, whatever your process is, and take a deep, long look at how consistent or inconsistent that message is. Are you sharing a story? Are you, because again, not everybody's gonna see all these channels, but I think this will give you a really clear picture of where you need to again focus the messaging, maybe some things have changed in your business, and you need to just update some things with a little tweak.
Michelle Lynne: Right. As we evolve our messaging does too. And Ericka, that's so simple.
Ericka Saurit: It's so easy.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, but it's one of those things that we don't really think about.
Ericka Saurit: Nope and it doesn't take very long to do. And honestly, this is something, you know, you can sit at your desk and say okay, I am willing to take some time, put it on your calendar, I can, you know, carve out an afternoon with my blah blah blah, whoever's on your team, and let's sit down and figure out how to correct this. Or if it feels like a bigger, more daunting problem that you really feel like you need to hire a professional for then I'm certainly available.
Michelle Lynne: That's amazing.
Ericka Saurit: It's super fun, super easy, and very insightful.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh. It's given me a lot to think about. Because as we've evolved, I've just kind of piecemealed everything together, it feels like. So hey, Nicole, one of the girls on my team, hey, Nicole, we need to do this fast, go listen to the recording before it's even published. And I think, do you have a download or something for that?
Ericka Saurit: Yes. Yeah. In fact, if you go to my website, it's Saurit Creative, sauritcreative.com/brandaudit. Brand audit, all one word, you can download that there for free and do your own sort of have a template to get it done yourself.
Michelle Lynne: Super cool. Well, we will go over that again, before we sign off, and I'll make sure that those are in the show notes. But for now, as much as I love this conversation and could talk marketing and branding and strategy and business until I'm blue in the face
Ericka Saurit: Yeah, me too.
Michelle Lynne: I know right? We're gonna have a little bit of fun, and we are going to do a rapid Q&A session. It's so fun.
Ericka Saurit: Okay, I'm ready.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, let's start. Ericka, do you have any tattoos?
Ericka Saurit: No. I'm the last dinosaur on earth without a tattoo.
Michelle Lynne: We were talking about that earlier, about dinosaurs and email lists, but I'm a firm believer of email lists.
Ericka Saurit: Me too.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, innie belly button or outie belly button?
Ericka Saurit: Innie. That's fun.
Michelle Lynne: I know, isn't that funny? What scares the hell out of you?
Ericka Saurit: Stasis.
Michelle Lynne: Oh.
Ericka Saurit: Like, I really love change. I thrive on it. It fuels me and inspires me and I, yeah, I built my career and my life around it.
Michelle Lynne: Uh huh. Just keep moving forward.
Ericka Saurit: Keep going.
Michelle Lynne: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Ericka Saurit: Oh, gosh. Oh, my goodness. Oh, that's really hard. Biggest pet peeve? People that don't queue. People that don't line up.
Michelle Lynne: People cutting in line? My daughter, when we're in traffic she's like, Mom, they just cut in front of us. It's okay, baby. It's okay.
Ericka Saurit: There are rules, follow them.
Michelle Lynne: That is greatness. Okay. If you won $10 million tomorrow, what would you spend it on?
Ericka Saurit: Oh, gosh, I have so many ideas. I would first renovate my house and hire all my designer friends to do the design, which would be super cool.
Michelle Lynne: There's your $10 million. You don't have any money left. Ericka.
Ericka Saurit: Actually, I went this past summer to Morocco to work with Project Soar, which is a nonprofit for girls, it's an education platform for getting girls into a kind of more, a future that lifts them and their families out of poverty. I would love to do more work with them or to do other work to empower women and girls around the world. So I'm not sure what that looks like. But I loved that work. And I believe that, you know, women are the future and however we can empower ourselves, I do that in my business. You do that in your business. And however we can kind of lift and elevate each other up I think generations from now will make an enormous difference.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, love that. Love, love, love it. I'm gonna go Google that in a minute.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah, please do.
Michelle Lynne: What is your favorite book?
Ericka Saurit: A Hundred Years of Solitude.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I have that. I have never cracked it.
Ericka Saurit: Oh my gosh, I read that book multiple times.
Michelle Lynne: Friends of mine gave it to me out of college.
Ericka Saurit: Read it. Read it, read it. It's so good.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Gabriel Marquez. Okay, note to self.
Ericka Saurit: Fantastic. Read it, read it.
Michelle Lynne: I've got it. I'll pull it out. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ericka Saurit: I'm an introvert.
Michelle Lynne: I recognize that.
Ericka Saurit: I really had to work on it. Really had to work on it.
Michelle Lynne: I can appreciate that. So like, when we were at the Design Influencers Conference, and I'm sorry there's a lot of noise behind me right now, when we were at the Design Influencers Conference, like I was there with some friends that are also on the IDS board and stuff and they're like, let's go out, let's go do this. I'm like, I have to go back to my room and curl up in the fetal position in order to show up again tomorrow. So I will go have some dinner with you because I have to eat and then I'm done.
Ericka Saurit: Downtime is just as important as the out time.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. But anytime I go to those things, someone is like, hey, you want to room together? I'm like, nope.
Ericka Saurit: Downtime. Need my me space.
Michelle Lynne: I cannot speak.
Ericka Saurit: I get it.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, what would you pick for your last meal?
Ericka Saurit: Okay, I would, this is anything, right? Because I have $10 million, I've got to spend somehow. Francis Mallmann comes and builds an enormous fire in my backyard, and he makes some kind of gorgeous grilled meal on this fire. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's like empanadas, it's like some different kinds of veggies and maybe obviously meat because that's his thing, fish. And then all my friends come, all my friends and family come.
Michelle Lynne: Sounds like a hell of a last meal.
Ericka Saurit: Yeah. Dreaming big.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. I love that. Yes, you do have your $10 million to spend. So there you go.
Ericka Saurit: Gotta do it.
Michelle Lynne: Ericka, thank you so much for being here. Such a pleasure.
Ericka Saurit: Michelle, I am just also, the pleasure has been mine. I really respect the work that you're doing and super honored to be here to talk to you.
Michelle Lynne: Well, that's why we're here is to continue lifting our fellow designers.
Ericka Saurit: I love it.
Michelle Lynne: Now, how can the audience find you? You had mentioned your website and the brand audit. Don't you have a, what is your thing, the Brand Camp?
Ericka Saurit: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: What is it? Tell us.
Ericka Saurit: I have two ways to work with me. One is Brand Camp. So Brand Camp is really great for entrepreneurs or teams that need kind of a creative lead to kind of drive and guide them on internal brand storytelling. So that's a half-day workshop. We can do it virtually or if you're East Coast-based, we could do it on the East Coast physically. But it's super fun. It's really intense. But what we do is we get to really refining what's missing in your brand story, and get very close to a tagline, a brand script, and then really do an audit on all your channels and sort of give you a clear direction on which way to go with your storytelling.
Michelle Lynne: Love that.
Ericka Saurit: And the second way is to do kind of a full brand roadmap. And that's an engagement of three months or six months or 12 months and I get kind of really deeply embedded in
Michelle Lynne: You get your hands dirty.
Ericka Saurit: Get my hands dirty, and yeah. Change the world.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. I will make sure that is in the notes. One designer at a time. You know what, though? We say that we're changing the world, one home at a time.
Ericka Saurit: I love it.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, because a happier and more efficient home is going to make a happier and more efficient world.
Ericka Saurit: We're doing good work.
Michelle Lynne: What about social media?
Ericka Saurit: Yes. Follow me on Instagram. It's Saurit Creative.
Michelle Lynne: S-A-U-R-I-T Creative. I think you guys will love following her, so go check that out.
Ericka Saurit: Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: I'll make sure those details are listed in the show notes for everybody's reference, in case you're driving. You don't have to be trying to write this down when you're listening. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, join my growing community on Facebook's private group, it's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. And I know I joke about this often, but there's so many people who really just don't like Facebook, but it's worth it. Come on over. I go live once a week and do some training. That's where we hold our free five-day workshop, the Rolling in the Dough, how to qualify, quote, and close high-end clients while you're baking your profits into the project. And just we have all sorts of fun over there. So just create a ninja-like profile, okay? We have some, it's the funniest thing. Ericka, you're gonna laugh about this because we have people over there, Jane D-O-U-G-H, like Jane Dough.
Ericka Saurit: Hilarious. Oh my gosh.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. We've just got different people over there. Or some people use their children's Facebook just to kind of come in there and participate and whatnot. So y'all come have some fun with us.
Ericka Saurit: That's so cool.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. Thanks again, Ericka, for being here.
Ericka Saurit: Thank you, thank you.
Michelle Lynne: And thank you to the audience for being here. If it crosses your mind, I would really appreciate it if you would drop a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. It does help us. So until next time, thanks for being here.
Ericka Saurit: Thank you very much. Have a great one.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with a name and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast, so please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition. So let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.