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Detailed Processes and Documentation for the WIN

Ali Faulkner is the owner of AEF Interiors, a full-service design studio based in Costa Mesa, California. Ali’s systems and documentation are top-notch from the first interaction with the client to the very end. Everyone involved is always aware of the next step of the process and is prepared to move forward, eliminating room for confusion, miscommunication, or errors.

This was largely shaped by her hospitality background, which instilled a high level of service when developing her design business model and her perspective on the client experience. Ali’s emphasis on detailed documentation to translate the design journey to clients, contractors, and artisans has positively impacted building trust and referrals.

Below are some highlights from a recent conversation we had on the podcast about how AEF Interiors thrives with detailed processes and documentation.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting an Interior Design Firm

  1. What does the client journey look so I can build trust with new clients?
  2. How will I build a unique and positive experience for my clients?
  3. How do clients recognize my brand the minute they interact with me? 
  4. What opportunities does my company have to surprise and delight the client? 
  5. How will technology interact with the client journey?

Educating Clients From the Get-Go

At AEF Interiors, they give their clients “homework” in the beginning. They provide potential clients with a pocket folder discussing the next steps to becoming a client. Clients don’t know what they don’t know. You should be able to anticipate their needs and let them know what to expect. The folder shares information on things such as trade vendors and receiving warehouses, so when Ali presents the proposal, it’s not the first time the client sees those words.

What the Installation Day Looks Like for AEF Interiors

First, they send the client an info guide sharing information about their project and asking for them to leave for the day. They also provide a care guide so the client is prepared to care for their new furniture. The team also has a master pull list with the products needed from the warehouse and a pull list for the receiving warehouse. The installation floor plans will be printed and ready, and once all the systems are in place, installation begins!

If you want to learn more about processes and documentation, visit

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