Interview with Carina Kümmeke, CEO & Founder of Upscale Interiors

Carina Kuemmeke, CEO Upscale Interiors

Last year, our first year, had been very exciting and dynamic for UPSCALE. We had many inspiring projects and new partners but, most of all, the nomination and third place finish for the best startup company! This is already an amazing achievement despite going against a constantly growing competition in online interior design approach.

 

How would you describe this one-year journey with UPSCALE?

The word journey fits perfectly. It was like a ride on a fast train. Looking inside and outside all the time. I have learned a lot. I also learned a lot about myself and how to manage all projects and family life at the same time.

What inspires you the most in this job?

It’s the people I am working with. The clients with all their different needs and personalities. I do a lot of research to see what’s new on the market and, to be honest, Instagram helps a lot these days.

How much did the online approach in interior design help you get to the right clients?

We reach a lot more people online those days. Most of our clients are quite busy. They appreciate the flexibility not to drive all the way to our office and attend meetings. They can do it from home when they have time. That’s perfect and much more relaxing for all of us.

How important is it for you to have a good communication with your clients so that you can meet their needs?

Communication is the most important part in interior design. To understand the client’s needs is about asking the right questions at the right moment. In the very beginning of each project, I spend a lot of time figuring out what they really like and what they do not like. Our Style quiz helps a lot. Sometimes it’s even easier to ask what they do not like instead of asking what they like. A Pinterest Profile is also helpful there. Taking in consideration new communication channels, we are also able to talk via Skype or other tools… This helps a lot to see how they look and how they react.

What did they appreciate the most in your approach?

That we work as efficient as possible with a transparency they haven’t found somewhere else so far. Our approach is simple and clear. We get a lot of positive responses about the way we work and communicate.

What values did you nurture at UPSCALE when it comes to projects and client relationships?

As I already said it's about transparency. I try to respond to every Email and request on the same day. Moreover, it is also very important to clarify where I see problems and talk with all involved parties to get the best solution for the client.

In your opinion, what are the three most important things or aspects in interior design?

The most important is, of course, the client. My job is to filter their needs and visions into a great design and atmosphere they’ve been looking for. Beside from this, of course, the love for details and materials. I rather find a compromise than to get my ideas realized – but I am a good seller :-)

How valuable is it to have a cozy home that is tailored to your needs and style?

Very valuable. I think many people underestimate a cozy atmosphere. Every person has different needs and desires. All these needs must first be abandoned. Many clients feel like new people after the transformation, and, believe it or not, they have a completely different social life afterwards.

What kind of client input is valuable for you to determine the right scope of project?

The more information I have the better. Also, in terms of budget and Style. Asking the right questions and talk about how their daily life is structured helps me a lot by getting the right design.

What are the benefits of online interior design for the client?

Today you can find all articles online. The client often does his own research, and that’s why it fits very well that we advise our clients online. Just because you can buy everything online does not mean that you can design everything on your own. We fill this gap with our online design concept.

How much did your clients save by having a dedicated and professional online interior design team at hand?

We try hard to calculate the budget as accurately as possible. We save them from making wrong decisions. Client saves time and energy because we take all the hassle. It’s usually the client that sets the budget. Then we create design based on that and client’s style and needs, of course. Because our service is online, the most important thing is that our client saves time, and nowadays everyone is very busy, and time is precious.

Our aim is to make design affordable, that’s we always give different price option for each recommended furniture. Since our client saves time, the entire process becomes less stressful and adjusted to their schedule.

How will UPSCALE look like in the next 12 months?

The goal is to work even more efficiently and also to obtain technical support in order to involve the client in design process in the best possible way. We want to streamline the entire design phase process, to minimize costs for the client, so they have more money for furniture.

Carina CEO UPSCALE Interiors