“I firmly believe that if your focus is on creating and offering the highest quality, innovative products or services, success will come. It’s not always easy and it takes time - as do all good things in life. Get rich quick business models are short term solutions. I feel the key factors to building a successful business are; your team and your long term commitment to them, a commitment to yourself, but most importantly–your commitment to your consumer.”
Donna Barlett, Co-Owner ViewIT Technologies Inc.
As companies struggle to stay visible and competitive in this ever changing market, I interviewed Donna Barlett, Co-Founder of ViewIt Technologies Inc. space planning systems, to find out more about her company and how they are offering innovative products to their design customers.
Jordan Mercedes: What motivated you to start your company?
Donna Barlett: Recognizing a need for a simple, accurate way to present floor plans my husband Ross, and I co-founded our business Masterplan Magnetics – which has since been rebranded to ViewIT Technologies Inc. Since then we have been developing our unique line of magnetic interior & exterior design products called The Board™ Space Planning Systems. We now have over 25 planners to choose from, such as: furniture planning kits, kitchen & bath, landscape design, etc. and have even developed one for crime scene investigation!
JM: What fuels your drive and focus in your business?
DB: Passion. I absolutely love what we do and I am passionate about designing practical tools for users of all skill levels. Every day brings new challenges, valuable relationships and exciting experiences.
JM: How has online and virtual technology benefitted your business?
DB: Five years ago, with our magnetic planner sales going strong, we recognized the future of technology and decided to enter the online, virtual world of design…what were we thinking! We analyzed everything that was commercially available (or missing) for online design and created the framework for 3Dream.net™. www.3Dream.net™
Resulting from years of research, 3Dream’s™ fully customizable, powerful design environment was created for the interior and exterior ‘non-technical’ professional – which now simplifies a once complex task. With the use of this product, design visions come to life with comprehenisve - drag & drop technology. 3Dream™ is an interactive, online environment that allows you to design virtual 3D rooms using life-like products. You can experiment and create endless combinations while choosing from our extensive library of furnishings, fabrics, rugs, art, lighting, paints, floor coverings etc.
JM: How is your business doing in the changing economy?
DB: Since consumers have reduced spending and travel we have noticed an increase of ‘Staycationing’. This has positively affected sales of our magnetic room planners for interior and exterior home design. Rather than spend the money on expensive trips or new home purchases they are decorating or renovating existing spaces. This requires tools like ours to be used by either themselves or the professionals they work with to efficiently design these new spaces. This shift has increased the sales of our online planner – 3Dream.net and we are experiencing 25-35% monthly growth on our user base.
JM: Do you have any creative marketing ideas for your business?
DB: We are using various technologies to present and demonstrate our products and services to our professional customers, such as: Go-to-Meeting, webinars, Skype and Picaboo. By sponsoring and nurturing relationships with various industry associations, we are able to get our message out to large numbers of qualified prospects. One example of this is WITHIT - Women in the Home Furnishings Today - this group is comprised of innovative thought leaders in the furnishings industry; a very powerful group of women willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Being a member and sponsor of this organization has been invaluable to our business and personal growth. We also sponsor technology seminars to introduce non-technical people to our 3D program and other powerful, easy-to-use technologies. The objective is to educate them on how to embrace the future of technology and utilize it in their respective businesses.
JM: Who is your perfect client?
DB: As our products solve design dilemmas, our ideal customer is EVERYONE.
Interior professionals which include designers, stagers, decorators, re-designers, retail stores with design centers, realtors, etc. can utilize both our magnetic planner line and 3D program to work with clients to convey their vision of a room or outdoor space.
JM: Can homeowners easily use your products?
DB: Consumers with a flair for design also benefit greatly from the use of our magnetic planner. Those on a budget or hoping to save money, find our products easy to use and identify with. These tools empower them to be in control of their dream spaces.
Do you have words of wisdom to share with other business owners?
Words of Wisdom:
To continually grow, both personally and in business, you must have vision. My advice, above all else; you must persevere, fulfill your dreams and then set new ones.
ViewIT develops and markets design-related sales tools for the Home Products industries. Used by design professionals, vendors and retailers, these powerful and intuitive visualization tools have been extremely successful in helping interiors professionals overcome the "how will it look in my home" buying hesitation.