Meet Dominique Lyons, creator of the fantastic business Kids Rule Interiors. She designs kids rooms, playrooms and nurseries, and she works with her customers to find the right concepts, producing mood boards, shopping lists and designs to suit the client.

Dominique started out as an archaeologist and part of her role was to teach children about archaeological digs.  She then moved into nursery teaching. She spotted a gap in the market and is passionate that kids do better when the rooms are designed around their needs and play. She focuses on the child and doesn’t just design a generically themed room.

“Children love to be organised, it really helps their confidence and independence when their rooms are structured around them”

Starting a business and figuring out how to find clients

Dominique started her own business because she wants to be flexible around family life, and the freedom is important to her. An average week in the life of her business involves Skyping with a client to discuss their brief, writing it up, then doing shopping online and physically to find the right items for the project. Designing mood boards and final designs. Some people like a lot of attention and to be involved at every stage, other people are a bit more hands off and happy to wait for the finished concept

She’s recently started using DesignFile it’s designed exactly to fit the needs of interior designers. You can add things from online stores to your library, use images, and create shopping lists all in one convenient place.

Facebook has been great for finding clients, Facebook groups like Edinburgh Gossip Girls (EGG) have been really good for referals. She has her own Facebook business page so potential customers can find her but is also present in a lot of design/interior design groups. She’s a member of a group called House Talk, people post before/after pictures, and ask for suggestions. Whenever there’s a kid’s room, Dominique helps out by offering advice. She recognises it’s important to be known as someone with an opinion who’s happy to help.

Her ideal clients are parents who are busy working a lot, or who are finding it hard to manage a full room update at once. They keep putting it off until they reach some kind of a problem – like the kids can’t play in their rooms or don’t fit in their beds. She believes it’s important for children to learn to tidy their own things so giving them a voice on how their room is designed and where to put things is a really great solution. 

Like many off us, Dominique uses Instagram as a way of giving a bit of a look behind the scenes, as well as showing examples of her work. She also uses Pinterest but mostly as a tool to communicate with clients about their design ideas. I think Pinterest is a great opportunity for Dominique to promote and market herself, because it’s often a first point of call for people looking to make over a room, whether by themselves or using a designer.

Brainstorming a strategy for Pinterest 

We thought it would be a great idea to brainstorm a strategy for Pinterest. I started by asking “What ideas do you have already?” which is always a good place to start! Dominique’s recent series on Lego storage is a great example of the type of content that works really well on Pinterest, for example. 

We then started brainstorming new ideas. Blog posts based on personal stories are always engaging, and then use a tool like Canva to create graphics to promote it on Pinterest. Lots of these ideas themselves could be turned into whole boards of ideas and content to draw people in and connect them to your ideas!

Building your own WordPress website

When it came to building her website Dominique confided it was hard. She started with Wix and Squarespace and also tried WordPress, to have a go and see what worked. In the end, a WordPress.com site was the best option, but if you’re confused, you can read up on the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Other things you might need early on: LogoJoy (rebranded to Looka) which had lots of useful sized images for different social media.

And Dominique’s advice for others attempting the same? Watch lots of WordPress tutorials and how to guides on YouTube before you get started. This will save you a lot of time. WordPress have their own channel as well as tutorials on their website, which both have lots of amazing advice.

Plans for the WordPress website and marketing

In the future Dominique wants to add more images and examples to show her process more effectively, and to demonstrate her aesthetic. She’ll continue to build up her testimonials page.  It’s already part of her end process to write a lovely thank you email which has links to Google My Business, Facebook and Houzz (directory website) so clients can leave a review.

Google My Business reviews are really important as it’s what people see when they carry out an initial Google research, or are just coming to the website to potentially book the service. It’s becoming a much more useful tool because you can add more to it. You can add lots of photos and content to your page and post about special offers or gift vouchers.

She has a small email list from an in-person fair she attended last year. She plans to send out useful information rather than just monthly blogs, more how to guides,stories and updates on what she’s been up to. If you’re interested in Dominique’s newsletter you can Subscribe on her website.

If you want more people to sign up to your newsletter, think about the type of content you’ll send people on your email list, and then create incentives which are a sparkly downloadable version of the same time of content, checklists or templates for example. Dominique has a guide about how to set up a nursery she might use, so she can create a landing page with the downloads that she already has.  I talked about how to create landing pages on episodes 10 & 12 so have a listen if you want to know more.

Goal for 2020

Dominique’s goal for 2020 is to take on 4 clients a month and do a really good job with them. She feels it’s like shooting for the sky right now – we’ll follow up next year and find out how she did!

We ended by discussing Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies a framework all about how you respond to internal and external expectations. Dominique is an Obliger so needs accountability. For her, writing lists can be a kind of external accountability.  Learning about this is fascinating, especially what impact it could have on your business and I would love to talk about this more on some podcasts next year.

Get connected

If you would like to get in touch with Dominique so she can help you design the perfect space for your kids, you can contact her through the Kids Rule Interiors website. If you’re stuck for gift ideas she’s also now offering gift vouchers, fantastic for Christmas or any time of the year. You can also find her on Instagram and Pinterest.