ARC DESIGN STUDIOS
Founder, Amanda Curtis
Lawrence Technological University's Detroit Center for Design + Technology presented our Holiday Window Walk in Capital Park, Detroit this past winter to give local designers the opportunity to engage the community through store front windows during the month of December. Through public, social media and professional judging, we awarded our first place prize of $1,000 to Amanda Curtis, Founder of ARC Design Studios for her work with City Bark!
Andrea: Tell us about ARC Design Studios
Amanda: It’s going to be a studio that supports a variety of different project by offering a large array of important services such as interior design and merchandising which will allow me to build my design around their goals. When I work with a a client, I begin my vision from listening to the people I work with. I work out "who" are THEY trying to capture the attention of, and work out from there. It's important to affect people personally and make strong connections through creativity.
Andrea: What enticed you to apply for the HWW?
Amanda: I was actually in transition, having just moved back to Detroit but I knew I would have to get involved so I visited Design Core and heard about the Holiday Window Walk application opportunity. Excited, I emailed the DCDT to get more information. Retail merchandising is my background so when I saw opportunity to use merchandising and the ability to compete against designers working in different mediums and genres, I jumped on it! Plus it was refreshing to work with a smaller store since I'm used to a larger company standards and rules. Plus it was Christmas and I love Christmas!
Andrea: What did you enjoy about the business you were paired with?
Amanda: Working with Jamie Judson, the owner of City Bark was an awesome experience. I got lucky because she was very flexible with her time and she let me take control of the process. She gave input when I asked and was responsive plus she created special events for her guests centered around the design build and reveal! That brought a LOT more attention to the project and allowed me to wrap myself into her business, too.
Jaime and I wanted to incorporate her regular clients and new clients. She ran a contest on social media asking for doggie models and gave their owners a discount to her shop. Jaime asked them to participate by writing letters in their pet's voice. Their letters were also used for the actual window design so that anyone who wasn’t chosen as a model were still part of the display. They could see their letter when they walked by.
I asked Jaime about her story on the first day we met and it resonated with me. I was very inspired by her and working with and learning from her was exciting. Plus, you can’t go wrong when there are dogs running around!
Andrea: How did this Holiday Window Walk experience support your design business?
Amanda: Honestly, I never applied for a contest like this before so it was all new to me. The budget aspect helped me to learn alot, especially how to balance my budget. Client interaction during a community project like this is different than working with a large corporation. Going to someone who runs their own, personalized space is MUCH more special. Seeing how Jaime interacted with their clients and guests was amazing and it allowed me to incorporate their specific target audience when designing the holiday windows. This opportunity helped shaped how I see myself moving forward in my own merchandising company, ARC Design Studios. What I did design-wise affected Jaime personally where with my previous, corporate designing jobs, there was little connection. Plus her clients were able to find themselves in the display as well.
Andrea: What would you suggest for future HWW design applicants?
Amanda: Regardless of your personal style, at the end of the day it’s important to communicate and listen to the business often so they are vested and have a sense of ownership. Get to know who you’re working with and the clients that frequent the business and interact every day. Making sure you put “what the business is” in the forefront. Don’t be afraid of experimenting before you’re ready to bring in the displays. It was my first time building a mailbox so that was interesting…
Andrea: What are you going to do with your award money?
Amanda: I’m going to re-invest in my own studio. There’s things I need to update so I can get involved in more projects in the city and surrounding areas.
Andrea: Name a 2020 Goal for ARC Design Studios.
Amanda: A 2020 goal is to bring my merchandising services to brick and mortar businesses in metro Detroit.
Author: Andrea Bogart, Manager of the DCDT
To apply to our 2020 Holiday Window Walk, sign up for our Newsletter and watch for
the invitation going out this summer.