How Your Space Impacts Your Success with Carolyn Boldt
7:57AM Jul 21, 2022
Hello radical massage therapist. My name is Krista. I am a registered massage therapist in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. And this is another episode of the radical RMT podcast. Thanks so much for listening. Today our guest is Carolyn bolt. She is an interior designer based out of Atlanta, and she actually does all of her clients, virtually all we're gonna be talking about today is how your space your clinic space can really impact your success. She specialises in the holistic wellness space, but she does see primarily chiropractic offices and clients and that's who she works with mostly, but as massage therapist, I think this is going to be a really beneficial episode and she's going to be able to bring her experience and expertise to our profession. There are different needs within the Chiropractic and Massage Therapy space and I'm really curious to see what she can share with us a little bit about Carolyn. In 2004. Carolyn and her husband co founded Crossfield as a design build firm in Atlanta, and in 2011 They changed their focus to improving the public's perception of alternative medicine and highlighting the power of holistic health care. Crossfield has helped hundreds of practitioners across the country, expand their practices and reach higher levels of success by maximising space, attracting and retaining patients and saving money. I hope you enjoy this episode with Carolyn bolts.
Carolyn, welcome to the radical RMT podcast. It's so wonderful to have you here. It's great to be here.
Thank you for having me.
Well, as I said in the intro there, you're you specialise in the holistic wellness space, you see a lot of spaces actually in the chiropractic profession. But how did you get involved in focusing on holistic clinic spaces?
My background is a commercial architectural interior designer architectural design specifically. And we I'm already a holistic patient. So that's part that's a big, big part of it. It's my passion. My got involved in holistic health care, when I say that, as a patient, I have nothing to do as a practitioner, but I got involved in it. Really It started when my dad passed away. In 1981, under he was back basically died of chemotherapy. I will say that that kind of opened my mind up to what can we do to take care of ourselves and how can we take care of our own bodies and just depending upon medicine and pharmacy and stuff. So that was in 1981. So it's been a long path. Really, really dove into holistic health when my specifically chiropractic when my daughter had chronic tonsillitis at two years old. And her paediatrician wanted her tonsils out. And I discovered chiropractic, which was healing from the inside out. And she was she recovered from her tonsillitis. And she's 33. Now, so if that really started me on the path of what we can do, to take care of ourselves, so I get regular massages, that's a part of my life, I get regular adjustments, and I don't have a regular. I don't actually even have a regular MD to be real honest with you. Okay, so that half.
That's really great. And when you also I also have heard from different interviews and reading in your bio as well, that part of your practice is to also change the perception of alternative medicines. Can you elaborate on that?
Absolutely. So I told you my story, my history personally, from a business standpoint, from a professional standpoint, I'm a commercial designer, as I said, and I was doing work for life University in 2003. And they what that did is that got me very immersed in the business of chiropractic. And what I began to learn was, the challenges that they had to become appreciated and who they were and what they had to offer. The struggles they were up against, began to learn a lot of history that they had to go through to be considered valid. A lot of the fights they had to go through in the years way before we were involved with it, but you I really began to understand that philosophy and knowing that holistic health had made such a huge difference in my life and my family's life, I was already promoting it. But being able to promote it as help, I was having a hard time I was disconnected between, hey, this is a professional. And most people went into their offices, and they did not look professional, they looked pretty bad. And I could see that they needed a, an uplift, I'm not going to say overall, I mean, there were a percentage of them that understood this. But my goal was for people to begin to understand that your brick and mortar space is a representative representation of you. And if you're trying to go out there, and you're marketing, you know, you're not waiting for people to walk in the door, but you're you're having to market if you're going to be marketing, you need that brick and mortar space to match and emulate and exemplify what you're trying to do. So that was our goal is to elevate specifically the profession of chiropractic. But out of chiropractic, we've been involved in all types of other peripherals, I call it to that. So we have a lot of chiropractors that have massage therapists are part of or have a whole massage clinic that are part of their, their practice, and, and other things, integrated medical and etc. But the whole piece is just to elevate the perception of the professional reality of this practice. So that people were not they were more drawn to it and more attracted to it.
Right? And is that taking more of the the the harsh sort of clinical aspect out of it and making it a little bit more warm? Or were you I mean, obviously, it design is not going to be a strong suit for a healthcare professional, right? We, we we have our specialties, but then we go out and start our own business. And we sort of think that we have to do it all, which is wonderful, why, where your service comes in. But where were you seeing some of the disconnect when you would see the office and the practitioner? To me?
Well, that's multifaceted. But I'd say the biggest general general overall, disconnect was just the importance, there's that their space was not really understanding the psychological impact that their space was having on their patients, to attract them, and to retain them. So that was the biggest one. What was interesting is when we got involved, they already understood that flow, and efficiency of their space was important. So we obviously have a specialty in that, because that's part of what we are trained to do as designers to learn how so wonder, once again, architectural design versus just decorating. So as architectural designers, we understand flow and codes and all of those things in efficiencies of space from the inside out, even more than your pure architect would. But they already understood that. But understood they were I say, generally, they were focusing just on that, and not thinking at all about the quality of their environment. Otherwise, in other words, what was his lighting? What was the colour on the walls? What type of seating did they have, they were just going into it with just the flow. So to understand to put that picture on top of it of it's an image and you don't have to spend a lot of money, you just have to be very intentional about what you're doing.
That yeah, no, that's, that's wonderful. And one of your, one of your, like, core elements is that you want to maximise the space you want every inch of your space to be earning you money is one thing that I've I've you know, learned from your, your business as well. So that would that's where the flow and function would come in as well.
Exactly, exactly. So just to focus on that one aspect for just a minute. You know, if you think about the things that we talked about, when we look at space, you need every space that you're working within to be the right size for you. So if it's not the right size, if it's too small, it's going to impede your flow, and that's going to slow you down and not make you as efficient. If it's going to be too big, it's going to be wasted square footage and wasted expense. So just to do that, and then to actually look at the flow through the space etc. From the you know, the new patient, the existing patient, the practitioner flowing through the space and just making creating efficiency. So that is number one. You have to eat that we call it form follows function. So you have to function it doesn't matter how pretty it is. It doesn't matter how attractive it is that it's not functioning has to function, right, that's foundation. Then we put the phone the form as I call it, or the three dimensional element of what we're trying to Do on top of that. And that really has to do with your branding and what you're trying to create as an environment, for your, for your patients and for your for whoever's coming your members or whatever your terminology is for your clients to come.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So you're you know what you have to really reverse engineer, the type of practice you want and who you are, you have to know yourself, you mean, like, you really have to dive into some of the psychology as you've already mentioned that word, but you have to know know yourself, and then know the type of client that you are, I should say, patient, we're trying to get on board with the word patient. So the as in massage therapy, so yeah, the type of patient that you're trying to attract?
Exactly, exactly. So just just kind of a big picture. I listened to a few of your podcasts, one of the things I was hearing you talk about was the different types of, of practice you might want to focus on. So if you think about what you're going to focus on, then your environment can either help you or hurt you with what you're trying to focus on. So let's just say you're going to focus on sports, sports, chiropractic. Those days, those patients that come in there, those clients, we'll call them clients, patients that come in there, you know, they're going to have a certain expectation of what you're going to do for them. So is their environment going to support? Is that environment going to support them? And are you going to be more in a Physical Therapy Massage mode, if you want to call it that, where you're very much more working on them? And maybe it doesn't have to have the quiet serene, as someone that say, stressed out mom that just wants a break? You know, it's a whole different type of type of expression?
If Oh, yeah. Now, would it be alright to surprise the patient or client as well, though, because like you said, they might have a certain expectation, but sometimes it's nice when you you get into a space and you're like, Oh, this isn't at all what I thought it was going to be. And I actually feel a lot better here and it can go in either direction.
It is it you you it is very great to surprise them very much. So I just speaking directly about massage. Let me just speak directly about massage. So I've been under massage on a regular basis for gosh, seven years, I get gifted myself that this is what I was going to do. The day before my daughter got married. I was like, okay, she's getting married. All of that's out the door. What do I need to do? And I was extremely stressed out. So I needed it. And then I said, Hey, I need to do this once a month. And it's been wonderful, beneficial. And yes, I'm one of those baby boomers. So it as you were talking earlier, that fit into that mode. But saying that, as I began to look for my massage therapist, it was a combination of a wonderful massage therapist and also the experience that I had from the moment I walked in, because I was looking for stress relief, I was looking for calming and stress relief as well as you know, someone working out the kinks and that everything in my muscles and and I made decisions about who I was going to go to a lot having to do with that experience in the stress that created that stress release. So I needed the quiet, I needed the darkness, I needed the aromatherapy, I needed all of those things. And if you follow me, now, I'm going to speak earlier, I went through massage, I'm going to call it massage therapy when I had an injury back when I was younger. And that wasn't nearly as important because I was really, really just focused on helping me almost like it was a Physical Therapy Massage, you know. And also I had plantar fasciitis and went to a therapist that just focused on that and it was all about fix this, you know, fix that. So if it that part didn't matter, it could be more like it in fact that where I went to get the massage for the plantar fasciitis, it was a physical therapy area, it was wide open, so there wasn't that calming privacy thing. But that didn't matter because that's what I needed. So all I'm saying is understanding your specialty and making sure the environment works to support that in every way possible.
Absolutely. And as a as a client of massage therapy and from from your business background as well. Have you ever felt the disconnect when when somebody's not being authentic? When they're when they're practising style is different than the environment that they're working in and can you feel that come through in their treatment or like they just they're just not going to be their best selves?
You know what I can I I have a couple of stories I could share. Yeah, absolutely. So I had a one of these, what I'm going to call the injury period where I was dealing with. And it wasn't really like I was injured. I just had a lot of Keeks, I had to work out that were causing me challenges. And my chiropractor had me go to the massage therapist that worked in his offices. And she was awesome. But I could tell she, I guess maybe because she I don't really know exactly why. But I remember not ever feeling that connection to her, because I don't think she felt connected to the space. Does that make sense? Yeah, it was going in as a temporary and almost like a temporary setup. And she was rushing to get it all set up. She was rushing from place to place. I began to learn a little bit about her story, and she shouldn't be leaving him. And I'm not sure where she went. But it was she was not it. It probably could have been fixed. It was just the circumstances of where she was in that she was very rushed. And she couldn't really control the environment that she was. I also share with you let me share with you the worst massage. The worst massage I ever had, was on a cruise ship. Okay, now a cruise ship I had the best massage I've ever had was probably on a cruise ship also. But the worst mugshot massage I ever had was on a cruise ship. And my husband and I went on a cruise. And it was a couples massage. And we went into a space that beautifully designed, etc. You know, it's a cruise ship, right? It's a first class, we get into this big open space, and it's very bright. Okay, I'm like, going in here for the quiet intimate, you know, it's very bright. And as we're going through the massage, the two massage therapists have a different language. And they're talking to each other during the massage now, not dramatically, but just little bits here and there. So it's kind of like, what are they saying? What are they talking about when they weren't talking to us? You know, they were talking to each other. And they're obviously commenting to each other about something. So it made me feel really uncomfortable. It's like, what did they say? And you know, they say, and she's got too many kinks in her neck. I can't fix her what I then the other thing that happened about halfway into this massage, and this was a you know, $500 massage, right going for the two of us. there started to be all this crazy banging. And what we found out is that the kids area was positioned right above these massage rooms, the kids area, the kids dead, right. And so we had kids play happening. And we had all this, we didn't hear the kids, we had her metal crunchiness what it sounded like. And so we asked for our money back, they gave us about half half of it back, but it was the worst massage ever had. And it was the combination of all of those things. You said the massage therapist really didn't embrace that they were us and with us. They were kind of Yeah. Oh, it's almost like they were just going through the motion and talking to each other. Do you follow what I'm saying? And then of course, the sound and the atmosphere was horrible. So yeah, yeah,
no, well, thank you, thank you for sharing, I feel that a lot of massage therapists can get themselves into that situation. And I've certainly just worked in it, I like we can literally massage anywhere, like we can just take our hands with us and give a you know, in my opinion, I think we can give a great, great massage if you're present with the individual. But I think that the environment makes a huge difference on the client experience, patient experience but also the the practitioner because I've also felt disconnected from my the space where I was working or the people that I was working with and I just didn't I didn't enjoy going to that space. So you know, maybe once I'm in the treatment with the door closed it I can get into the zone a little bit better. But yeah, like I think that a lot of massage therapists it's just a matter of taking the job the hours and and kind of throwing themselves into it knowing that we can do the job. But I think that the overall environment does really impact us as practitioners and and the client experience as well. Absolutely, absolutely. And so we're you're obviously saying that our office, our brick and mortar building is going to be a huge marketing expense, which maybe we've never considered that before we think about business cards and our website. And we just think about our office as this place to you know, to do our massage, but we should really be looking at it like as our biggest expense.
It should be I also have another story I want to share with you that I actually wrote an article on this. And it was not Really, I was writing it for massage at the time, I was just writing it on I on the difference. And so that when I was going to regular massage place, I loved it. It was wonderful. But it was not a high dollar massage when I say that I was on a membership, if you can imagine that, but it was wonderful. They had done it right. And I did find the massage therapist, I liked the best out of them. And, and it wasn't that any of them were bad. It was just some just I connected with that's part of Sure. So, but I had the opportunity. I was gifted a massage at a very high end spa here in the Atlanta area with my daughter and I. And it was one of those places you went in and you were dressed in a you know, you'd got dressed in a robe and you sat and had tea and a little area. And then they called you back. And there were several things. It was an I guess the other one was like a Ritz Carlton experience, right? Where it was the space was much bigger, there was stuff that you just felt the luxury around you. And I did pay three times more than I did for my membership massage. Was the massage that much better? No, but I gladly paid that that difference. Does that make sense? Yeah, you know what I'm saying? It's like I it was worth it, it made it worth it. So there's a psychology of your patients and the psychology of your clients that if you know who your client is and what you're trying to do for them, then you can match that up. So my monthly membership met my needs as the baby boomer that needed help, and needed that stress. And it but and but it was very, very quiet. It was dark, it had the robot that you know, it had the little stuff I needed. Even though the rooms were relatively small, it didn't bother me. But the transition to the other. Three times more money would be a luxury expense for maybe someone a much higher income bracket than I am on a regular basis or someone that just needs to do it for an occasional event. So I'm just using that is an example.
Yeah, no, it's it is a great example. Can you explain anything about the psychology? I mean, I did I do have a little bit of a note like, you know, when you're looking at your office space, and you're wondering if your Office environment is impacting your success? Can you can you get into a little bit of like, what what is the psychology what a patient or client is looking for? What what is that switch that flips for? For us?
So if you understand, okay, there's a psychology that's associated with the vision, it's all visual that we're talking about. Okay, so even though there's more than visual there sound, there's, you know, there's smells, things of that sort, but just focus just on the visual. We form a, there's a psychology Well, there's, let me kind of go into a different direction. There's a psychology of colour. Okay. So colour itself has an impact impact on us. The the easiest psychology to talk about in colour, is there a warm colours, and there are cool colours, and they literally will make us warmer, or cooler feeling inside, okay? And how you use those colours, depending on what do you want that patient or client to feel in that space. So you have to start with what the goal is, what is the goal of what you want that patient or a client to experience, one to attract them to the space and then second to make them want to keep coming back. So if you think about the attraction piece is the retail store experience. So you, you've everyone's done this, they've walked through a mall, and they look through the window, and they've made an instant, immediate decision on whether they're going to go in that store or not. And that's all based on that first impression of what they perceive that store sells, who they sell it to what client they sell it to what kind of price point there is, etc, you follow me and that is what you're doing when you think about your first impression. So that image when that person first walks into their office it to your space, especially a new client that's never been there before, is going to either match up with what they want to pay or not. It's gonna match up with what they're looking for or not. So you want to attract your ideal client. Yeah, it has to define who that ideal client is. And then once you define very specifically that you know in some some branding and and graphic design companies and stuff, they talk about your avatar, or even or even in marketing, they talk about who are you marketing to what is your message to the person you're marketing to? So whatever that is, so I know I heard you talk a little bit about, I didn't even know there was such a thing as infant massage. Yeah, I think that is fascinating being a grandmother of eight, but I'm like, Oh, my goodness, that's amazing. But if you think about having a mom, you know, that's going to be your focus, your environment is going to welcome that new mother, it's going to be comfortable and kid friendly, it's going to be you know, it's gonna be probably be homey. Think about the things that you want to create for that environment. So there's a psychology, or there's elements that will psychologically make you feel like it's that way. It doesn't have to be your living room. It just has to feel that way. Does that make sense? What I'm saying?
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I think you've probably seen a lot of practitioners over the years, and you've worked with them, who can't define it. And and we just want to help everybody, we just, we just like, but the clinic space that looks like everybody is probably going to attract nobody, nobody.
Well, you know what, let's just talk about that a second. Because, hey, you want to help everybody? But in having done this, okay, yes, there was a point 12 years ago that we specialised because I work with my husband, and we used to do design build all over the Atlanta area. And we did anything that came through the door. Right. And we could, we could do anything that came through the door. But there was a point where we felt this goal, and this passion and this mission to help elevate this profession. And we started to niche over to that. And so we as we did that we wanted to help any chiropractor. Yeah, then we begin to figure out that we can't help every chiropractor because of different, you know, some have different amounts of money, some have different amounts of belief system suddenly have different amounts of things. So then it's like, okay, well, we've got more the do it yourselfer, and we've got some that we can totally help as a concierge package. And we start to define that. And through the years, we begin to define our most ideal client that fits into our most unique service or our signature services. And then that's who we're going to appeal to. So I'm saying that where you don't really help everybody, you really do have a client, that is your most favourite and most wonderful to work on, you really do have one that you know, makes you the most money, and that you know, that you mesh with, and it may take you time to figure that out. You know what I'm saying? So in the meantime, how do you become more generic? You know, is what you're saying. So you can be somewhat, you know, generic, but you're still going to have to focus on am I going to be a sports, physical therapy oriented massage therapist, or I'm going to be a calming, you know, working with creating stress, reducing stress and things. Those two things alone have a difference. Do you know it's very similar? You're gonna focus on one or the other? Yeah, that's part does that helps? Oh, yeah. Yeah,
absolutely. And I think we all understand that design, like a design. And once we get into our space, or we've, we are participants in another health care profession, we understand that design is not timeless, and it has it like it just things can look dated. And I think we've all been in offices that have been are outdated and what, how often do you need to update your own space? You know, in order to stay, you know, relevant and keep attracting your ideal client?
Wow, that's a great question. So. So overall, the general rule of thumb is everything and fashion or design date in seven years. Okay. Okay. That's the overall rule. Okay. So there's, there's ranges that that if you're really, really classic, you could probably go 10 years, think about your classic black dress type thing, you know, you could probably go 10 years, maybe push it a little bit, but you probably need to get some new shoes. So the other side of that is really trendy. So really trendy, things are going to date a lot faster. So as a practitioner, we've worked with practitioners that want that trendy look. Okay, and I'm going to use some analogies like the barnwood the barnwood is still trendy. Okay, is it still in? Yes. Is it going to be in in two or three years? Probably not. It's going to date because it's a more trendy look. It's not absolute is I'm not making an absolute right more it goes that direction. The more trendier, it is to follow me. Yeah. So the more you pull in a little classic, the more it expands it so that's just like clothing. You know, it's really a lot if you think about clothing or someone who who works in that? Arena? Clothing actually probably dates even faster than interiors. But the big thing that dates is colour, colour, date, probably and colours, the easiest thing, really generally the easiest thing to change.
Okay, that's gonna be one of my other questions. Yeah, yeah,
one of the easiest things. So we tell people that when they're starting, once they have their space laid out as beautifully as possible, is when I say beautifully, I mean, it's, it's ideally as possible. The next level you want to look at is what can you do with lighting and with paint? So and keep your styles as classic and simple as possible. Or if you're going to spend it on trendy don't spend a lot of money because you're gonna have to replace it. Right? So lighting, there's so much psychology of lighting. And the biggest one is, the brighter the light, the more energy there is in the space, the darker the light, the calmer and what you should know, as a massage therapist, you want to lower the lights and create a calm serene experience for your, for your clients.
Yeah. Oh, that's wonderful. And, and I mean, we touched on it, you know, throughout the conversation, but like when you are looking for an office space, let's say there's a brand new massage therapists listening and they're looking to start their own their own office space. What are some of the things that you're looking for?
Well, the first thing you need to do is decide what are you trying to do, or you're a sole practitioner, that just is going to be you and you need a front desk, and you need to find a wonderful little cosy space that's going to work for that. Are you trying to create a multi, you know, massage therapist practice? Or, you know, what are you trying to do? I think about we, I live in a little town south of me, excuse me, north of Atlanta. It's kind of a bedroom community, but it has a wonderful street called Green Street that's full of old antebellum homes, well, one of them has been turned into a spa, which is full of massage rooms and things. So you know, that was that's a goal that they wanted. So are the it's, you go into the rooms, and they're much, much bigger than a massage room needs to be because it's an old house. So it's like, you start to look at those type of elements. What are you trying to do? Are you trying to create a multi disciplined practice? Or are you just trying to create you and the space? So the first thing you need to know is how many square feet you need to do want to do?
Right? Okay. And would you also consider, like when you are looking at your space? Like I think I know what your answer might be. But like, are you also looking at let's say like you're you're in an office building, so you can control a lot of what goes on behind your clinic door? But are you also really taking into consideration what that whole patient experiences as they pull up to the building the doorway, that they enter through the lot what the lobby looks like, if it's all like, you know, flickering light, and you know, maybe your office is is completely different. But is that something that you're also looking for when you're when you're looking for your space
app? So loosely? Absolutely, you're exactly because it's what we call curb appeal. You know, what is everything that happens before you get into your space? Exactly. So there's not one if you can't control it, and it really is offensive to you, what you just described was pretty offensive. But I'd want to go through that to get to your space. Yeah. So it sets you set yourself up for that. Yeah,
right. Okay. No good to get to know, I want to go I'm gonna throw something at you that I know you design larger spaces, but a lot of our our listeners are more than likely independent contractors, myself included. So we work in these, we were going to space, that we might not have a lot of control over the main areas, we might not even have a lot of control over the room that we work in, like the type of artwork that's on the wall and the colours, and that, depending on on the management, you know, you might have a little bit of say, but what is something that we can do if we are in these individual rooms? Like how can we make it more like what is there's a few tips that we could do just to make it a little bit more like us and appealing to the client that we're trying to attract are just a little bit more comfortable when they entered that particular room?
Wow, because they've already gone through? Well, I would say, you know, in your negotiations with this, you know, the owner, it would be important. I mean, obviously the better you are and the more you're sought after, the more you have to say over I need you to do these things for this for me to accept this position. Right, right. I understand that. And then what are your non negotiables? So what we see one of the things that I know that works pretty well for a lot of we have doctors that have independent chiropractors in their offices, it really works the best if the, the, the massage therapist hours are different than the every day clinic hours, because of noise, because of noise, because there's nothing that disrupts a massage, unless it's just purely sports, massage, sports massage can get away with a different, you're not, you know, what I'm talking about, you're really working on, you know, soft tissue work and things of that sort. That's just different. It's more clinical.
Yeah, that's the client is not trying to fall asleep on the table, nor are we really allowing them to with the techniques.
Exactly. So if that is, you know, once again, what are you trying to support? And what do you need to do to, to make that happen, and as long as the patient understands that that's the type of massage that they're going to get. And, you know, I'm going to go back to that massage therapist that, that I was sent to by my chiropractor that I said, there was a disconnect, I think that he, in his mind was sending me to a soft muscle tissue expert. Yeah. And she and her mind wanted to create the serene massage therapy. And I thought that that's what I was going to get, because that's what she wanted. And there was a disconnect. So I think one of the biggest things is just communication of expectations with your owner, and that disconnect. So if you're really disconnected, I don't know a lot you can do. Okay? If you're not too disconnected, and you want to enhance it, what can you do to control the sound? And what can you do to control other elements such as the smell of the room, okay. and things of that sort, make sure it's dark, you know, though the light, the smell, wonderful sheets, whatever the I don't know what you have control over what you go, you know, I've done I've had amazing massages on horrible tables. But I would have had, it would have even been better if had been a wonderful table to
write. So, ya know, I think that that that's helpful, even just a few you know, the few things that you said they're like, can you control the sound? And does that mean you have to change your hours, or adding white noise or, and the smell like if it is more of a clinical environment? If it's a sport, sporty type clinic, you know, can you control the smell inside? And then the lighting? I completely I agree with that. I think just those elements, if you can control those, which I think we all can and the sheets and how comfortable the table is, I think that those are all a wonderful starting points for sure. Can I ask about behind the scenes, you know, this, we've got the we've got the COVID, the patient and the client experience walking through the door. I've worked in many different types of environments, I've worked in spas, very high end spas, and I worked in a physio clinics and chiropractic offices. And unfortunately, most of most of the time, the staff area is a very much an afterthought, or just a non it's a it's a storage room at the back with a concrete floor and you know, everything's still exposed and you know, there's open shelving and and it's, it's just here, you this is where you do your charting, and you eat your lunch and all of these kinds of things. Do you do you try to incorporate an understanding that it is all part of the experience? You try to include a staff room into that that quality? Design?
Yes. And I have to I laugh as you're saying that we're working with a chiropractor right now in Florida, that he is so outgrown his space. And he's hit a point where he's going to build a building. So he has turned a bathroom into a staff room. I don't know exactly how he did it. But he said, Well, I took the plumbing off the wall in a staff room. So some of it is you just have to take into account is this their mode of operation because they don't know any better? Or is this a temporary fix? So I would hope that it'd be a temporary fix to growth because in the beginning we talked to you we'd work with a lot of students and it's like, every inch counts. And if it's only you and a an assistant, you don't need to spend a lot of energy or money or time in a staff room or break something you know have a place for us to have a little refrigerator but you don't really need a lot more. But then when they get when they grow we say if you have more than two doctors, more than two staff You need a break room, you need an area to, to squirrel away. So what we see a lot in massage type rooms, if it's a dedicated massage room is the therapist will that she'll own that room, he'll own that room, and he'll be able to do his charting and there's space to work and all of those things within the room would be extremely ideal. You're right, if they need to eat you don't really want to eat in a room, but
it's right person. I know. I don't see. Yeah,
it gets the popcorn smell out of the office so that we can create. banquet. Yeah.
Yeah. Okay. And well, that's that's good to know, as well.
I don't know if I helped you at all. Except that yes, we do encourage them, but some of it they outgrow so
right. Yeah. Yeah. And and like you said, understanding perhaps it is just a temporary, you know, situation. as they as they expand, then that's, that's okay. So what should i What should people be looking for when they're hiring a designer such as yourself, and you work virtually so you can see clients anywhere? And you actually don't, you don't work with anybody one on one, even if they are in we're in Atlanta, correct. So we
so I have four designers, and they're all 15 to 30 years of experience. And they all are. They're all licence and all of those things that they duplicated myself this the concept, right, perfect. So they all work virtually. And we have a system set up where you have one on one meetings with a client, virtually, right, we do everything virtually. So we work all over the country, virtually, we do have some clients in Atlanta. But honestly, we work with them virtually, because we do so much work in a computer programme that does the drawings that we can't do that when you're meeting with them face to face. So the only thing that we have to do face to face, if we have the opportunity to do it is looking at the actual finishes, which is a piece of the whole project. It's a what we do virtually is we look at finishes through a video camera. And then we send the samples the actual physical samples to the client, because we never want you to pick anything without having the samples to look at. And then we pick from there. So we have a process that we that amount through there. So we in the Atlanta area that we are contractors, and we don't do it. We don't do lots of construction, but we'll do construction on chiropractic offices here in the Atlanta area.
Okay, wonderful. So one thing that people should be looking for when they're looking to hire a designer is, you know, kind of pulling from our conversation as well. It sounds like you really try to get to know your client and what their needs are. So if you're if a person is not feeling that if they're looking for a designer, then then they Yeah, they they know where to where to go.
Yes. So let me let me answer that another direction. So the way that we have a complimentary consultation, that you meet with Allison and she's an, as she calls herself, an ex designer, she's that went into sales, but she will spend time understanding your project and your problem and all of those things that are associated with the timing all of that, and then she'll be able to express the solution to you and we have some steps we go through we have six steps we go through and they progress through understanding your your what you need to discover, and then exploring etc, and going all the way through. We are full service, architectural and interior design. So we produce full sets of construction documents and permit documents, etc. For our clients, we also do renovations, so renovations can be everything from a, we call it a facelift or paint and powder kind of thing to helping somebody rework an area of their space, just depending. That's where it all starts with this complimentary consultation with Allison.
Okay, excellent. And you also have something to offer to the to our listeners as well that can can sort of get them thinking about their own space. And can you elaborate on what you have to share? Absolutely. So
we have three, we have four free resources, and they all have a different goal. We have one that's just our general the five biggest mistakes chiropractors make when opening an office. i That was the original booklet I wrote 12 years ago, but it's like it can be it can work for anyone as far as understanding you need to understand the process and these things, these five things to know so That's a general resource for anyone, then we have a resource that we call our designer checklist, which really is a how to start a business checklist and incorporate the design process into that business. So it's really, it's was really written for the students more than anyone, someone just getting out of school or someone that's been an associate or or been practising and wants to maybe an independent contractor, now they want to open a business. So how does building a space fit into their business plan, etc. And then we have another resource that is just a bunch of free floor plans, chiropractic driven. And then our final resource that I want that probably is applicable to your existing practices. It's the five point designer checklist where we actually wrote the items, the first five things we would do if we were evaluating what you needed as far as a facelift on your existing space. So those that it's available, I just put them together in a mega bundle, we call it and it's available for your, for any of your listeners under chiropractic office design.com, forward slash
RMT. Excellent. Yes, thank you. And although the list link in the show notes of that, as well. So we really appreciate that I'm looking forward to checking out that bundle. your website and your blog resources are incredible. So even at Yeah, if anybody is looking to learn a little bit more, there, it's full of wonderful information, as I highly recommend that you check out the blog. Who Who inspires you, Carolyn? Like where do you get your design inspiration from?
Wow, that's a that's a question because I've been building a business for a while. So where do I get my design inspiration? So well, I have design magazines and things of that sort. But I, I think that, Boy, that's a hard question. If I think about a client that kept let's just say I have a client that comes to me, and I still do some design work. So I have a client that comes to me. The design inspiration is kind of an intuitive thing that comes out of me asking them enough questions about what are you trying to accomplish? It's a problem solving, solution exercise. And then as things come to me, we'll look at pinch. I'm a Pinterest fan. Yeah. I'm a Pinterest fan. So I love Pinterest. And we have a big Pinterest board. I don't know if you've looked at our Pinterest board. But we haven't. We have a Pinterest board. We literally started Pinterest as a support for our design staff in 2010, to help the design staff find things and put boards together. And when we work with a client, most of our designers use Pinterest to pull together all their ideas. Right.
Okay, wonderful. And then I mean, Pinterest is wonderful. Your Instagram is also a wonderful visual representation, obviously, of your portfolio. So if you are looking for ideas as as a listener and you're looking to update your space, you can just be wowed by some of the before and afters that they've they've done with their own business. It's really it's really inspiring. I mean, you know, yes, you primarily work with chiropractors and but we understand there's different needs, but there's no reason why we can't take inspiration from those designs as well. And I really I enjoyed visually like seeing seeing those those representations.
I'll add this a second most chiropractors don't come to us with inspiration they have we ask them for inspiration pictures, most of them are not other chiropractic offices, you know, they might be anything that could be any design is everywhere.
So Right. Yeah, that's a good point that yeah, if you're if you're looking for to design your space you're looking for like, what do you want? What do you want it to feel like and that might be a living room, or like a kitchen or you know, that kind of backyard even if you want is more like natural greenery. So yeah, that's a good point, that design Inspiration is everywhere. I've I've got my questions covered. Is there anything that you would like to add and closing that you don't feel that we did cover today? Or any any closing thoughts?
If you've had some amazing questions, so I'm not sure there's anything, anything that we don't cover, except that just reiterating that as you think about your space, understanding that it is a part of your whole marketing. And you should consider it as part of your marketing budget, to have your space designed to emulate everything that you're trying to do. And it doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money. You just have to be very intentional about what you're doing. Excellent else.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for your time, Carolyn. I really appreciate the conversation today. And now there's lots of wonderful bits that our listeners can take away from as well.
That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for having me, Chris. I appreciate it.