A niche is an area of specialisation. When it comes to interior design, that means picking an interior design niche that compliments both your unique skill set and your passion, whether that be maximising the functionality of small spaces or art deco decor!
Many credit a strong niche as the secret ingredient in building a successful interior design business. And they're not wrong, niching down allows you to hone your craft, often charge a premium fee and most importantly, readily attract your dream clientele—rather than finding clients, clients find you.
But as an interior designer, you're a naturally gifted all-rounder. And so you may feel hesitant to settle into a niche. Niching is a big decision for your interior design business, so take a second and ask yourself these questions before narrowing your niche.
Does this niche complement my skill set and my passion?
If you're narrowing down your interior design niche, finding that sweet spot between passion and skill is a must! First things first, you should work within a niche that you genuinely enjoy—to the point that you'd do it as a hobby. Having this level of interest makes your job more enjoyable and you more employable, clients will recognise your clear passion!
With that said, interest alone isn't enough. Clients won't just hire you because you like maximalist design, you have to be good at it too. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses as an interior designer. You don't have to have all the skills now, but a solid base is needed in order to succeed within your niche—remember, you'll be competing against experts in this field. Assess where your strengths and your passion overlap—that's your niche shortlist!
Is there a demand for this niche service?
This one is important—does anyone actually want or need your niche? Regardless of your commitment or expertise, your interior design business won't thrive without a market. Always consider how many people are looking for the services you offer. If the market looks too small, don't make the switch—positioning yourself in this niche will limit your business growth!
How can you gauge the demand? Conduct some market research! Ask family, friends, friends of friends and strangers whether your prospective niche interior design service is of use or interest to them—the bigger the sample size, the better. You can also turn to your old friend Google. Search for some keywords related to your niche and see what kind of coverage they have—are lots of businesses already working in this market? Are people seeking out similar services on social media but to no avail? Public demand is your biggest indicator as to whether this niche is a viable direction for your interior design business.
Who will I be competing against?
If your keyword research led you to conclude that there was high demand for your services because there was a high level of competition, you need to decide whether you're up for the challenge. An oversaturated market is hard to break into. Why would your interior design business stand out above the rest? What makes your approach that little bit different and why will that make clients choose you? Don't go into business until you're confident with your USP.
Here's the trick: let's say you dream of working exclusively in minimalist kitchen design (an already saturated field), could you undercut the market and specialise in low-cost minimalist kitchens? Or perhaps you have a knack for designing minimalist kitchens that are still practical and functional for growing families? Decide what makes your service different, and capitalise on that!
Am I ready to commit to a niche?
Last but not least, consider whether this is the right move for you and your business right now—are you ready to niche down? Once you commit to a niche, you'll need to stick with it. Niching means losing certain clients, accepting you'll be working on less diverse projects and hard work to re-establish yourself and your brand. But the rewards are plentiful, establishing yourself as an expert, honing your skillset and working with your like-minded clients on dream projects.
Take your time! It is a big decision but you'll know when the time is right!