Interview – Crystal Collinson

This episode is actually part 2 of my conversation with Crystal Collinson all about working with builders and developers. It was my first time taking part in a simulcast, which means you’ll find part 1 of our 2-hour conversation on Crystal’s podcast, The Productive Designer, and now part 2 right here! Listen to part 1 here.

Crystal is the principal of Crystal Collinson Interiors, a full-service design firm specializing in the Design and Decorating of Model Homes, Sales Presentation Centre’s, Condominium amenity spaces, and small commercial projects. Crystal & her team work with many of the GTA’s largest home builders.

After 18 years in the industry, Crystal has developed an approach to interior design that sets her apart, while setting her clients & trusted trade resources at ease. Running a full-time interior design business while raising a family is not an easy feat. Crystal has the unique ability to be both creative yet extremely organized; keeping a handle on all the moving parts. Living by the philosophy that “Design should solve problems, not create them”. As a self-proclaimed productivity geek, she has developed systems, processes, and hacks to work smarter…not harder.

Crystal is the creator and host of The Productive Designer podcast. The aim of the podcast is to educate, collaborate and motivate all Interior Design professionals to intentionally design the life and business they want.

During the episode, Crystal shares how she started working in this realm of design and shares all about the world of builders and developers. She explains how different builder and developer projects are from residential projects. 

Our conversation goes further into branding. Since Crystal and I both have multi-faceted companies, we chatted about her venture into creating an umbrella brand, and the pros and cons of doing that. If you’re interested in branding, this part of the episode is not to be missed. 

Lastly, we chatted about hiring and building a team. Crystal and I have built our teams very differently. While I have a mix of people on contract and salary, and this works for me, Crystal has built a team of freelancers and contract employees and it works for her! Building a team is very personal because it depends on your company’s process and how you like to work with others.

One of my biggest takeaways from the lovely conversation with Crystal was the reminder she said towards the end that our jobs as design professionals is 20% design and 80% project management. Listen to the episode to find out what she means by that.