Penny Francis is the innovator and principal interior designer behind Eclectic Home. Working with her daughter Casi St. Julian, Francis designs both residential and commercial interiors, keeping the clients’ ideas and desires at the forefront of their concepts. In addition to interior design, Eclectic Home is also a 7,000-square-foot showroom, where clients can view and purchase a variety of design elements for their homes or businesses, including furniture and lighting. Eclectic Home has been successfully designing interiors for the past 20 years.
Bon Vivant: How are you navigating the COVID-19 crisis (in business or personally)?
Penny Francis: As with the rest of the world, [it has been] challenging. We continue to service our customers with white-glove and curbside delivery, as well as with online shopping. The loss of the traffic in the store has ramped up our marketing initiatives to let our customers know we are here for them and open for business. Our unstoppable designers, cutting-edge technology and vast library of materials and sources allow us to continue to work on existing and new interior design projects.
BV: What creative methods are you discovering in order to continue to serve clients?
Francis: We use social media (Instagram and Facebook) to communicate daily about new and interesting products and to offer design tips and advice. We created ‘Daily Dose of Design’ to engage our followers with great design tips and inspiration weekly. Our online shopping inventory has grown and is available for shoppers, and our gift card program for those future purchases is available. As a team, we use Zoom for meetings and, of course, email as we work remotely. We communicate digitally with clients through 3D and 2D design and presentations.
BV: Who or what is inspiring you right now and why?
Francis: The entire design and retail industry has come together to support one another by hosting IG live feeds or Zoom meetings, so that we can share our experiences and what is working for us during this unprecedented time. It is refreshing to know that we all are experiencing the same fear and that we can come together to support one another. Similar to Katrina, this, too, will forever change us, and hopefully for the better.
BV: What is the most helpful piece of career or life advice you’ve ever received, where did it come from and why was it so impactful for you?
Francis: To surround yourself with exceptional people and to not take yourself too seriously. Be humble and grateful. There is no growth without pain. Thanks, Dad.
BV: Guilty pleasure?
Francis: Cheetos and Lemonheads.
BV: If readers did only one thing to enhance their interior, what would you suggest?
Francis: The biggest return with the smallest investment that can truly impact change in an interior is PAINT. Changing a color or even a finish of the paint color is dramatic. If your walls are white and you change from an eggshell finish to a high-gloss lacquered finish, the reflection and mood of the room become very dramatic. Color adds life, so don’t be afraid. Use a piece of your favorite art or a textile, like a rug or pillow, for inspiration. Sometimes taking the least dominant color in your inspiration piece to paint your walls [or] ceilings brings that color to life. Experiment and enjoy; you won’t be disappointed.