Interview with Virtual Interior Designer Stephanie Owens


I met Stephanie on Instagram and was immediately enthralled with her design aesthetic (think pretty rocker chick) and knew I had to interview her on the blog. If you are considering hiring a virtual interior designer or becoming one yourself, this interview is a MUST READ.

Without further ado, meet Stephanie Owens of Paper Moon Interiors.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Owens.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Owens.

Stephanie's uber-professional and clever logo. The details matter!

Stephanie's uber-professional and clever logo. The details matter!

Please introduce yourself. Who are you as a person, where are you from, and what are a few of your favorite non-business things? 

I’m Stephanie, macaron lover, champagne popper, and doggy momma. I live in Southern California with my husband and two dogs. When I’m not designing, I’m probably reading a mystery with a big cup of tea or watching a classic movie. I’ve been obsessed with Hitchcock since I was a kid.

What exactly is e-design for interiors?

E-design is a fairly new type of interior design service where designers work with clients virtually to design and style their homes.

How did you end up in this field? How long have you been doing this?

I was finishing up my BA in interior design and wanted to get my feet wet working with clients, so I started working for a crowd-sourced virtual design company. I thought that I wanted to get into commercial work, but I got the virtual bug and launched my own company, Paper Moon Interiors, in November of 2016.

Online interior design is much more about content creation and marketing than our abilities as interior designers. I had the skills to do this when I started, and then some, but I had to learn a lot about running an online business to make it work.
— Stephanie Owens, Virtual Interior Designer

How does online interior design work?

We start with a complimentary video conference design brainstorming session where we discuss their project. They then receive a welcome package with questions about their space and their needs, along with a guide showing them how to photograph and measure their space.

Then, I put together a floor plan and style board, showing them all of the furnishings and accessories I’ve chosen for their space. From there we go through two revision cycles, if needed, and then I deliver the final package, which includes the floor plan, style board, shopping list and styling guide.

When my client is ready we then have another conference call so I can answer any questions that they may have.

A snapshot of Stephanie's client work. Gorgeous! 

A snapshot of Stephanie's client work. Gorgeous! 

Why is this better than regular interior design?

It’s better for some people. It allows busy professionals and families to work with a designer on their time. The traditional interior designer works 9-5, Monday through Friday, like most everyone else, and not everyone has the time to take work off to have meetings with their designer.

Virtual design is also more cost-effective for those on a tighter budget. My overhead is incredibly low, and I don’t have to charge my clients travel fees. I’ve also found that a lot of my clients have interviewed designers that won’t work on projects with smaller budgets, even if a “small” budget is around $10K.

What unique struggles do you have as an online interior designer?

I’d definitely say not being able to test out furniture and check the quality of it before recommending it to a client. I’ve been doing this for a while now, so I know which shops have the best service, return policies, and product. I also make sure that if a client has a tight budget, they know that the furniture they get isn’t going to last forever. 

Photography is another problem that I’ve learned to deal with. I hardly ever get high quality images from my clients because they are just excited to show me their homes and aren’t thinking about using it for any other purpose. I don’t have the budget to fly out to their homes for a photoshoot, so my site doesn’t have completed project shots at the moment. Now that I’m on my own, I’ll be looking into solutions for this.

What is your advice for an interior designer who is consider making the switch from offline to online?

Get very comfortable with digital presentations. I personally don’t think PowerPoint cuts it. Learn Photoshop- your style boards will look so much more professional. And make a brand for yourself!

If you want to get started designing on a crowd-sourced site, do it. You’ll learn a lot, but don’t stay there. They don’t even pay minimum wage if you really look at the math... 

Make your own website, get social on your platform of choice (mine is IG), blog to get that Google SEO juice to your site, and capture people’s emails.

Note from Kate: What I Love about Stephanie's Business Model

Not only is Stephanie's overhead low, but she also has the ability to work from anywhere. She has FREEDOM.

I especially love that she understands the value of content creation. She is one part interior designer, one part blogger, and 100% a savvy #girlboss who has taken charge of marketing her interior design business and is absolutely rocking it. Well done, Stephanie! (And seriously, woman, you use Adobe Illustrator.  10 out of 10 in my book!)

Follow Stephanie on Instagram and browse her website for more inspiration.

Kate the Socialite is a marketer for interior designers, window coverings professionals, and remodelers. If you'd like to be featured or interviewed on the Socialite blog, please contact me and I'll see if we're a good fit for each other.


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