The past few years have underscored just how important our living spaces are and the myriad ways we can make our homes feel even more customized to our lifestyles and needs.
Far from focusing only on their titular storage spaces, California Closets works with clients to minimize a home’s clutter by maximizing its potential. Design Consultant Frank Bigwood recently offered South Jersey Magazine some insights into how he and the rest of the California Closets team set themselves apart to deliver incredible, individualized space-saving solutions every time.
Q: What sets California Closets apart?
A: We clearly are the most trusted brand in the business. It starts with the design process—and we follow all the way through to the install. We become the project manager. This is important to me because it creates a better bond between the client and designer. Although our installation team is great at delivering our promise and knows our expectations, it still makes a difference with the client knowing they can reach out to one person and get an answer.
Q: How does California Closets meet each client’s individual needs?
A: Most initial consultations are completed in the client’s home. One of the most important steps in the process is getting to know them and what their needs are for the space. Having a simple conversation and asking the right questions give us important information needed to complete a beautiful design that works best for the client.
Once we are in the space, I like to talk about design possibilities by pointing out where certain components may be placed. This helps for when we review the final layout in our CAD [computer-aided design] program.
Now for the fun part: Our 3D CAD program is amazing and lets clients see their space really come to life. Designing along with the client is something I always do: I love when my clients take ownership of their space, and it’s fun for them to move sections around and really make it their own. This process also allows them to understand our pricing. As we add or take away, clients can see the updated price immediately. I like that we are transparent with this, which allows the client to see the value in their new space. We offer the best price, all the time, for the high-quality products we install.
We have three showroom locations (Mount Laurel, Northfield and Plainsboro) allowing us to meet with our clients to collaborate on their projects. Our showrooms are a great place to both see our ever-expanding products and get a closer look at the high-quality work we put into our finished product. If a client doesn’t want to meet at a physical location, we have a digital showroom, which can be viewed in home and allows them to see everything we offer in our product line.
Q: What should people know about the scope of work you can do?
A: We can build something for every space in the home! It’s important while in our consultation to discuss all the areas we can build in, and most clients’ responses are, “I had no idea you did all of this!” We are more than just closets: media centers, wine bars, libraries, home offices, wall beds, garages, pantries, laundry rooms and mudrooms.
Some clients have high expectations for what can fit into certain spaces. Being honest has always worked out for me—sometimes things just will not fit or our product may not be the best solution. Although I’d love to get the sale, giving the client a recommendation at times is best.
Q: Is there a common request or trend you're seeing lately?
A: Minimalism—like simplicity and functionality, as well as clean lines—is a common request we get. Current trends also include: natural/soft colors; matte surfaces versus bright and glossy ones; LED lighting; hidden storage; and “Clo-Offices,” or closets doubling as offices. Social media helps spread the word about these trends and the latest in storage solutions.
Q: What's the best client compliment you can get?
A: A referral! If I can’t make it out to the actual installation, I always follow up with those clients after I see the completed project. At that time, I ask that if they know anyone who will benefit from my services, to please let me know.
Q: What do you enjoy about working at California Closets?
A: There is so much with this company that is enjoyable to me! I’d first have to say the people I work with: We are fortunate to call ourselves friends and not just work colleagues. Being a part of a brand that is most trusted and having that brand invest in us means that we are consistently given the training and skills to succeed in this business. It’s up to us to absorb it and take off! The more you put into this business, the more successful you will be.
I love working with trade partners like builders, interior designers and general contractors, and I enjoy meeting all kinds of people! I love walking through clients’ homes and noting their style and décor—I’ve even brought some ideas I’ve seen back to my home! Not any one week is the same, which keeps the work interesting and somewhat entertaining at times
Serving South Jersey