Beside every great design team is a business team that keeps the firm operating smoothly, moving toward our shared goals, and attracting the latest and greatest clients to our doors. I know our designers get a lot of credit for our portfolio, but believe me when I say that none of it would have been possible without everyone playing their part.
I love knowing that each person shines in the role where they most excel. In fact, I believe that the ability to trust each other’s expertise is what gives each of us the freedom and peace of mind to rise beautifully to our respective challenges. That’s a team.
You met our design team a couple weeks ago (here, in case you missed it). This week, come say hello to our business team: our new COO (see if you recognize him!), Procurement Coordinator, and Marketing Coordinator.
Who knows, you just might have something in common…
Kristian Photopoulos, Chief Operating Officer
Time at BID: 4 months
Role: As COO, I’m tasked with managing all facets of the business, with a strong focus on launching and operationalizing strategic growth initiatives, maximizing financial profitability, and achieving operational excellence.
How has your background prepared you to shine in your role at Blakely? My 20+ year career has been rooted in high-growth, fast-paced educational technology software companies…. THE PERFECT match for an Interior Design firm, right?! 🙂 I was blessed to be with a true start-up in NYC that grew from 10 employees to 150 and $30M in sales.
For just about a decade, I was at the helm driving scaling initiatives and growth across all parts of the business. The lessons learned about managing people & teams, culture, marketing, sales, finance, business systems, and operations will pay huge dividends as we continue to fuel the rapid growth here at Blakely.
What drew you to work at an interior design company? After taking 18 months off from my career to support our family and my wife’s work at Blakely, it became very clear that my desire to find another small start-up type of company to grow and scale was staring me right in the face. What an incredible opportunity and blessing to work with my seriously talented wife and the Blakely team on a day-to-day basis.
If you were an interior designer for a day, what would be your dream design project to work on? A high-end log cabin style home somewhere in the Rocky Mountains overlooking a deep, vast, expansive valley.
What are you reading or watching right now? Watching Alone on Netflix. Fascinating to watch people adapt and survive. I’m drawn into their mental toughness, the will to win each and every day.
Drink of choice: Bombay Sapphire Gin and tonic, has to be super cold.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A few things….Orthopedic surgeon, fighter pilot, Navy SEAL.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to and somewhere you dream of going: Loved the island of Ischia in Italy with my family. Dream trip: a safari in South Africa.
Which one of your traits are you most proud of? My ability to persevere no matter what the challenge is. I love being the underdog; it motivates the hell out of me.
In times of adversity or self doubt, how do you build yourself back up? I channel the inner athlete/competitor in me to realize discomfort is only a state of mind and self-imposed, a moment in time that can be overcome by a series of small, calculated mental wins.
David Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, public speaker, and author. He is also a retired United States Navy SEAL. His deep understanding of the human brain, principles on how to control it vs. it controlling you, has helped me stay calm during times of adversity, shifting fear and uncertainty into an untethered drive to perform and succeed.
What’s your favorite thing to do after a long day at work? In the summer months, watch the sunset from our family boat. In the winter, long hikes in the woods. Watch our kids compete on their teams: hockey, lacrosse, dance.
If you were given 3 more hours in a day, what would you do with them? Half would be spent with my wife, half with the kids. The two most important aspects in my life.
What’s something you do in the morning to start your day off on the right foot? I love an intense crossfit workout or long bike ride just as the sun is coming up.
Meridith Marion, Procurement Coordinator
Time at BID: 1 ½ years
Role: I create proposals, place and track orders, and manage every detail pertaining to procurement throughout the course of the design process.
How has your background prepared you to shine in your role at Blakely? The Interior Design Certificate program at RISD laid the groundwork, exposing me to all areas of the design process, from the creative side to the business aspects.
What drew you to work at an interior design company? It is exciting to see the whole process, from conception to installation and all of the phases in between, to start with an idea that a client has and watch it come to life.
If you were an interior designer for a day, what would be your dream design project to work on? A Boutique Hotel.
What are you reading or watching right now? I have 2 young children, not much time for either!
What did you want to be when you grew up? An archeologist.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to and somewhere you dream of going: Favorite Place: Botswana, and I dream of going to Australia.
Which one of your traits are you most proud of? I am very committed!
In times of adversity or self doubt, how do you build yourself back up? I remind myself that everything is constantly changing, that nothing remains the same.
What’s your favorite thing(s) to do after a long day at work? Hug my girls!
If you were given 3 more hours in a day, what would you do with them? Read that book I can’t seem to find time for.
What’s something you do in the morning to start your day off on the right foot? Drink a glass of water.
Jessie Barber, Marketing Coordinator
Time at BID: 2 years
Role: I have the exciting role of sharing all of the beautiful work that our team creates. I coordinate all areas in our marketing plan including (but certainly not limited to!) our social media, email newsletters, photoshoots, events, advertising, and other content creation for online and print. In conjunction with Janelle, I focus on developing and implementing strategies that build the brand and the business to help us attract our next vibrant client!
How did your journey lead you to work for an interior design company? I’ve been interested in art and design my whole life, and my unconventional college journey led me to pursue both design and business degrees. I have a degree in Textile Design as well as Textile Marketing, so working at an interior design firm just made sense to me. At Blakely, I’m able to use my creative eye every day, whether it’s designing our marketing materials or jumping in to help with project installations.
How has your background prepared you to shine at Blakely? In addition to my education, years of working as a server in fast-paced and demanding restaurants helped develop my strong work ethic, and that’s something that has stayed with me in any role I’m in. It also helps that I’ve always been fascinated by the interior design industry, so now I get to be a part of it while pursuing my passion for marketing and business.
If you were an interior designer for a day, what would be your dream project to work on? A swanky bar lounge, or remodeling an expansive historic coastal home in the south.
What are you reading and/or watching right now? I’m always re-watching The Office!
Drink of choice: Lacroix by day, dirty martini with blue cheese olives by night. Or a spicy marg!
What did you want to be when you grew up? An artist or a whale trainer.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to and somewhere you dream of going: Favorite Place: Island hopping in the Caribbean. Dream of going: Iceland and Aruba.
Which one of your traits are you most proud of? My drive and passion for living life to the fullest.
In times of adversity or self doubt, how do you build yourself back up? I do simple things that I know I’m good at, like go for a run or cook a yummy dinner. I also like to listen to podcasts/videos to hear others’ success stories to get my motivation back up.
What’s your favorite thing(s) to do after a long day at work? Hot yoga, cooking, and digital illustration.
If you were given 3 more hours in a day, what would you do with them? Devote more time to exercising, and just continue to learn new skills. I have this affinity of wanting to learn and try everything but there never seems like enough hours in a day!
What’s something you do in the morning to start your day off on the right foot? I don’t look at my phone until I’m done with my morning routine or else I’ll get stuck in a “scroll hole.”
Now that you’ve met us, we can’t wait to meet you! If you’re ready for our team to help bring your vibrant home to life, book a discovery call with us here. Let’s get to know each other and see what we can create.