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Meet Mackenzie Collier’s Interiors in Downtown Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mackenzie Collier.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Mackenzie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My mom was an interior designer, so I grew up watching her move throughout the industry as she developed her trade. She had a knack for visualizing each space’s potential and always encouraged me to challenge convention.

Before going to design school, I earned my degree in child and family psychology from Michigan State (I can’t imagine working as a designer without it!). I later attended design school in Chicago, graduating not too long after the economy tanked. When I came out west, at the time, there just weren’t many design assistant jobs in Phoenix, so I ended up posting on Craigslist to try to get some freelance work. Much to my surprise, a couple in Gilbert responded and hired me for what ended up being one of my biggest residential design jobs to date—a year-long 6000 sq. Ft. gut remodel. I totally let them know that I was inexperienced, but they were on board to let me go for it (probably because my rate was dirt cheap!), and fortunately, we were all thrilled with the results. They referred me to friends and it suddenly snowballed into being an actual design business!

After that, I worked on my own for about three years, and slowly started to grow my team in 2014. Today, I am so proud to work with six amazing, hilarious, brilliant women doing residential and commercial projects all over the valley. We just celebrated our 7 year anniversary on January 1st!

Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! It turns out, owning a business is really hard— ha! I was working 18-hour days and not really turning a profit for the first few years until I learned to price my services and manage my time better. Also, a huge part of my job is meeting with other industry professionals—architects, contractors, merchants—and there were times I struggled with how and when to assert myself in order to have my voice heard. It’s a continuous journey, but I’ve really enjoyed the process of learning all the ins and outs of growing a business. It’s pretty fun when you finally get it right!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Mackenzie Collier Interiors story. Tell us more about the business.
We’re a full-service residential and commercial interior design firm that focuses on sustainability, supporting local, and creating designs that are both beautiful and functional. We offer remodeling, space planning, decorating, styling, project management, and design packages tailored to the needs of the modern design client. At MCI, we joke that “we’re not your mother-in-law’s interior designer.” I’m proud of that!

When I was figuring out how to run my business, I looked to veteran designers for clues, but I just wasn’t comfortable with the traditional methods of conducting a design business. The secret product markups, the contractor kickbacks, the open checkbook spending philosophy—it all felt sketchy to me. My main purpose was to figure out how to run a transparent and honest business. My clients know everything upfront and throughout the process; there is no “hidden” anything.

It also bothered me that interior design seemed to be a luxury reserved only for the wealthiest elite. Living in a well-designed space doesn’t have to be an outrageously expensive endeavor. For that reason, I wanted to create a something accessible to busy families, young professionals, and people who are hustling to make their dreams happen. I’m incredibly proud of the designs we’ve done so far and excited for what the future holds.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Generally, I’m not a big “trend” person, as I like to see a space reflect the people who live in it rather than temporary fashions that will inevitably end up in a landfill once they phase out. That said, I am seeing continued progress toward incorporating sustainability into design plans and minimizing the impact spaces have on the planet—and that trend is here to stay. Bringing fresh air, natural light, and layering textures that mimic nature into a space will never go out of style!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Heather Kirchoffer; James Stewart

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