Q&A With Fiona Jefferies from Diva Works

September 21, 2022

Each showroom requires expert planning. DisplaySweet has built close ties with some of Australia’s most respected and celebrated property companies.

One such powerhouse is the team at Diva Works, who work with property developers across the country to make the impossible a reality by providing smart solutions for showrooms of all shapes and sizes.Most recently, DisplaySweet partnered with Diva Works on the showroom for Mirvac’s Ador Burswood development in Western Australia.

With a reputation for excellence in the showroom space, we recently caught up with Fiona Jefferies, Founder & Director at Diva Works, to learn more about their high-touch, service-based approach.

Tell us a little about your company and what they do?

Diva Works was founded in 2001. I was working for another agency at that point, and I saw a real opportunity to combine design and excellence of the delivery of the designs – it wasn’t being addressed in the market at the time.

At this point in time, it was very early days in terms of property development and for project marketing as we know it today. I got my start with Mirvac working on Beacon Cove Development in Port Melbourne and just really loved what they were about, the energy of the sector and saw an opportunity to specialise in that area.

From there, I gave myself a $5,000 loan to start up my business on the dining table at home and Mirvac became my first client. I’m thrilled to say they’re still my client to this day, working across their developments all over Australia.

How would you describe your underlying philosophy?

A lot of companies offer design but there’s a gap in the excellence of bringing that design vision to life. My background is in design, I have an Industrial Design Degree, and I also went into project management because I really wanted to be in control of the delivery of the vision.

If you just concentrate on the design only, so much can get compromised when you’re doing the fit out, and I didn’t want that, I really wanted to maintain consistency and excellence across the entire field.

So, if I was to really sum up my underlying philosophy, it’s all around doing your best work, always and especially when the pressure is on. I’m only ever as good as my last job, which really keeps you accountable. Even with the great body of work that Diva Works has created over the last 21 years, I never want to get stale, or repeat myself, I’m very much focussed on where else we can innovate or push ourselves to create even more amazing sales offices.

With that as our North Star, it keeps you keen and your standards high, and it helps me to identify areas where we can do better or improve our offer and level of design and service moving forward.

What trends are you noticing at the moment in the property or technology industries?

For me, trends come and go. It’s more about the strategy that underpins it all. In the tech space, I’m seeing a strong move towards innovative technology like immersion rooms and touchscreen-based content. Regardless of what is used to sell the Development’s offer or USP is that entire sales showroom hast to serve the vision and objectives. It must be message before method.

I’m very focussed on strategy and unpacking, “how do we explain the vision and offer of this development to our client’s ideal customers?”. So, in a lot of ways that’s perfect with touch screens or screen-based technology that allows for a greater depth of information to be displayed in a sales office. But we first start looking at what needs to be communicated, and then we work out how best to display that message be in a 3D model, an immersive LED wall, a static graphic or 3D messaging.

What’s the most important part of an off-the-plan sales campaign to you?

This is odd coming from something who specialises in sales offices design and creation, but the most important part of an off-the-plan sales campaign the people. Relationships are everything, and it’s about creating the report between the buyer and the sales consultant so that the buyer is comfortable in asking whatever questions they have and feel they have someone there to guide them through the buying process.

Of course, this must take place within a beautiful and inviting showroom environment, with engaging prop-tech, but relationships are still king. We saw throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that the desire to come together and connect with people face to face is still so crucial. You can get so much information online about off-the-plan developments, but information isn’t necessarily knowledge. Seeing a consultant face-to-face and being able to explore the development’s offer, is still the most powerful tool.

Having engaged, knowledgeable sales team that really want to help their clients find their dream home, that’s so critical. We spend a lot of time in our projects understanding what the sales team need to be able to sell effectively and provide them with the tools they need to help their customers in the buying process.

DisplaySweet and Diva Works are collaborating on some stunning projects. Why are our businesses so well matched?

Over the years I’ve worked on so many memorable Mirvac projects. Every Mirvac development is so special to Diva Works because they’re exceptional clients. They really strive to go above and beyond, they never get complacent no matter how many projects they do, and they push Diva Works to lift our standard of design and fit out each time we collaborate on a project.

There’s synergy between Diva Works and DisplaySweet because both companies have a commitment to excellence. It’s not “same old” or a cookie-cutter approach and a repeat what we’ve done before, it’s really about understanding what the client is after, looking for ways to innovate upon what we’ve done in the past, and keep stepping it up and again and again for our clients.

At the end of a project, what does success look like?

We still get a thrill when a client walks into our completed sales office and say, “Wow, this looks amazing!” That feeling of joy and achieving something against so many challenges, never gets old.

We also love hearing from the buyers. It’s not uncommon for them to ask where furniture or finishes or styling items came from as they love them so much and want them for their own homes. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that what we’ve done is creating that emotional response and helping people find their dream home. I’ll never get jaded about that.

Success to us is designing and delivering well thought-out sales spaces that’s warm and inviting.  The sales office environment isn’t high pressure– it’s a beautiful selling space that will allow our clients to sell out their projects in record time to customers that have been sold on the vision of the development.

Why is using sales technology important to the success of your project?

Prop-tech needs to seemly integrate into the fit-out, and it needs supports the overall aim of the sales office which is to make sales and help customers find their new home. There’s so much information that needs to be conveyed when purchasing a home, having that content digitalised means that the sales team can tailor their presentation to the specific buyers’ needs and information requests.

You’ll never have enough walls or space to display everything you want to, so by having layers of content stored on touch screens and other interactive technology means that you can have a deeper level of conversation with the client, and be able to match the buyers’ desires with the prefect home for them.

Check out Diva Works at: https://www.divaworks.com.au/

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