Bronxville, NY — After graduating from college, Meghan Hackett-Cassidy worked her way up through internships and positions with larger design firms, all while working on freelance projects on the side. These freelance projects “opened my eyes to owning my own business,” Hackett-Cassidy explains. “After being at [a large firm] for two years, I left to start my own firm. I was looking at the time for a partner because the workload was becoming too much for me, and that’s when [my sister] Erin suggested that we partner up.”
Erin Hackett’s path to the design industry was slow and organic. “It’s kind of something that I’ve been exposed to my whole life, partially because of my sister and her career path. My mom is also in real estate, so it’s just something that’s kind of always consumed our lives, something that I was interested in and was relevant to me,” Hackett relates. She was working fields such as marketing and events, but never felt that she had found “the right fit.” She explains, “So when Meghan was at that crossroads looking for help, not knowing which direction to go in, we made the decision to start working together.
Fast forward three years, and the sisters are still working together as Hackett Interiors, based in Bronxville, NY, offering services ranging from kitchen and bath remodeling to property staging.
According to Hackett-Cassidy, one of the questions she and her business partner are asked most commonly by clients and interviewers – not to mention family and friends – is, “What makes your partnership successful?”
Both sisters agree: In order for a partnership such as theirs to work, clearly defined roles are a necessity. “We are very different, even though we’re sisters, and on a daily basis, we do different things in the office,” Hackett explains. “We definitely collaborate and share ideas, but Meghan is very much more of the ‘designer’ and more of the creative [type], and I have taken over the marketing and the business end of things. At the end of the day, we’re doing very different things and we’re playing to our own strengths.”
That’s not to say that they function completely independently of one another within the company, of course. “We each have our own tasks to complete, but we collaborate together as well to make sure that everything gets done efficiently,” Hackett-Cassidy adds.
Small town connections
Bronxville, with its high average household income and population of just over 6,000, provides Hackett and Hackett-Cassidy with plenty of work. “We work in a small town where we grew up, so for the most part, there’s usually a common denominator [with our clientele],” Hackett explains. “We either have already known them, or we have a mutual friend or client. Of course, we’ve worked with people who we didn’t really know, but there’s usually a sense of familiarity.”
According to the sisters, many of the homeowners they work with are middle-aged or older and looking to settle into what will likely be their forever home. “In the Bronxville area, [clients want] a design that has longevity but also reflects their own personal style, and is also in line with the style of the home.”
In order to craft classic spaces that still feel exciting, they focus on bringing fresh and surprising details into their designs. For a project that they worked on in Palm Beach, FL, for example, “we used a classic subway tile in the shower, but to add a little twist and make it more relatable to the geographical area, it was an aqua- blue, as a nod to Palm Beach and the blues that you see right outside the door and in the ocean.”
Additionally, Hackett and Hackett-Cassidy incorporate subtle yet ultra-modern necessities into their designs. A recent custom vanity designed by Hackett Interiors incorporates a hairdryer drawer with an outlet, as well as a built-in mobile device charging station.
For Hackett and Hackett-Cassidy, social media is an invaluable tool to get to know their current clients’ unique tastes. “We request that people send [us] inspirational links to magazine articles online, Pinterest or Instagram. Inspiration photos are a good jumping off point.”
Providing photographic inspiration of their own to clients has been a worthy investment for Hackett Interiors as well. “I think we live in an era now that everybody needs to see a picture,” says Hackett. “We photographed our projects and we built a website and that automatically helped the [design] process, so that people had a place to go and look at our work. We’ve really focused a lot on Instagram and using those photos – which are a big investment for a designer – to display our portfolio.”
In addition to helping them to connect with current clients, social media has also garnered plenty of business for the sisters. Hackett-Cassidy explains, “It allows you the opportunity to connect with people outside of your immediate network.” ▪