Having Gather in our team's arsenal has completely changed the way our team functions and communicates with one another. As far as the estimated hours saved, I would estimate 5-6 hours a week per person, but the impact has been much more profound than hours saved.
Studio McGee is a full-service design firm and the driving force behind captivating home transformations that unfold from concept to completion. An award-winning design team, Studio McGee has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, including Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and Vogue Living, and headlined Netflix’s hit series, “Dream Home Makeover.”
Emily Nielson is the Operations Manager for Design Services at Studio McGee which includes both designers and operations. Emily manages client budgets, invoicing, and processes. She and the team are committed to ensuring each client project is meticulously curated to align with their mission to “Make Life Beautiful.”
With a reputation for crafting spaces that are both refreshingly modern and timelessly classic, they've made their mark on the design world with domestic and international projects, and millions of followers and subscribers across various social media platforms.
However, Studio McGee's journey wasn't without challenges. Their initial homegrown project management systems were holding the team back and making their job more difficult. It was costly to build in-house and cumbersome to maintain. But, inaccurate records and inefficient document management were the final straw.
“Before Gather, we had a pretty black and white software system. It didn’t have any flexibility or options to work around,” says Nielsen.
“Our projects felt unorganized, leaving room for error, and the pricing was incredibly siloed and difficult to update. These system errors lead to costly product management and invoicing challenges.”
Having gone through two painful custom solution builds, they developed a strategic list of must-have software features, including:
The search for a new system led them to Gather. Gather’s platform promised not just organization, but also a user-friendly interface that catered to both the design and operational needs of the studio.
Gather Product Board: Water's Edge Hearth Room
As the team worked to implement Gather, they took a thoughtful approach to ensure success. They began by importing past projects that were already completed to test out all the features of Gather and put it through its paces before migrating over their active client projects.
“It took some time and effort to get out of our comfort zones to realize and understand all the features Gather has to offer.” said Nielsen, “But once we did, it was game changing.”
Today, it has completely replaced its legacy solution and is used through the entire project span, from design and pricing to the ordering process and installation.
“Our designers kickstart the process by curating all essential items and seamlessly inputting them into Gather, leveraging the Clipper Tool,” says Nielsen.
“When the moment arrives to present our curated designs to our clients, our operations team compiles pricing information and generates a comprehensive Line Item Specification document for sharing. As the clients give their approval on pieces, our team updates the status of each item to reflect the corresponding actions required in the next step of our ordering process.”
Gather Item View: Water's Edge Hearth Room
Finished Water's Edge Hearth Room
The ordering process is managed in Gather, where they can track order numbers, lead times, shipping details, and more.
Nielsen adds, “A standout feature of Gather is its capacity to record detailed notes on each vendor's distinct procedures, providing an incredible resource for our team.”
Studio McGee is even using Gather after a project is complete, since it offers a treasure trove of data and reporting insights that can be used for both marketing and accounting records.
Not only did Gather streamline processes and reduce errors, but it also had a direct financial impact on Studio McGee's operations.
“Having Gather in our team's arsenal has completely changed the way our team functions and communicates with one another. As far as the estimated hours saved, I would estimate 5-6 hours a week per person, but the impact has been much more profound than hours saved.
Cross-departmental communication regarding items and ordering status has improved so much for our team. The ability for team members to view the latest notes and status updates, and by which team members, are so important to how we measure progress and for accountability.”
A big reason for that is Gather’s stand-out real-time collaboration features, which helps prevent oversights or mishaps.
Nielsen adds, “One of the best features of Gather lies in its real-time functionality, which allows more seamless collaboration between our designers and the operations team.”
Plus, features like the duplicate option, diverse views, and detailed documentation capabilities make it easier for the team to work together.
Efficient regular reports, detailed exports, and easy-to-create PDFs further enhanced Gather’s platform as the preferred software for Studio McGee.
Gather Spreadsheet View: Hearth Room
Studio McGee's relationship with Gather goes beyond just a client-software vendor dynamic. They started using it more hesitantly as they tested the capacity and evolved with use cases throughout the entire customer journey.
“The Gather team has been amazing to work with. They are always open to feedback, and we always feel heard. We appreciate them taking our concerns seriously and doing what they can to fix or change processes to make things better for our team.”
From streamlining processes to enhancing collaboration, Gather has served as a beneficial tool within Studio McGee's design process.
*All quotes credited to Emily Nielsen on behalf of the Studio McGee Design Team