Photo by Sam Nalven | Story by Kimberly Hundley
When Rainmaker Integrated President Jackie Wright and her husband moved from his condo to their first, bona fide house together, she knew two things: the dark reddish walls had to go ASAP, and it was time to sculpt a space of her own within their home.
“I want a room that is all me,” she told him, and with hubby’s support, the Wrights enlisted the help of Kismet Designs owner Colleen Tucker, referred by a Realtor friend who’d worked her on numerous projects.
Because the Wrights were moving from a smaller space to a 3,400-square-foot house —in what’s called the “magic 85254 ZIP code,” boasting a Scottsdale address, Paradise Valley School District access, and Phoenix utilities—they didn’t have enough pieces to fully furnish the dining room and living room anyway, and that’s where Wright focused.
Working with a budget ceiling of $20,000, Tucker did a walk-through of the property the day after the Wrights closed on the house. The first order of business was selecting a color palette that would lighten and brighten the entire living space.
“I wanted some paisleys, blues, yellows and grays,” says Wright, who opted to revive the walls with a “Restoration Butter” hue that Tucker found at Restoration Hardware and then had custom-matched at Dunne-Edwards in the Airpark.
Tucker’s career spans more than 20 years, and she now works from her home off Cactus Road, a few minutes west of Scottsdale Road. Though it’s hard to typify design trends among area clients—other than they’re often among the most discriminating and savvy about the latest fashions—the clean look is definitely “in,” according to Tucker.
“It used to be heavy Tuscan, where everybody was doing that, and then when the economy [downturn] was happening, people were glad to have what they had, and now they want to clean it up, to simplify with more contemporary, clean lines,” she says.
Once the palette was decided upon, Tucker presented Wright with furniture catalogs and fabric swatches, but not until they’d mapped out a design plan for each room, pinpointing which pieces would work. Though the plan is a vital step, many do-it-yourselfers skip it, Tucker says. “It keeps you from making mistakes, from selecting pieces that might not be the right size or scale.”
The women then selected the sofa, chairs, coffee table and ottoman, along with upholstery fabrics. In the dining room, Wright already had the table and wine cabinet, but opted to add a buffet and chairs. Nearly all the new pieces in both rooms were custom-made, with the living room draperies fashioned from a fabric Wright had fallen in love with “right out of the gate.”
Tucker also lent her insight into hanging artwork and placing accessories—talents among her arsenal of skills available as part of a major redesign, a turnkey remodel or piecemeal by the hour. For example, a client can hire Tucker to spend an afternoon doing nothing but placing paintings and other wall hangings. It’s that kind of flexibility, she says, that has helped her business retain its equilibrium throughout the economy’s highs and lows.
The Wrights’ project was fully complete within three months. “It feels wonderful,” Wright says. “Everyone who comes over looks at me and goes, ‘Wow, this is a great house.’”
Q+A with the Homeowner
Jackie Wright’s career spans more than 15 years in communications, having served on all sides of the marketing, public relations and advertising desk. While touring her Scottsdale home, we sat down with her and discussed what it takes to be truly successful in the world of public relations and marketing.
Everybody seems to be talking about the need for Twitter and other social media in marketing. What are you hearing from clients?
It’s kind of a mainstay now—Pinterest and Instagram are coming on strong too. We really try to be strategic with it. If [prospective clients] call and say they just want a Facebook page, we don’t really do that. We work to decipher what their goals are and determine how a social media campaign can mesh with their overall marketing program in order to drive ROI.
How do you guide a business owner who wants to launch a Facebook account?
Ask yourself what you trying to do with Facebook. And be aware that you have to maintain a relationship with the people who engage on your page. It’s like an online water cooler conversation—you can’t run up to someone and say, “How are you?” and then run away before they answer. You have to be consistent with your messaging and engage on a regular basis in order to see any traction from a social media campaign.
What differentiates Rainmaker Integrated from the Valley’s top marketing firms?
Other agencies are always hoping for that big fish who they can bill $15,000 to $20,000 per month. I started this business with the mindset I never want to be a big agency; I never want to go after the PetSmarts and the Intels of the world. A lot of times, small companies get seduced by these larger agencies, and it’s really not a good fit for them. I want to be a good fit for folks who have some money to spend, but who have to be really strategic with their budgets and marketing campaigns.
How are you structured to pull that off, to be competitive?
We’re a consultancy group. Instead of having the overhead of in-house staff, I have about eight different consultants—graphic designers, digital marketers, experts in social media, SEO, pay-per-click—who I work with on a consistent basis. I help create the marketing plan for the client and then manage all of the consultants through the implementation of the plan, which is far more economical than hiring a large agency or hiring someone in-house.
Why did you choose to office in the Airpark?
We focus on small to mid-sized businesses, and that really is the heart of the Airpark. We wanted to be easily accessible to current and potential clients. And it’s close to home!
Jackie Wright, Rainmaker Integrated
17470 N. Pacesetter Way, Scottsdale