Over the years we’ve worked with some great companies and amazing individuals. We love the work we do (or we wouldn’t do it). But more importantly, we love and value the relationships we create with our clients. This is the story of one of those relationships.
Six years ago, we met Steve Feldman, founder of Renovation Angel. In addition to what was at the time two subsets of their company, Green Demolitions, and Kitchen Trader. Since 2005, Steve and his super talented team have conducted thousands of projects for members of the Forbes 400, professional athletes, and everybody else in-between. With a long term retainer in place, Renovation Angel, America’s premier recycler of luxury pre-owned kitchens and renovation items, allowed CreateApe to lead them on a digital rebrand.
What Are The Benefits of a Retainer?
First, let’s discuss the parameters of a retainer. Retainers are beneficial for several reasons. One of the most obvious is that the client receives a discounted rate in exchange for a long-term commitment. In the bigger scheme of things, however, the best benefit of a retainer is the freedom of collaboration. Both the client and the design team know there is a wealth of hours to allow room for excellent products to be created. Neither side is worried about pinching hours to stay within a certain budget. All the work being done is already included!
It isn’t just the security, trust, and speed; it’s the collaboration and the teamwork. As an agency, we’re able to fully enmesh ourselves into the brand. We learn the nuances which help us deliver consistent success. Working with Renovation Angel, we knew the brand inside and out. We knew the stakeholders and what they were expecting and the best way to approach success. This kind of investment from both the vendor and client is priceless.
How A Retainer Transformed Renovation Angel
When Steve initially contacted us it was to revitalize their website’s User Experience design. Since then, we’ve helped them kick off and improve their entire digital footprint from Renovation Angel to Green Demolitions. Now that they have let go of their other two brands: Kitchen Trader & Green Demolitions.
What had begun as an initial “UX-friendly” revamp turned into a full-blown site re-launch. At the time, not only were we just working on Renovation Angel, but also Green Demolitions, the e-commerce portal of their company. With our help, their website traffic increased by 40%, and their overall sales increased by 15%. Brand engagement almost doubled, and the sleek modern feel we helped to create was being mentioned by consumers and industry professionals alike.
There are many moments when both the client and us, as the vendor, benefit from the flexibility of being on a retainer. On a retainer, the client can pivot from idea to idea. Because they have a clear outline of the scope of work possible, (the actual tasks we can do), without worrying too much about budgets. Our dedication to transparency keeps expectations manageable and deliverables on schedule.
For example, every month Renovation Angel had a monthly sale that required a lot of soft and hard collateral to be created. Several different web banners of various sizes, an email design, and a price tag design (for use on the showroom floor) were created. Being on a retainer allowed the entire team the flexibility of trying different things over a period of time. That eventually served as the foundation of our well-oiled design process.
Flexibility and agile design processes are definitely important parts of our long-term client success. When redesigning their site to be an e-commerce website, it made it easy to spec out the scope of the project together. Even while decisions were being made, we were able to maintain the status quo of business as usual while putting our best foot forward. We had accumulated knowledge over the span of several years on their target client demographic. This allowed us to come up with impactful conversion-centric designs in much less time.
“That was a really big win for the retainer because we were able to work even at times when they weren’t available to provide guidance and ultimately help move the needle forward. Having the opportunity to work within the boundaries of a retainer proved to be advantageous for the business in more ways than one,” said CEO Alessandro Fard.
Efficiency of Operations
Renovation Angel took many risks over the years, especially when it came to brand architecture. While Renovation Angel focused on the donations side of their company, both Green Demolitions and Kitchen Trader were e-commerce based sister-brands. Each sold luxury kitchens and home renovation items. Fast forward to 2019, the brand organization is has undergone another transformation. All three brands have merged under the Renovation Angel umbrella, bringing its own set of challenges and opportunities.
Our new job was to capture the attention of many verticals. The new website, one that merged all three aspects of the brand so far, had to be luxurious, modern, edgy and welcoming. It’s part non-profit, part recycling, part luxury, and interior design. We had to create a fully immersive online space that customers could easily shop and understand.
The feedback from their team was, “Oh my gosh, this makes it so much easier to not only upload information and keep the information up to date for the users to see, but also for our team to manage information.” Now, when Renovation Angel would receive phone calls asking questions about their products, they were able to reference a fully robust website. They now had up to date information that was not only easy to engage with, but impactful. Not only did they see an increase in sales, but in their daily efficiency of overall operations.
A synergistic win.
One of our favorite aspects of collaborating with a client within a retainer framework is the opportunity to work on exciting new projects all the time. As Renovation Angel took off, we had the privilege to work with an organization that had undergone many iterations for continued quality improvement. We ultimately saw improved success markers across the board.
Not only were we working on keeping their websites up to date and ensuring things continued to convert, but we also got to develop social media channels, and direct marketing campaigns. The work that we did went from just a one-off project to become a six-year collaboration that we’re very lucky to be a part of.
In the end, the most important aspect of a retainer is the ongoing relationship between the agency and the client. Risks, opportunities, and great ideas don’t exist in a vacuum. Our retainer with Renovation Angel allowed us to bring those ideas to life in the best way possible. We feel so lucky and grateful to have worked with such an amazing team at Renovation Angel over the years and can’t for what lies ahead in the future!
Want to learn more?
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