Kristie Veri is a creative woman in construction who has accomplished many impressive things in her tenure in construction and remodeling. Her vibrant personality and tenacity for her craft made her the perfect interviewee for our “There’s a Difference” series. Enjoy the interview and let us know what you think!
Hi, I’m Kristie Veri with Cleanscape Construction. We are general contractors and remodelers. I got into the construction business while I was in graduate school pursuing a career in a different field, my fiancé was a third-generation contractor. I was spending time working with his family business and I fell in love with the construction field. At that point, we decided that we would pursue a business together using the different strengths that we had. We created our own business model and business and we started off handing out business cards and got to where we are today.
Tell us about your business and how you chose construction as your career.
Kristie: So, this wasn’t the original plan. I was going to school to be a school psychologist; school psychology is an amazing field. I do love the world of psychology, but I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to be as creative as I am in the field that I’m in now. I absolutely love the fact that in the construction world, you can bring someone’s vision to life and you can really create an environment, an atmosphere, a place to live or to work that defines and illustrates who you are. I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with construction overall. There are so many different pieces to it. The sky’s the limit with it. You can be as creative or as streamlined as you choose to be. It’s just an amazing field.
How do you promote your business for new clients?
Kristie: Promoting our business is a bit different, I feel. We don’t generally market ourselves to the customer. What I have found to be very rewarding is to market ourselves through a variety of other pieces. One of the main roles that I have in the company is to market us. What I do is a lot of collaborations with other businesses. We have a very strong business-to-business model, so a lot of our work comes from our resources. For example, I will connect with a mortgage lender and host an educational seminar. I will collaborate on different projects, get involved with different charities, and different events going on. All of our marketing and the way we promote ourselves is through these different collaborations. This all gets posted on social media to keep those around us up to date with what we’re doing, and a lot of the times the work comes through that way. Social media is very powerful. Like I said, we don’t normally just market ourselves, just trying to reach a customer, looking for a job. We basically showcase our work — the things that we’re involved in — and we’ve created a really great following. All of our work comes through either social media or through the collaborations with the references and the referrals and the resources that we have. They all just come together, and it’s been very rewarding. We get some really great customers and clients, and it’s just fun.
As a woman owned business in construction, how has that been a benefit to you and your clients?
Kristie: I just think being a woman owned business has a unique piece to it. Generally, in the past, construction has been a world where women are not usually involved. That has changed significantly. There are way more women involved now than in the past. I do think that a woman brings a different element to the business, and so our business has a variety of different pieces to it. It just allows us to offer more to the client. So, there are individuals that like the fact that we’re a women-owned construction company, some individuals think it’s unique and different. And like I said, it just really brings a comprehensive approach to the construction field.
Believe it or not, when you’re renovating someone’s home, a lot of times you deal with the woman of the relationship. You’re replicating the designs that she wants. She may not be involved initially in terms of the structural part, but the finished product is ultimately her choice. It’s what they showed us in terms of pictures or what they want us to bring to life. It’s a really comprehensive approach to be able to consult with a woman and a man on the projects.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the building industry over the last year with the effects of the pandemic?
Kristie: There are a few things that I will just lightly touch on in response to this question. The first, that’s been a huge concern for many builders and contractors is materials. With the pandemic, there has been a big increase in the construction world, period. Because people are moving to less-populated areas, there has been an influx in construction, so materials are quite difficult to get in most areas. There are some materials that are easily accessible, while others are not, which has increased the cost significantly. That is the first main piece I think general contractors and builders see as a significant change.
The other piece is that design has become much more valuable to the home or business owner having renovations done. In the past, we’ve worked with designers and we’ve worked with customers that want a designer present, or that really wants to spend the extra time and money on the design piece of the project, but it wasn’t consistent across the board. You still had your traditional construction projects that were on the simpler end. That, I don’t feel, is as common anymore; it’s almost the opposite. The simpler end project is not what we see as the norm right now. There are a lot more interior designers involved, and when we are hired, we are also hired for our design eye. Because of that, we can give that guidance or reach out to certain designers that we think would marry well with the customer. The traditional upgrade or the traditional remodeling project is no longer on the simple end. These customers are now saying, “I’m spending a lot more time here, whether it’s my home or it’s my small office, or it’s my place of business.” The design piece has shown a significant increase, I feel, in the construction world and with our experience and our customers.
Thank you, Kristie, for sharing your thoughts and insights into how there is a difference.
Please click HERE to view the full interview with Kristie Vera.
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