Determined to know all there is about the workroom in an industry that refuses to slow down, Account Manager, Vikki Dallas, truly understands how important every last detail is to the success of her client’s projects. From her experiences at her family’s dry cleaning business to working at an internationally recognized Boston-based interior design firm, Vikki, who is also Manny’s cousin, recognized early on that her passions lie deep in work where she can be both creative and strategic. In our recent conversation with Vikki, we learn why her inherent tenacity to understand the business and ability to build real connections makes her a force to be reckoned with when it comes to providing exceptional client service.
Let’s get into our conversation!
MW: Can you talk us through a typical day in the workroom with Vikki?
Vikki: On a typical day I usually start with my emails. I scan through them to check in on any hot item requests that may have come through from the night before. Because I’m very visual, I developed a system where I literally pile things on my desk to indicate what action is required. This technique keeps me grounded, but the truth is, on a typical day, I have yet to check all the items off my to-do list. From an account management perspective, on any given day, we are answering a ton of questions that come up from the seamstresses in the back, calls from the installers on the road, and new questions popping up from our designers. My day also includes following up on existing quotes and kicking off new purchase orders, which is the most exciting part of the process. It really gives me a chance to restart our process and fully understand the new details being presented. Before I do anything else, I take the time to read through the whole order to get fully acquainted with the details. I’ve always been drawn to jobs that require both focus and “organized chaos.” It’s that “getting as much done in the moment” type of work. Every job I’ve ever had has been that way. And my role in the workroom is very much the same.
MW: What were you doing before you joined the Makkas Workroom team?
Vikki: Right before I joined the workroom I was working for my mom and dad at their dry cleaning business on the South Shore. I worked there throughout my younger years and during summers while in college and then off and on before joining Makkas Workroom. It’s basically where I learned how to work. About 3 years after graduating college, I went to work as a Project Manager for the Interior Design firm Weena & Spook. I worked with them for 5 years and really learned so much about the industry while on their team. Manny knew I had all this experience and told me to let him know whenever I was ready to join him in the workroom. It was emotional, for many reasons, leaving the family business completely, but I knew I needed a change. So in 2021, a year into the pandemic, I joined Manny and his team. And I have been loving the creativity that our work requires but also really like the analytical and business administration side of it all. It’s a great balance.
MW: In what ways has this experience helped you in your current role?
Vikki: I think you can’t be slo-mo. It’s an office job but by no means is it delicate. It’s physical. At times you’re literally running. I need to be on my feet all the time. I’m not someone comfortable with sitting at a desk all day so this is the perfect job for me. And from a customer service perspective it allows me to remember my training and how to be helpful in the most sincere, compassionate way. I’m not someone who is very formal in my communication style and I think that I really appreciate a rough honesty that's funny and nice. When I was training the customer service team at the dry cleaners I would tell them that you don’t have to be uptight. Be knowledgeable and genuine. “Sincerely nice”, as I like to call it. Level and kind to me is the most professional way to approach customer service. Both things I learned from working at the dry cleaners.
MW: Have you noticed a change in the type of work that clients are doing as a result of the pandemic?
Vikki: I remember when I was on a school trip in France. We were touring churches. The tour guide asked us to look at the way one church was built versus the other. One was a representation of a war time construction. Much smaller windows, much smaller ceilings. It was cozy and created a feeling of security because that’s what the people were craving at the time. Comparatively, in a time of peace, it’s soaring ceilings, it’s light and so much airer because the people felt a bit more open and free. I think you can absolutely draw a parallel between what’s going on in society and what people are craving in their shelter. That’s my retrospective analysis of it but I’m really curious to see how style will have changed as a result of the pandemic. Especially because this was a massive opportunity, due to a huge volume of projects, to create inventory for a study around this new sense of style out there. I feel like I see a lot more of a more “comfort-focused” style. It’s old fashioned, it’s cozy, it’s comforting. It makes me wonder if there’s a correlation between the essence of this style and a response to the pandemic. It will be interesting to look back 5-10 years from now at that answer.
MW: What's one of your favorite MW projects? And why?
Vikki: There are too many favorites to recall specifically but I do love Jennifer Palumbo’s work. Her designers are so organized and are really thinking about each and every detail. Everything they put together is fresh and unique with really genuine design from start to finish. Honestly, overall I just love working on projects that are a little more unique and challenge us in our role to support them.
In the Workroom is a blog series featuring candid and insightful conversations with the people who lead, support, and collaborate with us on our workroom projects. Its mission is to offer a look behind the curtain of the life, experience and details that matter in the work we do.