From Melissa’s Desk: A Reflection On 2021

It goes without saying that 2020 was a wild year for everyone, and we all know 2021 hasn’t been the smoothest ride either. But despite the odds, for Banko Design, 2021 has been a year of big business moves and growth. I am grateful to say that not only have we survived the craziness, but we have thrived!

2021 Wins!

Here are just a few of the amazing things that we’ve been able to do this year:

  • We acquired Warner Design Associates, a wonderful interior design studio in San Mateo, California that specializes in senior living.
  • We raised $80,000 for CDVTA, an organization that supports elders, women and children in Cameroon.
  • We bought a very old, historic building in downtown Marietta, GA and turned it into a beautiful studio for our Banko Georgia and Red Pen Procurement teams.
  • We bought more land to expand our office and warehouse space.
  • We brought on several new team members as our portfolio continued to grow, and we invested in the brand and pumped out great work!

We have taken major strides to make 2021 one of our best years yet and I am PROUD!

Lessons Learned

Those are simply the physical wins we’ve made this year, but we have so much more to be proud of. This year we focused on growing relationships as well. We took advantage of a reopening market and built relationships with new clients, while strengthening current relationships with old clients. In a world of instability, anxiety and misinformation, I’ve seen how it’s the people you choose to have alongside you that will determine if you sink or swim. This past year has made me realize that, as a leader, you cannot lead or build a successful business alone.

I’ve also learned that it’s not just about hiring good team members, it’s about investing in your current ones, growing those relationships, and providing opportunities for them to grow. I’ve found that even if team members don’t have a certain skillset, you have to give them the space to jump up to meet that challenge. This is also true with our vendors and clients. We invested in them, and they in turn invested in us. Success in life is not solo, and neither is success in business.

What Makes Banko So Special?

I was recently engaging with a consultant, and they asked, “What makes Banko so special?” Without any hesitation, I blurted out, “This team! This culture!” Our team and our work culture is what makes us great designers, great teammates, great consultants and great businesswomen and men. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we work hard and we play hard. While this may sound cliché, it isn’t as common as it sounds! The relationships that we’ve cultivated and continue to work at are special.

When the world turns upside down, you have to still be able to rely on your people. This past year, our team put in the extra hours to manage 2021’s challenges like re-specifying delayed items, expediting projects to catch up from 2020, and managing delayed project installations. This team stepped up, and in the process, grew together and had fun while doing it. And as a result, we’ve created work that’s both smart and sexy for our clients in the senior living, multifamily, vacation ownership and hotel verticals. We’ve produced incredible interiors all over the United States that are innovative, purposeful and beautiful.

On that same note, we take immense pride in the philanthropic work we’ve accomplished as a firm. I have team members that have put their heart and soul into this, and as a result we have had the opportunity to effect real change in areas I never considered we could change. We will continue to do this work because we have been immeasurably blessed and want to pass on that blessing!

Thank You!

When people ask me, “How ya doing?” I don’t ever hesitate to say right back, “Living the dream!” I truly am. Hard work gets you where you want to be, though not without sacrifice and bumps along the way. I am blessed. God has guided me and I’ve learned into my faith more than ever.

As I’ve said, I haven’t been able to do any of this alone! Thank you to my family for supporting me and lifting me up so that I could be strong for my team. Thank you to my team for leaning in as we’ve continued to pivot in an ever-changing world. THANK YOU, TEAM. YOU MAKE ME BETTER. And lastly, a big thank you to my business partners, who jumped in and took big risks while trusting me to make HUGE moves in 2021.

This year was incredibly fruitful. We learned a lot in all facets of our business. It wasn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows, but in failure there is growth. We navigated new waters and though it sometimes feels like we’re far from smooth sailing, we know that the crew onboard is the best around.

Stay tuned because Banko is on the move, and we have several new and exciting things happening in the coming year. Thank you to ALL who made 2021, Year 7, one of our best years yet.

We are grateful, humbled and ready for 2022.

See you next year,

Melissa Banko, Principal | Banko Design

Share this post

Author picture

Banko Design is a turnkey interior design firm for the active adult, boutique hospitality, multifamily, and senior living markets with in-house FF&E procurement. Our talented team of designers and purchasing agents work with developers and operators to program, design, document, procure and install stunning spaces at any price point.