In 2013, LLM Design Founder Leila Mitchell set out on her own to create a unique firm that harnesses the power of architecture, interior design, and more to build memorable places and experiences for a wide range of clients.
“LLM Design was kind of born out of my philosophy of design and how I like to think about how we approach it,” Leila said. “We’re always creating something for humans, creating something for the end user. My background originally was architecture, and then I've sort of woven my way around with everything from interactive design, storytelling, brand and marketing, and more. So we kind of have our hands in everything.”
Leila’s full-package approach has resulted in 10 years of successful work in the Boston area and beyond with her team of 10 employees and contract workers. The 100% women-owned firm prides itself on its ability to focus on expert “placemaking” for its clients.
“We work with a client to really understand, who are the people going through the spaces? What are the different types of groups?” Leila said. “It might be a visitor, it might be an employee, it might be a potential client of theirs. So we think about the opportunities and things we create to really make a memorable place.”
As soon as Leila founded LLM Design, she knew they needed a reliable tool to help keep them on track — and since she was already a Harvest user, the solution was a no-brainer.
“When I opened my company, I was trying to do things as seamlessly as possible and I knew how to use Harvest, and that whoever I was hiring would also find this extremely easy to use,” she said. “So Harvest was one of the first applications that we knew we had to get to run a successful business.”
Fitting the needs of busy architects and designers
Since LLM Design relies on a wide variety of creative professionals to get the job done, Leila appreciates that Harvest is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of busy architects on the go, whether it’s inputting their hours at a convenient time or tracking projects from wherever they are.
“Harvest understands that there's not one way that somebody likes to work and allows for multiple ways to utilize the software,” Leila said.
Her team appreciates it as well. Project Manager Scott Lanes said Harvest enables him to “get an instant snapshot of the projects I manage, from anywhere I am with the device.”
Easy invoicing and quick estimating
For Director of Business Operations Patti Dobrindt, it’s the invoicing capabilities of Harvest that make her job easier when it’s time to send the bill. And with helpful tools like the notes section, she’s able to provide transparency to their clients and prevent any potential confusion.
“Creating an invoice through Harvest is very easy,” Patti said. “It automatically pulls all expenses and hours related to any particular project, taking things away, adding things to it. It's very simple. What is also nice is that when people enter their hours, there's a place for notes. So I can be very specific with a client about what those particular hours were used for. That creates a lot less questions from the accounting end of our client.”
Speaking of questions, Leila also uses Harvest to quickly put together estimates for clients who are curious about project pricing — often resulting in a speedy signup.
“I can quickly put together an estimate based on hours and information that's already in Harvest from previous projects, I can pump it out and give it to a client — and we can get a project signed in a matter of 24 hours.”
A full-circle solution for success
While time tracking and invoicing are certainly critical to her team’s success, Leila really loves using Harvest to get a full picture of the health of the firm.
“You might think of it as a time tracking application, but it really feeds into so much more,” she said. “It really feeds into, how are we working at that moment in a project? How are we billing, and then how do we then bid for the next project that's coming in the door? Harvest really is a strong tool to project manage the whole process as hours go in, as expenses go in, it allows us to understand what percentage out of the whole fee that we've used up. Everyone can see that.
As LLM Design continues to see more success in the future, Leila said Harvest gives her the confidence she needs to make the powerful decisions that drive growth.
“Harvest is something that keeps us going day to day. It is a backbone of our business that creates this efficiency, then allows us to take bigger, riskier leaps into the growth of our business.”