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Define by Design | Melda Clark
Owner & Lead Designer
As an honest, hardworking, successful landscape designer and salesperson, Melda Cipli Clark took a big step on her 40th birthday, starting her own business. Tired of working with her present employer, who did not share her work ethic, being dishonest towards the client, and using commission-only design-sales staff, Melda knew it was time to protect her reputation. And the rest is history.
Her Business-to-Business relationships started paying off, as clients started asking her to run leads for them and her repeat clients called her for potential projects.
She started working from home and slowly moved to a collaborative office space with her B2B partners. In less than five years, she built an award-winning boutique-style Landscape Architectural Design-Build Firm in DFW- TX Area. She culminated in one of the most sought-after landscape designers.
The inevitable creation of her own design-focused Landscape Architectural Design-Build Firm, FINELINES Design Studio, came to life with a motto in mind, “Define by Design,” which refers to the importance of Master Planning in her design approach in 2011. Focusing on Master Planning and helping her clients to see the big picture using 3D models and video animations and creating multiple options before they decide to do it all or phase it gave her company the ability to close on more jobs, create repeat businesses year after year and stand strong against the competition.
A Guide & Mentor
As a principal, she guides both designers and technical experts in turning conceptual ideas into well-crafted spaces for her High-end Residential clients. As a project manager with a deep experience in steering design teams, contractors, and sub-consultants through an efficient, cost-effective design process, she directs the design and implementation of many of the firm’s high-profile residential projects to ensure quality and success. Melda leads her project design and installation teams with strategies that keep her staff, sub-consultants, construction managers, and contractors focused and enthusiastic.
As the Lead Designer, Melda states that with proper design, all components of the landscape design come together and blend with the architecture and the environments surrounding the property. Melda and her team pride themselves with their excellent project management skills and open communication with their clients throughout the entire design/build process utilizing their online Client Portals & Project management platforms. Melda says “Being a Design-Build firm gives us the opportunity to be involved in the creation of unique, sustainable and timeless residential and commercial outdoor environments and be part of our client’s dreams from start to finish.”
The biggest leadership lesson was taught to Melda early on by her mother, a femme-preneur herself, about ‘How to overcome your self-doubt as a women-owned business owner and be brave to take each step in the decision-making process with confidence.’ “She always told me that I have to believe in myself and my capability in order to have that ability to succeed. Self-doubt is one of the biggest challenges faced by the femme-preneur,” elucidates Melda. “Two of the biggest reasons that femme-preneurs fail or fizzle out in less than five years in business is through hesitation and missed opportunities as a result of manifested self-doubt in their lives.” She states, “if we want to become truly successful female entrepreneurs, we must overcome our self-doubt by our own internal work and we have to do it fast before we miss the opportunities to be successful in a meaningful way.”
Leading with Passion
As a passionate creator/designer with 25+ years of extensive expertise in design and project/construction management in the field of Landscape Architecture and Interior Remodeling, her attention to detail has enabled her to design-build some of DFW’s best outdoor environments, which contributed to her company’s success as an award-winning design-build firm with an excellent reputation.
Melda is passionate about landscape design because it offers a multitude of opportunities to give back to the world. She takes pride in being part of a profession where ecological and cultural contributions can be made with each and every project. When she is not designing for her next project, she enjoys reading, painting, or organizing children’s activities such as educational workshops for different student club activities to educate kids about nature and Landscape Architecture. She loves spending time with her daughter or having a nice conversation over a cup of Turkish coffee with her family and friends at every opportunity she gets.
Finelines Design Studio is a women-owned and female-only workspace, from the design team to project management and accounting to office management. As a mentor and a leader, Melda aimed to set an example of what it means to own someone’s job, being proactive and responsible while collaborating as a team for the best possible outcome for their projects and clients every step of the way. “Having Female-focused workspaces allow us, women, to drop the intimidation factor, feel more relaxed and focus on what we do the best, which aid in our productivity and performance overall as a creative team member managing projects ranging from $50K to $800K with confidence.”
Towards the Future
Helping clients visualize their projects before they start investing high dollars in construction is an excellent tool for Melda and her team and the clients to finalize projects. The company has been utilizing 2D CAD drawings, 3D models, and video animations up until now. “Next step for us is to start presenting our projects with a Virtual Reality walkthrough or flythrough of an actual place. We have the technology and skills to create Virtual Reality experiences from scratch, capture reality into Virtual Reality, or combine both,” she says. “Drones are also becoming valuable tools for capturing before and after results of our projects for marketing purposes. We recently added a drone into our smart tool collection!”
Armed with a brilliant, creative mindset, Melda has taken the company to new heights. With the new office condo purchase and showroom capabilities, in addition to Finelines Design Studio LLC., which is mainly focused on Landscape Architecture and Interior Remodeling Projects, Melda will also give a start to their sister company Finelines Design Elements LLC., to promote their new product line Mikodam Architectural Wall Panels to the design industry utilizing a new showroom. Furthermore, she adds “Our other sister Company Finelines Investments LLC, which I partner with one of my best friend who is also a Women Business Owner of her own, will continue to seek opportunities to invest in real estate as the opportunity present itself in 2022-2023 after taking a break during pandemic from its real estate investments.”
Owner & Lead Designer
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