A Well-Designed Business®

In today's world being a talented interior designer isn't enough to ensure that you have a profitable and successful interior design business. Design school doesn't always teach you the critical business skills to be sure your interior design business be everything you imagined it would be! A Well Designed Business is here to fill in the gaps and give you real live business skills from some of the top interior designers. Your host, LuAnn Nigara shares her 35 years of success in the interior design industry, and she finds the most successful guests to share their interior design business best practices.
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A Well-Designed Business®



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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

On our show today we have Rachel Laxer! Rachel runs a pretty big firm that is based out of London and New York City. She is a member of the British Institute of Design, and ASID here in the states. She graduated from Washington State with a BA in Political Science and History and from NYU with an MBA in Finance and International Business! She has been featured in Ireland’s Home, Interiors and Living magazine, participated in the Holiday House in New York City, Westchester House in New York and Design on a Dime. Rachel came to interior design in a rather unusual way. She is going to tell that story on the show today!

Show Notes:

  • How did Rachel begin working with Kelly Hoppen?
  • How does she predict trends?
  • How does she use her degrees in interior design?
  • What is the key to mixing periods of time?
  • What are the challenges having an interior design business in two “homes”?
  • Use the people you know will do a good job!


Jun 27, 2016

Our guest, Cheryl Janis has been an interior designer for more than 19 years! She has a background in full service interior design for residential design, restaurant design, office design, the whole she bang. But in the last 2 to 6 years she has thought about a direction change for her business. Cheryl has decided to specialize in independent healthcare physicians that are visionaries and embrace the whole health philosophy. She is going to share with us why and how she has come to only specialize in this specific nitch.

Show Notes:

  • What kind of specific healthcare spaces does she design for?
  • How did an accident when she was 17 years old impact her life in such a big way?
  • How have her designs affected these businesses?
  • What is a generalist?
  • What was scary about making the leap to specialize?
  • What is evidence based design?
  • What are some things that can help with recovery in design?
  • Why does Cheryl have a newsletter?


You can read the full show notes at

Jun 22, 2016

Today on the show we have Meryl Santopietro! She is going to be sharing with us about her career and her decision to move her business to Manhattan. Meryl’s business was based in Rhode Island until she moved her business to Manhattan. She also has the pleasure of working with her two daughters every day.

Show Notes:

  • How did she build her business?
  • Why did she move her business to Manhattan?
  • What should you do in an interview?
  • New contacts can equal new referrals
  • When did her daughters join in the business?
  • How did she come to develop products?
  • What are her products used for?
  • What roles do her daughters play in the business?
  • Have a great photographer!


Simply Spotless 

You can read the full show notes and access the resources at

Jun 18, 2016

Today on A Well Designed Business we have a treat! We have Andrew Joseph who is the principal of a design boutique public relations firm in New York city! This is a big time firm and he has clients from all over and his reach is worldwide. He is going to share with us his tips on how to hire, take advantage of and understand what a PR firm can and cannot do for you.

Here's a bit about Andrew: 

Prior to founding Andrew Joseph PR in 2012, Andrew worked for another shelter specific firm advancing his knowledge of public relations and forming a strong network of contacts in the design industry. Andrew’s PR expertise crossed lifestyle categories while working on beauty and fashion brands at RED PR from 2001 to 2005. Before his career in PR, Andrew acquired his journalism skills while employed at Vanity Fair and Allure magazines. That editorial experience facilitates Andrew Joseph PR to have a unique understanding about the media, creative branding strategies, and a deep, successful clientele.

Show Notes:

  • Where did he get his background in public relations?
  • How much information should you include in a pitch?
  • What is the value of a deadline?
  • How do you know which Public Relations firm to hire?
  • What are some things to include in your portfolio?
  • Make sure you have good photography!
  • Why is it important to look at the “landscape”?


Vanity Fair Magazine

Allure Magazine

Jun 15, 2016

Today on the show I’m excited to have Patrick Cain! He is a custom furniture designer based out of Los Angeles. He specializes in furniture made from wood, metal and concrete. The designs are gorgeous! He is going to share with us a little about the pieces and how he got his business started.

Show Notes:

  • What two objectives does Patrick try to put into his furniture?
  • What is the definition of recycle?
  • How does he use recycling in his furniture?
  • Where does he get the wood for his pieces?
  • When did he start his furniture designing?
  • What about “the numbers”?
  • How to get free market research
  • When you are learning about something just go with professionals!
  • How to decide what to put in inventory
  • “Don’t skimp on photography!”


@patrickcain -Instagram

Patrickcain- Facebook

Jun 13, 2016

Leslie Myrick is an interior stylist and has not only built her business from the ground up once but three times! She has been in Canada, California and now Texas! She has very specific ways how she has built her business in such a short amount of time that really stand out. She has a blog and YouTube videos and has really created a good body of work in a short amount of time. We are going to talk about how you can be doing business in the same place you have been for the last twenty years and approach it like you just moved there.

Show Notes:

  • How much preparation did it take to move to where she is now?
  • What is on the checklist when starting out?
  • What should you want to be remembered for? 
  • “Stand in your space”
  • Should you pay to have help doing different parts of the business?
  • What is the most important thing to do with a customer?
  • What 13 things has Leslie learned?
  • What kinds of systems does she use?
  • Put your expectations up front!

Resources: – Get your business coach here!

The Big Leap- Gay, PhD Hendricks

Jun 8, 2016
Susan is founder and principal of award-winning Sweet Peas Design, which she launched 13 years ago in the Chicago suburb of Libertyville as a one-woman firm. Today Sweet Peas Design is a full-service studio with a staff of six in downtown Libertyville and a branch office in Chicago. She and her team work with a broad-based clientele of entrepreneurs, corporate executives and professionals.
Susan is an experienced speaker, whether on interior design issues or the business of design. She is a popular speaker on design at libraries on the North Shore of Chicago. Susan has been featured on NBC/LXTV’s  “George to the Rescue” and  “Open House,” and she appeared on CLTV’s “Bring It Home” program. Her work has been published in numerous national and local magazines and newspapers, including Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago, Kitchen + Bath Makeovers, Trends Kitchens, Trends Bathrooms, Color Made Easy, Crain’s Chicago Business  and Chicago Sun-Times’ magazine, Splash.

Today on the show we have Susan Brunstrum! She has a big firm in Chicago and a signature line called LivableLuxe with a tagline that says “the little black dress of interior design.” She is a business woman, she is a woman who knows what she wants, knows how to do business and knows how to present herself. Her firm has won several designer awards but today we are going to focus on the financial part of business.

Show Notes:

  • The two project fee basis systems 
  • The six phases of projects
  • How do you utilize the project fee?
  • If you don’t charge for your initial consultation you should!
  • Three things to assess on a client when you first meet them
  • What are the red flags when assessing a client?
  • The difference between advertising and public relations
  • Be patient!


Resources: - Sweet Peas Design

Jun 6, 2016

Today on A Well Designed Business we have Jerri Eskow! She is a full-service interior designer and has been in business for more than 20 years! After becoming friends on Instagram I went to her website and did a little research. Sometimes when I have guests on the show I already know what their special skills, talents or lessons are. But with Jerri Eskow I was just so impressed with her as a whole. She is going to talk about her techniques she has used to be a successful interior designer for over 20 years.

Show Notes:

  • Where does integrity fit into business?
  • How to “create an atmosphere”
  • Have the details!
  • Why you should give your opinion 
  • 3 systems to use to stay organized


Chief Architect
Apple Apps: Numbers and Notes 

Irongateinteriors- Instagram

Irongateinteriors- Facebook

Jun 1, 2016



On today’s show, we have Mary Fisher who is a passionate designer of many trades. She is a textile designer, the author of 6 books, a jewelry designer, artist and photographer! Mary had some terrible news in 1992 that she had been diagnosed with HIV. Since then her passion to help others has skyrocketed. Her collection “100 Good Deeds” is a perfect of example that she does just that: Helps others.

Show Notes:

  • How did Mary get involved with Kravet Inc.
  • What is “100 Good Deeds” jewelry and what does it stand for
  • What resources does she use for “100 Good Deeds”?
  • Who makes the art for “100 Good Deeds”?
  • Don’t let other people define your designs 
  • What kind of people are good to have in business?
  • What advice did Mary’s mentor give her?


Kravet Inc. –

Mary Fisher CARE Fund:
You Tube 1992 Republican Convention Speech: to see and purchase 100 Good Deeds Bracelets designed by Mary Fisher