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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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Now displaying: September, 2018
Sep 28, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Today we're happy to introduce you to Luann's exceptional cousin, Eileen Hahn! Eileen's superpower is helping people to intentionally build outstanding and exceptional teams- whether they have a dozen employees, or only one! On the show today Eileen will explain some of the layers and deep processes and that are required for you to become a really good leader. Listen in to hear what Eileen has to tell you about building a really extraordinary interior design team!

Eileen is a principal at Organization Effectiveness Consultants, a San Diego based management consulting firm. She partners with leaders of organizations to establish new levels of performance, financial results, teamwork, and employee work passion. Eileen achieves this by first examining current processes and systems, and then collaborating with the company leaders to apply changes which improve productivity and profitability. Eileen works extensively with organizations which are going through rapid growth, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, and cultural transitions. She facilitates succession planning, strategic planning, organizational change, joint problem solving, leadership development, and team building. In addition, Eileen also designs C suite selection and evaluation processes and she works with boards of directors to develop, implement, and facilitate these processes. Eileen is also a professional speaker and a university instructor. Some of her national and international clients include H.G. Fenton Company, The Wonderful Company, San Diego Padres, Ericsson Wireless Communications, Qualcomm, Pfizer Inc., General Atomics, Occidental College, Brooklynn Museum, General Motors, Anheuser Busch Corporation, The Venetian & Palazzo Hotels, Sea World Parks and Entertainment, and LEGOLAND. Listen in today to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • Eileen is part of Luann's second book, The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business- The Power Talk Friday Experts, which is coming out at the beginning of 2019. (Eileen's chapter is called The Care and Feeding of Exceptional Employees.)
  • What Eileen means when she talks about exceptional employees.
  • Hiring someone who has the specific skills you're looking for.
  • Eileen explains the selection process that she used to help a certain company to hire exceptional employees.
  • The special ingredient in every sales call.
  • What makes someone exceptional.
  • The type of kindness, care, and feeding that's necessary for exceptional employees.
  • Employees really present a big challenge to employers.
  • Placing people orientation before task orientation in a business.
  • Establishing trust and care with your employees.
  • Some of the key principals behind hiring (and keeping) exceptional employees.
  • Determining for yourself, as a principal, what an exceptional performance really looks like.
  • People are willing to pay for exceptional!
  • Taking the time to learn to be an exceptional leader.
  • The exceptional benefits of taking the time to care for, and feed your employees.
  • The importance of thorough training for employees.

Links:

Website: OEC Strategic Solutions

LinkedIn: Eileen Hahn

Email: ehahn@oecstrategicsolutions.com

Sep 25, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We are very happy to introduce you to Breegan Jane, a unique and fun individual who is a super-high achiever! Thirty-three-year-old Breegan is an interior designer who also has a successful blog, a high following on Instagram, and she's a podcast/radio host. She previously worked as a creative director in the luxury yacht business and as a property manager for multi-international million-dollar homes. Listen in today to find out about Breegan's vast experience and how it informs her currently, as an entrepreneur and interior designer. 

Multifaceted entrepreneur Breegan Jane does it all.  A full-time businesswoman, interior designer, blogger, and popular podcast host of Mom Life Yo, all in all, her spare time. Her most recent project is the design of the new, buzz-worthy Los Angeles restaurant, NATIVE, spearheaded by award-winning Chef Nyesha Arrington of Top Cheffame. A single mom from Southern California, Breegan Jane credits her boys for pushing her to break down walls and test boundaries. She uses her powerful voice to inspire others and bring joy to people’s lives. Listen in to find out what Breegan has to share on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • How Breegan's experience, managing international real estate projects with full staff and working as a creative director and marketing professional for a luxury yacht manufacturer, translates to her current interior design business.
  • The importance of great leadership.
  • Great lessons from great bosses along the way.
  • Utilizing every opportunity to the best of your ability.
  • Feeling more at home in Dubai than in Texas.
  • The importance of visual representation.
  • Being given the space to run with your ideas.
  • Transitioning to the design world.
  • How Breegan developed through her experience.
  • The kind of project Breegan enjoys the most.
  • Identifying 'no-win' situations with clients.
  • What being a mom and entrepreneur mean to Breegan.
  • The way that Breegan was raised to be empowered.
  • The power of turning negatives into positives.
  • Breegan's dreams and aspirations for the future.

Links:

Breegan Jane

Facebook: Breegan Jane

Breegan Jane Blog

Instagram: Breegan Jane

Twitter: Breegan Jane

Other episodes mentioned on this show:

Amber Lewis # 184

Vanessa DeLeon # 18

Sep 21, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Today we have Kimberly Merlitti, the owner of KMM Consulting, with us. In her experience, Kim has found that accounting and finances seem to scare most interior designers. So she helps them by going into their businesses and taking on the role of CFO. From there she teaches them how to really understand what they need to do in order to become successful as entrepreneurs as well as interior designers. Kim's specialty is helping designers with what she calls Project Revenue Accounting, which is how to manage the revenue of a project that is already in process. Listen in today to find out how Kim helps interior designers to really get to grips with their finances and advance their businesses.

KMM Consulting takes on clients from around the United States. Kimberly has 20 years of experience working in accounting for companies such as Swinerton Builders, WRNS Studio and Martin Group. She has her Masters in Accounting from Golden Gate University located in San Francisco, CA. KMM Consulting’s clientele includes a diverse group of service based companies, with the main focus on small interior design, construction, and architectural firms. The goal of her firm is to make the businesses she works for as profitable as they can be by educating them on accounting, cash flow management, tax deductions, project reporting, and business management. Listen in today to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Kim explains the difference between accounting and projection.
  • What Kim has learned the hard way, about the difference between general contracting and interior design.
  • Creating a contract and coming up with the budget for a client.
  • Unknown factors that need to be taken into account when working out a budget.
  • Why you need to start tracking your time.
  • How Kim uses a payroll calculator to help designers come up with budgets.
  • Working out the billing for your client.
  • Restructuring things when necessary, after tracking your hours.
  • Taking the time, as a principal, to teach your staff about efficiency.
  • The importance of understanding regulations.
  • Working out the cost of employees.
  • How to know if it's time to hire somebody.
  • The process of doing the projections.
  • Kimberly works with designers in all states. 

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

krista Coupar # 150

Links:

Website - KMM Consulting

Facebook - KMM Consulting

LinkedIn - Kimberly Merlitti

Sep 18, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We're really excited to have the celebrated and influential David Phoenix, of David Phoenix Interior Design in Los Angeles, with us on the show! David is a self-taught designer and today we're looking forward to talking to him about how he found his way, his passion and his point of view, as a designer. And we also talk to him about the new fabric line he recently developed and launched with Kravet Inc. Listen in to find out more!

David Phoenix Interior Design gives each project a singular ambiance that wholeheartedly embraces, uplifts and celebrates its inhabitants. And David is known for thoughtful, modern luxury and livability. David finds inspiration from a myriad of styles, looking back through history as he creates spaces for today. His work personifies his own approachable, self-assured manner—gracious and considerate. In juxtaposing modern and traditional elements, his aesthetic conveys an easy welcoming sensibility, rich with classic haberdashery details and nuance. David draws from his experience and instinct in the all-important matters of style and function. David enjoys an international clientele of celebrities, royalty, business magnates and discerning homeowners, including Maria Shriver, former Los Angeles Mayor, Richard Riordan and actor Rob Lowe, whose home was featured on the cover of Architectural Digest. He believes in living each day to the fullest, delivering personal, sophisticated and thoughtful environments. Join us today and find out what he has to share.

Show highlights:

David explains how he sees a quintessential American point of view

It all started for David with really great architectural designs in America

David's day at design school

David's journey to becoming an interior designer

How David ended up in Los Angeles, California

David's first job in Los Angeles

How the loss of a friend led David to start out as an interior designer

David's remarkable shopping encounter with Maria Shriver

Doing worthy things to become worthy

What it's really all about for David

David's tagline is "Think big and you'll be big"

A description of the fabric line that David's recently developed

The labor-of-love process of David developing his handsome fabric line

David's appreciation of the Kravet family and their 'culture of Kravet' 

Links:

Website: David Phoenix

Link to his collection with Kravet: Kravet Fabric Designer

Link to his furnishings collection with Hickory Chair: Hickory Chair Furniture

Instagram: David Phoenix

Pinterest: David Phoenix

Facebook: David Phoenix

Come and meet Luann and David in person, on Wednesday, October 3rd, at the Kravet Showroom in Chicago, for Chicago Design Week. Go to Luann Nigara for more information.

Previous episodes mentioned on the show:

345: Chris Ramey

Sep 14, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We are really happy to have a new designer, Colleen Primm, joining us today. Recently Colleen decided to start a client-facing Facebook group to share her expertise, to get her name out there, and also to get some clients into her pipeline. Although she only started the group at the beginning of June this year, she already has more than 640 members, almost all of whom are potential clients! On the show today she will be talking to us about her Facebook group and she will also explain exactly what she puts in there. Listen in to find out how Colleen has managed to attract so many potential clients to her group in such a short space of time.

Colleen, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration (management) from The University of Toledo, an M.B.A. from Averett University and has also attended Cuyahoga Community College for Interior Design, has taken a pretty unconventional path to interior design.  Before deciding to make the change, she worked in the banking industry for twelve years, where she first underwrote commercial loans, and then a little later, mortgage loans. After a few years, she became a trainer, teaching people how to write mortgage loans. While working on residential loans, Colleen got to see a lot of homes, because she was reviewing home appraisals. That's where her love of design, and wanting to help people achieve better-looking homes came from. She finally decided to turn her passion into reality and quit her banking job to go back to school for Interior Design. So Colleen is the rare interior designer who can not only decorate your home but also talk to you about your mortgage! Listen in to find out more!              

Show highlights:

  • Why Colleen chose this particular method to market her firm.
  • What it will take for you to join Colleen's facebook group.
  • Colleen wants to have only members who will bring value to the group.
  • What inspired Colleen to start her Facebook group.
  • The importance of getting constructive feedback.
  • The precise message that Colleen sent out when she started her Facebook group.
  • Getting lots of engagement with Facebook groups.
  • Colleen's strategic way of attracting mainly local clients to her group.
  • All about Colleen's Facebook contests.
  • The number of paid consultations that Colleen has done as a result of the group.
  • Colleen explains and clarifies the amounts she charges.
  • The amount of preparation that Facebook Live requires.
  • The kind of questions that Colleen deals with.
  • The events that she's created as a result of her Facebook group.
  • Making connections- and making money at the same time!
  • The kind of preparation that Colleen does and how she manages her time.
  • The importance of being really well organized.
  • How to learn more about lenders and the programs that they have to assist designers.

Links:

Facebook: Colleen Primm

Instagram: Colleen Primm Design

Website: Colleen Primm Design

Private Facebook Group: Primm and Proper Design Talk with Colleen Primm

Sep 11, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We are delighted to have Karen Mooney, Taryn Schwartz, and Caroline McDonald with us on the show today. They are the three women responsible for the designer program at Ballard Designs and they are also behind the Ballard Designs' podcast, How To Decorate. Today they will be sharing their experience of interviewing celebrity interior designers for the podcast and also some of what goes on behind the scenes with the celebrity designers. Listen in today to find out what it really takes, and what really happens, when you get the opportunity, and then make the commitment to being a celebrity designer for a company as large as Ballard Designs.

Karen, Taryn, and Caroline are the hosts of the Ballard Designs' How To Decorate podcast. And their goal is to help you to unleash your 'inner decorator'. Outside of the podcast, they work in different departments at Ballard Designs. Karen has a background in graphic design and she's the senior vice-president of Brand management. Taryn is an industrial designer in the Product Design department. And Caroline manages content marketing, specifically the blog How To Decorate, and also art producing digital marketing photography. Listen in today to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Why they prefer doing their interviews in-person.
  • How the relationship between Ballard Designs and their celebrity designers works.
  • Why Ballard Designs chose to work with Suzanne Kasler, Bunny Williams, and Miles Redd.
  • Making their celebrity designs affordable to their customers.
  • The level of creative involvement of the talented celebrity designers.
  • What it really takes to become selected as a celebrity designer.
  • Why it takes what it does to become selected as a celebrity designer.
  • Why it really takes such a lot of work to be a celebrity designer!
  • Finding the right kind of vendor.
  • Why a long-term business relationship is actually a lot like a marriage.
  • Bringing Suzanne onboard.
  • Then bringing Bunny and Miles onboard.
  • The way that the designers earn their money.
  • The way that people respond to Miles' dramatic pieces.
  • Using inspiration to grab the imagination of the customer.
  • Ways of making tried-and-trusted products look fresh again.
  • Some ways that designers could get to become the celebrity designers.
  • Doors always open as a result of relationships- so be nice!

Big name designers discussed on today's show:

Bunny Williams, Miles Redd and Suzanne Kasler

You can find the How To Decorate podcast on iTunes.

Note: This show will also be on video on Luann's Youtube channel.

Links:

Ballard Designs

How To Decorate

Instagram: Ballard Designs

Facebook: Ballard Designs

Sep 7, 2018

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! Today we're having a Where Are They Now episode, featuring Heather Mc Manus, our very first guest ever on the show! Heather is an award-winning designer from New Jersey and the principal of Artistry Interiors. She is also the author of the book Love Where You Live- Dream Homes Made Real, which is available on Amazon. On the show today Heather will be telling us all about her latest venture, Collaborate To Win, a buying group that she started for you, her designer colleagues, to become stronger together and make more profit through having access to products that may normally have been unavailable to you due to buy-in minimums and yearly volume quotas. Join us on the show today to hear Heather explain her really interesting idea!

Heather started Artistry Interiors in 2012, after having worked in the design industry for a decade. Her first job, after graduating from the Pratt Institute, was at a high-end workroom where she gained really invaluable experience and learned everything about how quality window treatments and upholstery are made. From there she went on to further broaden her knowledge and expertise about furniture construction and quality through working at both Ethan Allen and Bograd's Fine Furniture. Listen in today to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • Heather's concept of a video tip per day that she discussed in her interview on our very first show.
  • All about Heather's innovative concept, Collaborate To Win, and why it was born.
  • Some of the growing pains that helped Heather grow.
  • Collaborate To Win even works nationally.
  • Dealing with breakages.
  • How the concept actually works.
  • The level of trust that is required for this unique concept.
  • Keeping relationships intact is a key requirement for the group.
  • How the payment for the orders works.
  • Heather is constantly creating educational videos to explain the rules of the game.
  • When an order actually becomes an order.
  • The importance of working systematically.
  • How Heather uses videos to explain her pricing.
  • The constant teaching, mentoring and masterminds that Heather does to assist people with her concept.
  • The cost for the membership of the group.
  • How you will really save money by being a member of the group- one order through the group could cover your entire annual membership buy-in!
  • Why you really need to be responsible to be a member of the group.
  • To learn more about Collaborate To Win, there will be a website up and running by this fall. In the meantime, you can email Heather at collaboratetowin@gmail.com- an email address dedicated specifically for this group.
  • The details that you will need to send to Heather in order to apply to join her group.
  • To meet Heather in person, she will be at Windowworks, in Livingstone New Jersey, for the October Lunch and Learn on October 29th. RSVP via Instagram (@windowworks)

Raquel Langworthy will be at Windowworks on September 17th for the September Lunch and Learn.

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Nicole Heymer (Curio Electro #235 #317)

 Links:

Book - Love Where You Live: Dream Homes Made Real
Collaborate to Win - Collaborate To Win 
Collaborate to Win Facebook page
Facebook -  Artistry Interiors LLC
Instagram - Artistry Interiors 
Website - Artistry Interiors 
Sep 4, 2018

Welcome to the show! Today we are very happy to introduce you to Vincere, an influential, Chicago-based, full-service interior design firm,  founded in 2007 by Micheal Stornello and Tom Konopiots. Vincere is a business fully committed to the principals of precision, proportion, scale, and form. They have completed projects throughout the Midwest, California, and Europe and their wide range of enterprises include everything from the pre-construction stage, through the interior design phase, to the acquisition and placement of the art and accessories. The team at Vincere firmly believe that the key to success lies in careful listening and clear communication. Join us on the show today to find out what Michael and Tom have to share with you.

Both Tom and Michael have very strong business backgrounds. Michael used to be in the television industry where he served as executive vice president, development, for King World Productions (now CBS Television Distribution). Tom was previously COO and CEO of two futures brokerage companies. Listen in today to find out how their previous business experience has informed the way that they run their full-luxury interior design business.

Show highlights:

  • Some background on Mike and Tom's previous careers.
  • How their shared passion brought them to start an interior design business.
  • How they learned their design skill set through their real-life experience.
  • Some of the mistakes they made and lessons they learned through trial and error.
  • Creating impact for their clients and closing deals with three-dimensional floor plans.
  • The way that they work with their vendors and contractors using 3-D models.
  • The importance of being well-prepared and paying close attention to detail.
  • All their clients are really value-conscious, regardless of their wealth.
  • Their approach to addressing budget-related issues with their clients.
  • The way that technology helps them to overcome certain client issues.
  • Managing a million-dollar budget so that it looks like a million-and-a-half-dollar budget.
  • They are fully transparent with their clients, in terms of the cost of things.
  • In certain circumstances, it's necessary to tell the client that they're not the right fit.
  • Avoiding traps and pitfalls with clients and adding the appropriate markup.
  • Creating the kind of contract that can be put away and not thought about again.
  • Finding the right balance within a partnership.

Links:

Website - Vincere

Facebook - Vincere

Instagram - Vincere Interiors

Previous episodes mentioned on the show:

Sandra Espinet #287

Fred Berns #289

Chris Raney #345

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