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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Aug 10, 2016

Guess what? This is our six month anniversary! I have two very special shows for you this week. The first show we are going to meet one of the masterminds behind the fabulous platform. is celebrating a few milestones of its own. This spring marked the one year anniversary of the hugely successful!

Our special guest today is Will Hunt Lewis, Senior Director of Merchandising of! In this position, he oversees all business done with merchandising and product development for all product category. Today Will Hunt and I are going to talk all from quality, delivering times, to the designers that curate the rooms.


Will Hunt's previous experience includes One Kings Lane as Buyer of Furniture, and Jonathan Adler where he oversaw all aspects of merchandise planning for all distribution channels.  Prior to moving to New York, he owned his own home furnishings and gift retail store in Mississippi.


For the rest of the Show notes, please visit our website: 



If you haven't subscribed yet, please visit our social media at: 




Aug 8, 2016

Maria Killam is the founder and CEO of Understanding Undertones of Colour. She's a decorator, author, speaker and internationally sought-after Colour Expert. Transform the way you see color at

Maria's has 5 Fall Specify Colour with Confidence™ workshops scheduled, get all the information about what they include and upcoming dates here.


If you want to learn Maria's system of Understanding Undertones and finally get your paint colours and finishes right, go here. Maria's second ebook White is Complicated: A Decorator's Guide to Choosing the Right White takes the mystery out of the thousands of whites available and you end up with the 5 useful whites that you'll use every time you need to specify a white for trim, cabinets, woodwork and walls. 


Choosing exterior colour this season? Maria's How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence 60-minute webinar will give you a step-by-step process and includes Maria's go-to exterior colours.


For more expert tips, visit:


Join us on: 







Aug 5, 2016

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! My guest today is Alice Seale, who has over 30 years entrepreneurial experience as a realtor in the retail design industry. She is the founder of Seale Realty Advisors in the Dallas area. Alice has co-authored the book, Winning Ways in Real Estate. She has great advice for entrepreneurs. Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Alice’s path to real estate in retail design
  • What to look for in a realtor
  • How a design center is born and developed
  • The mix of wholesale and retail
  • How Alice spots the trends in “pop-up” design centers
  • Rent or buy? How do you decide?
  • Alice tells you what questions to ask up front
  • HVAC—why you MUST pay attention!
  • Watch expenses on taxes and insurance!
  • Consider leasing with an option
  • Ask for any accommodations up front
  • Find a realtor who has YOUR best interests in mind
  • Why renting is a good option to start out in business
  • Know what’s going on in your city and its development
  • How to know when it’s the RIGHT time to purchase
  • How to ask your landlord to “put some skin in the game”
  • Make a wish list of renovations and negotiate adding value to the property
  • Establish financial relationships early: Be a PERSON at the bank and not just an account number!
  • Consider obtaining a letter of credit instead of paying a large security deposit
  • Why Alice recommends that you have a female banker

Get all the details from Alice here:

Aug 3, 2016


Hi, welcome to another episode of A Well-Designed Business! If you are a loyal listener—thank you for tuning in again!

And whether you are new or returning, please go over to our Facebook page and like us there so you can be a part  of the conversation, to be in the know about all things A Well-Designed Business podcast and Window Works. Find us at


So on the show today you will meet Terri Lind Davis from Tampa Florida. Terri has 30+ year career in interior design and today we discuss the path her business has taken. From the beginning right out of college to today where she is revitalizing her business with a return to one of her passions and talents, painting.

It’s sort of a memory lane conversation but see if you can identify the 2 major things in her career that have created and sustained a pipeline of clients for her in 2 Florida cities over 30+ years…

So stay put, I’m going to tell you about Kravet Inc, our show sponsor and then we’ll meet Terri.

So what were Terri’s 2 pipeline builders?

They were the position at the high-end furniture store and the years associated with the luxury homebuilder. Both of these not only brought in clients in real time, they both resulted in repeat business with these clients and referrals from those clients year after year, long after she left the store and after the builder retired.

And you know what I’m thinking?

While Terri didn’t necessarily strategically plan her 2 pipeline builders, you certainly could. If you are starting out, could you work part-time at a luxury furniture showroom or a kitchen showroom, a tile showroom? Somewhere you could meet a new stream of potential clients? Of course  you would be up front and discuss policies with the owner but as Terri said, it is good for them too…you can agree to bring any purchases of their product line back to the store…win-win for both of you.

Or another avenue is to reach out to builders and realtors…And don’t just send a card or a packet…make a meeting, explain you want to develop a long-term relationship with them that brings value to their clients. Explain that they can proudly tell their clients they are associated with a talented, trusted interior designer to help them with their new home purchase.

Paint the picture for the builder or realtor so they can see the relationship and how all 3 parties involved- you, them and the client are enhanced by their suggestion to use your services…

Do either of these sound like something you could do? I’d love know if you do one or the other. Go to our Facebook page and tell about what you did and how it went. If you hit a roadblock, let me know that too, maybe I can help you through it.

Terri had a few more words of wisdom earned over her career so go over to for your free pdf of The Things I Learned From Terri Davis.


Remember to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, FB and let me know when you use the lessons from our talented guests.

Have a great day!

Aug 1, 2016

Today I would like to introduce, dare I say my first fan: Rachel Moriarty! She has been so supportive from the beginning on social media. I would like to give her a huge THANK YOU! One of the conversations that we had on social media about more episodes with solo entrepreneur shops and firms. It’s nice to show appreciation for the big influencers on the show. We can see where a business can go. But we need to take the time to also have good conversations with people who run fabulous businesses all by themselves.

Show Notes:

  • What was Rachel’s motivation to talk about solo entrepreneurs?
  • What is a creative entrepreneur mindset?
  • What kind of systems and programs does she use?
  • What is a “work jam”?
  • What is her design process?
  • Why “Go Red for Women”?
  • Who does her photography?
  • Look vs feel in a room
  • What advice does she have for new entrepreneurs?

Please visit for the full episode and show notes. 

Jul 29, 2016

Diane Gardner is a tax coach and the author of Why Didn't My CPA Tell Me That? and Stop Overpaying Your Taxes. You are going to be blown away today by the information Diane shares. She saves her clients thousands of dollars in taxes with every consultation. Many times we look backward in dealing with our taxes, and a tax coach looks at the future and plans it exactly how you want to be.

In this episode you will learn:

  • What is a tax coach and why do you need one
  • How you can plan where your tax liability be
  • Why your accountant isn't your tax coach
  • Why tax filing is different than tax planning
  • How your legal entity can make you pay less in taxes
  • Why it's almost a guarantee that you are paying too much in taxes



Stop Overpaying Your Taxes
Jul 27, 2016

Today we are going to talk about going to market with Deb Barrett! She specializes in a niche for attending the different furniture and accessory markets: High Point and different markets around the world. Now she is specializing in bringing groups to these markets so that they have the best experience at market as opposed to walking in circles and not knowing where to go. Today we are very lucky because high point is about two and a half months away! This is a great time to listen to Deb with her expertise and knowledge on how to make the best of attending markets in general but we are going to be talking about High Point because it’s coming up soon.

Show Notes:

  • Why should people attend High Point?
  • What is High Point?
  • How do you know if you should go to High Point?
  • How should you go about pre-planning?
  • How is High Point divided?
  • What advantages come with registering?
  • Why would designers want to think about expanding internationally?
  • Be up to date on business etiquette

For more details on this episode, please go to:

Jul 25, 2016

LuAnn Nigara is an award winning window treatment authority, author, and host of the 5 star-rated podcast, A Well-Designed Business, which serves the design industry as an overall business dynamo.

Based in Livingston, New Jersey, LuAnn got her start in 1982 when she, her husband, and cousin, purchased a franchise of the Florida based, full service window treatment company, Window Works. With LuAnn at the helm of sales, they quickly expanded from New Jersey to serving the entire metro area from Philadelphia, to the Hamptons to Connecticut and became the leading showroom in gross sales of the more than 120 stores Window Works stores around the country.

“I have always been fascinated by sales and the components of a sale,” explains LuAnn, who brings an unmatched passion and expertise to the business of window design. “At ten years old my Aunt gave me the book, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino and I quickly looked for every book like it. That was the beginning of what became my obsession with the art and skill of the sale.”

Soon after running Window Works leading franchise, LuAnn thought of something no one else had: Why not work directly with interior designers? “Back then I thumbed through the phonebook,” laughs LuAnn who recalls cold calling designers and asking them to partner with her. Today, she counts Sussan Lari Architects, Alexandra Angle Interiors in Los Angeles, Anyon Designs (San Francisco), House of Funk in NJ, Pembrooke & Ives and Charles Pavarini as clients.

After more than thirty years of designing, creating and installing window treatments for the most discerning clients, LuAnn is now recognized as a leading voice in the business of design. In addition to speaking at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID-NJ) and the world-renown Hunter Douglas conference, she is regularly called on by Design NJ as a resource. She’s been featured in Design NJ and appeared on House Smarts TV. In 2012, LuAnn authored the e-book, 10 Things to Know About Window Treatments and was featured in Big Bold Business Women of NJ.

In the summer of 2015, LuAnn was searching for radio shows that spoke of her interest in the business of design--and found nothing. That was her “Ah Ha! Moment” and she decided to start a podcast. Today, she hosts a weekly 60-minute podcast ‘A Well-Designed Business.’ The twice weekly Internet show features in depth conversations with industry professionals on just about every subject on the business of interior design, from “Branding for Designers” “How to Get PR,” and How to Structure your Fees.

LuAnn lives in New Jersey with her husband. After more than three decades in business, she has no plans to stop any time soon.

Learn more about Luann and her work here:


Connect with her on Facebook:


Jul 22, 2016

Welcome back to another Power Talk Friday! I’m happy to let you know that we have David Duncan Livingston with us today! He is a professional photographer from the San Francisco Bay area. He has worked in over 40 states and 4 provinces! His particular skill, in addition to his photography, is that he works with interior designers as a producer, art director, and stylist when doing professional photography for you and your projects. He really works with you to get to the story that you are trying to produce with each project. I have to tell you that once you look at his website you will see that he does exactly what he says he does. For this power talk Friday David and I have to decided to talk about Houzz and we are going to pick his brain on how each of us can maximize our Houzz platform.

Show Notes:

  • What happens in the initial phase?
  • How do you decide what kinds of pictures to post on Houzz?
  • Is there such a thing as putting too much on your profile?
  • How do you organize an idea book?
  • Why is it important to keyword your photos?
  • What are some tips for iPhone users?

Learn more at:



Jul 20, 2016

Today we have a treat because Veronica Solomon is a rock star powerhouse woman in interior design. I came across Veronica and I thought she is a smart lady, she has some great things to share and always seems to have good advice. Then I browsed her website. I had to be picked up off the floor.

Once I was off the floor I probably spent as much time on her website as I have on other designers’ in the past 8 or 9 months that I have been interviewing. She has so much information and it's put out there so organized, clear, and user-friendly; and talks to the consumer. Today she is going to share with us how and why she decided to organize her website.

Show Notes:

  • What is a “how we work” page?
  • Be up front!
  • How does having the price figures on her website help her with business?
  • Who created her website?
  • How does “wix” work?
  • What is her plan for the fall?
  • What are some of her future goals?
  • How did she grow her group?
  • Are live videos the future?


Read the entire show notes and access resources at:

Jul 18, 2016

On the show today we have James Swan! James is the host of the podcast Million Dollar Decorator. This is in addition to his illustrious career as an interior designer. Being the host of this podcast and speaking with James about being guests on each other’s podcasts I really started doing research on him. I am very impressed at what a high level accomplished interior designer he is. Let’s be honest there are interior designers who make it big in their hometown and have a good 25 to 30-year career. But then you have interior designers that do things in a high level way and that is James! And this is what we are going to talk about today.

Show Notes:

  • What’s the scoop on his career background?
  • Delegate!
  • What are some things to think about when starting a business?
  • Why is training so important?
  • What’s in his book?
  • Will there be another book?
  • How did he end up in Maine?

To learn more about James Swan, please  visit

Jul 15, 2016

Welcome back to Power talk Friday! I am pleased to have Fred Berns back with us! If you remember he was on the show a couple of months ago and he discussed how to create a killer bio. I am aware that you all love his show so much that Fred and I have been talking about him coming back on the show. So he is here today! If you have not heard his episode you should go back and listen to it! It has a lot of terrific information in it. If you did miss his show Fred is a coach who trains professional designers worldwide on how to promote themselves and how to more effectively and dramatically increase their sales. I have to say what he says he is going to do he is going to do. Today he is going to tell us the keys to a killer website.

Show Notes:

  • What are interior designers doing wrong on their websites?
  • What elements should be on the homepage?
  • “Four seconds and two clicks”
  • Why do you need more than images?
  • How can you make it easier to navigate your website?
  • What should you avoid?
  • Why should you “think links”?

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

Jul 13, 2016

Gail Davis has a very interesting past that would be very helpful to her colleagues. Interior design is her second career. Her first career was in fashion. When you hear her story about her career in fashion, I think everyone will understand why she went into interior design!

Show Notes:

  • How long was she in fashion before switching to interior design?
  • Why interior design?
  • How did she “walk” into her internships?
  • What is the biggest difference interning at a younger age vs being older?
  • What sort of questions should you ask yourself when designing a room?
  • Were there certain things that were the same between the two designers?
  • What business practices did she learn?


Instagram:  gmdinteriors


Jul 11, 2016

Welcome back everybody! Barbara Viteri has such an interesting trail leading to where she is today with her Designerlebrity

Barbara had a very successful business called Viteri Style Management where she was a consultant for interior designers. But Barbara is pivoting her career now. She is going to share with us about how she got to where she is now.

Show Notes:

  • What did she do in Viteri Style Management?
  • What exercise can help with hiring?
  • What is Designerlebrity?
  • How did she come to her new career move?
  • Be real! Don’t pretend!

Resources: ~ @viteristyle


Jul 8, 2016
 Krista Coupar of Coupar Consulting returns to the show to talk about billing and hourly fee’s.
How To Effectively Bill Out Using an Hourly Fee Structure:
• Step 1: Understand your existing pipeline
• Step 2: Do an analysis of your current client base and your average monthly billing
• Step 3: Determine utilization rates for yourself and your team
• Step 4: Match up current project initiatives with the hours the team has available to work
• Step 5: Evaluate if you need to add to your team
You can read the full show notes and access all the resources at
Jul 6, 2016

Today on the show we have Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill! They have their own design firm in Charleston, South Carolina. They also deal with fine arts, have a retail store and deal with gallery events. Putting on an event is one thing but putting on 10 to 12 events a year successfully is quite another thing. They put on an event at least once a month usually.  Michael and Tyler are going to share with us they came upon the idea of putting on events.

Show Notes:

  • What was the original plan?
  • What is the one thing that they will always have part of their business?
  • How was charity introduced to them?
  • What should you not go cheap on?
  • What are some ways to let people know when there will be an event?
  • Who are the fabulous staff and what do they do?
  • How did their collection come to life?
  • What are the follow up processes?


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

Jul 4, 2016

Today we have Farrha Hyman on the show! You may be thinking where have I heard that name before? Farrha is the designer that Kae Whitaker mentioned in her interview from a previous episode! She is going to share with us her story and what can happen to your design firm when you reach out and get help and expertise from someone who knows more than you do.

Show Notes:

  • When did she realize she needed help?
  • How did she hear about Kay?
  • Trust the process!
  • How different is it just being in business and running a business well?
  • Why is it important to share some personal information?
  • What two actions have to happen when bringing someone new into the business?
  • What personal struggles did she have with change?
  • How did she use her knowledge from previous hires?
  • Where does she plan to be further down the road with her firm?

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

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

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