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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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Nov 27, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We are really happy to have John and Theresa Dorlini, the dynamic duo behind Circle Design Studio, with us today. The idea of CIRCLE was born in 2001 when, on their first official date at a sushi restaurant in downtown Tempe, John and Theresa made a pinky promise to build a design empire. On the show today we have a really great conversation with them about how they built their business and the way that they run it. Listen in today, to find out what they have to share with you.

Circle Design Studio is located in Roanoke VA. Since its inception in 2005,  John and Theresa have expanded the CIRCLE family to encompass full-service design, including architecture and general contracting.

John is the principal architect and he holds professional licenses as a Certified Interior Designer, Class A Contractor, and Architect in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Those qualifications, combined with his background in design and construction administration for large-scale public projects, ensure a thorough drawing set that leads to accurate bidding and execution.

Theresa is the principal interior designer and creative director. Her strength is seeing the “big picture”.  She has 20 years of interior design experience practicing in Arizona, Florida, and Virginia, and she works closely with all their clients, both residential and commercial, to develop a cohesive design concept that reflects their personal style or branding. Theresa is passionate about design education and she's taught at James Madison University, and also at her alma mater, Arizona State University. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Their way of explaining to a client why they would do well to make use of a designer, as well as a builder and an architect.
  • Why they invest so much in their 3D visualizations.
  • The programs that they prefer to use for their 3D visualizations, and why.
  • How 3D modeling can help prevent disconnect with the various players working on projects.
  • How it really helps to have an architect on board with their projects.
  • The benefits of having a large body of work to show their clients.
  • Words are just words, so images really help!
  • They are busy creating a coffee table book.
  • What they do to make projects easier to understand for their clients.
  • Following the steps of a tried-and-true-process.
  • Explaining to their clients, when discussing fees, that they're paying for John and Theresa's expertise.
  • Everything about design comes really easily to Theresa.
  • Designing seems really easy for some people, so it's easy for them to underestimate what actually goes into it.
  • A book that John recommends is The Business of Design by Keith Granet.
  • All about the vision statement they are busy creating.
  • Being at the glorious point of being able to recognize the really valuable clients and let the others go.
  • Realizing that it's all about serving the client.
  • You have to be really good at what you do to work with the luxury market.
  • Learning to be honest enough to just say 'no'.
  • Putting things in writing can save your butt!
  • Setting boundaries with clients.
  • Creating a dual-purpose welcome-packet for clients.
  • Ways to protect yourself from customers who tend to take advantage.

Previous episodes mentioned in the show:

Darla Powell #330

Jason Byrne #311

Charles Pavarini #113

Resources:

Book mentioned: The Business of Design by Keith Granet

Links:

Website: Circle Design Studio

Facebook: Circle Design Studio

Pinterest: Circle Design Studio

Instagram: Circle Design Studio

Blog: Curata Home

Nov 23, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We have Samantha Parker and Kathy Rasmussen, the partners in the Badassery Community, with us on the show today. Samantha and Kathy are the co-founders of Badassery Magazine, the co-hosts of the Badassery Podcast, and they also have a book out, called Badassery Styled Community. These ladies are very real. They are trailblazers and they are on a mission. Together, they are creating an ultra-engaged community of women entrepreneurs who are fully committed to living bold and passion-filled lives. On the show today they share some great guiding principals on being authentic and doing things your way. Listen in to find out about the very significant work that these two dynamic ladies are doing.

Badassery Magazine is a resource for female business owners to navigate and embody the Badassery Lifestyle. The magazine features articles written by their community of contributors on topics including Entrepreneurship, Branding, Marketing, Mindset, Self Care, Health & Beauty, Home, Family, Travel, Food & Drink Recipes, Entertainment, Music, and lots more.

Samantha is ridiculously passionate about living a life of true Badassery. She believes that we all rise together and she puts community over competition. She has been featured on NowThis, The Daily Vee, Bold TV, and numerous interviews and podcasts.

Kathy is an idea cultivating machine and can strategically birth your idea to life. When she’s not busy connecting other entrepreneurs with fabulous experiences, you can find her being featured on NowThis, Bold TV, numerous interviews and podcasts. Kathy is passionate about owning who you are and stepping into the spotlight. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • The backstory of how the Badass Community was started.
  • How Samantha and Kathy first met.
  • Kathy explains what she does, as an implementation strategist.
  • Knowing your where your passion lies and what fulfills you.
  • About the brand pillars of the Badass Community.
  • Some pillars that would benefit designers.
  • Embracing who you are and letting your authentic personality shine through.
  • Thinking about what you want to be known for.
  • Creating consistency throughout all your messaging.
  • Determining what your brand pillars should be.
  • The process of welcoming people to a community.
  • Growing your design business through a Facebook community.
  • Cultivating conversations within a Facebook community.
  • Giving value and sharing your expertise within a Facebook community will get people to hire you.
  • Getting loyalty from the personality brand you're creating.
  • Things that are necessary, but not obvious about the backend of running a community.
  • Some of the things they do that really make the members feel special and want to stay in the community.
  • To restrict your community or not?

Previous episodes mentioned on the show:

Nancy Holla #377

Colleen Prim #359

Nicole Heymer #125 and #137

Claire Jefford #237 and 325

Rachel Moriarty #55 and #214

Dixie Willard #273

Links:

Website: Badassery Magazine

Facebook: Badassery Magazine

Instagram: Badassery Magazine

Badassery Mag: Badassery Magazine

Badassery Podcast: Badassery Podcast

Nov 20, 2018

Welcome to the show! You're really in for a royal treat today! We're very excited to share LuAnn's interview with Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, as he unveils the Royal Funiture line for Theodore Alexander. LuAnn did this interview live, in person, at the Theodore Alexander Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. Lord Spencer is the younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales. He is also a British nobleman, peer, author, journalist, and broadcaster. The Althorp Living History furniture collection was designed in partnership with Theodore Alexander. And it encompasses replications of furniture found in the 500-year-old Althorp Estate where Lord Spencer and Diana grew up. Listen in today to find out what Lord Spencer has to share about the Althorp Living History furniture collection.

For five centuries, Althorp - a sprawling English estate in bucolic Northamptonshire - has served as the primary residence of the Spencers, one of the most distinguished, aristocratic families in England with ties to Winston Spencer Churchill and the ancestors of George Washington.

It was this combination of rich legacy and the home’s warm, beautiful interiors that drew fine furniture maker Theodore Alexander to Althorp. The resulting collection of furniture and upholstery pieces in Althorp Living History draws inspiration from treasures gathered during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by Althorp’s famous inhabitants.

Theodore Alexander is renowned for unmatched craftsmanship, exquisite finishes, and extraordinary design. Covering a diversity of periods and styles, their collections encompass thousands of unique lighting, home accents, case goods, and upholstered furnishings. Theodore Alexander and its licensed collections (Althorp Living History, Keno Bros. for Theodore Alexander, Jamie Drake for Theodore Alexander, Michael Berman for Theodore Alexander, and Steve Leung for Theodore Alexander) are available throughout the world at fine furniture galleries and design centers. Listen in today to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • The “Spencer heritage” — 500 years of history in the Althorp Estate and how that history is captured in the furniture.
  • The wonderful responsibility of being heir to the Althorp Estate.
  • Retaining Althorp as a place of entertainment.
  • For Lord Spencer, history is about people- not about dusty, dry facts.
  • How the relationship between Lord Spencer and Theodore Alexander began.
  • Lord Spencer enjoys the passion that Theodore Alexander has for the heritage of the furniture collection.
  • Lord Spencer is able to provide the backstory of every single piece of furniture in the Althorp Living History line.
  • How Theodore Alexander has helped to preserve the Althorp history and heritage through the furniture line.
  • Lord Spencer talks about his favorite pieces in the collection.
  • What buyers can expect when purchasing an Althorp/Theodore Alexander piece.
  • Owning a cherished piece of history with the opportunity to create your own heritage with pieces with a rich history.
  • What designers should know about the value of the Althorp Living History furniture collection, and also of Theodore Alexander, as a company, when considering introducing the furniture line into their projects.

Links:

Theodore Alexander's website:  Theodore Alexander.

Furniture Collection:

Email: c@clairemontcommunications.com / msmiley@theodorealexander.com / ostrowski.anna97@gmail.com

The video of this interview is available on LuAnn's Youtube channel: Youtube

Nov 16, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We are very happy to introduce you to Nancy Hala today. Nancy is a branding expert and she's also co-host of the podcast This Is Fifty With Sheri and Nancy. LuAnn truly loves and enjoys what Nancy and her co-host Sheri Salata are doing! Nancy and Sheri joined forces when they were both in their mid-fifties, to launch their company, start their podcast, and begin living The Pillar Life. They decided at the time that it's never too late to make the rest of their dreams come true. And both still had a ton of dreams left that they really wanted to come true! On the show today, apart from picking Nancy's expert brain, as a brand strategist, we will be talking to her about The Pillar Life, and leaning into starting a new life with career changes. Because sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and trust that the universe will support you. So listen in today to find out what Nancy has to share with you.

Nancy is a chief visionary of The Pillar Life. And This Is Fifty with Sheri + Nancy is a popular podcast about redefining and rebranding the middle of life. Sheri Salata and Nancy are lifelong soul-sister friends. And on their podcast they’re having conversations with experts, teachers and uplifters about fueling their imaginations and igniting the eight most important pillars of their lives: Health + Wellness, Spirituality + Happiness, Romance + Sex, Friends + Family, Creativity + Innovation, Adventure + Discovery, Sanctuary + Beauty, and Money + Abundance.

Nancy is also the innovator behind BrandStory, a trademark combination of brand strategy, storytelling and audience building, helping organizations articulate who they are, what they stand for, and where their brand’s spirit meets its mission. Nancy extends her business brand practice into personal brand development, working with individuals and groups in bespoke workshops designed to help participants understand and express their own personal brands. Listen in to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • Nancy shares her (and Sheri's) core beliefs.
  • Nancy believes that taking the risk and trusting in the support of the universe will open doors for you.
  • Learning to dream without limitations.
  • Most people really love their brand, or their organzation, as an extension of themselves.
  • Their first mantra, when Sheri and Nancy started their company, was 'dream big'.
  • Shedding old beliefs about safety and security creates fun and excitement!
  • Starting your own company or creating your own brand is one of the most creative things you can do as a business owner.
  • Having a business is all about connecting with people- so you have to speak to them in a way that they can hear and understand you.
  • The stories we tell ourselves make our dreams come true.
  • Creating a really great narrative for your brand.
  • Nancy's four v's: vision, values, virtues and voice.
  • A vision is the foundational component of a brand story.
  • Your virtues set you apart from your competitors or your peers.
  • Your voice is the energy behind your brand.
  • You need to be interested in something in order to be successful at it.
  • Getting to the core of what really sets you apart from the rest.
  • Getting into the virtue of what you do with authenticity and fearlessness.
  • The Pillar Life consists of eight areas of life (or pillars) that we need to focus on, expand our energy over, and elevate our experience around.
  • Nancy discusses her and Sheri's reckoning moment.
  • Content has to have a framework. And The Pillar Life has become the framework for Nancy and Sheri's narrative.
  • Finding your own, unique point of view on each pillar.

Previous episodes mentioned on the show:

Amber Lewis #169 and #184

Nicole Heymer (Curio Electro) #125 and #317

Links:

The Pillar Life 

10 Easy Steps to Launch The Pillar Life

Nov 13, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We have Catherine French, the founder of Catherine French Design, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with us today. Cat has been listening to this podcast since it first started, about two-and-a-half years ago. This was around the same time that she started her design business. Recently, Cat sent LuAnn a really nice email, telling her about the things she had learned from A Well-Designed Business. In the letter, she listed the things that she has really taken seriously from the podcast and implemented in her business. And right from the start, she has really been tremendously successful! Cat's firm is currently approaching half-a-million dollars in gross revenue per year- in under two-and-a-half years! So listen in today, as Cat talks to LuAnn about her business, and gives some context to the way that it all began for her.

Cat loves color, pattern, texture, form, and has a passion for working with people. She focuses on color and balance to make rooms more warm, inviting and habitable. Her design is a unique blend of psychology, culture, color, and function with an emphasis on the principals of design and art taken from her formal Arts education and training.  Embracing full collaboration in creating a harmonious space, she spends time in the spaces with her clients developing their vision and then guiding them through the full process of a turn-key installation.

After obtaining her Bachelors in Psychology from Wake Forest University, Cat later went on to pursue her Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While teaching the Environmental Design Studio at UNCG, she presented her work at several State and National conventions as an expert on Interior Design and Historic Preservation. Now Cat leads a passionate and enthusiastic team of design professionals that guide inspirations into reality at Catherine French Design. Listen in to find out what Cat has to share with you on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • Cat talks about the beginning of her business, two-and-a-half years ago, and everything that happened at the time.
  • Enlisting the help of a stylist for the first time.
  • Taking advice from this podcast turned out to be one of the best things she ever did.
  • Cat enlisted some help from a neighbor, Jamie, and he's still with her business now, almost two years later.
  • Now, Cat's team is really diverse and wonderful!
  • How Cat came up with how much to charge her first clients.
  • Cat explains why she mostly still charges an hourly rate.
  • All about how Cat managed to have the hard conversation with one of her very first clients and hire someone to get the project finished on time.
  • Cat had to make time to be with her family, or her business would have been pointless for her, so her whole firm does not work in the evenings or over weekends.
  • Cat's way of dealing with unforeseen problems.
  • Hiring the right person at the right time.
  • What happened when Cat realized that she couldn't make payroll one month.
  • How Cat learned that you have to always have to show up and put your team first.
  • How Cat first started marketing her firm with blog posts to get SEO exposure.
  • Showing her team that she wasn't giving up!
  • Dealing with accounting problems in her business.
  • Working out how much needs to be brought into the business, in order to keep things running smoothly.
  • Talking to Caroline Hipple, co-author of Pathway To Profit.
  • Making everyone in the team feel important.
  • Maintaining boundaries and being brave enough to only work with clients that are the right fit.
  • Untangling from projects that aren't the right fit.
  • The importance of maintaining an attitude of professionalism and respect.
  • LuAnn's second book, co-authored by Michele Willaims of The Scarlet Thread, will be launched at the next birthday celebration in February, next year.

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Dina Holland #354

Michele Williams #137 and #180

Resources:

Book: A Pathway to Profit by Caroline Hipple, Anita Pugh, Chris Matthies, and Dixon Bartlett

Links:

Website - Catherine French Design

Instagram - Catherine French Design

Pinterest - Cat French Design

Facebook - Catherine French Design

Nov 9, 2018

Welcome to today's Power Talk Friday! We have Bonnie Fahy with us on the show. Bonnie is the creator of Source It!, which Forbes once called "the world’s premier education in online hiring and outsourcing for entrepreneurs". Although outsourcing is the obvious thing for a number of businesses to do, LuAnn wasn't a hundred percent sure that it would be transferable to the design industry. After having a conversation with Bonnie, however, she decided that it was viable for us. Because there are so many things that go into running a business and you really don't have to do it all yourself. So you could consider employing a virtual assistant. And Bonnie specializes in helping people understand the best process for hiring VAs. Listen in today to find out what Bonnie has to share with you.

From her humble beginnings as a balloon artist, Bonnie Fahy has grown to become the ultimate hiring guru, helping hundreds of overwhelmed business owners balance their dreams with a work lifestyle that suits them best. She stumbled on outsourcing early in her internet marketing career and she was amazed to see her profits quadruple in only three short months! This really inspired her, so she began consulting with, and helping other entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to six and seven figures using the same strategies and methods. Bonnie has helped a roster of prominent entrepreneurs take back their time by leveraging high-quality virtual assistants, web developers and graphic designers for a fraction of the cost. Her business insights are based on the foundations of personal development and human psychology, and the shortcuts she teaches her mentees have helped them spectacularly transformed their lives. Listen in to hear about Bonnie's powerful strategies.

Show highlights:

  • Why Bonnie thinks that a VA is such a viable resource for a small business owner.
  • You can hire a much higher level person from the Philippines at a fraction of the cost.
  • Hiring the right person for the task.
  • Taking responsibility for clear communication.
  • Systematizing things is vital.
  • Your VA can actually help you to create and document systems.
  • Where hybrid sourcing comes into the picture.
  • People are often unsure about which tasks to delegate.
  • Bonnie has loads of free content on her website.
  • The kind of tasks an online assistant could do for you, as an interior designer.
  • Mastering the art of communication through conflict.
  • Tools for protecting passwords while allowing someone else to use them.
  • Freeing yourself up to do the things you do best.
  • The kind of person to look for as a VA.
  • Where to go, find the best VA.
  • Writing a really compelling job ad.
  • Testing for agreeableness.
  • Finding the perfect person for the perfect price.
  • Doing 'get to know you' calls.
  • Resources for finding online assistance outside the US.
  • Remember that it's always about the process.

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Madeleine MacRae # 315

Resources for finding online assistance in the US:

Craig's List

Indeed.com

Facebook

Recommended resources for finding online assistance outside the US:

International Facebook groups for VAs.

OnlineJobs.ph

VirtualStaff.ph

Links:

Bonnie Fahy

Bonnie Fahy

Get Source It

Bonnie's Free Training

For the automated webinar go to The Live More Formula

Nov 6, 2018

Welcome! Today you're in for a treat! We have Ellie Mroz joining us, and she's a really talented designer and also an astute businesswoman. We're very fortunate here at Window Works to be doing the window treatments for all Ellie's projects. Today, Ellie discusses her niche with us. And get this- her niche isn't a particular style of design or even an ideal client. It's it's the town where she and her husband grew up, fell in love, and started their family! On the show today we also take a look at the hard conversations that you will need to have with vendors and clients when unforeseen things happen. Listen in to find out more.

Ellie’s passion for interiors began in the world of fashion. After she graduated from Cornell University, she enjoyed several years of internships in ready-to-wear and jewelry design, merchandising, and public relations. Finally, her love of beautiful things brought her into interior design. This transition was natural for Ellie because her husband’s residential home remodeling business, Michael Robert Construction, started growing. And his clients started asking Ellie for her help in choosing all the finishes. From there, the husband and wife design/build team grew and a boutique interior design firm was born.

Since 2015, Ellie has been asked to appear in several episodes of George Oliphant's show, George to the Rescue NBC, as the on-air talent who helps families in need create beautiful spaces. And these beautiful spaces really improve the quality of the lives of these families, as well as the quality of their homes. Listen in to hear what Ellie has to share with you today!

Show highlights:

  • Ellie talks about her involvement with George To The Rescue.
  • Why it's really worth investing in a receiving warehouse where they hold all your goods until you're ready for the majority install.
  • Designers really need to be there when the delivery for an installation happens.
  • Setting expectations with a new client right in the beginning.
  • Ellie and her husband, Mike, have two separate companies and they don't always work together.
  • Ellie talks about her really unique niche.
  • Ellie prefers to take on few jobs and really make them profitable.
  • Ellie has recently added a new service called Design Therapy.
  • Ellie tailor's her style to each client.
  • Some really great advice that Ellie received from a photographer.
  • The joy of owning your niche fully.
  • How to deal with it when things go wrong working on a project with contractors, subcontractors, and vendors.
  • Some tools and tactics for avoiding dramas.
  • Why you should never ditch old emails.
  • The value of spending real time on site with your contractors.
  • Developing the skill set to have the hard conversation with clients.
  • What's coming up for Ellie in the future.

Previous episodes mentioned on this show:

Raquel Langworthy #343

Links:

Website - Ellie Mroz Design

Instagram - Ellie Mroz Design

Pinterest - Ellie Mroz Design

The custom home-building project that Ellie is documenting on Instagram: #Shadowlawndrive

Michael, Ellie's husband's website: Michael Robert Construction

Nov 2, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We are very happy to introduce you to two very interesting women today. We have Susan Whalen, the president of Pollack, and Rachel Doriss, Pollack's design director, with us on the show. These women have both been in the design industry for decades and on the show today they talk to us about the types of opportunities that are available in the industry, other than doing interior design. They also talk about the leadership at Pollack and their company culture of encouraging creativity, loyalty, and longevity in their entire team. Listen in today to find out what it takes to create and lead a really exceptional business.

Susan earned a BA from The University of Arizona in 1996. She was appointed as president of Pollack/Weitzner in 2017 due to her forward-thinking vision. She began her career at Polack in 1999 as studio manager, working alongside the founding creative director, Mark Pollack. There she learned every aspect of design and product development for contract and residential textiles. In 2004 she shifted to the business side to work under Rick Sullivan, the founding president. Then, in 2006, she was appointed as vice president and chief operating officer. In the position of COO, Susan took the led role in Pollack's merger with Weitzner in 2011. She is currently spearheading the implementation of a new operating system and the development of improved digital platforms to support the future growth and adaptability of Pollack/Weitzner. Susan now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In her free time, she enjoys traveling internationally and renovating her weekend home in rural Pennsylvania.

Rachel has textile design in her DNA. She studied printmaking and painting and even taught batik workshops when she first entered college. But it was in the Textile Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design that she realized, for the first time, the practical application of her beloved woven and printed textile techniques. She graduated with a BFA from RISD in 1999 and designed printed silk scarves at Echo before joining the Pollack Studio in 2000. In 2007, Rachel was appointed Vice President, Associate Design Director. She took the helm as Pollack’s Design Director in 2012, overseeing the Studio and guiding the creative vision for each textile collection. In the Studio, she and her team always begin a pattern by first creating artwork by hand. Rachel’s designs for Pollack have been featured in national magazines, including Architectural Digest, Interior Design and Elle Décor, and she has been profiled on such sites as Apartment Therapy and House and Home TV. Two of her creations, “Mod” and “Curlycue,” are in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Join us today and get the inspiration do things in your firm to make it the kind of place people really want to be engaged with!

Show highlights:

  • Other kinds of career opportunities within the design industry.
  • What really goes into textile manufacture.
  • What it takes to become a textile designer.
  • You get involved in the textile industry for the love of what you do, not for the money!
  • The partnership between Pollack and Lori Weitzner.
  • How having a collaboration, or a licensed collection works.
  • Working with Gary Graham, a New York-based fashion designer.
  • The need for inspiration when creating a collection.
  • A quick run through the development of a fabric.
  • The whole chain of love and pain that goes into the design and development of a beautiful fabric.
  • About the really terrific "Pollack culture".
  • Some great tips for cultivating a really successful team.
  • Inspiring employees towards longevity with longer vacations.
  • Really creative "First Fridays" at Pollack.
  • An "Ugly Sweater" contest at the office!
  • Supporting employees through difficult times.
  • Pollack has their product in showrooms in most of the major territories.
  • Pollack has worldwide distribution- in Asia, the UK, and France.

Links:

Website: Pollack Associates

Instagram: @pollacktextiles

Facebook:  Pollack Textiles

Previous episodes mentioned on this show:

Lori Weitzner #308

Eileen Hahn # 363

Janelle Photopoulos # 364

Candace Olsen #74

Amber Lewis #184

Shea McGee #236 and 270 with Syd

Corey Damen Jenkins #127

Oct 30, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We know that you're really going to love it! We have Laura Michaels with us today and she is an experienced and insightful designer who knows how to tell it like it is. On the show, we have a very straightforward conversation with her about talking budget with clients. Laura is very confident in her process and in the service she offers, and she really knows how to hold her ground in these conversations. Listen in today, become inspired, and learn from Laura's expertise, and her really confident way of dealing with clients.

Laura Michaels Design is a full-service design firm specializing in residential and commercial interiors out of Greenwich CT. Having started her career as a fashion designer, Laura Michaels is no stranger to developing complete collections filled with layers of textures, patterns, and colors. Laura thrives on the challenge of finding the perfect combination of textiles and other materials, then integrating them in unique and unexpected ways. Laura spends much of her time sourcing fabric, carpet, lighting and more...from all over the world and prides herself on her thorough knowledge of the market. Laura is also proud of her ability to source the "right" item at the ''right'' price. If cost, size or availability become an issue, her design skills allow her to create the perfect piece in one of her many custom factories.  Her extensive knowledge of the market makes the design process quick and easy, but never routine. Her artistic vision transforms the space into warm and inviting interiors and it is Laura’s goal to provide a warm, inviting environment that is enjoyed by her homeowners and will last the test of time. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Developing the skill set to really understand your ideal client.
  • Some red flags to look out for with a client.
  • The kind of client that Laura works with.
  • Looking at a potential client's expectations before their budget.
  • There are millions of different supplier websites for all budgets.
  • Laura's way of dealing with clients who are not clear about their budget.
  • Managing your client's expectations.
  • Laura loves the challenge of fulfilling a client's expectations on a limited budget.
  • Things that people don't understand about hiring an interior designer.
  • Hiring a designer can really be price effective.
  • Establishing the ground rules around the budget upfront.
  • Laura's way of obtaining art for her clients.
  • Having the budget conversation with clients.
  • Referrals are really important.
  • You need to be confident and know your value to avoid being taken advantage of.

Links:

Website: Laura Michaels Design

Instagram: The Laura Michaels Design

Pinterest: Pinterest

e-mail: Laura@Lauramichaelsdesign.com

Find Luann on Instagram

Oct 26, 2018

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! Everything is happening online these days, so we are really very happy to introduce you to Jason Berkowitz, of Break The Web Inc., a company that specializes in digital marketing and PR for businesses. Jason's business is an inbound marketing agency and their goal is to generate traffic which could ultimately turn into leads, sales, and customers. On the show today, Jason talks about the services that his company provides, that may be of interest to interior designers. He also explains what you, as interior designers, need to have in place, in order to come to the table. Listen in to hear what Jason has to say about digital marketing and public relations.

Jason started out as a business owner at the age of nineteen. He quickly came to recognize the importance of marketing and brand security. And he also realized that he had to take matters into his own hands because the available information was all so contradictory.

Jason's digital journey started in 2010 and his mission that year was to learn the ins-and-outs of digital marketing and more specifically, of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Through extensive networking, he had the opportunity to surround himself with some of the greatest and brightest minds in the industry. So he began utilizing and designing frameworks that led to a successful search-engine presence, spending hours analyzing algorithms and reading patent documents in an attempt to understand metrics for online visibility.

Jason launched his first SEO agency out of New York City in mid-2010. They launched SEO campaigns for more than 300 businesses, secured over 50 000 Page 1 rankings and worked with some of the largest brands in the world. Then, in 2016, they launched their parent company, Break The Web, Inc., with a focus on Digital Marketing services and business acquisitions. Since then, they have acquired 2 successful digital marketing agencies out of San Diego, California, and New York City. Listen in to find out more.

Show Highlights:

  • Jason explains what his company does.
  • The value in targeting your local area for marketing your business.
  • Where and how digital marketing and PR is taking place.
  • Jason's approach to digital marketing.
  • Paid advertising campaigns can be a little budget heavy.
  • Spending money on a digital marketing campaign pays off.
  • Teaching in-house teams to make the whole marketing process seamless.
  • How Jason structures his pricing.
  • A typical management fee that Jason charges for an ads campaign.
  • The SEO myths that Jason thinks really ought to be busted.
  • Using click-bait with the best intent.
  • Working with SEO really effectively.
  • Creating search tags for Youtube videos.
  • Google algorithms have become very smart- they can understand what's semantically relevant and what's not.
  • Keeping things natural within an SEO campaign.

Previous episodes mentioned in this show:

Andrew Joseph #39

Links:

Websites -

Break The Web 

SEO Services New York 

Jason Berkowitz

LinkedIn: Jason Berkowitz SEO

Facebook: Jason Berkowitz NYC 

Twitter: J Berkowitz SEO

YouTube: Jason Berkowitz SEO

Oct 23, 2018

Welcome! Today's show was recorded live from the High Point Market on Friday, October 12th, 2018, as part of the Designer Viewpoint Series. We are very happy to introduce you to Kesha Franklin today, the principal of Halden Interiors, based in Greenbrook, New Jersey. Kesha has a background in the fashion world. And as a designer, she started out on a path that initially appeared to be destined for failure, which really rocked her world, but then things took an interesting turn for her. Listen in today as Kesha candidly shares her story, offers valuable insights, discusses the growth of her firm and explains her really intentional way of framing her conversations with potential clients.

Kesha's intuitive sense of style, creativity, and harmony goes back to her formative years, where luxurious interiors and fine men's wear captivated her creativity, through her father's vast collection of Architectural Digest and the renowned GQ Magazine. Kesha continued expressing the artist within her through various creative means, but only after an encounter with a New York City architect, who recognized her eye for interior design and complimented her on it, did she take the leap and start The Beautiful Experience, a boutique design firm specializing in residential and special events design and planning, in 2006.

Kesha spent years immersed in the exclusive world of couture fashion as a backstage production manager and wardrobe stylist for the iconic Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Surrounded by the work of well-known designers such as Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Michael Kors, Donna Karen, and Lanvin…Kesha sharpened her attention to detail, distinct eye for exquisite styling and sensibility to craftsmanship.

The spaces Kesha reinvents today are impeccable. However, her striking aesthetic as an interior designer is not only shaped by her ability to curate color palettes, balanced textures, and distinct furnishings but is also influenced by her ability to understand and connect with people. Every single design project begins with a heart-to-heart. Listen in today to hear what Kesha has to share about how she supplies her clients with a full experience, from the ground up, that goes way beyond just beautiful things.

Show highlights:

  • Kesha shares the great story of how she started out with design in 2003.
  • She began with very small projects.
  • Moving from doing jobs for free to starting a business and attracting clients from the luxury market.
  • Kesha learned a lot- the hard way.
  • She had to learn to understand her true worth.
  • Reading books really helped Kesha to understand the processes and the business side of the world of interior design.
  • When things started to pick up in 2011, Kesha realized she really needed to figure out what her niche was.
  • Kesha's process of rebranding to become Holden Interiors took three years.
  • In 2013 Kesha was really fortunate to be a part of the Goldman Sachs 10 000 Small Businesses Program. And that really set her rebranding in motion!
  • It really is okay to charge a higher price that truly reflects the level of service that you're giving.
  • Not all consumers really understand interior design.
  • Kesha gets excited about the kind of job that makes her nervous.
  • Kesha explains the rates she charges her clients.
  • Some things that need to be highlighted in the service agreement with a client.
  • Kesha's approach to clients about her contract.
  • Kesha explains her weekly project update.
  • Teaching her clients to trust the process.
  • Be careful of becoming a 'client pleaser'.
  • Time management is still a challenge.
  • Presentation is everything, so it's very important to invest in really good, high-quality pictures.
  • Kesha's work will continue to change as time goes on.

Previous episodes mentioned on this show:

Adam Urbanski #192 and #280

Links:

Kesha's website: Halden Interiors

Oct 19, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Today we are really very happy to introduce you to photographer Stephen Karlish, from Dallas, Texas. Stephen began his career pre-internet, so he has seen the rise of social media and online sharing either make or break the careers of numerous designers. He has learned that the key to any creative environment is collaboration. We live in an image-based society today and designers really need to create a strong online presence. So they need to collaborate with experienced photographers to get the kind images that will be sure to drive traffic their way. Listen in today to find out what Stephen has to say about how a great photographer can really help you, as a designer, to build your brand identity and your online presence.

Stephen started out in the world of photography assisting commercial photographers in the late 90's. In the early 2000's he started photographing interiors for both local and national publications like Southern Accents, Veranda, Elle Decor, and AD, mainly focusing on documenting local Texas designers' work for their portfolios and ads. Based on his experience, Stephen really wants to help designers to take the photography aspect of their projects seriously. Listen in today to get some really helpful advice and tips from Stephen.

Show highlights:

  • The really awesome business partnership that Stephen has with his wife.
  • Pulp Design Studios really inspires Stephen!
  • It really takes a lot of practice to get your personality to really come through on a video.
  • What it takes to create a really great a photo shoot on location.
  • Working seamlessly as a team for incredible outcomes.
  • Really great shots can be used for years.
  • As a young designer, it's really worth investing in your brand imagery right now.
  • Doing it right!
  • Some tips for getting the best shots on a regular budget.
  • Working with stylists and floral designers.
  • The importance of doing pre-shoot scout shots.
  • The benefits of working with a stylist for your photos.
  • How to find the right stylist to work with.
  • Designing projects to completion.
  • Creating portfolio shots on a studio wall.
  • Some tricks that a photographer can do to create incredible shots.
  • The best business advice that Stephen has ever been given.

Links:

Stephen's Website - Stephen Karlisch

Studio Website: Karlisch Studio

Instagram: @stephen_karlisch_photo

Facebook: Karlisch Studio

Twitter: Stephen Karlisch

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Pulp Design Studios #176 and #310

Charlotte Safavi #138

Oct 16, 2018

Welcome to the show! Today we are excited to introduce you to Jessica Duce, the principal of J Duce Design in Colorado. With a lot of hard work, and a little good luck, Jessica discovered her ideal client and so today she specializes in VRBO and Air BnB Design. On the show today, Jessica tells the story of how she saw an opportunity to follow a completely new path in her business and jumped right in. Listen in today to learn about the joys and the challenges of designing for VRBO properties.

J Duce Design has won multiple best of Houzz awards and has been featured in Parker Lifestyle Magazine, Highlands Ranch Lifestyle Magazine, and Omaha Family Magazine.  Jessica was honored as Volunteer of the Year for her work for Habitat for Humanity. In 2018, J Duce Design is launching the Denver chapter of Savvy Giving by Design launched by Susan Wintersteen of Savvy Design. The goal of the non-profit chapter is to help families in crisis improve their current living environment for health and wellbeing at no charge to them. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • The story of what has happened to Jessica's company in the last three years.
  • How Jessica launched into the world of designing for VRBO properties.
  • The scheduling challenges that come with VRBO designing.
  • Jessica's awesome team.
  • The one home that Jessica worked on has led to her working on five other homes in the last three years.
  • Jessica discusses her connection in property management.
  • Times are changing with vacation homes and Air BnB.
  • Being creative when spending money to create the 'wow' factor.
  • Jessica's goals when meeting with the housekeeping staff.
  • Dealing with the 'flips'.
  • Some important things that Jessica has learned about designing for VRBO homes.
  • Some things that need to be considered when designing for the VRBO market.
  • The story of the really successful Captain Arnold's house.
  • Designing to appeal to the holiday market.
  • Experimenting with the best ways to invest money in VRBO properties.
  • Creating a photo spot in every house.
  • Learning lots of new ideas from the BDNY.
  • The biggest lesson that Jessica has learned in the last three years.

Links:

JDuce Design

Instagram: JDuce Design

Facebook: JDuce Design

Oct 12, 2018

Welcome! It's Power Talk Friday and we have a special show today, sponsored by Article.com! We are very happy to have Jillian Cross,  their trade program manager, joining us on the show. The passionate team at Article.com has a very strong understanding of the world of interior design and their trade program is run entirely by committed people from the design industry. Today Jill explains what it is about Article.com that really makes interior designers want to work with them. Listen in to find out more.

Jillian has had an amazing ride in the industry! She was born and raised in a construction and development family, so it's in her blood. She has a degree in project management as well as a background in interior design. Jill has been with Article for about one-and-a-half-years and she came to them with nine years of industry experience behind her. Prior to joining Article, she worked at several different firms in the industry, and also with some big-box retailers- helping them to build out their trade and their pro programs. She spent a number of years doing millwork design and also working in her family's business, where she got to experience residential and multi-unit design. Listen in to find out what Jillian has to share with you on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • The people on the team at Article have a strong understanding of the world of interior design.
  • The importance of really understanding who you're talking to.
  • Article really understands the pain points of interior designers.
  • The team at Article takes a strong stand when something goes wrong and they get onto resolving it as quickly and effectively as possible.
  • The benefits of having a small team.
  • Following up with genuine care and concern.
  • Relationship building.
  • Striving to create a personal service for online trade partners.
  • The positives and negatives to working in the online space.
  • The discount structure at Article.com.
  • The great value that Article.com is offering their customers.
  • com is very competitive in its market.
  • Understanding transparency.
  • Article will send you swatches of fabric and samples with no shipping costs.
  • Jill walks you through Article's fantastic return/exchange policy.
  • Article will deliver anywhere in America.

Links:

Apply for the Article Trade Program: Article Trade

Article: Article

Linkedin Article

Houzz: Article Modern

Instagram: Article

Facebook: Article

Oct 9, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We have a really smart lady joining us on the show today! She is Nicole White, the president, and principal designer at the award-winning design firm, Nichole White Designs Interiors, based in Sunrise, Florida. On the show today we talk to Nicole about how she came to learn her particular skill set in the renovation process, and what her intentions are with that going forward. We talk to her about her experience as a journalist, in her previous career, and how she leverages that to earn press for her projects. And we also discuss confidence, how it develops mostly through the mistakes we make over time in our businesses, and how very important that is, when being an entrepreneur. Listen in to find out more.

Nicole, known for her renovation prowess, has had her design work featured in various magazines including, Better Homes and Gardens, Ocean Drive, Modern Luxury Interiors; Huffington Post, HGTV and Domino online magazines. She’s twice been noted as an emerging designer to watch by the Black Interior Designers Network and is a brand ambassador/influencer for The Home Depot, Purple Drywall, and City Furniture. An award-winning writer, Nicole writes about the behind the scenes process of her projects on her popular blog LiveLaughDecorate. Nicole, lover of red wine and travel, is also mom to a busy 6-year-old, Xavier - a budding artist and self-proclaimed VP of NWD Interiors. Listen in to hear what Nicole has to share on today's show.

Show highlights:

  • Nicole talks her decision to direct her business towards working with the renovation process.
  • Nicole has learned to get her hands dirty- working hands-on with the renovation process.
  • Nicole really enjoys the whole process of renovation.
  • What makes Nicole so successful with what she does.
  • Nicole is getting ready to do her GC license in the next year or so.
  • What obtaining a GC license involves.
  • Nicole talks about her game-changing questionnaire, what it deals with, and how it came about.
  • The questionnaire has literally transformed Nicole's business.
  • Working realistically with a budget with clients.
  • Nicole has the confidence to know that clients will be better off working with her.
  • Fifteen years in, Nicole still clearly remembers not knowing how she was going to pay her bills.
  • Standing in your experience and fully understanding what your needs are.
  • Nicole has made some deliberate changes in her life since having her son.
  • Nicole makes the amount of time that she has available very clear to her clients.
  • It can take some time to develop the confidence, as a new designer, to charge a consultation fee.
  • As a former journalist, Nicole really understands publications and how they work- so she knows how to build and grow press.
  • Start building press by pitching the smaller publications first.
  • Nicole has learned to build relationships- they really matter!
  • It's really important to stay in touch- you cannot treat your clients and relationships as a one-night-stand.
  • You have to enter the contests to win the awards.
  • Go after companies and brands that fit your strengths.
  • The goals that Nicole is stretching herself towards right now.

Links:

Nicole's website: NWD Interiors

Nicole's blog: Live Laugh Decorate

To sign up for your trade account with Article.Com: Well Designed Article

Oct 5, 2018

Send me the Source Like a Pro Video!

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! We have Monique Holmes (Duarte) with us again today and she's bound to inspire you to re-think the way that you approach sourcing for your interior design firm. Monique started Duarte Decor, a global interior design firm, in 2012, after successfully working in the marketing and advertising world for more than ten years. Using her marketing experience, she managed to generate $50 000 in profit in her first year, working part-time while still holding down a full-time job. Monique saw that there was a huge gap in our industry and that design schools don't teach the business side of the industry. So, she came up with her 8 Steps To Profitability Program and launched her own, private coaching firm,  Duarte Consulting, in 2016. Today's show is packed with tons of information and Monique generously shares some of her awesome resources! Listen in to today to learn about Monique's key strategies for sourcing like a pro.

Monique Holmes is a Certified Interior Decorator, Business Coach, and an active member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), International Interior Design Association (IIDA),  Central NJ & Brooklyn, NY Chapter President of the distinguished Interior Design Society (IDS) as well as a Certified member of CID (Certified Interior Decorator Association).   She also holds several degrees, including a career degree in Interior Decorating & AutoCAD Design, a Bachelor’s in International Business with a specialization in Economics & Marketing, and a Master’s Degree in Interactive & Direct Marketing.   Monique Holmes was awarded "Woman of the Year for Interior Decorating for NJ" in 2013 by NAPW, in addition, her design work has been featured online & in print publications including "Your Decorating Resource" and Moxie Woman Magazine. Listen in to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • The first thing to think about, as interior designers, in order to source and sell products like a pro.
  • Monique likes to focus on helping designers to figure out strategies to do things effectively and efficiently.
  • Monique explains her 4 easy steps to sourcing like a pro.
  • The benefits of sourcing through trade-only vendors.
  • The key to shopping with online retailers.
  • The great thing about the Article.com trade program.
  • It's really important to be transparent with your clients.
  • E-design or full-service?
  • Monique has trade programs with all the retail stores that she shops with.
  • The percentage of her discount that Monique shares with her clients.
  • The way that Monique charges clients for her design services.
  • Some things to consider, about sourcing.
  • Doing your research about sourcing ahead of time really helps to prevent any unnecessary stress.
  • Being aware and knowing your product is very important.
  • Always have a price-point scale of the vendors that you deal with.
  • It's important to bear the location of vendors and their rep support in mind when making a purchase.
  • Knowing your product and your customer is a vital ingredient.
  • The importance of building sourcing and selling into the foundation of your business ahead of time.
  • A lot of Monique's coaching is strategy-based.
  • Building your sourcing repertoire list of vendors- it takes time but it's really worth it in the end.

Links:

Website: www.8STP.com

8STP FB Group

Master Class (Launching September 30th, 2018)

Instagram: Monique Nicole Holmes

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Monique's 1st appearance on the show: #178   (note she has since married- she was Monique Duarte- she is now Monique Holmes)

Deb Barrett #53

Gary Inman #154

Article.com #301

Dina Holland Honey & Fitz #354

Heather McManus #357

Oct 2, 2018

Welcome to the show! We have Janelle Blakely Photopoulos, the owner and principal of Blakely Interior Design, with us today for another episode in our series of The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business. Janelle recently sent us an awesome letter explaining all the lessons, improvements and systems that she's applied to her business since listening to the podcast. She is really a great example of a thoughtful business owner in that she listens, she learns, and she takes action. Join us today to find out what Janelle has to tell you about the way that she leads her team and runs her business.

Janelle earned a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Syracuse University. Then, after honing her management skills with the corporate giant, AT&T, she realized her true calling and attended the Rhode Island School of Design to learn the technical aspects of interior design. Janelle started her residential interior design business in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, in 2010. Since then she has grown the business and established a reputation for creating really beautiful, livable interiors. Janelle has built a support team that reflects her vision and commitment to their clients. Her success is deeply rooted in her ability to collaborate and communicate adeptly with her clients and industry partners. In addition to the exponential growth of her design business, Janelle was recently nominated for Rhode Island’s 2018 Small Business Woman of the Year. Listen in to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • Janelle talks about her passion for leading her team.
  • The first time Janelle hired someone.
  • The importance of tracking time.
  • Shifting people into roles that are suited to their particular strengths.
  • Taking the time to see your employees for what they're really good at.
  • The team-wide assessment that Janelle had done to discover the specific strengths of each member of her team.
  • You're only as good as the team that supports you.
  • About the Client Concierge Experience.
  • The small things that you do for the client really make all the difference.
  • Some of the things she's learned along the way.
  • The biggest takeaways that Janelle gained from the podcast.
  • Janelle is a big believer in self improvement.
  • The impact that Stacy Brown Randall has had on Janelle.
  • Setting your client's expectations realistically in case something goes wrong.

Links:

Janelle's website: Blakely Interior Design

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Susan Wintersteen- #164

Chad James - #68

Caitlyn Wait - #284

Eileen Hahn - #363

Candy Scott- #279

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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