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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Mar 1, 2019

Welcome to our third sponsored show for High Point Market April 2019, brought to you by Visual Comfort and Co., and featuring the new product launch designed by today's guest, Lauren Rottet. Lauren is one of the most-celebrated interior architects in the world today, with an extraordinary record of awards, publications, lectures, juries, and honors. We are really delighted to have this dynamic, innovative entrepreneur on the show with us! In today's episode, she will be talking about her career, her lessons learned, and about her latest endeavor, the stunning lighting line she has designed for Visual Comfort and Co. Tune in now!

Visual Comfort and Company is located in Houston Texas, and they have been the premier source for signature designer lighting since 1997. For more than 30 years, Visual Comfort and Company has collaborated with some of the most influential and iconic designers in the industry to produce lighting using natural materials of exceptional quality and distinctive hand-applied living finishes. Visual Comfort is proud to offer the industry’s widest range of incomparable lighting choices of extraordinary quality at a remarkable value. Previous collections have been designed by design greats including Alexa Hampton, Thomas O’Brien, Kelly Wearstler, and John Roselli among others.

Lauren is the only woman in history to be elevated to Fellow status by both the American Institute of Architects and International Interior Design Association. She also holds the coveted titles of Interior Design Hall of Fame and Interiors (now Contract) Designer of the Year and she is a Lifetime Appointee to the U.S. General Services Administration’s National Register of Peer Professionals for Design Excellence. In 2006, she was inducted as an Inaugural Member of the Women in Design Hall of Fame. In 2012, she was named Boutique Design Designer of the Year. In 2014, Lauren was inducted into Hospitality Design magazine’s legendary Platinum Circle, the magazine’s highest honor for design professionals. Her furniture and product designs have earned her four gold medals for Best of NeoCon as well as a Chicago Athenaeum Award. Listen in to hear what she has to share on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • Lauren talks about her firm, how they started out, and how they got to where they are now.
  • Hotels specifically budget for regular renovations.
  • The way that Lauren practices diversification in her business.
  • Designing for ocean and river cruisers.
  • The way that Lauren's team was educated about designing for ships and cruise liners.
  • Everyone in Lauren's office works on all the different kinds of projects.
  • It takes a lot of homework to make a project successful.
  • Creating the brochure for Viking.
  • Breaking into a new market with hospitality.
  • Lauren talks about her new venture with Visual Comfort.
  • Lauren has always been fascinated by glass.
  • She has been designing product for about thirty years.
  • So much has opened up recently with new technology in lighting.
  • Visual Comfort doesn't skimp on quality!
  • How Lauren's relationship with Visual Comfort came about.
  • The creation of a light, from design to manufacture.
  • Lauren tells us where and when we're going to get to see her at High Point Market.

Previous episodes mentioned on the show:

Sue Firestone #404


Website: Rottet Studio

Twitter: Rottet Studio

Instagram: Rottet Studio

Visual Comfort: Visual Comfort

Feb 28, 2019

This show is sponsored by my friends at Century Furniture and features the design team from Carrier and Company Interiors located here in NYC. 

Century Furniture is one of the world's largest privately-owned manufacturers of high-end residential furniture. Founded in Hickory, North Carolina in 1947 by Harley F. Shuford, Sr., Century is now in the third generation of family ownership and operation and remains committed to their founder’s ideal, to create furniture of such impeccable quality that it brings joy not only to the people who own it, but also to the craftspeople who build it. 

Show Highlights:

  • Craftsmanship is their expertise
  • They have furniture for all rooms
  • The company is located in Hickory, NC
  • Century has state-of-the-art woodworking facilities
  • They met at FIT 10 years ago
  • They've been inside the homes of society's most elite
  • Their best-selling book, Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors
  • The inspirations for their designs
  • Their thoughts on success in this industry


Website - 
Book -
Instagram -
Facebook -
Century Furniture -


Feb 26, 2019

Welcome to this week's special sponsored series! Today we're featuring High Point Market, Spring 2019. LuAnn often gets emails from designers asking about High Point- whether or not it's a good idea to go, and what to do when you get there if you've never been before. Her answer is always 'go, but not without a plan'. Going to High Point without first establishing an objective for going there can really be a waste of your time and money. On the show today we have Ashley Grigg, Lisa Mende, and Jeanne Chung and they will be talking about the logistics of going to High Point. They will also be giving us some really useful information about the various tours available and they will also explain how to become a prestigious High Point Style Spotter. Tune in today, to get the best tips for making your trip to High Point really productive.

In today's episode, you will hear High Point Market referred to as Disneyland for Designers. It really is an awesome experience! The market is comprised of 11,500,000 square feet of building after building of gorgeous furniture, rugs, art, lighting, accessories, with the added opportunity for you to meet many of the owners and execs of the brands you work with. Top it all off with a chance to meet some colleagues you may have only known before through Facebook or Instagram and you will have truly energizing experience that will really benefit your business! Listen in to find out more!

Ashley Grigg is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the High Point Market Authority. High Point Market is the largest home furnishings trade show in the world and Ashley manages many of their projects, including media relations, educational programming, social media, and digital promotions. Ashly has over 13 years of experience in marketing and event management

Lisa Mende is the founder and principal of Lisa Mende Design based in Charlotte, NC which opened in 1998. She has built a reputation as one of the South's Leading Luxury Designers and her work has been featured in many well-known national shelter and lifestyle magazines. As a designer and tastemaker, Lisa works with Brands and has served as a #Authlux Design Guild Member for House of Rohl for 2018, The Thermador Design Council and the Design Council for DSV Luxury in 2016. Lisa is an Allied Member of ASID and NKBA. She also pens the popular blog "The Design Connector" where she is currently kicking off a new series which will chronicle the renovation of her own home sharing all her favorite kitchen and bath products and as well as the renovation process with her readers.

Jeanne Chung is a luxury interior designer and retailer based in Southern California. In addition to heading up her own interior design firm, Jeanne owns a retail and to the trade showroom in Pasadena, CA which has become a favorite go-to destination for both designers and design enthusiasts who seek a unique and artfully edited selection of new and vintage home furnishings and accessories.  Through her design blog Cozy Stylish Chic, Jeanne has become recognized as an influencer in the industry and frequently collaborates with brands and manufacturers. She is a regular speaker on trade show designer panels and has served as a High Point Market Style Spotter. Jeanne participated in the Pasadena Showcase House of Design in 2017 and in 2018, served on the Board of the ASID Pasadena Chapter.

Show highlights:

  • Why interior designers should really invest the time and money in going to High Point Market.
  • High Point is a really energizing experience!
  • Half the business is conducted after the market is over!
  • The brand cocktail parties are awesome opportunities to meet and connect with important people.
  • The way that High Point has impacted on Jeanne's business.
  • What it took for Jeanne to become an official Style Spotter for High Point Market.
  • Keeping abreast with current trends at High Point.
  • It's really worthwhile making your application to become a Style Spotter.
  • The criteria for becoming a Style Spotter.
  • How being a Style Spotter really helped Lisa make connections with brands and PR people.
  • It really takes a lot of work to be a High Point Style Spotter.
  • How High Point Market stands out from all the rest.
  • Having the opportunity to talk to the showroom owners.
  • Ways for new designers to establish themselves with the various showrooms. The larger showrooms require you to make an appointment.
  • Some things to think about when pre-planning your trip to High Point Market.
  • Why it's a good idea to do a tour for your first trip to High Point.
  • High Point Market covers 11 500 000 square feet!
  • Jeanne talks about her Insider's Tour, which is geared towards designers seeking to offer customization and one-of-a-kind.
  • Ashley talks about all the other tours that are also available for buyers at High Point. The relevant information about all the tours is available on the High Point Market authority website. High Point Market
  • Some tips for making sure that you are able to connect with the right people at High Point.
  • The Style Spotters are expanding beyond the Twitter chat. They will be dropping content on all the social media channels throughout an entire week, called Inspiration Week. (You can go back and check all the content on their Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.)
  • Starting March 4th, everybody will be encouraged to look at the new product pics portion of the High Point website, to see all the exhibitors' new products that are coming to market.
  • There is an incredible Market Advisor Team available for you to call to answer any questions you may have prior to arriving at HP. They will also be available during the market.
  • All the great discussions that will be happening at the Spring Market.
  • Lisa's great tips and suggestions for getting ready for market.


High Point Market

High Point Market

Facebook: HPMKT

Twitter: HP Market News

Instagram: High Point Market


Phone:  336 869 1000

To download the app CamCard: CamCard

Use the hashtags #HPMKT and #HPMKTInspired, when you put out on your social media channels what you're excited to see at Spring Market.

Feb 22, 2019

Welcome to another episode of Power Talk Friday! Today we're going tease you by sharing all the details that are coming together for LuAnn Nigara Live, It's About the Conversation. In today's episode, you will hear about LuAnn's co-authors, the awesome emcees for the event, the incredible line-up of sponsors of the show, and also the designer panelists who will be there with us for the entire weekend, for you to meet, talk to and connect with. Tune in now for all the details!

LuAnn will be leading the rock star team of experts in twelve live discussions, just the way she does right here, on the podcast. And they will be together with everyone for meals, for breaks and for fun, with music, laughter, and working harder than you ever thought was possible in two days. More than 120 designers have registered for the event so far, and we really hope that you will decide to be excellent, and choose to join us there too! Listen in to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • All LuAnn's co-authors have already finalized their travel arrangements for the event!
  • LuAnn runs through all the amazing people that are coming to spend two-and-a-half days at the event in New Jersey.
  • Fred Burns is the single most repeated guest on A Well-Designed Business.
  • Nancy Ganzekaufer is the lady who brought us Your Business in Words.
  • Nicole Heymer is the voice of figuring out your brand.
  • Michele Williams is the finance lady who teaches us how to stand up and take charge of our money.
  • Sarah Daniele knows all about systems and organization for a well-run interior design firm. She created MyDoma Studio.
  • Stacey Brown Randall is all about building, filling, and maximizing your pipeline through intention and purpose.
  • Eileen Hahn knows how to create a really exceptional team.
  • Kae Whitaker has her thumb on the heartbeat of digital marketing.
  • Shauna Lynn Simon, home staging business coach, tells us that home staging is designing for selling, not designing for living.
  • Mark McDonough is the Instagram guru and he is always dying to tell you about his latest discoveries.
  • Peter Lang is the Designer CPA and he will help you to keep more of the money you work so hard to make.
  • Claire Jefford is an interior designer, vlogging queen extraordinaire and a master at setting up your consult, your client agreements so that you are purposefully managing both your projects and your client’s expectations.
  • The emcees for the event are Darla Powell, the principle of Darla Powell Interiors, and Natalie Graff. They host the Wingnut Social podcast together and they also own and operate Wingnut Social.
  • The sponsor lineup includes Kravet, MyDoma Studio, Schwartz Designs Showroom, Merrill Landis, DesignerInc, Ashley Uhl Consulting, The WCAA, East End Interiors, Exciting Windows and Comfortex.
  • The designer panelists who will be there for you to meet and talk with are Sandra Funk- House of Funk, NJ NY, Corey Damen Jenkins, Taylor Spellman, Paula Grace, Rachel Cannon, Candy Scott, Dala Al Fuwaires, Courtney McLeod, Keisha Franklin, and also Corey Klassen and Judith Neary of the Design Biz Live series.
  • LuAnn will be leading the team in 12 live discussions, just like here, on the podcast.
  • LuAnn really hopes that you will be there to join her and all the other outstanding people at the event!


To register for the event go to Luann Nigara Live

Until March 4th you can still grab yourself 10% off any furniture order from Kravet and Lee Jofa. Use the code W710 at checkout.

Feb 19, 2019

Welcome to another episode of A Well-Designed Business! We are really excited to have Sue Firestone join us on the show today. Sue has a body of work that is truly impressive and the really happy news for all of us is that she has just launched her brand new fabric line for Kravet. One of the things that really stood out for LuAnn in Sue's bio is that she rose from her position as a designer for the firm Design 1, to become president of the very same firm in a relatively short period of time. There's a lot of really useful information in the way that she achieved that, that can help us, as business owners. Listen in now to find out about Sue and the organic way that she rose to success in the design industry.

Sue Firestone has spent more than 35 years cultivating her personal passion for design. With a client list that features the world’s premier five and six-star hotels as well as an A-list residential clientele, Sue has become a tastemaker for those seeking the ultimate luxury lifestyle.

In 1996, after nearly two decades leading Design 1, Sue turned her focus toward creating a boutique design firm, large enough to execute projects of a grand scale, yet personal enough to provide devoted and intimate attention to each client. The result was SFA Design. Today, Sue is also a designer for Kravet and A.Rudin, creating 70’s-inspired, bohemian fabrics and natural furniture that embody true Californian style.

Sue is the recipient of more than two dozen awards, including the prestigious Platinum Circle Award as well as a position on Robb’s Report’s “Top 40 Best Designers in the World.” Tune in to now find out more. 

Show highlights:

  • How Sue inadvertently started out in the design industry.
  • Sue talks about the things that she consciously did, as a hard-working designer, to become noticed in the industry.
  • Because of the way that Sue was encouraged when she first started out in the design industry, she's always looking out for new talent to nurture in her company.
  • Finding and honoring the proper place for each designer to really realize their full potential in a firm.
  • Being attuned, listening, and reflecting has always been in Sue's blood.
  • The importance of really listening carefully.
  • Sue explains how visuals are a big part of her listening process and really helpful with getting to know her clients.
  • Sue talks about her firm, Smith, Firestone and Associates Design, which started out in 1996.
  • How Sue first started out with SFA Design.
  • Sue's secret sauce for breaking into the luxury, high-end, exclusive residential market.
  • About Sue's really effective organic method of marketing.
  • Sue talks about The Malibu Collection, her recently launched new fabric line for Kravet, and how it came to be.
  • Sue talks about her joyful experience of working with the Kravet team.
  • Why you should always go beyond what is expected of you. 

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Joni Vanderslice #101

Eileen Hahn #363

Janelle Photopolous #364

Mabley Handler #173


Sue's websites: Sue FirestoneSFA Design

Sue Firestone

SF Cal Collection

SFA Design

Luann Nigara Live


Feb 15, 2019

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Today's episode is sponsored by Morgan Tap and Basin and we have the founder, Nathan Davis, with us on the show. Morgan Tap and Basin is a family owned company who really understand the challenges that trades-people face when running a business. They are fully committed to offering quality, timely, and honest service to support you and your business. Listen in today as Nathan talks to LuAnn about the launch of Morgan Tap and Basin's new product, and their dedication, in both the quality of their product and the way that they are going for a strictly to the trade model. You're really going to enjoy this conversation!

Morgan Tap and Basin offers unique sinks and faucets that you won't find anywhere else. Nathan, who is really passionate about what he is doing, comes from a background in stainless steel sheet metal fabrication and investment casting for the institutional plumbing industry. He saw an opportunity to make use of this knowledge and to bring a higher level of product quality and functionality to the residential market, by combining the best manufacturing processes and available materials with original designs. So, Morgan Tap and Basin was founded in 2017, with the goal of designing and crafting the most beautiful, functional, and durable residential sinks and faucets in the world. They strive- not to be the biggest manufacturer, nor offer the broadest selection, but to ensure that every product that they create is the very best of its kind. Nathan is the man to make this happen, so listen in to find out what he has to share on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • Nathan discusses the new products that he is bringing to be launched this month at KBIS trade show, in Las Vegas.
  • What their new workstation sink comprises of.
  • Nathan explains why he is so passionate about what he does.
  • Nathan talks about growing up, studying law, and getting involved in their family's stainless steel business.
  • Their company's goal is for everything that they produce to be the very best of its kind available.
  • Nathan explains what goes into making the very best products. Design always comes first, then functionality, and finally durability.
  • They use a very high grade, and a thicker than usual gauge of stainless steel to create sinks that really last long- even outdoors, or at the coast.
  • The redesign of their website is to make sure that it's better tailored towards functionality for trade customers, who are all trade customers.
  • Nathan walks us through their to the trade sales process.
  • Their products can all be seen on their website and a sample of the finish of their products can be seen first-hand, prior to purchasing them.
  • All their sinks have free shipping and also free return shipping, if necessary.
  • Nathan talks about the hand-wrapped foam insulating material which is unique to their sinks.
  • All their designs are original and they're all created in-house.
  • They create products that could really help designers solve certain problems for their clients.
  • Pictures really help to visually drive home the difference between quality products and inferior ones.
  • Why it actually matters whereabout in the sink the drain is placed.
  • For all the designers who are going to be at KBIS in Las Vegas, Nathan explains how to find where the Morgan Tap and Basin booth will be located. (It's booth # SL4725 in the South Hall, in the outer row, near to the KBIS Next Stage.)
  • Nathan is always happy to get feedback on products and ideas and if you need something custom made, he will work that out with you.

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Revel woods #329


Morgan Tap and Basin's product is launching at KBIS booth # SL4725 in the South Hall from the 19th to the 22nd of February. It's near to the KBIS Next Stage.

LuAnn's panel discussion at KBIS is on Thursday, the 21st of February, at 9.30am.

KBISNeXT Stage Speaker Landing Page-LuAnn Nigara

Feb 12, 2019

Welcome to today's episode of A Well-Designed Business! We have Christopher Grubb, the president of the Beverley Hills-based Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc., as our guest for today. Christopher has been called a style maker and expert design influencer by clients, editors, manufacturers, and producers alike and, for his entire career, he has been a sought-after speaker on what makes design compelling. He has also been a contributing writer to many media outlets as well as a guest judge for multiple design competitions. One of the things he will be talking to us about on the show today is how he began creating affordable, luxury products for the consumer market with the launch of the C.G. Collection in 2010. Although his business is more than twenty-years-old, and his projects are large and detailed, Christopher still maintains a steady eye and a firm hand on the way that his business is run. Listen in to find out what he has to share on the show today. 

The Arch-Interiors design group is recognized internationally for its interior and exterior high-end residential, commercial, medical, health and beauty, retail design projects. The firm has been featured in books, hundreds of magazines and newspapers, and Christopher has shared his design skills on multiple radio and television shows – including recurring appearances on LXTV/NBC and Martha Stewart Living Radio.

In 2015 Christopher launched a new studio, Autograph by Christopher Grubb. This line is comprised of unique, beautifully constructed products with rich features and alluring details for the most discriminating consumer clientele.

The Arch-Interiors design group has received dozens of awards and is honored to be named the best interior design firm in California by Build Magazine, in addition to being featured in an entire issue of World Architecture Magazine in Hong Kong with over 70 pages, exclusively covering the works of Arch-Interiors. Christopher has also been named one of the 50 Innovators in Kitchen and Bath Design in 2017. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Working with high-end commercial projects, compared with working with residential projects.
  • Christopher does resommercial- a blend of commercial and residential design.
  • You really need education about business before going out on your own. And you need to know what makes you stand out from the rest.
  • What makes Christopher's firm really stand out.
  • Flat fee, or an hourly fee?
  • Some of the things Christopher is comfortable with not billing for.
  • Christopher is really onto all the aspects of his business.
  • No matter how big, or how small your business, you cannot offload your responsibility around the financials.
  • The incredibly high level of service that Christopher's firm is offering his clients.
  • Christopher talks about his product development and his two different entities, the luxury Autograph by Christopher Grubb, and the affordable luxury C.G.Collection.
  • Bathrooms can be some of the most detailed rooms to do.
  • Know your specialty and target that for success.
  • Some of the nuances of bringing a product to market.
  • Why you need to look at your payables and receivables at least once every month.
  • Christopher uses Studio Designer Accounting and Project Management software, as it prints out your profit and loss, your time billing reports and your accounts receivable.
  • About Christopher's designs and creations.
  • What Christopher looks at for inspiration.
  • Christopher has devoted a whole chapter in his book to the development of a luxury product line.
  • Christopher's design firm is known for quality, a high level of hands-on, and for attention to detail.
  • Why, as a designer, you really need to like the product that you produce.
  • Fighting for your vision is really important for product designers.
  • Owning your mistakes will earn you the respect of your clients.
  • Why you never really have competition.

Links and Resources:

Christopher's website: Arch-Interiors

Studio Designer Accounting and Project Management Software: Studio Designer

To find out more about LuAnn Nigara Live, It's About the Conversation or to sign up for the event, go to Luann Live.

The sponsors who have made this event possible include: Kravet Inc, Mydoma Studio, Wingnut Social, Schwartz Design Showroom, DesignerInc, Pollack-Weitzner, Merrill Landis Drapery Workroom, the WCAA, East End Interiors in Long Island, and Exciting Windows.

LuAnn will be at KBIS on the 20th and 21st of February. For all the info on where else she'll be, go to her website Luann Nigara, and be sure to also follow her on Instagram at LuAnnNigara.

Feb 8, 2019

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Keeping things organized is often the Achilles heel of creatives, so today we are very happy to have Jennifer Burnham, an organization coach, join us on the show. Jen helps people by providing the space for them to be creative, de-clutter and get organized. She believes that organizing is about more than color-coordinated baskets and pretty labels. It's really about productivity, so she helps her clients to dive in and discover the specific experience they're looking for in the way that they want their home, office, and in their life to be organized. Listen in today to find out how you can increase productivity in your business by having an organized space.

Jennifer has appeared on Charlotte today, spoken at IKEA, at community organizations, at high-end real estate events, and she's also run home estate sales. On the show today she talks about how important it is to have your workspace organized, and she explains how to go about getting that done. Listen in and find out how an organization translates into productivity, which then translates into more business.

Show highlights:

  • Jennifer's awesome relationship with Cheryl Luckett, of Dwell by Cheryl.
  • The challenges of organizing a design studio.
  • The first step is always de-cluttering.
  • Organizing in the right way.
  • Looking at the emotional reasons for de-cluttering.
  • First, put things in a space in the middle of the room, then sort them into broad categories. (Eg. pens, paper clips, notepads, product samples)
  • Evaluate what you need and what you can get rid of.
  • After you have de-cluttered you organize what you have decided to keep, putting everything in its place.
  • The kinds of push-backs that Jen has encountered.
  • Organizing takes time, and it's never really done, so you want to get it finished as soon as possible.
  • The way that organizing changes your energy and the energy of the space.
  • Things to watch out for that can bring the de-cluttering process to a halt.
  • Donating unused items to charity can make the decision to throw things away a bit easier.
  • If necessary, get new containers, storage items, or cabinets.
  • Keep it this way by picking up each week as you go and not letting things get out of control.
  • Jennifer explains the basis of her philosophy of organizing.
  • The connection between organization and productivity.
  • The way that Jen thinks in terms of shapes.
  • If your business is feeling stagnant it's a good time to start organizing things.
  • Owning less is better than organizing more.
  • Do you respect your space?
  • Tips for working with your client's clutter.
  • Closing the loop when you're de-cluttering is important, so you need a system.
  • Keeping the balance and staying organized.
  • Looking at the things that threaten an organized space.

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Cheryl Luckett: #291 and #397

Kim Kuhteubl #73

Links and resources:

To see Cheryl Luckett's line of furniture: Sylvester Alexander

Jennifer's website

Jennifer is offering 20% off her services for all A Well Designed Business listeners

Our friends at Kravet Inc. are having a big furniture sale. Starting January 14th, get 10% off Kravet Furniture, Lee Jofa Furniture and Holland MacRae furniture. Start shopping now- the deal runs until March 4th! Go to Kravet and make sure to use the code W7 at checkout to redeem the offer!

Feb 5, 2019

Big Day, Big Show, lots of news!!

400 hundred shows! I’d like to say I never believed this day would come but the truth is I did believe it. And more than that, I planned for it, I set goals around it, I tracked the milestones and the steps needed to reach it. Am I bragging? No, no, I am not. I am hoping to teach and inspire you by example.

Just like you, I love what I do and as much as I love it and could do it for free for the fun and pleasure of connecting with you, meeting you in real life I understand all too well in order to be able to do those things I must intentionally run this podcast as the business it is.

And you must do the same. In order to be able to create the fabulous, functional and unique spaces for your clients, you must run your firm profitably so you can continue to do it.

What are some of the major lessons we have learned, together?

What are some of the things we have learned from A Well-Designed Business Podcast?

Welcome to our 400th episode! Today really is a big day for the show and we have lots of news! LuAnn loves what she does with this podcast so much that she could do it for free, yet she truly understands that, in order to be able to keep it going, she needs to run it intentionally, as the business that it is. Today she really hopes to inspire you, the listener, to do the same with your design business. Listen in to find out what you need to do, and the steps you need to take, in order to continue creating the fabulous, fun, and unique spaces that you do for your clients.

Although LuAnn set a very intentional plan in action to make this day happen, it still feels almost unbelievable to her! On the show today, she will be discussing some of the major lessons that we've all learned together, from A Well-Designed Business Podcast. Listen in to find out more. 

Link to LuAnn’s New Book:

Luann Nigara Book 2


Feb 1, 2019

Welcome to another Design Biz Live! We have the gang all together again to have a very candid conversation regarding a difficulty to which most of us can to handle a difficult client. Judith Neary and Corey Klassen join LuAnn once again and today, Judith shares a personal experience she had with a very difficult client last summer that rocked her confidence, made her life very horrible and the project was very challenging to get through. It shares the message that being self-employed is very hard and it takes a tremendous amount of grit and fortitude to power through the rough times. It is a significant message because Judith is a seasoned entrepreneur, showing how it can hit any of us at any time. You’re definitely going to want to catch this episode, so be sure to tune in.

Show highlights:

  • Designers are real people, too, and experience a myriad of emotions.
  • Judith shares about a couple of episodes she experienced last summer that rocked her from her zone of genius.
  • Judith shares that a difficult client crushed her confidence and made her question her own abilities and value.
  • The client was satisfied with work being done one day, and unsatisfied the next, which was very challenging for Judith, the contractor, and other workers.
  • Judith shares that the client’s demeanor drastically improved once the spouse came home.
  • Corey shares that he and other people he knows have had similar experiences, and tried to understand why those types of behaviors were happening in order to avoid misunderstandings.
  • LuAnn expresses that because a client had personal difficulties, doesn’t mean we should feel that we aren’t confident and capable, but should self-question in order to have better conversations with the client in the future.
  • LuAnn says that even when we have difficult clients, we still need to remain professional and meet their needs in the best way possible.
  • Judith says she is still affected by what happened last summer and felt like she was in a hostage situation.
  • LuAnn and Judith discuss the importance of diffusing difficult situations in professional ways.
  • Corey jumps in and says that sometimes a text or e-mail tone may differ from the in-person tone.
  • Judith says through the experience, she knows she has to filter what is going on rather than absorbing it herself.
  • LuAnn says it’s important to manage difficult situations so that we don’t become non-productive.
  • Judith says that as a creative, you may perceive and sense the world differently and that when she has a client, it becomes a personal relationship.
  • When Judith’s inner dialogue told her the client had personal issues and that she was not responsible for the negative behavior, it was still hard not to absorb the negativity.
  • LuAnn says that each person has something within that makes them react in a particular way.
  • LuAnn also points out that a designer’s relationship with a client may last weeks, months, or longer, which can be taxing when dealing with a client exhibiting erratic behavior.
  • Regardless of the difficulties Judith experienced with her client, she had a positive result at the end of the job, and hopes her client is enjoying the home.
  • Judith moves on and shares about another difficult client situation and how she had to fire a client.
  • Judith terminated the relationship with her client because it was just not working for her.
  • Judith shares how she terminated the relationship and about the follow-up phone call that confirmed she had made the right decision.
  • Judith shares that the client crossed the line with her, and she respected herself enough to let him go.
  • Judith shares how the two difficult clients made her bucket very full and she didn’t pay enough attention to it before it overflowed.
  • LuAnn says before we reach the level of wanting to terminate a client, maybe we should remember that it is a business transaction, rather than a personal relationship.
  • Also, LuAnn applauds the way Judith used two methods so it would leave no doubt about the situation.
  • LuAnn also says Judith did a great thing by invoking some “wait time” before responding to the client’s request for a phone call.
  • LuAnn suggests that we each need to figure out ways to keep our buckets from becoming too full. ie. a walk/run, dinner/conversation with family or friends, reading, etc.
  • Corey says he has switched from having business hours to appointment hours so that he takes appointments when he can be productive and be his best.
  • Judith suggests that designers may want to contribute time to a non-profit so that they can contribute to causes outside themselves.
  • LuAnn says to watch for signals from clients which may indicate difficult behavior. Know you can’t change the person, but you can change how you react/respond to them. Have mechanisms in place to deal with this type of client because you will encounter them.


Corey Klassen Interior Design

Judith Neary - Roadside Attraction Studio

LuAnn's 3rd birthday party for the podcast is coming up and Kravet is hosting the party! It will be on February the 5th at the Kravet Showroom at the D&D Building in New York City. Please RSVP through the Event-Brite link at Luann Nigara.

Jan 29, 2019

Welcome to today's episode of A Well Designed Business! We have Courtney McLeod, the principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design in New York City, with us on the show today. Courtney has come to interior design as a second career. So even though she has always been passionate about the decorative arts, she first obtained a business degree from the Warden School at the University of Pennsylvania, and then pursued a successful, fifteen-year career in the financial services industry, where she rose to the role of a leading portfolio manager in real estate private equity before exercising her true passion for designing beautiful interiors. Listen in today to find out how Courtney used both the skills she gained through her experience, and her transferable skills, enhanced with her design-related studies at Parsons Pratt and the New York School of Interior Design, to confidently embark on a new career course.

An avid colorist at heart, Courtney draws from a kaleidoscopic toolbox of texture, pattern, and color to create rooms evocative of one emotion above all others - joy. Her designs express both her client's unique tastes and her vivid, collected aesthetic.  Born and raised in New Orleans, Courtney brings a sophisticated view to her rooms, informed by her Creole background and extensive travels throughout Europe and Asia. She resides in the vibrant Harlem neighborhood, a wonderful source of inspiration. She has lived in New York City for two decades but remains a Southerner at heart. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • It takes time to figure out your specific process.
  • Your confidence you will gain from having your system in place is really a huge benefit.
  • The development of Courtney's process was not a straight line from A to B- it took trial and error to figure out what really worked.
  • Working out what worked for her rather than for the client was like a magic moment for Courtney.
  • Courtney shares a really important and effective way to gain the trust of your client.
  • A softer touch works for Courtney, yet she also has to be firm.
  • Courtney also developed a lot of confidence from embracing her style clearly and entirely.
  • Happy, joyful color is really Courtney's thing.
  • Having confidence in her process allowed Courtney to develop more creative confidence.
  • The six steps of Courtney's process.
  • Courtney explains her phase one, and how to implement it.
  • About Courtney's 'Rules Of The Road' document.
  • What's to be found in Courtney's welcome packet.
  • The way that having a retainer protects Courtney.
  • The way Courtney sets up her spreadsheet.
  • It takes a lot of practice to get things right.
  • The clear way that Courtney prices her projects.
  • How to keep your clients informed and empowered.
  • What the closure meeting means to Courtney.
  • The goal of the closure meeting is to get a referral.

Previous episodes mentioned in this episode:

Erica Ward #6

Monique Holmes #365

Rachel Cannon #306

Nicole Heymer #317

Curio Electro #125


Website: Right Meets Left Interior Design

Instagram: Right Meets Left Interior Design

Twitter: Right Meets Left

LinkedIn: Right Meets Left Interior Design

Facebook: Right Meets Left Interior Design

LuAnn's 3rd birthday party for the podcast is coming up and Kravet is hosting the party! It will be on February the 5th at the Kravet Showroom at the D&D Building in New York City. Please RSVP through the Event-Brite link at Luann Nigara.

Jan 25, 2019

Todays’ guest is Cheryl Luckett, who is not only a tenacious and creative entrepreneur but has used her talents to build a flourishing business. Within the past two years, Cheryl has fully committed to growing her design business by using her creativity to incorporate unique designs into her projects. Her work has been published in Home and Garden, Southern Home, The Charlotte Observer, and her work has been featured on many other platforms. Not only is Cheryl making headway in her business but she’s using her platform to build relationships.

Cheryl is all about establishing connections and giving back. In this episode, Cheryl talks about how to network, how to build beneficial relationships and the importance of self-promotion. If you want to learn how you can pursue your own dream and build an authentic business, join us in this episode of A Well-Designed Business, with your host, LuAnn Nigara.

Show Highlights:

  • What Cheryl has learned about the process of introducing new pieces.
  • The new product line that is being launched on Cheryl’s website.
  • Creating unique pieces and collaborating with local artists for the high-point market.
  • How Cheryl fell into her current project and first show-house.
  • Why you should keep going back and not always take no as a final answer.
  • Being consistent with your business through your personality and professionalism.
  • Cheryl shares how she uses her social media to uphold her brand.
  • Cheryl talks about why she hired a coach and getting her license.
  • How Cheryl built mutually beneficial relationships and set boundaries.
  • Analyzing strengths and utilizing them to benefit your business.
  • How Cheryl used her love for design and culture to tell a story.
  • Weaving in friends’ goals and creativity into your work.
  • The mechanics behind Cheryl’s design process.
  • Identifying people who are going to be ambassadors for your business.
  • Cheryl talks about how you build a business on self-promotion.
  • Collaborating with smaller businesses in order to reach a bigger audience.
  • Setting expectations upfront for projects as opposed to rushing for time deadlines.
  • Being honest about your abilities with potential clients.
  • How Cheryl prepares for upcoming showrooms.

Previous Guests Mentioned:

Denise McGaha #10

Kim Hoegger #336

Madcap Cottage #228

Ruthie Staalsen #296

Rasheeda Gray #267

Revolution Fabrics
Sylvester Alexander


Website: Dwell By Cheryl

Furniture: Dwell By Cheryl 

Blog: Dwell By Cheryl Blog

Instagram: Dwell By Cheryl 

Facebook: Dwell By Cheryl 

Twitter: Dwell By Cheryl 

Pinterest: Dwell By Cheryl 

LinkedIn: Cheryl Luckett

Jan 22, 2019

Welcome! Today we have Amber Friederichs and Michele Atijas from the UK, a really dynamic duo and the principals of Yohan May Interiors, with us on the show. They specialize in very high-end, high-quality home staging, so Yohan May Interiors attracts clientele and projects at the very highest level of luxury real estate in London. The two primary goals with every project in this really high-pressure market are to sell the home fast and to obtain the highest possible price. On the show today, Michele and Amber discuss their turnaround times, how they cannot concern themselves with their clients' taste and design style, and also, how they position the home for sale. Listen in today to find out more about Michele and Amber's business model, and to discover their keys to be really successful with what they do.

Founded in 2015, Yohan May Interiors emerged from the collaboration of two friends, Michele Atijas and Amber Friederichs.

The company started out of necessity when Amber was unable to find a home staging agency that offered the personalization and curation she was looking for.  The pair decided to work on the project on their own and spoke with a number of developers and estate agents. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

They decided to call the company Yohan May after Amber's late father, Johann, and Michele's late mother, Maj, whom they credit with their passion for interiors. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Michele and Amber discuss the systems they use for their incredibly quick turnaround time.
  • About their free site visits and what they entail.
  • Their projects usually involve staging the entire house and they often deal with foreign investors.
  • They always try to provide a flexible service.
  • How they managed to attract so many high-end clients so early on in their business.
  • The importance of networking to attract the ideal client.
  • They talk about what went into their decision to invest in inventory.
  • Providing a look that really embodies your brand.
  • They have developed a relationship with several art agencies over the years.
  • Dealing with the tricky business of insurance for the artworks in the house.
  • The condition of all the items that they bring into a house is as new because nobody ever lives in their show-homes.
  • At this point in their business, they don't stage homes that people are living in already.
  • The number of projects they are able to deal with in one month.
  • The cost of an average project that they do, and the kind of net profit margin that they work towards.
  • They have included cancellation charges in their contract.
  • Some of the differences between interior design and home staging.
  • Home staging is a really new thing in the UK.
  • Home staging has more to do with real estate than with interior design.
  • About their go-to team for doing renovations.
  • This particular line of work is all about relationships.
  • How they manage their time, to fit it all in.
  • A small business is all about prioritizing and delegating.
  • Some of the suppliers that they work with, in the UK.
  • The work is very hands-on and either Michele or Amber will always be present on site.

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Polly Williams #88

Jo Buckerfield #320

Rachel Laxer #42

Fred Berns #289


Website: Yohan May

IG: @yohanmayinteriors

Pinterest: Yohan May Interiors

For your 10% off your next purchase at Kravet, use the code W7 at the checkout. Go to Kravet.

Jan 18, 2019

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We are really excited to have Michele Williams back on the show for the third time today! (She previously appeared in episodes #137 and #180.) Michele is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting, she's a certified Profit First Coach, and she is also one of the co-authors in LuAnn's soon-to-be-launched new book, The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business.

Michele was one of the guest-speakers at LuAnn's Power Talk Friday Tour in High Point last October. During her presentation Michele had everyone do a very eye-opening exercise, designed to help business owners dial in on what's really important with their finances so that their business can become more successful and profitable. We have decided to share this exercise with you on the show today. It's a really good thinking point and you're going to have to answer some questions. If you don't score too well with your answers, it is an indicator that you may need some help, so listen in carefully to find out how to increase the profitability and success of your business.

Having worked in the interior design industry for more than 18 years, Michele is fiercely committed to helping each business owner attain and maintain profitability. She empowers her creative clients by not only building confidence to charge what they are worth but by sharing education and systems for money management and financial awareness. With a degree from the University of South Carolina in management information systems and ten years of product development on financial software at Dun & Bradstreet Software, Michele has the ability to mix the logical and creative aspects of a business with ease. She is a Profit First certified coach and hosts the popular podcast, Profit Is A Choice. Michele is a sought after speaker and coach known for her straight forward but grace-filled approach delivered with a healthy dose of love. Listen in today to find out what to do if you really need to change the trajectory of your business.

Show highlights:

  • Don't let this exercise scare you, because if you're capable of working as an interior designer, you will be capable of getting to grips with your finances.
  • There are certain numbers and indicators in your business that will paint a very clear picture of where you are at.
  • You can download this Financial Health Check-Up exercise, at no cost, from Michele's website at Scarlet Thread Consulting.
  • It's really important to have only business transactions running through your business accounts.
  • Know your total sales.
  • Have you created a clear sales goal for the year? For the month? For the day?
  • Why Michele is such a great fan of QuickBooks accounting system.
  • Michele has a course called Understanding Your Financials. It's a tool to help you to understand where to place your focus.
  • Where you can start- right now!
  • Become the boss of your money. What is your gross profit margin? And how does it fit towards your goal?
  • Michele gives the ideal gross profit goal.
  • Are financial reports maintained and analyzed regularly?
  • The goal in all of this is to allow you to make decisions and to find errors early.
  • Defining where the money is coming in at the highest rate and allowing your company to be in alignment with that. We have defined our top two profit centers and have all company goals aligned to maintain them.
  • Who are my top two clients and income? Spending your resources in a way that brings you top dollar.
  • We have set aside funds for owner's pay. How does this fit in with your net profit goals?
  • Why Michele writes herself a salary cheque every single month.
  • We're aware of payroll expenses and have a plan to always have funds available. Just in case something unforeseen happens.
  • We know our average monthly expenses and we watch them closely. Remember that cash doesn't flow in and out at the same rate every month, so you need to be saving every month and managing your expenses well.
  • We have a bank and credit card reconciliation process that is followed monthly. Don't rely entirely on your bookkeeper. Look at every transaction, in and out of the bank and the credit card.
  • We have a process for determining the need for non-budgeted purposes in our company. Setting company values, a structure, and a determination to reduce impulse buys.
  • We have a yearly budget that we track back to regularly.
  • We have an ideal client description and a betting process that we use before we agree to work with anyone. Working with the wrong client will cost you money (or a bit of who you are) every single time.
  • We have implemented and used a cash management system. Making choices that put you in control of the money you spend. (A cash management system is something like a Profit First system and not like QuickBooks- that's a financial management system.)
  • We regularly considered the tax implications of our company financials. Knowing what your taxes are based upon.
  • Peter Lang is one of the co-authors of LuAnn's new book. He is a CPA who works ONLY with interior designers. His goal is for you, as an interior designer, to really understand your finances.
  • We have ongoing conversations with our accountant, our bookkeeper, and our financial coach. Ask for what you need and speak up if there's something you don't understand.
  • We have confidence in the achievability of our financial goals. If your confidence is low, ask yourself why. Look for the areas that you still need to work on in your business.
  • We are careful not to co-mingle funds in any way. (Between personal and business.) This will help you get a clearer picture of your financials.
  • What will be happening at LuAnn's event LuAnn Live- It's About The Conversation.


Website: Scarlet Thread Consulting

Facebook: Scarlet Thread Consulting

Instagram: Scarlet Thread

LinkedIn: Michele Williams

Twitter: Chelebelle

Financial Health Checklist PDF: Scarlet Thread Consulting

To get Kravet's generous one-time offer of  10% off your first order of any wallpaper or trim, go to Kravet and use the code AWDB10 at the checkout.

LuAnn's 3rd birthday party for the podcast is coming up and Kravet is hosting the party! It will be on February the 5th at the Kravet Showroom at the D&D Building in New York City. Please RSVP through the event-brite link at Luann Nigara.

To find out more about LuAnn Live- It's About The Conversation, go to LuAnn Live

Jan 15, 2019

Welcome to today's episode of A Well-Designed Business! We're really happy to have Carole Marcotte, from Form and Function, in Raleigh NC, join us on the show today. Carole followed a number of different paths while raising her three children, prior to officially starting her design business a little more than ten years ago in 2008.

In 2013 she had the genius idea to expand her business to include a storefront with classic and funky vintage pieces alongside new Made-In-America and up-cycled gift selections. On today's show, Carole talks to us about her niche, and she also explains how she was honored as one of Midtown Magazine's "Thirty People You Need To Know" for the fantastic work she's done in her community. Listen in today to find out about Carole and how she guides people, and gives them a fresh, modern spin, with things they already have.

Carole was raised in Canada and her career began in marketing and special events for a private women’s club in Toronto. After that, she worked at a radio station and she then moved to North Carolina in 1987. An old house renovation fueled her interest in architecture and design and she “unofficially” began to help friends and family with design work for many years, while also operating a catering and special events business and acting on local stages for more than twenty years. She also sat on many non-profit boards, most notably conceiving of and planning Raleigh’s largest public art project (The Raleigh Red Wolf Ramble) while Co-Chair of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission. Listen in to find out more.

Show Highlights:

  • Carole talks about her niche, what it means to her, and how she arrived at the clarity of it.
  • The way that Carole's firm leads with her really meaningful process.
  • Finding and reusing items from all over the house is part of Carole's process.
  • Adding the final layer and stylizing the house to completion, and then taking photographs, is important to Carole.
  • The kind of look that Carole uses in her design really varies a lot.
  • Carole guides people and gives them a fresh, modern spin on what they already have.
  • Carole always honors people's 'non-negotiable' items, and figures out a way to place them, no matter how absurd they are.
  • Reusing items is more sustainable for the planet.
  • Carol talks about her retail store.
  • The store is about sixty percent vintage and forty percent new products- and it has a really funky vibe!
  • The store is a great marketing tool for Carole's design services.
  • Talking about different kinds of design business models.
  • Shifting her business slowly towards a more sustainable model.
  • Carole talks to us about The Design District, in Raleigh, that she pro-actively put together.
  • Carole has really brought people together with her Design District map.


Website: Form And Functionraleigh

Facebook: Form And Functionraleigh

Instagram: Form And Functionraleigh

Pinterest: F And Fraleigh 

The website for the Design District map:  Design District Raleigh

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Kate Ahl #331

Fred Berns #174

Laurel Bern #342

Nancy Ganzekaufer #15

Claire Jefford #237

Nicole Heymer #125 and #317

Pulp Design Studios #176 and #310

LuAnn’s Upcoming Events:

Philly Jan 30 Lucas Alexander showroom

February 8th CEU Summit 2019 run by ASID NY Metro

Feb 12 in the Boston Design Center at Waterworks

And of course, the birthday party at Kravet.

Jan 11, 2019

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! Today we are really happy to have the inimitable Fred Berns back on the show with us once again! Fred has been our guest on the podcast more often than anyone else in all of the almost three years that the show has been on the air! He has previously appeared on episodes #22, #48, #96, #174, #226, #289, and #337 and he is one of our favorite returning guests because his advice is always so intentional and actionable. Observation is one of Fred's superpowers and he always adds an extra layer by noticing the things that are done well and could be done even better, in any business process. Fred has discovered that success leaves clues, but mistakes multiply, so today he will be talking to us about The Dirty Dozen, the twelve most common things that interior designers tend to do to sabotage their own success, that they really need to avoid. Listen in today and learn about the habits that cause harm to professionals.

Fred Berns is the only interior design industry business coach and speaker who creates personal bios and other promotional materials for design professionals worldwide. Fred has more than 25 years experience training design professionals from Dallas to Dubai and creating their online profiles, website and social media copy, blogs, and marketing forms. In addition, he offers a wide range of business coaching services, ranging from his High-Performance Coaching Program to his Bio Briefing and Website Onceover. As one of the biggest names in the business of interior design, he speaks at design conferences and other events throughout the U.S. and around the world. He also develops sales and marketing programs for international franchise organizations and companies within the interior design industry, and trains manufacturers, retailers, and others on how to increase sales to design professionals. Fred focuses on his keynote speeches and seminars on how designers, kitchen and bath specialists, window fashion experts and other professionals can dramatically increase sales, and market themselves more effectively. He has appeared at the International Window Coverings Expo; Neocon events; the High Point Market; Surfaces; design symposiums; home and design expos; furniture, gift and accessory shows; and national conferences of such groups as ASID, NKBA, IDS, and IFDA.

Fred’s blog is read by design professionals the world over, and he regularly writes guest blog posts and articles for online and print media.  He also is a frequent guest on design industry podcasts. His Interior Design Business Library includes a vast collection of books, audio and video programs and other business-building resources that he has developed for the design industry. His learning tools cover topics ranging from setting and getting higher fees and overcoming price objections to branding and million dollars marketing on a shoestring budget. Fred’s clients today benefit from the communication and copywriting skills that he acquired during his highly-successful earlier career as a broadcast and print journalist. In that career, he founded one of Washington, D.C.’s largest and longest-established independent news bureaus.

Show highlights:

We're so busy looking for success steps, strategies, and shortcuts that we tend to overlook the fact that there are obstacles, roadblocks, and silly mistakes that derail too many design professionals too often.

Be careful of following the followers and not the leaders in the design industry. Remember that you make a great you, but a lousy somebody else!

Fishing for marlins, not minnows. Too many designers sell themselves short by thinking too small, too often, and they're aiming too low. They under-value and under-promote themselves, and they charge too little for their services.

You're an expert, so know your value. Many designers fall into the trap of giving away their time and Fred believes that really diminishes your value, as a design professional. The most financially successful designer's charge for all of their time, all of the time.

You cannot be taken advantage of if you don't allow it, so manage your relationships and take charge of them.

Majoring in minors. Stop wasting your time and becoming distracted.

What you will gain from including Fred's Daily Dozen Activity and his Five O'clock Focus in your daily routine.

Plan your next day ahead with Fred's MVP List (Most Valuable and Productive use of your time activities).

You need to be cross-selling, up-selling and doing add-on selling all the time by educating your clients about all you can do.

Your work does not sell itself- it's way too competitive out there. Thinking your work sells itself is old-school thinking. It's the kind of thinking that could kill your career.

Bogus Bios and Wimpy Websites- Bios that block you rather than boost you and disqualify you from the kinds of clients and projects you want and deserve. And websites that don't promote all that you do and how well you do it. (Check out Website Onceover)

Your bio really has got to rock because it's your most vital, versatile, and viable marketing tool. (See Bio Briefing)

Don't go it alone. Do what you do best and delegate the rest.

Viewing price objections as obstacles. Learn to use price objections as opportunities.

Fred's Fabulous Fallback for price objections.

Don't futz with your fees. Hold firm on your fees or you won't come across as professional.

Charging too little is another thing that will sabotage your success.

You need to be in control your business rather than the business controlling you.

Fred is coming to New Jersey for the LuAnn Nigara Live-It's About the Conversation event. He is one of the co-authors of LuAnn's new book, The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business, which will be launched on March 30th at this event!

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Episode #391- Live On Air Coaching Call- Rumble Interiors

Links and contacts:

Things I learned from Fred Bern: The Dirty Dozen

For coaching on how to avoid or overcome these "Success Saboteurs:"  Coach Call

For coaching on how to upgrade your website content: Website Onceover

For coaching on crafting your Killer Bio: Bio Briefing

Fred’s email:

Fred’s phone number: (303) 589-3013

About our birthday party:

Sponsor, Kravet Inc, is hosting the 3rd birthday party for the podcast! So, if you are coming into New York for NY Now in the 1st week of February, or you want to come just for the party, please join us on Feb 5th at the Kravet showroom, in New York,  from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Go to Luann Nigara and look for the event rsvp—the party is free and the more the merrier so please plan to join us! Go to Luann Nigara and click on Live Event.

Jan 8, 2019

Welcome to today's episode of A Well-Designed Business! Dala Al Fuwaires, the Principal of FJI Design in Scottsdale, Arizona, will be joining us on the show today. Dala is a dreamer, designer, and doer, and she has begun to niche and focus her firm, FJI Design, in the food and beverage industry. Dala runs her business with very clear strategies for building her client base, for managing and motivating her employees, and also for making a name for herself and for her firm in her community. Listen in today to find out what she has to say about getting yourself into the driver's seat, in order to create a really successful business.

Dala Al-Fuwaires, Principal of FJI, a hospitality design firm with a sweet spot for food and beverage interiors, is a dreamer, designer, and doer. With over a decade of experience in the interior design field, Dala has worked on hospitality, retail, and residential design projects ranging in size from boutique to national rollouts. Dala graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Arizona State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Purdue University. Outside of design, Dala can be found exploring the world, hosting dinner parties for friends and family, remodeling her home, and photographing all of the above. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • About sixty percent of Dala's business is food and beverage related and Dala really wants each of her projects to be it's own thing, in terms of style.
  • The importance of having good design and lighting in restaurants.
  • Dala really creates an experience for restauranteurs, and she even has a specific playlist of music that she plays when doing a presentation, to set the right tone.
  • The intentional plan that Dala had in place for making money, when she first opened her business.
  • Dala spent eight hours per day, for a whole week, reaching out to the people that she already knew.
  • Dala talks about the High Stakes Mastermind Group she joined in her first year in business.
  • Why Dala offered her services, pro bono, to one new (or growing), local food and beverage business per year.
  • Dala gives the details of the Design It Forward competition she's been running for two years.
  • How Dala informed her community about the pro bono design services she was offering.
  • The applications for Dala's competition open in June of each year.
  • How the book Profit First, by Mike Mikalowitz, really helped Dala to strategize effectively, and to keep her business expenses low, in her first year in business.
  • Setting herself up on Payroll, so that Dala is actually an employee of her business, in order to maximize her profit.
  • The importance of having enough money put away to keep your business running for at least three months, in case of an emergency.
  • Dala's really awesome way of motivating her team to reach their quarterly goals.

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Candy Scott #279

Claire Jefford #237

Michele Williams #180

Chris Kofitsas #152


Website: FJI Design

Instagram: FJI Design

Facebook: FJI Design

Pinterest: FJI Design

LinkedIn: FJI Design

About our birthday party:

Sponsor, Kravet Inc, is hosting the 3rd birthday party for the podcast! So, if you are coming into New York for NY Now in the 1st week of February, or you want to come just for the party, please join us on Feb 5th at the Kravet showroom, in New York,  from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Go to Luann Nigara and look for the event rsvp—the party is free and the more the merrier so please plan to join us!

Jan 4, 2019

 Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Today we have the first of our brand new on-air coaching shows and Stephanie Castillo, of Rumble Interiors in Washington State, will be joining us. Stephanie is a new designer and although she is still finishing her degree, she does have business experience. On the show today Stephanie will be asking LuAnn some really interesting questions about how to set up vendor accounts and setting up accounts with the trades. They talk about whether or not Stephanie should niche her firm, and if she needs a receivership for the products she sells to clients. They also have a discussion about a collaboration that Stephanie is developing with two other interior designers. Listen in to LuAnn's excellent coaching session with Stephanie on the show today.

Stephanie has been a hairstylist for 27 years and she's worn many hats in that industry, Stylist, Educator, Manager, and Recruiter. She has two kids in grade school and she volunteers as the Board President for the Ellensburg Downtown Association in Washington state.

As her body was beginning to get tired from her work, Stephanie began thinking about what else she could do. As interior design has always been a love of hers, she enrolled at the New York School of Art and Design and started taking classes online.

Now that she's close to finishing up with her studies, Stephanie has gone ahead with the process of starting her own business, Rumble Interiors. She has done some practice work of what has become re-styles which involves taking someone's house and using what they already have and reworking it. And this really brings her so much joy!  To set herself up for success, she has been reaching out to mentors, like LuAnn, because she is ready to learn about all the details of running an interior design business. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

Stephanie has her license and she has her social media sites set up, but she does not yet have her website set up.

Stephanie has a blog that you can find via Instagram.

The collaboration that Stephanie is developing with two other interior designers.

Stephanie is into re-styles and would like to get into feng shui.

The design styles of Stephanie and her partners are very different.

Things to bear in mind when leasing a design space in partnership with someone else.

Finding the best vendors and tradespeople.

How to establish great relationships with sales reps.

The need for having a receivership for your shipped goods.

Finding a good and reputable receivership.

Running your business like a big-girl one, even if you're still a baby designer.

Do you really need licenses and accreditations?

How to work out how much to charge when you're starting out as a designer.

Is having a niche the best way to go?

Deciding whether to go to design school or not.

Why you really need to have a website for your business.

Creating content for your website.

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Nicole Heymer, Ep 125 - Curio Electric, Ep 387


Facebook: Rumble Interiors

Instagram: Rumble Interiors, mangossalon, @Stephanieatmangossalon on Instagram

Jan 1, 2019

I have another fun show for you today! Taylor Spellman is with us today. Taylor is a New York-based interior designer and staging expert. She is also the host of Bravo’s new TV show “Yours Mine or Ours”. No matter what she is designing- whether it be a 10-million-dollar penthouse, the lobby of a high-rise or the showroom for a fashion client-- her super down to earth personality combined with her bold style makes her a stand out in our interior design community. Taylor has the unique and unteachable talent using high end one of a kind pieces to an afternoon spent at the Goodwill. Today you will learn how she came from humble beginnings and now has a million dollar clientele in New York City.

Show Notes:

  • Did Taylor go to school for interior design?
  • What are some pros for an interior designer that was not classically trained in the interior design field?
  • What do Taylor’s clients have in common?
  • How did she decide she wanted to work with men for her niche?
  • How long did she research her idea for her niche before launching the idea?
  • What did Taylor go to school for?
  • What were Taylor’s intentions for her career?
  • What is Taylor’s competitive edge?
  • Nothing just happens!
  • How did she discover staging as another niche?
  • How did she find events to attend in real estate and build relationships?
  • Why is it a good idea to have a lawyer?
  • What opportunities came about before “Yours Mine or Ours”?
  • What is the show “Yours Mine or Ours” about?
  • Is it all just about real estate when helping clients with their homes?
  • How does she execute her design on the show?
  • Where do her girls from her business fit in while Taylor is working on set?
  • Is there any other advice she would give to her colleagues?

The rest of the show notes are in our resource center: Window Works 

Dec 28, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We have Nancy Ganzekaufer, one of the co-authors of Luann's soon-to-be-launched new book, The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business, with us today. Nancy is a really smart lady and she has appeared on the podcast number of times before to share her spot-on, expert advice. (#377, #256, #159, and #15) Today, Nancy is going to be talking to us about her new product, The Interior Design Profit Formula, an online course that she has really poured her heart and soul into creating. This is really the most affordable way to add a huge amount of value to your interior design business, so listen in to find out more!

Nancy Ganzekaufer partners with creative entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses, get more sales, get over their fears and go for what they want in work and in life. Through a series of coaching calls, emails, and exercises, she helps entrepreneurs reframe their doubts and indecisions, work through challenges with more confidence, and ultimately to grow their sales. Listen in today, to find out about the incredible kind of impact that Nancy's new course, The Interior Design Profit Formula, could have on your business.

Show highlights:

  • There are many different things that an interior designer needs to manage and it's one of the most difficult service industries that Nancy's coached.
  • Running an interior design business takes balance and really knowing what to do.
  • Nancy explains her motivation for putting this course together.
  • You will need to have stickability, and the right kind of personality to go the distance with Nancy's course.
  • Nancy explains what you will find in her course.
  • Describing your business in words is the beginning of your branding process.
  • The way that Nancy presents her information, and the examples that she gives, will really open up your mind and give you clarity.
  • The benefits of having lifetime-access to Nancy's course.
  • Nancy talks about growing your business.
  • The importance of getting creative.
  • Designers often come to Nancy for her help when they're feeling overwhelmed.
  • Nancy gives the simplest tip that really makes the biggest difference!
  • Becoming the leader in your relationship, and in charge of the process with your clients right from the outset.
  • Being alert to the subtle messages that a potential client is giving out during the consultation.
  • Ways to introduce your services in order to protect yourself.
  • Nancy explains the benefits of her Ladder of Services model.
  • Make sure that the people that you hire are dedicated to the growth of your company.
  • The goal of Nancy's course is to make everyone feel confident in extending their reach, gaining more clients, and doubling or tripling their income.
  • Nancy talks about the guest coaches in her course.
  • Nancy's course costs $997 at this point in time and she is offering a free, one-on-one, half an hour coaching consultation to everyone who purchases her course, through this link Luann Nigara, from now until 30th June 2019.

Other episodes mentioned on this show:

Eileen Hahn # 363


To get Nancy's Interior Design Profit Formula, go to Luann Nigara


Nancy's website: Nancy Ganzekaufer

You can also reach Nancy through her forum, or through her Facebook group, The Interior Design Business Forum at Interior Design Business Forum

Dec 25, 2018

I have another outstanding show for you today! Corey Damen Jenkins is with me today and he is no exception to the amazing people I have been meeting. What you will learn from is that he is one of the good guys. He is the kind of person that everyone would agree is very open, sincere, humble and giving. What you may or may not know about Corey is that he is the principal of Corey Damen Jenkins Associates which is located in Birmingham, Michigan. In 2011 the television audiences voted him the winning design star of HGTV’s Show House Showdown. Since then it has been a whirlwind of accomplishments! Today we are going to talk about how his lifelong dream came true in 2016 with his launch of his first couture collection of furniture, Corey Damen Jenkins exclusively for leathercraft. This collection was nominated for the prestigious 2017 arts award for the best product design. Once you start to listen to this episode it will be no surprise to you that Corey Damen believes in giving back to the design community. His firm generously donates to several charities.

Show Notes:

  • What was the process like to get Corey to decide to get on HGTV’s Show House Showdown?
  • What were the reasons that Corey was cast for HGTV’s Show House Showdown?
  • How has Corey learned to deal with his past insecurities and reconstruct the way he deals with things?
  • How does he get the most out of his projects?
  • Does he use PR firms?
  • When working with a PR firm how should a design firm behave and be organized?
  • How did Corey decide to design his furniture through Leathercraft?
  • What is Leathercraft?
  • How did Corey decide what fabrics to use on his furniture collection?
  • Who did Corey name a piece of his furniture in his new collection after?
  • How does he come up with his designs for his furniture?


Leather Craft Furniture

Corey Damen Jenkins

Dec 21, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! LuAnn has a special announcement to make on the show today. As most of you know, her second book, The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business, is coming out soon. It was initially going to be released in February next year, but this has changed. On the show today LuAnn explains why the plans have changed and she talks about the big event, LuAnn Nigara Live, It's About The Conversation, that has been planned instead, for the launch of the book on the 30th of March. She also explains what the book will be like, and the kind of information you can expect to find in it. Listen in to find out all about the really remarkable event that LuAnn has planned.

LuAnn invited twelve of the Power Talk Friday experts to collaborate with her in creating a go-to book to run your interior design business. She invited each of them to write a chapter for the book about their specific zone of genius. The book is full of really useful information for interior designers about attracting luxury clientele, creating a design process, charging what you're worth, building an exceptional team, defining your brand, and much, much more. Listen in to find out more!

Show highlights:

  • The kind of information that you will find in the book.
  • At the beginning and end of every chapter, LuAnn will do an intro and outro, just like she does on the show.
  • The twelve experts, that LuAnn invited to write a chapter each, for the book.
  • Our birthday party will be happening at the Kravet showroom, at the D and D Building in New York City, on the 5th of February 2019.
  • About the Power Talk Friday Tour.
  • Doing a thorough analysis of every project, after completion.
  • LuAnn talks about the planned launch for her book in March.
  • Thinking about ways to make the Power Talk Friday Tours a really amazing experience.
  • On March 30th, 31st, and April 1st, 2019, at the Hilton in Short Hills, New Jersey, LuAnn will be gathering all twelve of her co-authors to do live discussions.
  • In addition to the twelve experts, LuAnn has also invited twelve savvy interior design principals that have appeared on the podcast.
  • The insane, intense, invigorating, and absolutely amazing book launch event that has been planned.
  • The ticket price, and what the VIP experience is all about.
  • Why the third day will be limited to only 50 or 75 designers.
  • LuAnn is bringing the exact podcast format to her live event.
  • Some of the incredible designers that have already committed to being at the event.
  • You can get onto LuAnn's email list by texting 444999 and putting design biz into the field.
  • You can get early bird tickets for the event for only $395 from today until January 8th. After that, the price will go up to $595. (The VIP ticket is $200 extra.) If you sign up between December 21st and January 8th, your name will go into a draw to win a one-on-one coaching session with LuAnn, her husband, Vince, or one of the co-authors of the book.
  • About the VIP experience. (Go back and listen to episode #14 with Malene B)
  • Why LuAnn invites the sponsors to be part of the VIP experience.

The twelve experts who each wrote a chapter for the book:

Fred Berns, Sarah Danielle, Nancy Ganzekaufer, Eileen Hahn, Nicole Heymer, Claire Jefford, Peter Lang, Marc McDonough, Stacy Brown Randall, Shawna Lynne Simon, Kaye Whittaker, and Michelle Williams

Some of the sponsors that are supporting the event are:

Designer Inc.


MyDoma Studio

Wingnut Social

Schwartz Design Showroom

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Malene B #14


Luann's website, to sign up for the event: Luann Live

Dec 18, 2018

Welcome! We are really happy to have Wendy Glaister, of Wendy Glaister Interiors, here with us today! Wendy is a really sweet, kind, and cheerful lady with a million-dollar smile, and it's very clear that being involved with philanthropic organizations, and giving back to her community are a big feature of Wendy's design firm. On the show today we have a really wonderful and very inspiring conversation with Wendy where she shares some things that may surprise you and will certainly make you appreciate her. You're in for a very different episode today! Listen in now to find out more!

Wendy Glaister Interiors is located in Modesto, California. And Wendy is an interior designer who has mastered the art of listening. She listens to her clients, to understand the things that will make their homes feel uniquely special, she listens to architects, to help make their vision come to fruition, and she listens to contractors, collaborating with their craftspeople and artisans to bring out the very best in every member of the team. Wendy is a delightful speaker, whether to an audience of design students or a seasoned group of interior design professionals. She is engaging, using self-deprecating humor to immediately disarm and warm her audience. She is currently serving as president of the Central Californian Nevada chapter of the ASID. Listen in to find out what Wendy has to share with you on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • Growing up, Wendy always really wanted to be a member of the ASID- and now she's the ASID president!
  • Being involved with philanthropic organizations, and giving back to her community is a big feature of Wendy's design firm.
  • Wendy talks about the three organizations that she patronizes and some of the things she does for them.
  • What the Genesis 50/20 Foundation is all about.
  • Wendy shares, for the very first time, about a profound challenge that she had to deal with in her life.
  • Talking about difficult things really can really help people to get their power back.
  • What it took for Wendy to realize that she wasn't 'the problem'.
  • Wendy talks about her compulsion to do well and to help people.
  • Why Wendy doesn't think it's fair to quit.
  • Wendy's business has grown a hundred percent, year over year, for three years!
  • Ensuring that her son has a good life has been a huge motivator for Wendy.
  • The help that she got from her gutsy pastor.
  • How Wendy developed so much compassion for other people.
  • From living in 'survival mode' to learning to trust again.
  • That positive change she's experienced in her business since talking on a partner.
  • Wendy does boxing to release her pent-up tension.
  • God has always shown up for Wendy and that has allowed her to remain optimistic.
  • It's really okay to be kind and helpful.
  • How Wendy has managed to grow her business by a hundred percent a year, for three years in a row.
  • Some business lessons that Wendy has learned along the way.
  • It takes a lot of work to remain brave, take full responsibility, and be accountable for your business.


Website: Wendy Glaister Interiors

Facebook: Wendy Glaister Interiors

Instagram: Wendy Design

Pinterest: WKG Design

Twitter: WKG Designer

To support Wendy in her mission to provide mothers who are victims of domestic violence with the funds to obtain the therapy necessary to heal, you can do it through The Haven Women's Center, Crickets Hope and Arts Therapy Program for children, and the Genesis 50/20 Foundation, which raises and distributes funds for trauma therapy. You can reach these organizations through Wendy's website Wendy Glaister Interiors.

Dec 14, 2018

Welcome to another episode of Power Talk Friday! We're really excited to have Amber De La Garza, The Productivity Specialist, here with us today! We all know that things, like being productive and efficient, getting our systems in order, and managing our time, are crucial to running a successful business. Although these things may seem simple, they are often a lot more difficult than they need to be. Amber's goal is to simplify everything and make it easier for entrepreneurs. One of the things that she loves to teach people about is time-blocking. If you have tried it before, and it didn't seem to work for you, you will really gain a lot from today's show. Because Amber's goal for today is to get you to to the place where you love time-blocking and you see that it's the best thing that has ever happened to your business. Listen in to find out more!

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast, and creator of S.T.O.P.! The Entrepreneur’s Success Solution. She helps driven entrepreneurs execute actionable solutions to maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most! Listen in to find out what Amber has to share with you on the show today!

Show highlights:

  • Amber is going to teach you how to love time-blocking!
  • There are two different types of time-blocking- task-based and project-based.
  • Amber gives her definition of what time-blocking is: It's investing your best time into your best activities.
  • Getting really clear about the few activities that will have the biggest impact on you achieving your goals, if done consistently.
  • Once you've created a schedule you will need to keep showing up consistently for the things that have to be done.
  • Busting the myth that some people are designed to be more structure than others.
  • Using your goals as a motivating factor to learn new skills.
  • Some excellent tips for effective time-blocking.
  • Amber shares her seven-step process of creating your ideal block schedule.
  • Creating boundaries for your ideal schedule.
  • Creating purposeful routines to set yourself up for success.
  • It's often the smaller things that will get you to where you want to go.
  • Finding what really works for you helps when creating routines that are sustainable.
  • We all have different priorities for our daily schedules.
  • The benefits of having weekly power lunches.
  • Another way to do time-blocking.
  • Reclaiming money by creating high-value activity blocks.
  • You don't have to be available all the time!
  • There's never enough time to do everything, so your job is to create the time and carve it down on your schedule for the things that matter most.
  • Amber talks about the free template download that she has for you, to help you create your ideal schedule. Go to The Productivity Specialist to download it now!

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Monique Holmes #365


Website: The Productivity Specialist

Podcast: Productivity Straight Talk

Facebook Page: The Productivity Specialist

Facebook Group: Productivity Straight Talk

Instagram: Amber De La Garza

For your free template download: The Productivity Specialist

Dec 11, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We're really glad to have Sarah Magness, of Magness Design, with us today. Eight years ago, Sarah hatched as a 'baby designer' and launched right into the luxury market.

Today she talks to us about the real-life experience she gained during this time, before opening her own firm. She also talks about the "New Heights" program at Marymount that she came to spearhead through her involvement with the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. And today we also have an excellent conversation with Sarah about the best way to talk budget with clients. This is often a really tricky area of business, so listen in to get Sarah's very straightforward and clear advice.

Magness Design began in 2010 with a focus on residential design. It is located in New York City and its current focus is on the preservation of historic properties, by saving them and making them livable. Their major projects are in New York City, the Hudson Valley area, and on Long Island.

Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and her graduate degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute. She is a House Beautiful "Next Wave" designer and she's also been featured in Architectural Digest for a very large townhouse project that she saved and renovated. Listen in to find out more.

  • Show highlights:
    Working for three or four different design firms is a great way to learn the business aspect of running your own design business.
  • The different people that Sarah first worked for, to gain real-life experience.
  • The type of apprenticeship that architecture undergraduates are required to do.
  • Sarah's recommendations for getting to work for the best firms, after graduating from school.
  • New York has a really supportive and talented design community.
  • Budget is always an issue with clients.
  • How Sarah approaches budget conversations with her clients.
  • How to estimate a budget for your client on the spot.
  • The importance of having really clear communication with your clients.
  • It is often the clients' choices that cause a project to go over budget.
  • Giving the client an itemized list with the cost of each item on it.
  • How to talk to your client about going over the budget for certain items.
  • When and how to discuss fees with a high-end client.
  • The language to use in order to get the best response from clients when dealing with multi-faceted projects.
  • Sarah discusses the passion-projects that she's involved with.
  • Sarah has created a twelve-minute documentary called The
  • Town Home, about a seven-story
  • 1911 New York townhouse renovation project that she did.

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Andrew Suvalsky #28
Christie Leu # 182
Dr. Ellen Fisher #71


Click the ICAA organization link find your local chapter.

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