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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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.

Dec 7, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We are really delighted have Jeff Tippett, aka Mr. Persuasion, with us today. Jeff is a subject matter expert in persuasive communications. And on the show today he will explain some of the principals that lie right at the heart of persuasion. This is really an important and valuable skill to learn for any business. And there's so much you can accomplish after acquiring this skillset! So grab the opportunity now, and listen in to hear Jeff's message.

Jeff helps people increase their effectiveness, gives them powerful tools for attaining goals and dreams, and helps them positively impact their organization—all as they learn techniques for communicating persuasively with others.

When results mattered most, renowned brands like Airbnb, The National Restaurant Association, The League of Women Voters, The League of Conservation have trusted Jeff to develop and implement communications plans to persuade elected officials, the media, and the general public. And as an expert on persuasive communications, Jeff continues to deliver results for influential clients.

Other industry experts have validated Jeff’s work through numerous awards including the prestigious The American Advertising Awards.

Jeff has impacted thousands of lives through over 500 presentations including keynotes and seminars. Others feature Jeff’s expertise in persuasive communications through articles, podcasts, and blogs.

Jeff’s highly anticipated second book, Unleashing Your Superpower: Why Persuasive Communications is the Only Force You Will Ever Need is scheduled for completion in January 2019. Listen in to find out what Jeff has to share with you on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • Jeff shares the story of how he adopted his baby daughter in Haiti.
  • The really valuable lesson Jeff learned from his experience in Haiti.
  • Changing your mindset from one of manipulation to one of persuasion.
  • The two words that indicate that you've successfully persuaded somebody.
  • Showing someone a new vision of how things could be.
  • Getting what you want by helping others to get what they want.
  • Three ways to get to know what someone really wants.
  • Some tools to use when making a real connection with a potential client, and getting them to like you.
  • People will remember how you made them feel, so make them feel heard and understood, and valuable.
  • Placing yourself firmly in the shoes of a potential client.
  • Putting a lot of thought into what you say and the language you use.
  • Jeff shares 3 strategies to create better online influence.
  • Helping people to trust you.
  • Figuring out your only-ness, to really stand out and set yourself apart.
  • Staying consistent with who you are and what you do.
  • Three tips to help you to position your message so that people will say "yes".

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Nancy Ganzekaufer #15, #159 and #256

Fred Berns #22, #48, #96, #174, #226, #289, and #337

Sponsored episodes by Article.Com #301 and #367


Website: Jeff Tippett

Twitter: Jeff Tippett

Facebook: Jeff Tippett Speaker

LinkedIn: Jeff Tippett

YouTube: Jeff In Cary

Book: Pixels Are the New Ink: 3 Steps to Digital Domination In Your Industry

To look into Well Designed Article

Text the word PERSUADE to 66866, to be informed when Jeff's new book, Why Persuasive Communications is the Only Force You Will Ever Need, becomes available. You will also get a free chapter of the book right away.

Dec 4, 2018

Welcome to the show! Today we have Alyce Lopez with us. She is one of LuAnn's real-life friends, and also the principal of The True House in Tula Vista, California. Although Alyce is still a 'baby designer', she's a really smart lady! She knows that being an interior designer is her business and not a hobby. She is also very clear on what she does and how she does it. On the show today Alyce talks to us about the way she runs her business and how she's built it up to profiting six-figures in under three years. There is so much you can learn from Alyce on today's show! Listen in to find out more!

Alyce Lopez owns and operates The True House, a full-service interior design firm that specializes in residential design for busy, young families. She began her career in interior design after purchasing a fixer-upper with her husband. The two navigated through renovations on a 1950's rambler maximizing their creativity and pocket change. The True House came about organically after documenting their home renovations on social media.

Alyce grew up in southern California in Aliso Viejo, CA.  Growing up near some of the most beautiful beaches, she was always inspired by natural textures and elements. Alyce graduated with a degree in education.  In 2006, she married her husband who teaches kindergarten locally in Chula Vista.  Today, Alyce is mother to two young children (ages 5 & 7) and her pug, Mochi.

TTH focuses on bringing a transitional aesthetic to the common builder grade home in south San Diego.  Alyce prides herself in making each home more functional and livable for young families while respecting her clients' budgets.  She believes your home should be a reflection of your personal style and provide customized features that make life more enjoyable.  The True House recognizes that your home is your largest financial investment and it should be treated with the proper care and attention.    

The True House is the top reviewed interior designer in south San Diego. Alyce has been featured as a style spotter for industry shows and is a brand ambassador for Revolution Performance fabrics. You can find her work published by SD Voyager and Furniture Today. Listen in to find out what Alyce has to share about her interior design business.

Show highlights:

  • Some of the things Alyce has established as important parameters in her business.
  • Establishing a really good relationship with a limited number of selected vendors.
  • Tula Vista has organically become Alyce's niche area.
  • Alyce's family-based approach to running her business.
  • The importance of having a good work/life balance.
  • Some tips for having a debt-free life and business.
  • The type of design that Alyce focuses on and the services she provides.
  • The benefits of offering clients blocks of time.
  • The kind of value that Alyce provides for her clients.
  • Alyce uses Acuity Scheduling to keep things organized.
  • Where Alyce sources her furniture and accessories.
  • Providing limited options when too many options could be confusing.
  • How Alyce shares her trade-show experiences with her clients.
  • The step-by-step process that Alyce uses with her clients.
  • The way that Alyce structures her charges.
  • The importance of planning ahead for your business.


Books by Dave Ramsey


Website: The True House

Facebook: The True House

Instagram: @thetruehouse

Nov 30, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! As most of you know, on Fridays LuAnn talks to people, from any industry, who can share something with us that will enhance, grow, or make our business or personal lives make sense. Today we are very happy to have Julie Broad, an Amazon Overall Number 1 Best-Selling Author, join us on the show. Julie has a background in real estate and in branding. Having generated over six figures in revenue from her book sales alone, she now teaches authors how to build their brand and boost their business through her new company, Book Launchers.Com. Listen in today to find out how Julie could help you make a bigger impact with your interior design business by writing, publishing, and selling a top-quality book.

Julie was born in Canada. She grew up in rural Alberta in a house attached to a 20 room Motel. Collecting the pop cans and beer bottles from the motel rooms, she used the money to invest in gold stocks which she used to pay for her first year of undergraduate education. When it was time to do her MBA, she used her savings to buy investment properties instead of fund her education. Student loans paid for school, and then the seven properties she owned by the end of her MBA paid off her student loans. Julie continued to apply the entrepreneurial lessons she learned from her parents (not her MBA, because that degree was pointless) as she grew her real estate portfolio, launched a real estate training and education company, and began to write books. She became an Amazon Overall Number 1 Best Selling Author, an International Book Award Winner, and recipient of the Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Sales book. Listen in to find out how Julie helps people achieve their goals.

Show highlights:

  • The benefits of self-publishing.
  • Producing a book to give clients will really benefit small business owners or designers.
  • Producing a book really demonstrates that you're an expert in your field and it can earn you tons of media as well!
  • How much content has to be in your book for Amazon to sell it and provide you with printed copies of it.
  • You can increase the content of your book by spacing it out and filling it in with pictures.
  • How getting some assistance with structure, from someone like Julie, can really help to bring out of you what you already know.
  • Friends and family probably won't tell you if your ideas really suck.
  • The ways that Julie helps people position their book to appeal to their ideal reader.
  • Putting your own flair into ordinary things.
  • Some things to help you get to the heart of your brand.
  • Some mistakes people make in communication that deludes their message.
  • A tip about body language to help you become more confident.
  • With self-publishing, it's 100% your book.


Website: Book Launchers

YouTube: Julie Broad

Facebook: Book Launchers

Instagram: @juliebroad @booklaunchers

Twitter: Book Launchers

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


Book mentioned: The Business of Design by Keith Granet


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


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.


Theodore Alexander's website:  Theodore Alexander.

Furniture Collection:

Email: / /

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


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


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


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


Recommended resources for finding online assistance outside the US:

International Facebook groups for VAs.


Bonnie Fahy

Bonnie Fahy

Get Source It

Bonnie's Free Training

For the automated webinar go to The Live More Formula

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