A Well-Designed Business® | Interior Design Business Podcast

In today's world being a talented interior designer isn't enough to ensure that you have a profitable and successful interior design business. Design school doesn't always teach you the critical business skills to be sure your interior design business be everything you imagined it would be! A Well Designed Business is here to fill in the gaps and give you real live business skills from some of the top interior designers. Your host, LuAnn Nigara shares her 35 years of success in the interior design industry, and she finds the most successful guests to share their interior design business best practices.
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 30, 2016

Hi Welcome to another episode of  A Well-Designed Business. On the show today I have Brook Devenport. Brook is the owner of Blinds & More located in Minnesota. We are going to hear Brook’s personal story and how she took a business that practically started by accident and after nearly 6 years she transformed it into a well run, profitable business with 7 team members who together do both custom window treatments and interior design in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Show Notes 

  • The business didn’t magically grow into a high earning business.

It took a lot of planning and tool-using

  • Initial sales targeting was $60,000 in yearly sales.
  • On the second year annual sales was $178,000.
  • Current sales run to $650,000 annually
  • Sales goal was but sales was
  • Things they did differently to achieve the sales goal
  • Her husband’s role in the success of her business
  • Tracking appointments and tracking dealer’s performance
  • All the tools they installed to track and monitor the business
  • Their “ahah” moment
  • Color coding the hard files
  • The Tony Robbins effect on their business
  • Being intentional. What it means
  • When they decided to run a business, to work on her business, not simply in her business.
  • The role of advertising on her success
  • Quotables:
  • If you know how to sell, you can sell almost anything. – Luann
  • Take responsibility for setting your goals for monitoring your expenses, for analyzing every project for net cost and net profits.
  • Manage your business with your eyes wide open.

You can find the rest of the show notes and resources  at

Nov 28, 2016

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 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 

Nov 25, 2016

Welcome back to another power talk Friday! I am happy to introduce to you Lindsey Anderson who is also known as One Click Lindsey. The reason for this is that she is a professional coach, counselor and her business is in helping. Lindsey is the founder and CEO of Today we are going to talk about how to get your web presence to work for you.

Show Notes:

  • How can you capture the email address of a potential client?
  • What does it mean to capture an email address of someone who visits the website?
  • Are most of the people that visit the website ready to commit?
  • What is an e-book?
  • What is email marketing?
  • Are there other ways besides eBooks to resource your website?
  • What is Fiverr and how can it be helpful?
  • How often should you email the email addresses you receive?
  • What does it show when you email people who have given you an email address?
  • After getting the email address do you need to hire a professional to help manage the emails?
  • What is MailChimp and how can this be helpful?
  • What do you do if what your offer is not working?
  • What could you include in your emails?
  • How should you write the emails?
  • Why is Lindsey’s nickname One Click Lindsey?

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

Nov 23, 2016

Kate Greunke  is with us today! Kate is a published author, entrepreneur and founder of Kate the Socialite. Kate the Socialite is a marketing firm and niches in marketing for interior designers, window treatment professionals and remodelers. After two years of watching interior designers be taken advantage of by big companies and listening to her clients say and tell her how difficult it was to keep up with their email and social marketing, Kate decided to create a solution. She had already been designing custom newsletters and social media content for years. Not everyone could or would spend big bucks on a custom package. She decided to create a marketing solution that was affordable and easy to use, something that could be easily customized and sent in just a few clicks. Then a short time later, Socialite Subscribe was born!

Check out Kate's website at

Show Notes:

  • How did Kate arrive at her platform niche?
  • Who were her best customers?
  • What happened to her business when Kate found her niche?
  • What are her services she provides for businesses?
  • How does she make the newsletter different for everyone?
  • What kind of success stories does she have?
  • Does she have services to help with technical services?
  • What social media platforms does she help people use?
  • To get Kate’s help do you have to be bound with a contract?
  • Is it a good idea for a client to sit down and evaluate their time before signing up?
  • What about those people who do not have a mailing list or a small mailing list?
  • What are the pros to having a smaller mailing list sometimes?
  • What does your mindset have to do with the success of your business?
  • How often does she have a meeting with her clients and how does the interaction go ?
  • When was she first offered a publishing contract?
  • When did she write her first novel and what was it about?
  • What is her favorite part of her job?
  • What role does her husband play in her business?
  • What sort of free services can you get with her program?

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

Nov 21, 2016

Something must be in the air, I keep running into fourth generation business owners! Last week Scott Kravet was here for our 100th episode and he told us about the history of the Kravet family. He is part of the fourth generation of the Kravets to work and run Kravet Inc.

Today we have Jake Baer on the show with me and he is the twenty-eight-year-old CEO of Newel. Newel is the home of the largest decorative art collection and furniture in the US. Newel has been known for many years for its prop rental business since the 1930s. Jake was named the CEO of Newel in 2015 and he has really spearheaded change with a brand-new gallery in Manhattan. He has recently moved their collection to a massive warehouse in Long Island City in Long Island. We are going to talk about how he is moving Newel into a new age.

Show Notes:

  • What was it like for Jake growing up in a family business?
  • Who did he work with to learn the business?
  • What sort of challenges has Jake faced being a young CEO?
  • Are his siblings involved in the business: Newel?
  • What is he doing for newer/younger interior designers?
  • How can you get in on the dinners that Jake holds for interior designers?
  • How does his business help people who live the apartment life?
  • Can furniture be shipped out all over the US?
  • What kind of antique furniture does Newel have to offer?

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


Nov 18, 2016

Welcome to another power talk Friday! We have Shauna Lynn Simon with us again today! If you listened to a previous power talk Friday, we started talking about how to host a successful home consumer event. In the first episode, we talked about the first three things that you need to do to set up a successful event. This included choosing your title, choosing the venue for the workshop, how to market your event and securing sponsors. Today Shauna Lynn is going to take it further with us and talk about content creation, managing and selecting guest speakers if it’s not yourself, handouts that you should possibly do using your event for a lead generation machine.

Show Notes:

  • How can you create a good visual at your event?
  • If you don’t access to electronic presentation what are some other ways to present?
  • How can you prepare for your speaking part?
  • Do you want audience participation?
  • How should the area for seating be set up?
  • When should you ask for donations at an event?
  • How can you use your vendors to explain designs better?
  • What should be the focus at your event?
  • How do you choose a guest speaker?
  • How can you increase your reputation at these events?
  • What other material should you include in the goody bags?
  • What is a lead generation machine?
  • Free is good!
  • Why is it important to use a professional event planning program?
  • How can you ask for guest’s email addresses?
  • How important is a “thank you” after the event?

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

Nov 16, 2016

Before I introduce our guest on the show today, Joni Vanderslice I have a big announcement! I am happy to introduce a new sponsor to the show: Mydoma Studio. If you remember a couple of weeks ago we had Sarah Daniele, the CEO of Mydoma Studio who told us about her company, how she came to found it, and all the features it has for you to help run your interior design projects more efficiently. If you missed that show you should go back and listen to Sarah and all about Mydoma Studio! In the meantime, thank you Mydoma Studio for recognizing these fabulous interior designers that we have here at A Well Design Business.

As I said we have Joni Vanderslice with us today and she is the owner and president of J. Banks Design Group in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Joni founded her firm thirty years ago! Since then she has nurtured the Hilton Head Island-based operation into an internationally recognized force of residential and resort design. J. Banks Design takes on a global portfolio of projects that translates resort living to home and home living to resort-living.

Show Notes:

  • How many people are in her firm and how many interior designers does she have working for her?
  • How did she get started?
  • What is a catalyst in business and why is it important to have one?
  • How did Joni’s consultant help her with her firm?
  • How should you write a job description?
  • How did she use a philosophy of using gifts to build her firm?
  • How should you mentor new interior designers?
  • What are the “words”?
  • What are the other people at the firm doing that are not interior designers?
  • Are the jobs at the firm mostly full time or part time?
  • What does Joni’s day look like at J. Banks every day?
  • How often does she have meetings with her team?
  • What is the Valentine Project?
  • How is Kravet Inc. helping with the Valentine Project?

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

Nov 14, 2016

This is a celebratory episode dear loyal listeners! This is our 100th podcast episode and it’s time to celebrate! It’s certainly a very optimistic number as the podcast prognosis goes:  If you make it to the 7th episode, you can make it to the 45th … and if you make it to the 100th you’ll make it for a while! Our guest for this landmark episode is Scott Kravet, the great grandson of Samuel Kravet, the founder of Kravet Inc. 

Kravet Inc. will be celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2018. Another 100th reason to celebrate! Kravet Inc. was established in 1918 by Samuel Kravet, and it has grown to be  the industry leader in the home furnishings industry -- fabrics, furniture, carpets, drapery, trimmings, wall coverings, and others. The family’s commitment to innovation has helped the company transform from a small fabric house to a global leader, representing brands and designers from all over the world. Kravet Inc. owns Kravet, Lee Jofa, Groundworks and GP & J Baker, all high-end fabric houses that specialize in style, luxury and exceptional design.

Scott Kravet, part of the company’s 4th generation, is the Creative Director and Head of Product Development. Having a near encyclopedic knowledge of fabrics, he oversees all aspects of product development for Kravet and its brands. He is an alumnus of Emory University and the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. Scott manages creative teams in 5 design studios in New York and worldwide. He travels the globe sourcing products from the finest craftsmen and best mills.  

I’m deeply grateful to Kravet Inc. for continuing to sponsor our podcast (since 2015) which by now is followed by professional  groups consisting of over 70,000 and growing! At the minimum, Window Works  get contacted by 5 interior designers daily and they all mention the Well-Designed Business podcast as the source and resource. Thank you, Kravet Inc.!!

Show Notes

  • Kravet products are for trade-only.
  • All products are available to interior designers only to protect their interests
  • Retail sales are for interior designers only
  • Kravet designs remain cherished and fashionable for a long time
  • Kravet Showrooms are updated with the latest featured designs regularly
  • The “for trade only” policy does not seem to be an issue
  • All lamps, trays, pillow, textiles, all neatly laid out corporate products on exhibit  
  • Honor and respect what your family has accomplished as  a personal, professional, and corporate policy
  • It’s not enough to create beautiful anything; you must package and market it smartly.
  • Reinventing the business
  • Reaching out to the influencers
  • Watch out for the Kravet Centennial where they will be honoring all the people who have helped them all these years.
  • Check out Episodes 10, 59, 17, 34, and 74 where designers talked about their experience in working with Kravet. Kravet has a culture that supports creativity, collaboration, kindness, and respect to your clients and vendors
  • An archive of over 30,000 textile collections is currently on exhibit; check out with ASID for the details.

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

Nov 11, 2016

It’s power talk Friday again! I have a treat for all of you today. I found our guest, John Muldoon while I was doing research, and I got jazzed up when I saw what John is doing! We are going to be talking to him about his “business” (a consulting firm) that he has had for twelve years! But we are really going to get into his powerful blog called The Monthly Experiments Project.

Show Notes:

  • What is his description of his job and why are there two versions?
  • How did he come up with his brand?
  • What is his blog The Monthly Experiment about?
  • How did he come up with his blog: The Monthly Experiment?
  • Why is he doing his blog The Monthly Experiment?
  • What happened when John finally found a balance between work and life?
  • What did he do to help pick up the business when he started working less?
  • How do you get more referrals according to John?
  • How can you make your blog or podcast more successful and what is the most important quality a blog can have?
  • How can you be more helpful?
  • What are the two things that create the value of a blog?
  • How do you start a blog and how does John help people with this?
  • How do you join his blog challenge and join his free membership group?
  • What are some of the “Experiments” he has done on his blog?

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

Nov 9, 2016

Today on the show I have Carrie Leskowitz! Carrie brings a unique perspective to her work. She is not only an interior designer but she is also a certified Marth Beck life coach. Carrie combines her background in fashion and psychology with twenty years in the interior design industry. She shows her clients how our living space often mirrors our inner space. Her blog: Carrie’s Design Musings, is in its sixth year and has a very loyal following!

Show Notes:

  • How did Carrie come to interior design?
  • What was her experience at Design Bloggers Conference?
  • Why should you go to the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What are the requirements to qualify for the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • How often is the Design Bloggers Conference held and where is the conference venue?
  • Do you get paid or is there money involved going to the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What were her observations at the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What did Carrie do while at High Point at the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • Why did she start her blog: Carrie’s Design Musings?
  • What are the nuts and bolts of her business?
  • How many employees does she have?
  • How does she connect her life coach experience to her interior design business?
  • When did she understand her value, and decide to start sending an invoice for her coaching?
  • What are some typical triggers that people start to think they are stuck?
  • Are there any tips that she would suggest to her clients to help them feel unstuck?
  • Are there any cautions that she would say to a new designer getting started?
  • Try everything!
  • What is something she does herself when she feels overwhelmed?
  • Can you retrain yourself on how to react to certain things or situations that bug you?

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

Nov 7, 2016

Our guest today on the show is Linda Holt! Linda was recommended to me by a listener of the podcast! Thank you, Marie! She suggested Linda because she admires her work and she loves the interesting bit that she comes from a twenty-year career in photography and she specializes in modeling and celebrity head shots. Linda has worked with more than 3000 celebrities, actors and models as one of Boston’s top headshot photographer. So today she is going to talk to us about why she made the switch from photography to interior design.

Show Notes:

  • What degree did she earn first in college?
  • Why didn’t Linda get a degree in interior design when she went to college?
  • What niche made her so successful in photography?
  • How did she arrive at her systems that she used in her photography business?
  • Why is it important to pay attention to personal details and remember them with clients?
  • How does she use Pinterest and Pinterest Boards for her business?
  • How does she bill for her work and what are the factors that determine the way she bills?
  • Does she talk to her clients up front about money or as she goes?
  • What are the “two hours”?
  • Why did she start her blog Linda Holt Interiors?
  • How often does she blog and how “big” is her blog?
  • How does she write and how does she figure out what to write about?
  • Does she read other blogs or listen to other podcasts?
  • What happened to her when she was at the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • How does she help designers use their iPhones to take better pictures?
  • What did Linda win at the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What sort of things did she learn from the Design Bloggers Conference?

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

Nov 4, 2016

We are back with another power talk Friday and we have Fred Berns with us again! As you know Fred Berns has been on the show two other times. We have talked about our bio briefing, our website once over because Fred is a leader in the interior design business coaching arena. He has twenty-five years of experience specializing in helping interior designers grow their interior design firms through more effective websites, more effective programs,  and more effective introductions and bios. Today we are going to talk about selling methods of the masters.

Show Notes:

  • What do financially successful firms have in common?
  • What is the “daily dozen” and how is this helpful to your business?
  • What is saving the best for first and how does it work?
  • What is the number one financial obstacle for designer firms?
  • Treat obstacles as opportunities!
  • What are closing questions and how can they help close a sale?
  • Always talk about a phase two before you talk about phase one!
  • How do you make sure there is “no money left on the table”?
  • What does it mean to have money left on the table and why is it bad?
  • How should a new designer start marketing?
  • What is one thing people can’t get anywhere else?
  • Pay attention to what clients had a problem with in previous transactions!
  • What are common mistakes designers make when selling their services?
  • What is feel, felt, found?
  • How can you use a blog as a good selling tool?
  • What is the best personal tool to use when trying to “sell yourself”?
  • How can you adapt your bio with Fred Bern’s knowledge that he has shared with us?

Download the free resources from Fred Berns from our resource center: Window Works 

Nov 2, 2016

Today I have someone whom I’m sure many of you are familiar with his businesses or platforms. You have probably heard of at least one of them and maybe you know Adam Japko through one of these. He is the founder and CEO of Esteem Media but prior to Esteem Media he was the president of DigitalSherpa. Esteem Media is the home of leading national and local media brands that specialize in luxury home design and fine wine. Through Adam Japko, Esteem Media leads the industry in community and initiatives that help business professionals just like you navigate the shift between traditional and digital media. Adam also has a wine blog called WineZag. I hope you enjoy this interview with Adam Japko as he talks about his business Esteem Media and all about the Design Bloggers Conference!

Show Notes:

  • Where does the commerce happen?
  • How did Adam come up with the model he uses in his businesses?
  • What extra value does Adam put into his work?
  • What is the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • Why did Adam launch the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What are keynote designers?
  • What three groups are used to design the outcome of the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • Is it just designers who come to the Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What things can you learn by coming to these conferences?
  • How often is the Design Bloggers Conference held?
  • Who will be the speaker at the next Design Bloggers Conference?
  • What makes the Design Bloggers Conference different from other conferences?
  • In what ways does the Design Bloggers Conference make connections that people will never forget,  and how does it  branch out to people?
  • How are these connections made different?
  • Bring your values to your work!
  • Don’t bring a work version of yourself to work!
  • How you get the most out of your life.

You will find the rest of the show notes  at our resource center:   Window Works