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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A Well-Designed Business® | Interior Design Business Podcast








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Now displaying: January, 2017
Jan 30, 2017

Gillian Rose is a Canadian transplant whose New York-based interior design and color consultancy firm draws on several years of professional experience in design practice, as well as formal training from Parcel School of Design. As a color scientist, Gillian works to ensure the positive integration of people and their environments. Her consultation process includes supporting the function of space, avoiding the over and under-stimulating spaces based on personality, and avoiding negative emotional and physiological response to the built environment. Gillian is an accredited member of the association of Color Associates of North America and she uses the psychological and physiological impact of color on the human experience to bring exceptional creativity and tailored edge to her design projects.

Show Notes:

  • What are the names that Gillian and fellow color scientists refer to themselves as?
  • How many businesses does Gillian have?
  • How does her business The Science of Color help businesses?
  • What does Gillian mean that color is part of our DNA?
  • In what ways does color affect introverts and extroverts?
  • Does instinct play a role in picking colors?
  • Is it possible for people to be living in the wrong colors?
  • When should you create different spaces when colors are not working all the same?
  • Is there such a thing as a general color reaction?
  • Are there certain colors that appeal to our libido?
  • Are the colors that appeal to women and men different?
  • What is the color assessment test?
  • Where should you look to decide what color to use for a space?
  • Who was Gillian’s mentor?
  • What and where is the association of paint color collection?
  • What are clear colors?


Jan 27, 2017

Today I have Cathi Hargaden on this power talk Friday! Interestingly enough for you interior designers, she is a feng shui expert. She has been practicing and teaching this for over twenty years.  She has taught this at workshops, universities, demonstrations at retail stores, hospitals, homes etc. She has traveled to several countries doing this for small businesses. I know you are all thinking we already know about feng shui and how to teach this. What we are going to talk to Cathi about is how feng shui relates to our business and success.

Show Notes:

  • What ways can you bring tenacity to your business?
  • What is so important about what “sits behind you”?
  • What should be in front of you at your workspace?
  • How can you make your environment project what kind of person you are?
  • How should your desk be arranged in your workplace?
  • How can plants help your work environment?
  • How can you put power into your workspace?
  • In what way, should an interior designer’s layout their personal space?
  • What sort of help or tools does Cathi have to declutter?
  • How do you identify what elements you need more of?
  • What does water flow represent?
  • What is the power of signs?
  • How does space clearing relate to safety?
  • How many different kinds of feng shui are there?


Jan 25, 2017

Welcome back! On the show today I have Barbara Sallick! She is the Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Design for Waterworks, and Author of ‘The Perfect Bath’. In 1978, Barbara and her husband Robert Sallick founded Waterworks, a luxury kitchen and bath brand in Danbury, Connecticut.

The two are dedicated to bringing the European style to the American bath market. In the years to follow Waterworks has transformed the kitchen and bath market. Barbara has applied her education and lifelong love for art, antiques, travel and the principles for architecture and decoration to educate those around her and to elevate the bath to a room that is as beautiful, personal, inviting as it is practical.

Today on the show Barbara is going to share with us the steps to confidentially design and execute a perfect bath project.

Show Notes:

  • What sort of things does Waterworks help a person do?
  • When should you have experts help you with your bathroom?
  • Who do you need to have on your team when starting on a bathroom project?
  • What is an architecture trim?
  • Why is important to work with the right sales consultant for you?
  • Why should you not be intimidated when walking into Waterworks?
  • When should you bring your client to the showroom?
  • How much homework should you do before you bring a client to the showroom?
  • What sort of lingo should you have when coming to Waterworks?
  • What sort of customer service does Waterworks have?
  • When should you call the client service department when working with Waterworks?
  • When did Barbara and her husband pivot their business, Waterworks?
  • Why was this pivot such an important decision for more success for the business?
  • What is her new book, The Perfect Bath about?


The Perfect Bath

Waterworks: Inventing Bath Style

Jan 23, 2017

On the show, today I have Kate O’ Hara of Martha O’ Hara Interiors. She is another guest that has been requested by a listener! Kate O’ Hara is the director of business and marketing development at the Minneapolis, Minnesota and Austin, Texas-based interior design firm Martha O’ Hara Interiors.

After pioneering the local firms’ expansion to national markets and international clientele. Kate was named one of Minnesota’s the top thirty-two under thirty-two marketing professionals. She has played a leading role growing and refining Martha O’ Hara marketing strategy and social media presence.

You will hear Kate talk about how they have over 200000 followers on Facebook and how they rated as a top industry expert on These things happened under Kate’s leadership. Her mother Martha runs their award winning interior design team which has been featured in local and national media.

Show Notes:

  • How did Martha O’ Hara Interiors get started?
  • What are some things that have made Martha O’ Hara Interiors successful?
  • What should be on the hiring criteria?
  • What is the interview all about?
  • How many times should you “meet” someone before hiring them?
  • What is the most important investment for the business?
  • How does the hiring process work through Martha O’ Hara Interiors?
  • How does the platform work for promoting business?
  • How can you get more reviews on
  • What are some things you can do to get more followers?
  • How does Martha O’Hara Interiors prepare for the questions going to be asked on
  • Any response is better than no response!
  • How does different social media platforms work together for a better presence?


Jan 20, 2017

On this power talk Friday I am happy to say that I have finally brought a lawyer to you! I have been thinking about it for a while and I have Kwame Christian with us today! Kwame is part of the American Negotiation Institute and a fellow podcaster. He is the host of negotiation of entrepreneurs and he is very passionate about teaching business professionals like us to negotiate and be more persuasive. I love negotiation almost as much as I love sales! Kwame has a lot of great advice and tips you don’t want to miss out on.

Show Notes:

  • What is Kwame’s definition of negotiation?
  • Who do we negotiate with the most?
  • What is a “date test” and why is it important?
  • How can negotiation help be a better communicator?
  • How can persuasion help you be a better business person?
  • What are the three things you need to be a good negotiator?
  • What is the difference between an open-ended and a close ended question?
  • When should you find out someone’s push points?
  • Where do you as a business person need to find confidence first?
  • What is the first step for negotiation?
  • How has society shaped women on how to get what they want?
  • What is the art of concession?
  • When and how should you say yes and no?
  • Why should you say no?
  • What is a no sandwich?


Kwame's Podcast:
About Kwame:
Jan 18, 2017

Today on the show we have Grace McNamara. Grace has owned and produced window fashion Vision magazine since 1986. Vision is the business publication for the window covering industry in North America. I can certainly attest to this, we have subscribed to this magazine since the very beginning of our business! It is always full from cover to cover of useful information. In addition, Grace also produces the international window coverings expo, the industries national trade show and educational conference. Also, in 1990 Grace developed the window fashion certified professionals program. The longest ongoing training for window coverings professionals. Grace is a member of the international furnishings and design association and a press member of ASID and IIDA.

Show Notes:

  • What two areas has Grace niched her business in?
  • Why did Grace choose window treatments?
  • Is there anyone else that addresses this market the way that Grace does?
  • How did she come across the cake design business?
  • What was the practical and emotional situations when deciding to buy a business?
  • Why is confidence so important when running a business?
  • What is IWCE (International Window Coverings Expo)?
  • Where is, the IWCE going to be held?
  • What is going to be offered at IWCE that would be helpful to businesses?
  • Who are some of the speakers that will be at IWCE?
  • How many seminars does Grace have available for the Expo?
  • How does she come up with the topics for the Expo?
  • How do you register for the Expo seminars?
  • Why did Grace decide to have the Expo in Charlotte this year?
  • How many attendees are there generally at the expos?


Jan 16, 2017

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 Corey Damen 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, 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 Damen to decide to get on HGTV’s Show House Showdown?
  • What were the reasons that Corey Damen was cast for HGTV’s Show House Showdown?
  • How has Corey Damen 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 Damen decide to design his furniture through Leathercraft?
  • What is Leathercraft?
  • How did Corey Damen decide what fabrics to use on his furniture collection?
  • Who did Corey Damen name a piece of his furniture in his new collection after?
  • How does he come up with his designs for his furniture?


His website:


His Leathercraft Furniture line:


The Kate Spade Collection for Kravet which was mentioned in the episode:


Jan 13, 2017

On this power talk Friday I am excited to say that Kimberley Seldon with me again on the show. If you remember she was just on the show about a month ago, and she has her interior design business but she also has Business of Design where she teaches interior designers how to run their businesses more effectively and more profitably. Kimberley’s Business of Design is one of our happy sponsors here!

Show Notes:

  • How long did it take Kimberley to write her third book?
  • When does her third book come out?
  • Does Kimberley like flat fees?
  • What are the steps to turning your business’s business model around?
  • What systems should be in place when you decide to “try”?
  • Should the fees or the client wish list change?
  • Make sure to document!
  • Does a designer have to track everything even though they have a flat fee?
  • Are there projects that have no deficiencies?
  • How should a designer expect to be paid?
  • How can you make yourself sound professional and confident when talking about money?
  • How can you tell when you have a mature pier?
  • What happens when a client misses payments?
  • How many times should you talk or ask about money?
  • How should you deal with a change in a project?
  • How should the client be billed when something does change in a project?
  • When is Kimberley’s newest webinar?
  • Is Kimberley’s Webinar free?


Volume One: Have the Professional Life You’ve Always Wanted

Volume Two: Make Every Project Satisfying for Both you and your Client

How to Win the Flat Fee Game

Kimberley's website:

"Join today and start to turn your business in the right direction. And a reminder Basic membership is free and you'll receive a free download of Kimberley's book 10 Profit Drivers for signing up."
The new book coming 1/31/17
Jan 11, 2017

On the show today I am so excited to introduce you all to Nicole Heymer! Nicole is the owner of Curio Electro Boutique Web Design Agency that specializes in branding, content strategy and web design and development for interior design firms and other innovative businesses. She has been helping more interior designers bring in more leads and increase their visibility online since 2011! I know we have talked about branding on the show more than a couple times, but this is such an important aspect of your business in this age of social media. I promise there is more to learn about branding.

Show Notes:

  • Why is branding so important for interior designers?
  • How does Nicole divide the ways to look at branding?
  • What are the benefits of having a brand?
  • How can you let people know what you really want or enjoy to design?
  • Can you have too much “language” on your about me page?
  • Give the reasons why!
  • How does a client determine “your worth” and what to pay an interior designer?
  • How should you pick your colors?
  • Why are colors and what they mean so important?
  • How do you figure out your message?
  • What is the bare minimum you can do when starting out?
  • Why is font important?
  • What should be included in your branding guidelines?
  • Is it worth it to hire a photographer if possible?
  • What can you do to let people know you can do what they want, even when you have no projects yet?
  • How can a designer “beef up” their website when starting out?
  • How can a designer use blogging to express their brand?
  • When should and shouldn’t a designer use a blog?
  • What else could be used for good website content?
  • What makes you different?


Jan 9, 2017

Today one the show I am talking with Michelle Nussbaumer. Michelle is an interior designer, textile and furniture designer, an author and owns a beautiful shop: Ceylon et Cie located in the Dallas design district. Michelle’s journey includes a husband and four children and it starts in west Texas. She goes from New York, Rome, Los Angeles and all the way back to Texas. Recently her book for Rizzoli, Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home was released and it includes thirty years of interior design as well as her travels. Today Michelle and I talk about her career, her opinions on the business and her globetrotting lifestyle.

Show Notes:

  • How does Michelle keep up with everything she has going on?
  • Does Michelle have different teams or organizations for each project?
  • Where did Michelle just sign a licensing agreement?
  • How are her schedules set up and what system(s) does she use?
  • Is her business a family business?
  • How big is her team and who does what?
  • How does she try to make all of her home designs feel?
  • What is Michelle’s business model for designs?
  • What advice would Michelle give to a brand-new designer fresh out of school?
  • What has her experience been with interns?
  • Can a person do a trial run to decide if you want to work at a design firm?
  • How did she decide to write a book?
  • How did she decide what her book, Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home would be about?
  • How did Michelle find her agent for her book?
  • What is the process like when writing a book?
  • What about her fabric business?
  • Will her fabrics be in showrooms?


To purchase Michelle's book:

Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home

Jan 6, 2017

Welcome back to another power talk Friday! I’m happy to let you know I have Marianne Cherico back with me! If you remember episode 75 Marianne and I talked about her philosophy on asking “what would the CEO do?” in order to get yourself organized daily, weekly and yearly.

Just to give you a reminder of who Marianne is and what she does she has owned and operated a successful home staging business since 2005. She also spent 27 years in the real estate business and 17 of those years she was part of a top producing New England real estate team.

Marianne has coached many home stagers all over the country on how to up-level their business by developing both mindset skills and strategy. She helps home stagers own their magnificent and create their life and a business that sets their souls on fire.

Show Notes:

  • What do home stagers, in particular, seem to struggle with?
  • What is the inner and outer game?
  • How is the outer game affected by the inner game?
  • How does she decide how and what a client needs to do to prioritize?
  • What does she suggest clients do to get more business?
  • What is Marianne’s tele summit: your home staging business on fire going to be about?
  • Who are some of the speakers that will be on the tele summit and what are some of the topics will they be discussing?
  • How does it work to be a part of tele summit?
  • Is it free to be a part of tele summit?
  • Who should listen to the tele summit?


Jan 4, 2017

I am happy to tell you all that I have Barclay Butera on the show today! Barclay Butera is the creative force behind the Barclay Butera design firm and the showrooms located in New Port Beach, California, West Hollywood, California, Corona Del Moore, California and Park City Utah. Butera is renowned for his approachable elegance and glamorous coastal chic interiors. His passion for interior design began two decades ago! You will learn today how it has grown into an impressive lifestyle enterprise that in addition to his interior design business he also has licensing with some of the industries most respected partners including Kravet, Bradburn Gallery Home, Eastern Ascents, Highland House Furniture, Left Bank Art and several others. Not to mention he has five coffee table books.

Show Notes:

  • When did Barclay realize that he wanted to be in the interior design business?
  • How old was Barclay when he started his first business?
  • Was Barclay organized enough that his second location was as successful as his first?
  • How many designers does he have working for him?
  • How is the company set up?
  • Is there a management program or does Barclay oversee everything?
  • How does he handle things at corporate if he is not present at the corporate office?
  • Who handles the licensing for his business: Barclay Butera Interior Design?
  • What is it like to work with Kravet?
  • What happens at the different showrooms?
  • How many projects does Barclay Butera Interior Design company do a year?
  • What kind of system does he have to work up the ranks?
  • When does Barclay have time to write five coffee table books?
  • Why did Barclay decide to write a book?
  • What would be his advice be to someone who wanted to accomplish as much in business as he has?
  • What would he say is something that he has seen that prevents a company from running well?


Jan 2, 2017

Today on the show I am happy to welcome Charrisse Johnston, chair of ASID National! She is also the principal and the firm-wide practice leader of Steinberg Architects. Steinberg Architects has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Shanghai. Charrisse was previously the senior associate and studio operations leader at Gensler where she managed and designed K-12, higher education, and workplace projects. Before that, she was Vice President of corporate planning for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter where she oversaw the companies consolidated financial and strategic planning efforts. Today we talk about all kinds of things including her career path which also includes both behavioral psychology and a successful wedding planning business. We will also talk about how she was introduced to ASID as a student in California. Charrisse is smart, down to earth and an inspiring leader.

Show Notes:

  • Would Charrisse say that entrepreneurs have a better start out with a financial background?
  • What is Charrisse’s niche in Steinberg Architects?
  • How old is the Steinberg Architects business?
  • How does design work for an “after the fact” work?
  • Has Steinberg started a trend for architectural firms to start offering architectural design as well interior design?
  • What is evidence-based design?
  • Where can you find more information on evidence-based designs?
  • Why did the position names change?
  • How successful was Charrisse’s student chapter when she was president?
  • How did she gain her position as chair of ASID national?
  • What are some programs and benefits that ASID National has to offer for new designers and for seasoned designers?
  • How is ASID National using health and wellness in design?
  • How is ASID helping designers with designs for people who have to leave their home and move to an assisted living home?
  • What new events are coming out in 2017 at ASID National?
  • What are some government issues that ASID is trying to work on?