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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Now displaying: February, 2017
Feb 27, 2017

I am very happy to announce that I have my buddy Sandra Funk from House of Funk! If you are a returning listener you will know exactly who Sandra Funk is because you know she was on the show on episode 3. You have heard me mention her on the podcast several times over the past year. The reason why you hear me mention her so much is I just admire so much how she runs her business. So often I have other guests on the show that I admire the same way but I don’t see it head on and day to day. So, when I want to make a point or mention her it’s because I see her work up close all the time.

If you are new to the show this is all new information. Sandra Funk is the founder and principal designer of House of Funk. It is a full-service firm with offices in New York City and Montclair, New Jersey and they also have e-funk, their online option for interior design. The thing about House of Funk is that they are fully dedicated to living purposefully and authenticity. House of Funk supports charitable organizations such as Charity Water and the Junior League. Both organizations empower women. Why is Sandra Funk back today? Sandra has rebranded her firm after ten years in business. She has taken a pivot and did some soul searching. We are going to talk about that a little bit.

Show Notes:

  • What sort of things has Sandra been going through to make her want to rebrand after being in business for ten years?
  • What are some of the steps that she took to rebrand her business?
  • How did Sandra use social media to promote her business?
  • Who does what on her team?
  • How does she get people outside of her network into her network?
  • What was Sandra’s painful experience?
  • How did Sandra deal with her bad experience?
  • Why are deadlines so important to her?
  • What are her long-term and short-term goals?


Feb 24, 2017

Welcome back to another power talk Friday! Kimberley is a full service, luxury interior designer and she has offices in Canada and Los Angeles and is the founder of Business of Design. Business of Design is a dynamic platform for interior designers who want to run more profitable businesses.

The number of resources that Kimberley has available for you at the Business of Design platform is unbelievable. She is also an author of several books. If you would like the full back story on Kimberley, please go back to episode 112 on this podcast. Today she is going to talk with us about the flat fee demons! She is an expert at pricing your project and positioning your firm and projects for maximum profitability. I have to let the cat out of the bag! Kimberley is starting her own podcast!

Show Notes:

  • How long did it take Kimberley to write her book about flat fees?
  • What is internal negotiation and when does this happen?
  • Why should a designer charge for the initial consultation?
  • What other processes should be taken into consideration when setting a flat fee?
  • How does resentment towards the client usually happen?
  • What should you bill for?
  • What is scope creep?
  • How does a designer “train” a client?
  • When should you cut corners?
  • How should a contract be written?
  • What are some “traps” that can happen if your contract is not written correctly?
  • When is Kimberley’s next webinar?
  • How can you get the membership?


March 9th Webinar - Win The Flat Fee Game:

Feb 22, 2017

Welcome back to another Well-Designed Business! If you are a first-time listener and just now finding our show thank you so much for tuning in! On the show, today Sarah Wilson is with me. Sarah is an interior designer located in Redlands, California. She has just hit her two-year anniversary in business. She is a designer with a degree from the designer institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.

Today you are going to learn why and how Sarah left a career as a software quality engineer to pursue her passion in interior design. While she was attending FDIN she participated in different chairing styles where she created a chairing style that she intends to one day bring to market. Color is one of Sarah’s passions and encourages clients to use bold colors in their spaces.

Show Notes:

  • What are some of the skill sets that Sarah brought to her business?
  • What other degrees does Sarah have?
  • What would she like to tell all the people starting their new interior design businesses?
  • Where and how did she get her first client for her business?
  • How did she start up her business?
  • What is BNI?
  • What were some things that she thought would be challenging but were surprisingly easy?
  • How important is networking for your business?
  • What are some mistakes that Sarah encountered during her first two years in business?
  • What are some big victories that she has accomplished in her first two years?
  • How did she come to the decision to raise her prices for her services?
  • What goals has Sarah set for herself for 2017?
  • What process did she use to bring in interns?
  • How does Sarah organize her Instagram and use it to show off her work?


Feb 20, 2017

Glen Peloso will be joining me today on A Well-Designed Business. Glen is one-half of the Glen and Jamie of the Peloso Alexander Interiors. Each Glen and Jamie are successful interior designers some twenty plus years each and in 2013 these two respected designers came together to co-found Peloso Alexander Interiors in Toronto.

Following their merger, they launched their brand “Glen and Jamie Designer Collection” which is an upholstery line that is now available in stores nationwide. They have both appeared in both print and television in North America and internationally, HGTV and Food Network. They are regulars as design experts for the Merrel and Dennis Show, Global Morning Show, Breakfast Television Toronto and CHCH Morning.

They are also regular design columnists for national papers like the Toronto Star and are national contributors to a variety of national and international magazines. Glen and Jamie serve as design directors at Toronto’s largest attended festival, Buscar Fest. They were recently honored by being appointed ambassadors to the peer project, a non-profit organization that assists youth mentored by youth. They maintain two boutique locations and somehow, they run a full-time interior design firm with a staff of ten!

Show Notes:

  • How did Glen and Jamie come to want to found a business together?
  • What are some skill sets that Glen has that compliment Peloso Alexander Interiors that are different from Jamie’s skillsets?
  • How did the two stores come to be?
  • What is the difference in the two stores?
  • What is the idea for “the basement”?
  • How did the media part of the business get started?
  • When did Glen have his start in television?
  • What advice does Glen give to people who want to be on television and be famous?
  • What are the design tours that Glen Jamie do together?
  • How can someone join a tour that is being held by Glen and Jamie?
  • How do you most effectively use the resources given to you?


Feb 17, 2017

It’s another episode of power talk Friday! I have Jim Riviello with me today! Jim is the founder of Leadership X University, LXU. He is a speaker, team development coach as well as the author of “There Must be a Better Way”. His latest book is called “Rivelations for Business Professionals”. Jim and his team provide business leadership and growth tools to help you accelerate yourself as an individual, a team leader, home owner and team development. He comes from his own experience and has been in our shoes. He shares his own personal stories and this one of the reasons I was attracted to Jim and his team.

Show Notes:

  • What is “be do have not have do be”?
  • Where should you be looking first if you are not successful?
  • When should you plan your work week?
  • How should you or what are some ways to plan your work week?
  • How can you use Monday to plan for the rest of the week?
  • What is a power day and how often should you have them?
  • What is the golden rule for having to reschedule a meeting?
  • Why is it so important to just keep moving the “needle”?
  • What is the importance of three steps?
  • What does the phrase catch first mean?
  • What kind of programs does Jim and his team offer?


There Must be a Better Way

Rivelations for Business Professionals

Feb 15, 2017

Today is the one year birthday for A Well Design Business! IT’s been quite a journey with so many challenges and victories along the way. It’s like the best roller coaster you have ever been on. For the one year birthday show I have been thinking “what should I do?” I wanted it to be different from regular scheduling. I remembered what I did for the 6 month show and for the 100th episode and I decided I can’t do what I did on those shows again.

Then I was listening to Natalie Eckdahls BizChix Podcast. It’s a great show! It has lots of insight on how to run a business. While Natalie is a great business coach for anyone on any level she seems to really speak to “solos” and the struggles of solos. Natalie just celebrated her 3rd year on air and for that episode, she invited someone to interview her. I love that idea! So, I snagged and copied the idea.

Today I have invited Carol Cox to be my interviewer. Carol is the creator of “Speaking your Brand” which provides mission-driven entrepreneurs and organizations with communications and media training. She helps them excavate their stories and core messages and create a breakthrough brand and signature talk that grows their business and influence. Carol also teaches business and marketing at a university and during election seasons she serves as a political analyst on TV news.

Show Notes:

  • How did the podcast “A Well-Designed Business” come about?
  • What was it that Luann saw that designers were struggling with and that her podcast could help?
  • Why do people like Luann’s podcast: A Well Design Business?
  • How does she find the guests for her podcast?
  • What is the criteria for a guest that Luann would pick?
  • Why did she come up with power talk Friday for her podcast?
  • Is there some advice that Luann has heard in several of the episodes over and over?
  • How did Luann learn to trust her intuition?
  • Why did Luann decide to hire a speaking coach?
  • Why didn’t she go to college?
  • What kind of thinker do you need to be to be a good designer?
  • What has she gotten the most of doing the podcast?
  • When is, her book coming out and what is it about?
  • What’s next for the podcast?


A Making of a Well-Designed Business
Feb 13, 2017

I have two dynamos in the marketing and PR world, Ann Feldstein and Jennifer Powell Tumpowsky of Moxie Marketing and Communications. We are going to talk today about how to be prepared to work with a PR marketing firm and what you can expect them to help you with if you do hire one.

But first a little background on these two accomplished women. Moxie Marketing and Communications is a New York-based public relations marketing firm representing interior designers, architects, manufacturers and brands in the interior design industry. Founder and President, Ann Feldstein and her partner, Jennifer Powell Tumpowsky have twenty plus combined years of industry specific experience. Ann, throughout her career, has worked on high-end brands and for fifteen years she was the Vice President of Communications at Kravet Inc. At Kravet, she focused on B2B marketing and PR, media and event planning and was a part owner of CrossFit Sanctuary.

Jennifer is a native of High Point, North Carolina and her passion for the design industry and deep understanding of marketing makes her a valuable asset to their clients. Jennifer joined Moxie in April of 2016 after she also spent time at Kravet Inc. Jennifer was at Kravet for seven years and was the Director of Communications and oversaw the development of strategy, implementation of social media, copyrighting, public relations and assisted with events, product launching and media planning. Jennifer has visited every major design center in the country. She speaks to designers large and small about the power of social media and the importance of marketing in the interior design industry.


Show Notes:

  • What is it like to be a client at Moxie Marketing and Communications?
  • Does their business work with interior designers that don’t know what their goals are?
  • What is a brand presence?
  • What is the purpose of going to different events?
  • What does it mean to have a good social media presence?
  • What are some principles for good social media campaign?
  • How many social platforms should a business be on?
  • Are there certain things that someone should have ready before deciding to work with a PR firm?
  • How important is communication for your business?
  • How should you capture your work?
  • What is something that you need to make sure is very clear on your website or page?


Feb 10, 2017

We’re back with another power talk Friday! I’m happy to announce that I have Charlotte Safavi with me today. Charlotte is a London born, Oxford University-educated writer and stylist. She has written for national shelter magazines such as Better Home and Gardens, Traditional Home, House Beautiful, HGTV magazine, Southern Living, New York Cottages and Gardens, Lux Interiors and Design, Southern Home and many more. 

I am looking at this list that Charlotte has been published in and think of how many times I have read those same lists for each of the interior design guests we have had on the show. Today we are going to look at it from the other side, the writer side.

Show Notes:

  • What makes Charlotte’s niche different than other stylists for magazines?
  • Why did she decide on this niche?
  • What does she do in her scouting for a shoot?
  • What might be some suggestions that Charlotte would give the designer or photographer?
  • When should a designer use a team like Charlotte’s team for their projects?
  • What are some ways that Charlotte approaches a project when scouting?
  • Why is it important to have a narrative or thread to a project?
  • How can a designer keep the narrative or thread going through a photo shoot?
  • What are some ways to stage a project to attract that client you want?


Feb 8, 2017

Today on the show I have yet another fabulous business coach who specializes in our industry! Michele Williams is with me! Michele is the founder of Scarlet Thread and Consulting in Atlanta, Georgia. Today we will learn about Michele’s background which includes the financial software industry as well as a business in soft window treatment fabricator. She also has a BS in business administration, a diploma in Christian life coaching and she is one of the few certified profit first coaches in the United States. 

Michele was also the communication director and editor in chief of the Drapery and Designs Professional Magazine from 2009 to 2012. She is a member of The Design Collective in Atlanta, the Designers Work Club Council and the Window Covering Association of America. After talking to Michele I realized that there are so many things I could talk with her about but after we talk about her background a little bit we are going to pull apart work scheduling and chunking our day to have more productivity.

Show Notes:

  • What is her background in the financial software industry?
  • When did she decide to start her window treatment business?
  • Did she start with a business plan?
  • How did she start to make her business bigger?
  • What is the Design Collective in Atlanta?
  • What is a round table discussion and how is it helpful?
  • How is the Window Coverings Association helpful to Michele and her business?
  • What are some of things that you can expect Michele to talk about the expo IWCE in Charlotte?
  • Why is it important to listen to different people say the same things?
  • Why is important to be able to chunk your time for productivity?
  • Is it better to be proactive or reactive?
  • How should you plan your calendar?


Feb 6, 2017

On the show, today it is kind of a departure for the podcast because I am going to be speaking with an interior design student: Ashleigh Esprit. Ashleigh is a student Gwinnett Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia and she is working on her associates degree in interior design. She will complete her associates degree in the spring of 2017 and then attend Brunel University in the fall to get her masters in interior design. She has had great success in her internships and working with a great company, Sherwin Williams. She is very passionate about design and very passionate about her colleagues. She has started a blog, The Life of an Interior Design Student. In the interview, you will learn how Ashleigh and I came to know each other and what I have learned about her to make me respect her. 

Show Notes:

  • Why did Ashleigh start a blog for interior design students?
  • What are some of the struggles that she has experienced that other students have as well?
  • How does Ashleigh overcome her times when she is having trouble staying inspired?
  • What made Ashleigh want to be involved in the interior design business and study more about interior design?
  • Are there any classes that Ashleigh thinks are more beneficial than others?
  • Does Ashleigh think internships are important?
  • Is there anything that she thinks should be included in the interior design curriculum that isn’t explained well enough already?
  • Is Ashleigh a part of ASID?
  • What are Ashleigh’s goals for her career in interior design?
  • What are some other blogs that she has connected with?
  • Has Ashleigh learned anything from doing her blog: The Life of an Interior Design Student?


The Life of an Interior Design Student

Feb 3, 2017

On this power talk Friday I am happy to say that I have Heather Ann Havenwood! Heather Ann Havenwood is the CEO of Havenwood Worldwide. She is the head chief sexy boss, she is an entrepreneur and a top authority in internet marketing, business strategies, and marketing.

What I found that is very interesting about Heather is that she started her first online business in 1999. If you think about that in 1999 nobody really had computers in their homes. In 2006, she took a company that she developed and grew it to an online marketing, publishing company from ground zero to over one million dollars in sales in under twelve months!

Show Notes:

  • What is Heather’s nitch?
  • What should you promote first for your business?
  • What are some of the differences between men and women’s approaches when it comes to getting what they want in business?
  • When or should you become friends with clients?
  • Why are consistency and commitment important?
  • What is H2H and why is it important?
  • Why is it important to google your name every occasionally?
  • Why does everyone fail to succeed?
  • Why did she write her book: Sexy Boss: How the Empowerment of Women is Changing the Rule Book of Sex, Money, and Business?
  • Why are testimonials important to your business?
  • How do you get testimonials?
  • What is Heather’s podcast about?


Sexy boss: How the Empowerment of Women is Changing the Rule Book of Sex, Money, and Success

The Win with Heather Havenwood

Feb 1, 2017

I have Paula Grace with me today! Paula Grace comes to interior design as a second career. Before coming to interior design, she earned master degrees in clinical social work and business administration. She held a directorship in a large behavioral health program and was a senior instructor at the graduate level in a prestigious university medical center. This is exactly why I was so intrigued to bring Paula on the show! In addition to designing interiors, she also designs furniture and area rugs which are available to the trade. Paula Grace also consults and shares her knowledge with us her design colleagues on how to build strong professional relationships with clients, staff and vendors.

Show Notes:

  • What are the steps that an interior designer should start out with when trying to build a good relationship with clients?
  • What should a designer talk about in the first meeting with a client?
  • Why is it so important to stick to your original plan?
  • What are some clues that you as a designer have not explained clearly enough what you are about? 
  • What are the four “c”s?
  • How can designers reinforce to their clients that they made the right decision?
  • How can you stay out of the “friend zone”?
  • How can you deal with a person’s bad experience from a previous project?
  • How can you as a leader decide if your staff members are happy in their work environment?
  • What is the organization culture assessment instrument?
  • What is the reveal and heal process?
  • How do the relationships with your clients relate to your relationships with your staff members?
  • How can you keep a great designer happy at a small firm?
  • How open should you be when owning your own business?