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: May, 2017
May 31, 2017

Are you bummed because you weren't able to attend the amazing  Designerlebrity Event, which was held on the 17th of May at the gorgeous Ethan Allen Showroom in New York City? If so, have no worries, because we have the full audio for the event, right here for you, on today's show. Listen in now, to catch this special presentation.

The panel for the event included Barbara Viteri, a brilliant business woman and the Creator of Designerlebrity, Cheryl Eisen, the Founder of Interior Marketing Group, Mikel Welsch, the Principal of Mikel Welsch Design and Manuella Morreira, the co-founder of the really beautiful New York Ethan Allan location. Today's show starts off with LuAnn's private, pre-show interview of the four panelists. After that, we go straight into the live panel discussion, which happened in front of all the attendees. Listen in to find out more about this outstanding Designer  Event.


Some highlights include:

  • Mikel gives some inside info on Harry Connick Jr – that he really is as sweet and authentic as he seems to be, on his show!
  • Mikel gives a brief synopsis of working with Steve Harvey.
  • What it's like for Cheryl Eisen to work on the show with Frederick.
  • That Cheryl staged Bethany's apartment and it sold within twenty-four hours – for over asking!
  • What it's like for Cheryl, working with networks and doing amazing work that just doesn't get spoken about.
  • Cheryl talks about the freedom of not having to design for a client and why people come to her.
  • What it's like for Manuella, to design with the challenge of people from every walk of life coming into her showroom, in the middle of Manhattan.
  • How Manuella got to where she is today.
  • LuAnn explains what a wonderful and unique person and the astute businesswoman that Barbara Viteri really is!
  • How Barbara got to where she is today.
  • Barbara explains about the hot topics and the potentials in her great, new thing that she's doing for the design community.
  • Being prepared to be lucky!
  • Barbara, Cheryl and Manuella's struggles on the way up and how they've grown beyond them.
  • LuAnn's encouragement for you to take time to listen to the voice inside you, which will never lead you wrong.
  • How Designers can help Celebrity Designers and grow in the industry.
  • If you're a Designer and you have something going on, share it with Barbara and she will put it out on the Designerlebrity Platform if it's noteworthy.
  • Cheryl answers Facebook Live questions about what was involved in her re-invention of herself and how she got started with doing staging of homes.
  • Barbara's definition of what epitomizes a Designerlebrity.
  • What makes a 'potential'.



Barbara's email:

To be on LuAnn's mailing list, send a text to 444 999 and put the word designbiz in the message field.

Go to LuAnn's website: to see The Designerlebrity Event streamed live on Facebook, through Tastefully Inspired. (Go to the To The Trade Blog and you'll see a whole recap there.)

You can also see all the pictures on the sites and blogs of all the others – Ethan Allen, Designerlebrity, and even Tastefully Inspired has a post about it.

May 29, 2017

Do you sometimes look around and wonder if there could be different, or perhaps better ways to run your business more efficiently? If so, take heart and don't despair. Amber Lewis is back on the show today and she knows where you're at and what you're going through because she's been there. Today, Amber and LuAnn will go a bit deeper into the business side of what Amber does. They talk about how she discovered this podcast last winter and that she signed up for Kimberley Seldon's courses, because of even Amber, with a firm as successful and as large as hers, still wonders if there could be a better way to run things more effectively. Listen in today, as Amber shares her advice and the things she's learned along the way.


Today, Amber talks to LuAnn about:

  • Some of the things that she's struggled with and challenges that she's faced, in her business.
  • How she had to fake it, to make it, in the beginning, when dealing with people that were way more professional and talented than she was.
  • What it was that catapulted her into a level above her own, in the beginning.
  • Being comfortable with evolving and knowing that your style could change often.
  • Being firm in your convictions, if you trust your own style.
  • That clients will tend to focus on your weakness if you let it show.
  • Parenting and running a business.
  • Figuring out invoicing in a way that makes sense to the client- it's everything!
  • The importance of figuring out how to create a good contract.
  • Studio Webware- Amber finds this to be an amazingly intuitive program.
  • The importance of figuring out your system and the chain of command in your firm.
  • How she really works really together with her whole team.
  • That she understands and accepts that there will always be variables with the trade.
  • That her organization takes overall responsibility for everything in a project.
  • How she works very specifically with vendors and contractors.
  • That client couldn't care less who's fault it is if there's a problem- It's your responsibility!
  • Treating your job as if it's your business and learning as much as possible about all it's aspects if you intend starting out on your own, one day.
  • That she's always learning, growing and being humbled.
  • That there's always the human factor in business.


Amber's website:
Amber's instagram:

May 26, 2017

Do you realize how hard it can be to create a really successful experience for an intern in your business? LuAnn certainly does and this is one of the reasons that she asked Ranya Barrett to come onto the show today, to talk about the terrific Intern Program that she's set up at The House Of Funk. This program has both helped and developed the House Of Funk in the last year and the interns there have really benefited from the winning experience that Ranya has created for them. Listen in to find out more about Ranya's awesome Intern Program.

For nearly a full year now, LuAnn has admired the enormous change and that Ranya, as a single individual, has brought to Sandra Funk's business. LuAnn has watched an extreme uplevel of their message, branding, marketing and focus since Ranya joined their firm in the Spring of 2016. Prior to that, Ranya was a Content Director, Writer, Editor and a Branding Consultant, with more than thirteen years in the industry. She's written and edited for Glamour Magazine,, Highlights Magazine and Scholastic Books.  Ranya has a B.FA in Theatre, from New York University Tisch School Of The Arts and before taking up her current position as the Development Director at The House Of Funk, she was the Content Director at CA Creative, a New York-based Digital Media Agency. Listen in now, to find out more about Ranya and her really creative ways with interns.


Today, Ranya talks to LuAnn about:

  • That her Internship Program is an unpaid program, for school credit, so they cannot hire Interns if they're not getting school credit.
  • Some creative ways to go about looking for the right Interns.
  • Meeting the necessary criteria for the different colleges, when it comes to the credit requirements for the Interns.
  • That The House of Funk have taken it upon themselves to have a Close Out Program with their Interns, where they write a letter of recommendation, highlighting the Intern's particular skills, of which they both keep a copy and send one to the Intern, to be used later, as a reference.
  • The kinds of things that an Interior design Intern would need to turn into their school, at the end of a semester.
  • The kinds of interns that The House Of Funk has had.
  • The kinds tasks that Ranya has the Interns do.
  • What prompted her to initiate her Internship Program in Sandra Funk's business and how those interns are a real benefit to the business.
  • Tapping the skill sets of Graphic Design, Editorial or Video Interns, to your mutual benefit, in your business.
  • That it's not really necessary to plan ahead, in order to have a productive workflow for the Interns in your business.
  • How she manages situations where the Intern does not quite operate to the standard of quality that is required by the business.
  • Using your instinct with Interns.
  • Although you cannot expect to necessarily hire your awesome Intern, however, you might well be able to do that.
  • How much time the Interns spend working in the business.
  • Systems that she uses for monitoring the work of the Interns.
  • The amount of time and guidance that's necessary for the Interns.
  • That there will always be things that Interns can help you with, that will save you time and benefit them.
  • The Six Points Of Law, regarding unpaid Internships.
  • That Ranya takes in Interns for each semester.
  • The number of applicants that usually apply for Internship and Ranya's advice for interviewing and vetting Interns, to find the right fit.
  • That there will always be someone on your team, who could benefit from the assistance of an Intern.
May 24, 2017

Isn't it intriguing how we are sometimes lead to meeting certain people in strangely serendipitous ways?  Today's guest, Christie Leu, met LuAnn in a really fun and unusual way. Listen in to find out what brought these two ladies together and why LuAnn wanted to have Christie on the show today.

Christie, originally from Ohio,  is the principal of Christie Leu Interiors in DC. She started out in her career as a working artist, participating in juried shows and selling her work through galleries, stores, and catalogs. However, after having completed some major renovations to a number of her own homes, she realized just how much she really loved every step involved in the Interior Design process. So she enrolled in Montgomery College when her children were in pre-school and she earned an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences in Interior Design, with a further specialization in Kitchen and Bath Design. Christie was a star student and she won the local version of the National Kitchen And Bath Design Competition and was also asked to serve on the Montgomery College Advisory Board for Interior Design. Listen in now to find out more about how Christie and her colleagues learn from each other and help one another to grow and develop their businesses.


Today, Christie and LuAnn talk about:

  • The hysterical story about how Christie and LuAnn met at IWCE.
  • What happened with Christie, Darcy Heather, Lisa Escabar and Jessie Cooney at a Gail Doby Design Summit Event and their fabulous Mini Summit that ensued from that.
  • How their Mini Summit really helped them to get to know one another and gave them a real understanding of the reasoning process that people have.
  • The background behind Christie Leu Interiors.
  • How Fred Berns (#174) helped her to discover that she's probably the only Artist Triplet Mom Interior Designer in the country- and how that's lead her to give her clients a really fabulous experience!
  • That her assistant (Hired from Craig's List) also has triplets- the same age as hers!
  • How being the mom of triplets helped her with her design process.
  • What she really gained from the role play, during the Mini Summit.
  • Why LuAnn really has no problem in asking for the money.
  • The question of a standard markup on all products.
  • Using historical data to help to arrive at an appropriate markup on products.
  • Options for clients around flat fees and markups.
  • Having boundaries with flat fee contracts.
  • The benefits of listening to good and relevant podcasts.
  • The work they did with the 'Energy Person' who was brought to their Mini Summit.
  • That Christie prefers meeting with clients few times - how she keeps things efficient, in order to do that.

Christie's website:

May 22, 2017

Get ready for today's show, with Angela Rassmussen of H2H design Plus Build, in San Jose, California. Angela is the definition of a go-getter and she's a firecracker, so LuAnn says that you may want to strap on your seat belt for this interview! Listen in and prepare yourself to be blown away!

H2H Design plus Build is a really fun and dynamic firm, which was started in 2009 by Matt and Angela Rassmussen, specializing in convenient all in one service, from kitchen and bathroom, to master suites and additions. Today, H2H has become known, both locally and nationally, as an award winning Design Plus Build firm. Some of their awards include those from prestigious associations like NARI, NKBA, and HGTD, to name just a few. At H2H Design Plus Build, the focus is on a no-nonsense approach to bringing the best Design Solutions and Remodelling Services. Their service is turnkey and they are set apart from general contractors and other design plus build firms because they take care of every aspect of your renovation. Listen in now, to find out more about the firm that Matt and Angela started, with the intention to change the game in the Construction Industry.


Today, Angela talks to LuAnn about:

  • How she and Matt decided to start their business.
  • Her success while at Design school, being an A+ student and getting onto Dean's List.
  • How She and Matt just clicked when they met, both emotionally and business-wise.
  • Their roles in the business when they first started out.
  • How they started out slowly and built up, one job on top of the next.
  • There really noteworthy early projects.
  • How she implemented what she learned at school immediately, in the business.
  • The growth and management of their team, over the years.
  • The challenge of leading a team really well.
  • Organization- her priority.
  • What her ideal project looks like, from start to finish.
  • The evolution of their company from kitchens and bathrooms, to bigger projects.
  • That they handle every aspect of renovation, down to the appliances and finishes.
  • Why their demographic market is more geared to renovation than building.
  • The fun new cutting edge Home Automation Technology.
  • The benefits of hiring professionals.
  • Buildertrend- Their really good Track Your Project
  • Their new design studio, opening in the next couple of months.

Their other goals for the future.

Angela's website:


May 19, 2017

If you'd like to learn about the concept of Profit First and find out how you can really benefit from using it in your Design Business, you will gain a lot from today's Power Talk Friday with Michele Williams, one of the very few certified Profit First Coaches in the United States. LuAnn loves the idea of Profit First and she really wanted to bring it to the Interior Design community after hearing Mike Michalowicz talking about it on The Biz Chicks Podcast. So she asked Michele, who has been interviewed on the show once before, (#137) to come back and explain the concept. Listen in to find out more.

Michele is a truly gifted Business Coach. Before becoming a coach, she worked in the Financial Software Industry and ran a business as a Soft Window Treatment Fabricator. She has a BS in Business Administration and a diploma in Christian Life Coaching as well as her Profit First certification. Listen in now, to find out all you need to know about Profit First.

Today, Michele talks to LuAnn about:


  • What Profit First is all about and how it works.
  • How Michele initially got going with Profit First.
  • Why so many designers really need Profit First for their business.
  • Bookkeepers and accountants are amazing, however, they are only going to work with the figures that the business owner gives them.
  • How Profit First can help business owners understand how much money they really have available for themselves.
  • How Profit First's view of profit differs from that of GAPS.
  • That Profit First doesn't change the way you're doing your accounting, it changes the bank accounts that money gets allocated to.
  • That Profit First changes the way that you're making your spending decisions.
  • Some of the terms that are used by Profit First and what they refer to.
  • What is meant by Real Revenue?
  • That you have to sell the right product to the right person at the right price and then you need to manage the money.
  • That it's not enough to build top line if you're spending all the money.
  • Parkinson's Law, human nature and why you take profit first.
  • That being honest and clear about your figures is really important.
  • The benefit of moving money out to separate bank accounts, for your financial security.
  • Your five main accounts- with Profit First.
  • That staying consistent is key for this to work.
  • Where a lot of business owners tend to get into trouble.
  • That Profit First helps you move from cash flow negative to cash flow neutral, to cash flow positive.
  • How Profit first can help you out of a hole, if you're in debt and willing to do the work.
  • The beauty in Profit First working on percentages, for the natural ebbs and flows of your business.
  • An instant assessment that you can do now, for your business.
  • Owning your numbers, a bit at a time.
  • Pricing for value and not to cover your needs.



Michele's website:

Michele's email:

Michele on Facebook: Scarlet Thread Consulting

Your Coupon Code for 10% off Michele's Passion For Profit online course: WDB10


Book: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz is available from Amazon, or other good book stores.

May 17, 2017

The guest on today's show is Lynn Leonidas, the really intentional principal of Lynn K. Leonidas Design and Decoration, in the San Francisco Bay Area. LuAnn had quite an 'aha moment' when she first started talking to her, as she suddenly realized that Lynn had achieved some really awesome things and has been published in some truly notable places, after only running her own firm for two years! Listen in to find about the really remarkable way that Lynn launched her business.

Lynn takes particular pride in her relationships with her vendors, which she says comes from having a contractor father, who taught her all about building techniques and materials. Lynn has a degree in Interior Design and Architecture and another in English Language and Literature.  Her work has been featured in Sunset, Domino, Lonny, Rue and also in Refinery 29. Prior to starting her own business, Lynn worked in Interior Design in the Bay Area for ten years. She first worked at The Workroom for two years, doing window coverings, soft furnishings, and upholstery. This is where she says that she probably got the best education for doing what she does now. After that, she became a Project Manager at The Workroom and then after that, she did Project Management for a couple of other designers, before striking out, on her own. Join LuAnn and Lynn now and find out how Lynn intentionally set out to achieve her success.


Today, Lynn talks to LuAnn about:

  • How she's been able to achieve so much in only two years.
  • Her strategy, once she knew that the article about her was coming out in Domino Magazine, in six months time.
  • The Consultant (Christa Cooper Communications) and Business Coach (Sarah, of Anchor and Orbit) who really encouraged her to go out on her own.
  • How she landed a featured in Domino Magazine, before even going out on her own!
  • What she did to be prepared, after deciding to start her business.
  • How she started out, using a friend's network, before having a portfolio to show people.
  • The great opportunity to do a gut renovation, that presented itself to her, as she was starting out.
  • How her Business Consultant helped her to develop her dream and business plan and to decide about the kind of work that she really wanted to take on.
  • How she handled the clients who were not able to meet her budget requirements.
  • How she's evolved to being totally comfortable with talking openly to people about their decorating budgets.
  • Her past experience with Project Managing and with Bookkeeping, and how these have really helped her in her own business.
  • Her experience with working in editorial and how it helped her later, as a designer, to understand the fits for the various publications.
  • The importance of doing the research and getting to know the target market of each publication.
  • How she determines which projects are portfolio-worthy.
  • The roles of her two employees.
  • How she promotes her business and gets her name out there.
  • Using a vision board to create inspiration, when your portfolio is still small.
  • Some tips to gain confidence, when starting out as a designer.
  • Her opinion about working for free, for friends or family, when starting out.
  • That transparency is a huge part of how she runs her business.
  • Her plans for the month of May, and some of her short-term plans for the future.
  • The changes in her business model that Lynn is planning.




May 15, 2017

The guest on today's show is Monique Duarte. She's a brilliant business person and the founder and principal of Duarte Decor in New Jersey and the founder of Duarte Consulting, where she coaches Interior Decorators to help them to run their businesses better. Monique has traveled the world gathering inspiration and ideas for her design work. Listen in and find out more about Monique and the fabulous work that she does.

Monique is an active member of The National Association of Professional Women of the International Interior Decorator's Association and she's also a member of the Certified Interior Decorator's Association. She holds a number of degrees, including a Career Degree in Interior Decorating and in Autocad Design, a Bachelor's in International Business, with a specialization in Economics and Marketing and a Master's Degree in Interactive and Direct marketing. Monique was awarded Woman Of The Year for Interior Decorating in New Jersey in 2013 by the NAPW and her work has been featured in Your Decorating Resource and in Moxy Magazine.

As a Design Coach, Monique combines more than ten years of marketing experience with her design knowledge. She has had five years of experience in running her own seven-figure Interior Decorating business, which reached six figures in its very first year- while Monique was still working in her full-time job! Listen in now, to find out how Monique managed to achieve all of that!


Today, Monique talks to LuAnn about:

  • How her ten years in advertising and marketing have informed the things she does to run her own business profitably.
  • The really creative family that Monique comes from.
  • How she realized that she had a gift for decorating, after buying her first home.
  • Her first project, when she started her business as a side-hustle, eight years ago.
  • Where and how she managed to find herself a mentor and how she cultivated a good working relationship with him.
  • Why she really recommends finding a mentor or coach.
  • That her mentor taught her that there is enough to go around.
  • What the Local Experience and an International Experience, that she offers on her website, are all about.
  • Her Eight Key Steps To Building A Profitable Design Business.
  • The importance of figuring out who you are and who you want to work with.
  • That she's always looking out for what's coming next and sharing that with designers.
  • That the way you package and present what you have to offer is really important.
  • That she always talks to clients upfront about how she works to set their expectations.
  • Having a strong enough mindset to only work with the clients that really fit with you.
  • The power of connection, networking with the right people and going to the right events.
  • Submitting your design work for contests, as a marketing move.
  • A book that Monique really recommends- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.



Monique's website:


To request to join Monique's Facebook group, type 'Interiors Guide To Profitability' into the search box on Facebook, or you can do it via her website, above.



Book: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

May 12, 2017

The guest on today's Power Talk Friday is Sarah Daniele, the CEO, and Co-founder of My Doma Studio, a sexy software which was built specifically for the Interior Design Industry. Sarah appeared on the show (#91) last November and then she became a sponsor for the podcast. LuAnn and her partners were all so truly impressed with the platform that Sarah has created that they actually invested in My Doma Studio, which is used by a lot of the Designers that LuAnn works with. Listen in to find out how My Doma Studio can really help you to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time.


Sarah has a degree in Interior Design. She spent four or five years working for other Designers and then opened her own Design firm, with her focus on renovations, kitchens, and bathrooms. In episode #91 Sarah explains that while she was working for other Design Companies, she found no Project Management Systems in place at all, so Sarah, a highly intelligent, technical and organized person, developed her own system.  Today, Sarah talks to LuAnn about some of the really cool things that have been happening with My Doma Studio. They have been featured recently in a number of publications- Editor At Large, Kitchen And Bath, Kitchen And Bath Design News, and Home Accents. Listen in now to find out more about Sarah's great system, which has really attracted a lot of well-earned buzzes lately!


Today, Sarah talks to LuAnn about:

  • The new things that are coming out with My Domo Studio.
  • Sarah's recipe for growing and scaling your Design Business.
  • What went into their latest, brand new version, based on feedback from Designers.
  • Some of the things that the new version has, that's different from the original.
  • How her program has been designed to really assist with easy collaboration.
  • How unlikely it would be to accidentally, or inadvertently communicate with a client, using Sarah's system.
  • The great advantages of her new system.
  • The kind of communication that the system makes possible, for different projects.
  • How this system makes for better organization with projects.
  • How checklists can be used in context, within the system.
  • That My Doma Studio has automatic updates.
  • That you can try Sarah's system out for thirty days for free.


Sarah's website:

May 10, 2017

If you're interested in hearing about innovative designers who are also really good at business, you're in for a treat! The guests today are Carolina Gentry and Beth Dotolo of Pulp Design. LuAnn really wanted to have them on her show. She's been researching designers for the last year and a half and some of them have videos on their websites. Some of the videos are better than others, however, when she looked at those on Beth and Carolina's website, they were so good that she just wanted to keep on watching! She really enjoyed how their personalities come across in a subtle, yet distinctive way and also that their high regard for one another is very clear. Listen in and find out why LuAnn couldn't stop herself from falling in love with these two adorable rock stars!

Some of the videos are better than others, however, when she looked at those on Beth and Carolina's website, they were so good that she just wanted to keep on watching! She really enjoyed how their personalities come across in a subtle, yet distinctive way and also that their high regard for one another is very clear. Listen in and find out why LuAnn couldn't stop herself from falling in love with these two adorable rock stars!

She's been researching designers for the last year and a half and some of them have videos on their websites. Some of the videos are better than others, however, when she looked at those on Beth and Carolina's website, they were so good that she just wanted to keep on watching! She really enjoyed how their personalities come across in a subtle, yet distinctive way and also that their high regard for one another is very clear. Listen in and find out why LuAnn couldn't stop herself from falling in love with these two adorable rock stars!

Pulp Design has studios in both Seattle and in Dallas and their team has been recognized and published by Architectural Digest, The Traditional Home and New York Times Magazine. Beth has received an ASID Legacy Of Design Award and she was also named Best Designer in Dallas in 2011 and in 2012. Fashion Group International recognized her as a rising star in Interior Design and she's been named Dallas Design Glitteratti by Modern Luxury Magazine. Carolina has had more than fifteen years of experience in Interior Design and in Project management, with her work including award-winning New Construction and Renovated projects in Hospitality, Residential and Multi-family. Some of her projects have been for high-end hospitality brands, like Ritz Carlton, Hyatt Regency, Hilton and Mariotte, with her projects spanning all the way from New York City to Asia. Carolina was also a recipient of an ASID Legacy Of Design Award and she's also been recognized as a rising star in Interior Design by Fashion Group International. LuAnn had so much fun talking to these ladies and she knows you're really going to enjoy today's episode. Listen in now!

Carolina has had more than fifteen years of experience in Interior Design and in Project management, with her work including award-winning New Construction and Renovated projects in Hospitality, Residential and Multi-family. Some of her projects have been for high-end hospitality brands, like Ritz Carlton, Hyatt Regency, Hilton and Mariotte, with her projects spanning all the way from New York City to Asia. Carolina was also a recipient of an ASID Legacy Of Design Award and she's also been recognized as a rising star in Interior Design by Fashion Group International. LuAnn had so much fun talking to these ladies and she knows you're really going to enjoy today's episode. Listen in now!

Carolina has had more than fifteen years of experience in Interior Design and in Project management, with her work including award-winning New Construction and Renovated projects in Hospitality, Residential and Multi-family. Some of her projects have been for high-end hospitality brands, like Ritz Carlton, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, and Mariotte, with her projects spanning all the way from New York City to Asia. Carolina was also a recipient of an ASID Legacy Of Design Award and she's also been recognized as a rising star in Interior Design by Fashion Group International. LuAnn had so much fun talking to these ladies and she knows you're really going to enjoy today's episode. Listen in now!


Today, LuAnn talks to Beth and Carolina about: 

  • What went into creating their beautifully done videos.
  • That they wanted to create videos that people can really relate to.
  • How the videos really save them so much time.
  • The steps that went into the creation of their video.
  • What they wanted to communicate with their video.
  • How long it took to film all their videos.
  • How Carolina managed to overcome her camera shyness.
  • How much they invested in making their video.
  • How quickly they started making a return on their investment.
  • How they started out with their company ten years ago.
  • How they decided that they could work with a two hour time difference.
  • The support group that they work with.
  • That even though they work far apart, they all work as one unit.
  • How Beth and Carolina work together on all the projects so that the client can get the best of both of them.
  • That they think it really important to take some of their staff to Trade Shows.
  • The fun stuff that they do for team building.
  • The product line that they're developing as an exciting next step for their company.
  • Beth and Carolina's really awesome relationship.


May 8, 2017

My guest today is Judi Kieffer, who has over 24 years’ experience in hospitality, luxury residential, and restaurant design. Her portfolio is full of top tier projects and satisfied clients. In our conversation, she shares advice about how she built and now manages her design firm in Boise, Idaho. Judi is involved as an advocate for the personal and professional development and for sustainable products and developments.

She participates in several local philanthropic and civic groups and is a mentor for women’s and children’s organizations. She was recently appointed as a spokesperson for the American Society of Interior Designers and is a certified Green Globe auditor. Her passions are yoga, fine wine, riding horses, hiking, and inspiring other designers to run more profitable and enjoyable businesses. Join me for this conversation with Judi!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How Judi’s career began, working for three different companies before opening her own firm
  • The benefits of experience, classes, and various job positions before going out on your own
  • What it’s like to build your own design firm in the beginning: cold calling, mailings, projects, and referrals
  • What the builder or architect needs to hear from the commercial designer: how our services can fit into your project
  • How to use directories for leads on upcoming commercial projects
  • How to find free top sheets in your local area
  • The benefits of long-term relationships in the design business
  • Judi’s recommendations for software, including Quickbooks, Studio Designer, and MORE!
  • The challenges as your business grows: having systems in place and using personality profiles as you add more people to your team
  • Day-to-day running the firm: journals and calendars
  • Judi’s superpower? Using the interior as a marketing tool
  • Clear practices for charging fees
  • Judi’s advice to a new designer with no portfolio: show your passion and excitement, have confidence, ask questions, and present solutions
  • Judi’s interest in green building products
  • The recent surge in green products
  • Advice Judi’s received that is still with her:
    • Be absolutely true to your passion
    • Honor yourself
    • Allow yourself time to breathe, renew, and relax
    • Be transparent in communication
  • What’s ahead for Judi? Hiring an office manager and hosting eco-glamping retreats


Find out more about Judi!

For the free WindowWorks newsletter, text 444-999 and enter “designbiz”  (Find out more about green building products)

Search the GreenWorks or Green Standard group in your local area

Judi recommends the following books:

ECO-preneuring by John Ivanko

The Northwest Green Home Primer by K.L. Smith and Kathleen O’Brien

The Philosophy of Sustainable Design by Jason F. McLennan

Women in Green by Kira Gould and Lance Hosey

Value Pricing for the Design Firm by Frank Stasiowski

A Guide to Principles and Practices for Interior Designers by Harry Sigel

Marketing and Selling Design Services by Mary V. Knackstedt

Interior Designers Business Handbook by Mary V. Knackstedt

May 5, 2017

The guest on today's Power Talk Friday is Fred Berns, the only Interior Design Industry Business Coach, and Speaker.  Fred was a Speaker at the Design Blogger's Conference, held in L.A. In March, where he spoke about how to create your bio, so this show is tagged onto the Design Blogger's Series. This is the fourth time that Fred has appeared on this show and LuAnn is really happy to have him back again because he always brings so much value. (He previously appeared on shows #22, #48 and#96.) Today, Fred will help you to figure out your 'only', so listen in now and find out why it's so important.


Fred creates personal bio's and other promotional materials for design professionals, worldwide. He has had more than twenty-five years of experience, training design professionals and creating their online profiles, website, and social media copy, blogs, and marketing forums. He also offers a wide range of business coaching services, including his High-End Performance Coaching Program, his bio briefing and his website once over. Listen in to today's show to find out from Fred how you can really stand out in the marketplace.


Today, Fred talks to LuAnn about:


  • Why it's so important for you to figure out your 'only'.
  • How he helps designers to arrive at their 'only'.
  • Some categories to consider when trying to figure out your 'only' phrase.
  • How to be sure that you are really the 'only' one when making that claim.
  • How to subtly modify your 'only phrase', if necessary.
  • Using the word 'specializes' to better describe your 'only' and to differentiate yourself.
  • That your 'only' doesn't have to be a big thing.
  • How having an 'only' helps you to charge a higher fee.
  • How he helps people to draft letters to inform customers that they are raising their fees.
  • How educating people about your value helps to overcome their resistance to your charging top dollar.
  • Why he encourages you, as a designer, to highlight rather than hide your past.
  • That it's often the small things that make you unique.
  • Some examples of how you can incorporate your 'only phrase' into your bio, to make yourself memorable.
  • Ways for newly graduated designers to set themselves apart.
  • His victory vocabulary.
  • Using the law of attraction to draw the kinds of clients you'd like to work with towards you.
  • That the most financially successful designers are not necessarily the best designers.
  • 'Only' is not the only word, but it's the best one!




Fred's website: This is where you will find Fred's The   Big Splash Little Cash Marketing Manual.

Go to: to sign up for Fred's promotional Bio Briefing Campaign.

To telephone Fred: 303 589 3013

May 3, 2017

If you'd like to know what it's like to be a successful Interior Designer in The Hampton's, you're going to enjoy today's show with LuAnn's guest, Austin Handler. Austin and his wife, Jennifer Mabely, are the principals of Mabely Handler Interior Design in The Hampton's. Listen in today, to find out about this leading design firm that has been featured many many times, in both magazines and on TV.


LuAnn does a lot of work herself, in The Hampton's. She says that it's like it's own little planet. On today's show, you will hear about Austin and Jennifer's fabulous projects there and the great success of  their Interior Design Business, which they started in The Hampton's in 2002 and also about their work which has been featured in numerous publications, including Hampton's Cottages and Gardens, Hampton's Magazine, Beach Magazine, Coastal Living,  Lux Interiors and Design, Ocean Home, Traditional Home, The New York times, The Daily News and the New York Post, along with News Day and NBC's LX TV, Open House, New York City, News 12 and The Discovery Channel.


Kravet Inc. recently launched their brand new line of furniture, which has been designed by Mabely Handler Interior Design. Listen in today, as Austin shares the back story on the creation and the execution of this truly gorgeous new line of furniture.


Today, Austin talks to LuAnn about:


  • What it's like, working as a designer in The Hampton's, where the design has its own feel and vibe.
  • Finding the balance in design, between luxurious living and durability.
  • What it was like, breaking into Interior Design in The Hampton's and breaking the stereotype of 'taking your designer with you'.
  • When their room, which wasn't a feature room, in their first show house for Hampton's Cottages and Gardens Magazine was featured in The New York Times.
  • How they came to develop The Hampton Aesthetic, their line of furniture with Kravet Inc.
  • The kind of furniture in The Hampton Aesthetic line.
  • Austin and Jennifer's initial meeting with Kravet Inc. about the furniture design and how they managed to convey their concepts and their vision, with clarity.
  • The very well known Hampton's design style.
  • How they set the scene, to create the right atmosphere, to sell The Hampton's Aesthetic furniture line to Cravet Inc.
  • How they set a trend for creating coastal design collections.
  • How they used certain fabrics and materials to give The Hampton Aesthetic maximum versatility.
  • Why Kravet was always first on the list to make Jennifer's furniture.
  • The incredible support that they got from the expert team at Kravet Inc., every step of the way.
  • The pieces that they designed that didn't make the collection.
  • The great value Austin and Jennifer found in the sharing of expertise with Kravet Inc.

The great pleasure that it's been for Austin and Jennifer to work with Kravet.

Austin's websites:

May 1, 2017

If you'd like to hear about a business  perspective that's very different to that of the bigger firms which are usually featured on the show, you'll enjoy today's episode, with Natalie Hurst, who's first a full-time mom and wife and second, a part-time Interior Designer. Listen in and find out how Natalie does it. You're going to find it interesting!


Natalie, who lives in Salt Lake City Utah, with her husband and four children, graduated from Brigham Young University in 2003 with a B.Sa in Interior Design. After working in the lighting industry for a few years, she spent the next ten years away from the design world, consulting occasionally with friends or family. In 2014 she felt ready to dive back in and so she started Natalie Hurst Interiors. Listen in today, as Natalie shares her ideas on work and business flow, from a very different perspective.


Today, Natalie talks to LuAnn about:

  • How she decided to start her business at such a busy time in her life.
  • That she's comfortable with doing her business part time, for the time being.
  • The specific work-life balance that she's found, that works for her.
  • That her life could appear disorganized and stressful to someone else.
  • How she structures the phases of her work, both consciously and organically.
  • Attracting the clientele that you want.
  • Charging prices that are appropriate to your desired clientele.
  • How she prepares for her really busy design weeks.
  • Coping with very specific challenges.
  • That her sourcing is mostly done online.
  • How she organizes her workspace, at home.
  • That she keeps track of things by taking lots of notes.
  • Her really honest relationships with her vendors.
  • Having confidence in asking for help.
  • How she structures her fees.
  • How she landed her very first client.
  • Word of mouth is the only marketing tool that she needs at the moment.
  • How she came to being featured in Pregnancy And New Born Magazine from a picture on Instagram.
  • That Instagram is an authentic and effective marketing tool for her.