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: March, 2018
Mar 30, 2018

Welcome! Jason Byrne of Jason Byrne Design joins us today for the second airing of The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business- the listener version. Jason has been a really kind supporter of the show over the last few months and he's been keeping in touch regularly via email. One time he sent an email with a list of the things that he's done in his business based on what he learned from listening to this podcast and he has sent others, with the specifics about the shows that he really liked and what he gained from listening to them. He particularly enjoyed the solo show about vendors and he sent LuAnn the most amazing, heartfelt email the next day to thank her for the show and to tell her how well it resonated with him! Listen in today to find out more.

On the show today Jason starts out discussing his mission statement- Delivering excellence through communication and design- and what it really means to him, because sometimes mission statements can be quite a stumbling block for new designers. Jason, who used to teach Design Technology at Sydney Design School, also shares some of his expertise about the best kind of technology to use for either commercial or residential design and he explains some of the ways that he has made use of what he's learned from the podcast. Listen in to find out what Jason has to share today!

Show highlights:

  • Jason talks about his mission statement- how he arrived at it and what it means to him.
  • He explains why he is so focused on clear communication.
  • Why it's so important to Jason that less-than-good news really needs to be delivered in person.
  • Jason explains how this show helped him to develop his 'schedule of fees' and his 'job run sheet' documents.
  • Jason discussed some of the specifics around the documents that he has developed.
  • How Jason ensures that he and his client are really on the same page when discussing design.
  • A document that Jason developed and little exercise he designed to help his clients to understand where they are in the process.
  • The importance of maintaining a really clear connection with your client.
  • How the idea of a weekly client email has really helped Jason. (Laura Umanksy #64)
  • The various design technologies that Jason would recommend for both commercial and residential designers. (He used to teach Design Technology at Sydney Design School.)
  • How to get up and running with Autocad.
  • About some of the more advanced design tech products.


Jason's website:

His website and social:
Jason Byrne Design
Facebook: Jason Byrne Design
Instagram: Jason Byrne Design
Pinterest: Jason Byrne Design - Nail Salon
Mar 27, 2018

Welcome to the show! We are really delighted today to have Beth Dotolo and Carolina Gentry back again! (Episode #176) These brilliant ladies run a truly amazing design firm, Pulp Design, both in Seattle and in Dallas and on the show today they have some really fun news to share with you! They are about to realize a dream that they've had since starting their business eleven years ago. They are super-excited to finally be launching a licensed fabric collection with S Harris! Listen in now to get the latest!

The work of Pulp Design has been recognized and published by  Architectural Digest, The Traditional Home and New York Times Magazine. Both Beth and Carolina have been recognized as rising stars in interior design by Fashion Group International and they have both won awards for their fabulous work. Listen in to find out what this dynamic duo has to share with you today.

Show highlights:

  • All about the launch of their licensed fabric collection.
  • As designers, Beth and Carolina have always wanted to have a product of their own.
  • How they were approached by the creative director of S Harris.
  • Why S Harris wanted to partner with Carolina and Beth.
  • Creating a quality brand.
  • The way that these two dynamic ladies like to think strategically.
  • What their fabric line is like.
  • Where the inspiration for the fabric designs came from.
  • The whole process of creating the patterns.
  • The inadvertent creation of the design for their fabric collections.
  • The awesome experience of being accepted to collaborate with S Harris.
  • Looking for the right kind of company to align with, as a small firm.
  • Red flags to look out for when offered an opportunity to collaborate.
  • Beth and Carolina's cautious approach to growing their business.
  • The great support that they get from their team.
  • Successfully expressing their brand through all the employees in their company.
  • Taking the time to reflect on the values of your company- before working with anyone.
  • Carolina and Beth's principal of quality completion.
  • Creating success by getting to really know yourself.
  • Get your invitation to their VIP preview event at High Point. (Details on their website


Website and SM:
Pulp Design Studios
Facebook: Pulp Design Studios
Twitter: Pulp Design Studios
Instagram: Pulp Designs Studios
Pinterest: Pulp Design Studios
Mar 23, 2018

As Interior Designers, we spend a lot of our time thinking about and choosing color. Have you ever stopped to wonder how that color is actually made? No, we are not talking about mixing pigments at the paint store. Today, I want to dive into the amazing topic of color data. What are the measurable ways that one color is distinct from another? Is there a quantity we can use to describe why some colors work better together than others? Here to help you unravel your Color DNA is Lori Sawaya, the podcast’s newest sponsor, and my amazing guest this week.

Lori got her start in graphic design, and as color printing became more readily available, she started to become obsessed with the color management aspects of her career. This obsession turned into several years of dedicated training and study, which led Lori to a whole new understanding of color and how we measure it. From there, Lori developed a course that would teach other designers how to not just measure color data but use it within their design process.

Lori's business, Camp Chroma, is all about giving you the foundational tools you need to leverage the power of color data. Other industries rely heavily on the values and measurements surrounding color, so why not Interior Design? Listen to this week’s episode to learn all about how color functions, and how you can begin your journey with Camp Chroma. It’s a whole new world out there, and the future of color looking bright! I am delighted about the partnership between A Well Designed Business and Camp Chroma, and I know you will be too.

More in this episode:

  • Lori tells us all about why she loves color so much.
  • Learn all about how color gets made and why Camp Chroma is so powerful!
  • The tools and that you need to analyze color.
  • Now that you have data on color, you need to learn how to utilize it.
  • The actual surfaces that you can use to measure color DNA.
  • Discover the possibilities of the hue angle.
  • We are busting the super big urban legends about color!
  • Take the time to play with your data.
  • We have actually quantified how humans perceive color.
  • Dive into Lori’s design process, armed with the data values.
  • What it means for Lori to be an Architectural Color Design Expert.
  • Camp Chroma starts with the foundation and builds your skills from the ground up.


This episode is sponsored by:

Camp Chroma Online

Social Media:

Instagram: The Land of Color

Facebook: Fun Colors


Linkedin: Lori Sawaya

Join in Online

Luann Nigara

Mar 20, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We really have a big treat in store for you today- we have Lori Weitzner as our guest and if you're not yet familiar with her, she's the principal and creative director of Lori Weitzner Design Inc. Lori has a really unique perspective on the use and significance of color in design and she discusses this today on the show. She also talks about the choices that she's made in her business and she shares many of the big moments that have shaped her career.

Lori's latest endeavor is her book Ode To Color- The Ten Essential Palettes for Living and Design and now she's also developed The Ode To Color Analysis- a practical guide on how to find one's color world, as a compliment to the book. Listen in to find out about the windy road and some of the pivotal moments that this super successful lady has taken to get to where she is today.

Lori's career as a designer spans thirty years and she's known internationally for her contribution to the world of textiles and wall coverings under that brand Weitzner. The  Weitzner brand has been sold through highly esteemed houses, like Sahco, Larson, and Pollack. You may be familiar with Lori because of her trims, which are available through Samuel and Sons, or her rug designs for West Elm, or possibly even through her paper designs for Papyrus. Listen in now to find out more.

Show Highlights:

  • A special moment that really stands out for Lori, that set her on her particular career path.
  • What a textile designer actually does.
  • The serendipitous story of what happened when a very young Lori decided to risk everything and go off to a trade show in Lyon France.
  • About Lori's big break with Jack Larson.
  • The secret to how Lori, at the tender age of twenty-two, managed to sell forty-eight of her designs in one weekend, at a trade fair in France.
  • How Lori's confidence has always worked for her.
  • Why you should go for what you really want- not just what you think is possible.
  • Lori shares about her next level of achievement after Jack Larson, with Sahco.
  • How Lori started out with her own business- with a $100 000 loan from the bank.
  • Getting the balance right between Lori's creative side and her business side.
  • How Lori instinctively knew what she was meant to be doing with her career.
  • How Lori's design for her Newsworthy wallpaper was developed.
  • Lori discusses her new book Ode To Color and how it came about.
  • How Lori discovered that her first language was actually color!
  • All about Lori's Color Analysis Test.


Lori's Website: Lori Weitzner

To take Lori's test with her Ode To Color Analysis, or to buy her book go to Ode To Color

Lori's panel discussion on 3/23/18 at the Architectural Design show in NYC

LuAnn's book: The Making of A Well-Designed Business®

Mar 16, 2018

Welcome to today's episode of Power Talk Friday! We have Carol Cox with us today and she's the founder of Speaking Your Brand. She's also LuAnn's speaking coach and LuAnn really adores her- especially for her skillful way of assisting her to pull the right content together, in order to craft a captivating and cohesive speech. On the show today Carol explains what you really need to be thinking about, and the best tactics to use if you're not yet that well-known and you're going to be taking part a panel discussion. Listen in to find out about ways to really connect with an audience.

Speaking Your Brand helps high-performing and purpose-driven women entrepreneurs and professionals to shape their businesses and personal brands, share their message, and become recognized as influencers in their field. Carol is a sought-after presenter and trainer on public speaking, branding, and leadership for women. She's also a podcaster and a TEDx speaker. Carol teaches classes in business and marketing at a university and she serves as a political analyst on TV news during election seasons. She is based in Orlando Florida and she works with her clients both locally and virtually around the world. Listen in today to find out what Carol has to share about public speaking and really engaging with your audience. 


Show Highlights:  

  • How to be a really great panelist.
  • What a moderator could do to keep the conversation flowing if someone is dominating a panel discussion.
  • What you can do if you're a panelist and someone on the panel is really monopolizing the conversation.
  • Setting the ground rules ahead of time.
  • What you need to prepare beforehand if you're going to be a panelist.
  • Using emotion to create a really engaging story.
  • Giving careful thought to the meaningful content that you're going to be talking about.
  • Tips for being gracious and complimenting others authentically when you're in a panel discussion. 
  • Ways that you can bond with the other panelists, before the discussion.
  • Taking the opportunity to network with the other panelists.
  • Why you should give the moderator your own printed introduction before the discussion.
  • Creating the very best pitch for yourself.
  • Checking the room out beforehand, prior to the panel discussion.
  • Ways to alleviate any nervousness you may feel before the discussion.
  • Ways of getting the audience to relate to you.
  • Remember that the more you do it, the better you will get.


To check out the Speaking Your Brand Podcast go to  

To get the PDF for this show go to




Mar 13, 2018

Welcome to today's show! It really looks like our guest for today, Rachel Cannon of Rachel Cannon Limited Interiors, is doing some good things down in Baton Rouge Louisiana! What really gets LuAnn going is Rachel's promise on her website of a structured process and a step-by-step method, when it comes to her design. On today's show, Rachel talks about the fifteen-step the ten-step processes that she uses with her clients and how she came to develop them. She also discusses the way that she changed her marketing in order to attract the right client. Listen in to find out more.   

The specialty of Rachel Cannon Limited is designing a space where you'll feel happiest and at peace, that's both practical and uniquely beautiful, and that also tells the story of who you are. Rachel is known for creating classic, fresh, and smart interiors, with details that are both livable and deluxe. As an experienced and licensed interior designer, she leads a team of creative minds who effortlessly mix subtle color and rich architectural features, weaving in the meaningful details of your life. Listen in today to find out about Rachel's design processes and how she markets her business.

Show highlights:

  • Rachel discusses her systems and the way that she works with her clients.
  • Rachel's ideal client profile.
  • How Rachel's fifteen-step process
  • About Rachel's Ten-Step New Construction package.
  • What Rachel's VIP Day and her One Week Room Rescue is all about.
  • Why the process keeps refining.
  • How Rachel changed her marketing to attract the right client.
  • A good way of dealing with difficult clients.
  • The value of having a really good contract with your client.
  • Teaching your clients how to work with you.
  • Rachel's document of 'rules' for her clients-why she uses it and what it has in it.
  • The real cost of interruptions when you're working.
  • What brought about a turning point for Rachel, regarding the fees she charges.
  • Discovering your real value.
  • Why it's important to know who your ideal client is.
  • How Rachel's VIP Day came about.
  • Getting clear on charging the right amount for your services.
  • How Rachel vets her potential clients to see if they're a fit for her.
  • Why you really need to document everything that happens with your clients.


Her website and social:
Rachel Cannon Limited
Facebook: RCL Interiors
Linkedin: Rachel Cannon
Mar 9, 2018

Welcome to today's episode of A Well-Designed Business! We are introducing a new feature on the show today, called The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business- Listener Shows. This show will be intermingled with our current Power Talk Friday feature and either one or the other will air each Friday.

There have been a number of designers who have emailed LuAnn over the years and shared with her their lists of all the things that they have learned from the podcast and then applied directly to their businesses.  It then occurred to LuAnn that if you, the listener, actually hear your peers explaining the results of taking those actions, it may just give you the extra push that you need to take action on all the information that you have received from the show. That is what has motivated LuAnn to start this new feature for the show so listen in today to find out more!

Our guest for today is Elizabeth Scruggs and she's the owner of Superior Construction And Design in Tennessee. She is the mid state's only female general contractor and designer. She's been in business since 2000. Recognising a love of construction when building her own home at the age of twenty-four, she knew that coupling that knowledge with her interior design skill was a service that few could provide. Elizabeth and SC and D have won numerous awards over the years and she believes that continuing education is vital for success. Elizabeth attends industry trade events and market events each year and she was a member of the Modenus Blog Tour of K-biz in January of 2018. She currently serves on the national board of directors for the Real Estate Staging Association, the board of directors for the Nashville chapter of the Nashville Association of Women in Construction, she's the vice-president of the virtual chapter of the Interior Design Society and the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Elizabeth's clients are busy working professionals in the age range of forty-five to fifty-five, looking to upgrade their current home, but lacking the time and desire to oversee it. She finds her sweet spot in handling these full-home renovations from inception to completion. Elizabeth has been a contributing writer for Wilson County's premier magazine, Wilson Living, for six years and she's been featured in The Lebanon Democrat, The Wilson Post, and The Mount Juliet Chronicle. Elizabeth resides in Tennessee, just east of Nashville, with her husband of twenty-six years and their twin daughters and young son. Listen in to find out what Elizabeth has to share with you today.

Show highlights:

  • Elizabeth shares about what it was about Brittany and her company that moved her to action.(#149)
  • Elizabeth's 'aha moment' with Gavin Zuchlinski of Acuity Scheduling and how Acuity has really worked for her. (#241)
  • All about Elizabeth's 'pick your brain' thirty-minute phone calls.
  • How Elizabeth has benefited from getting to know about Kate The Socialite. (#104)
  • What Elizabeth has learned about systems from Kimberley Seldon. (#112)
  • Why Elizabeth really loves Nancy Ganzekaufer's Business In Words so much! (#256)
  • What she learned from The Prepared Performer- Molly Mahoney. (#247)
  • Elizabeth's awesome takeaway from the Facebook Live Queen- Jessica Brace. (#250)
  • What Kate O'Hara had to teach Elizabeth about Pinterest. (#215)
  • What she took away from the episode with Summer Tannhauser. (#292)
  • How much Elizabeth learned from the episode with Leslie Carothers and Sam Henderson of the Savour Partnership. (#209)
  • The effect that the episode with Adam Japko, of the Design Blogger's Conference, had on her. (#95)
  • Time chunking with Darci Hether. (#220)
  • Lessons learned from Carla Aston (#242), Fred Berns (#174), and Tabitha Carro (#235).
  • About Elizabeth's relationship with her good friend and designer bestie Kristi Barnett aka The Decorologist.


Elizabeth's website:
Superior Construction and Design 
Elizabeth on social:

You can get your free PDF of The Things I Learned From Elizabeth Scruggs at

Mar 6, 2018

Welcome to today's show where we feature another husband and wife team, Jill and Steve McKenzie. They are the owners of McKenzie Design Llc and also Steve McKenzie's, a home décor business which is located in the heart of Atlanta's west-midtown design district. Steve does the interior designing and runs the product design side of the business, while Jill predominantly oversees the running of the store and does the buying for the business.  Recently, they have also been doing a lot of product design and creation and also the licensing of certain products. Listen in today, to find out how they work together as a team, to run the retail end of their interior design business.

Steve started Steve McKenzie's in 2012 after his tenure of more than twenty years with Berkshire-Hathaway owned Larson-Juhl, a custom frame manufacturer, and distributor, where he served most recently as the company's president and CEO. Through practicing as an artist for more than twenty-five years, Steve has developed a unique technique of painting with walnut ink and focusing on organic composition. His studio is located in the upper loft space of Steve McKenzie's. Jill and Steve have three children and three Springer Spaniels. Listen in today, to find out more about the ethical and service driven way that they run their business.

Show highlights:

  • It all started with Steve's art- the fabric collection being the genesis of both the store and the design business.
  • The community that has developed as an offshoot of their showroom.
  • How it happened that Steve ended up taking the route he did, creating and selling his own textile line in showrooms across the country.
  • How Steve found the right experts to help him with getting his product line manufactured and launched.
  • Getting really clear about your expectations with mentors and mentees.
  • Some tips for getting your product line known 'out there'.
  • The Jill works (and hustles) with Steve to get his products out there.
  • The grounding effect of Steve's corporate background.
  • What went into Steve and Jill's decision to open their own showroom and retail lifestyle store.
  • The idea of creating a personality around Steve's fabrics.
  • Jill's style of marketing their product lines.
  • Jill and Steve's approach to their lifestyle brand of products.
  • How the design side of their business was born.
  • Evaluating whether or not to start a showroom.
  • How Steve and Jill cope when their opinions differ in their business.
  • Creating healthy boundaries and a good work-life balance.
  • Covering all the hours in the showroom.
  • Jill and Steve's real commitment to really great customer service.
  • Why the customer is always (Even when they're not!)


Website and Social:
Steve Mckenzies
Mckenzie Interior Design
Steve Mckenzies
Steve Mckenzie Art
Houzz – McKenzie Interior Design/steve mckenzie’s
Pinterest - @stevemckenzies
Instagram - @stevemckenzies
Twitter - @stevemckenzies
Facebook - @stevemckenzies
Mar 2, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Rebecca Richards joins us as our guest on the show today and she's the director of marketing for Charles Cunniffe Architects in Aspen Colorado. Rebecca is also part of the firm's management committee and one of her responsibilities within that committee is the hiring process for the firm. So today she talks to us about the process that she uses for hiring and she also shares some of the key questions that she asks and some of the things that she looks for when she interviews candidates. Whether you're a solo interior designer looking to make your first hire or you run mid-size or a larger firm and you're looking for a direct process to follow when doing your hiring, we relate this to you, so listen in to find out what Rebecca has to share with you on the show today.

Rebecca joined Charles Cunniffe Architects in 2006 and the firm widely increased their market reach while decreasing their marketing expenditure under her leadership as director of marketing. Rececca's keen eye for design has led to the complete redesign of the company's marketing materials and their website, and also to the addition of their social media outlets. Her appreciation for design and sustainable business practices has become instrumental in the operations at CCA.

CCA is quite a powerhouse of an architectural firm. They have nineteen people on their staff and they have been named as best places to work for the last four years running. Their Elk Peak Ranch project was named Home Of The Year in November  2017 by Mountain Living Magazine- and it's truly spectacular! (Check out their website or my Instagram feed today, as I will be featuring their work all day.) Listen in now to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Rebecca describes the structure within CCA and also what the various roles are, within their management committee.
  • Rebecca's holistic approach to the hiring process.
  • Rebecca goes through her entire hiring process, step by step.
  • Methodically looking at the necessary roles within the office structure, prior to the hiring process.
  • Where CCA advertise for their staff.
  • Why Rebecca likes to respond to every single resume that she receives.
  • Cross-checking the resumes, to get a bigger picture of the person.
  • It can be quite hard to stand out as an entry-level applicant, so Rebecca explains what makes someone really stand out for her.
  • Internships- how they can really make you stand out as a job applicant.
  • The best questions to ask when conducting a phone interview.
  • The importance of finding out what the applicant really wants and expects- in terms of the job and the salary.
  • Rebecca describes her process of the second interview.
  • Why it's really worth spending the time figuring out exactly where the applicant is at, and if they fit where you need them to be.
  • Why it's really important to ask for references.
  • Getting the information that you really need when doing a reference check.
  • Knowing when it's the right time to hire someone.



CCA website

Skype handle: rebeccalynnhill





LuAnn on Instagram: @luannnigara

Kravet has launched their new website and they have a new code for you, as a listener of this podcast, to get 10% off any one purchase of Kravet fabric, trimmings, or wallpaper. Go to Kravet and use the code AWDB10 at checkout.

Charles Cunniffe Architects website: Cunniffe