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: April, 2018
Apr 27, 2018

There is a new landscape to how consumers are shopping for design products. More and more design clients are choosing products and features online. It might seem like the heyday of the local Design Center is over, but that is far from the truth. Your local design center is an ever-evolving resource for you and all of your design products. How can you properly utilize a design center to keep up with a changing industry? How do they remain a designer-focused tool, rather than a consumer-focused tool? My guest, Kristan McLaughlin, is going to answer all of this and more!

Kristan McLaughlin is the General Manager of Leasing & Partnerships at the Boston Design Center (BDC), the region’s preeminent destination for luxury interior furnishings. For the last 4 years, she has been overseeing the massive 350,000 sq. ft. space that houses 70 home and contract showrooms. Kristan is also the President of the Design Centers International, a Board Member of the Decorative Furnishings Association and a partner to many such as Boston Home, Design New England, and New England Home to name a few. Kristan is a proud mom of 5 humans and 2 Golden Retrievers - Hula and Finn - who keep her from becoming a true empty-nester. She and her family look forward to moving back to Boston in the future and decorating their “grown-up home.”

I am excited for you to hear so much more about how the Boston Design Center is ahead of the curve in innovation and style. You won’t want to miss out!

More in this episode:

  • Why a Design Center is still an important part of the new landscape of consumer purchases.
  • Why a Design Center is the place for the most “Aha” moments!
  • Design Centers across the country are absolutely evolving to the new market and new consumer.
  • Event spaces and conference rooms are just another way the Centers are utilizing their spaces well.
  • Clients don’t have to come in with a designer.
  • Discover the product search engine that was designed within the industry!
  • The new offerings that Design Centers are doing to make their services even more accessible.
  • Being a part of the Design Center can be a good way to keep your foot in the field.
  • Engaging with the internet is good for business.


Boston Design


Facebook: Boston Design Center


Apr 24, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We are delighted to introduce you to our guest for the show, Jill Zarin. Jill is a  veteran of the TV show Real Housewives of New York, and wife of the late Bobby Zarin, owner of Zarin Fabrics in New York. We will be talking to Jill today about Zarin Fabrics, about the rug line that she has recently launched with Unique Loom, and about her luxury ladies lunch that she hosts every year in the Hamptons for charity. Jill has also promised to give us a tour of her apartment in New York City, which boasts some pieces from DXV for the faucets, and all her rugs are there, too! Listen in to find out more!

Last fall, Unique Loom, one of the most plentiful sources of handmade and power loomed rugs in the world, teamed up with Jill to create their very first rug collaboration. It's a vibrant collection, offering bold, colorful options with an airy and modern feel. This collection delivers quality design at an attainable price, which is a priority shared by both Jill and Unique Loom. The collection was inspired in part by Jill's personal style, as well as the various motifs found in the history of Manhattan's urban design. Listen today to find out more about this awesome collaboration.

We're sure that every single person who knows Jill is thinking about her and everything that she went through recently, with the loss of her beloved husband, Bobby.

Show highlights:

  • The tedious way that advertising used to be done in the past.
  • A little about the way that Zarin Fabrics used to be run in the past.
  • Surprisingly enough, Zarin Fabrics is actually a fabric warehouse!
  • Zarin Fabrics is the only drapery and upholstery supply company in the city of New York.
  • Jill's experience with Macy's Training Program.
  • Some of the projects and products lines that Jill developed prior to her collaboration with Unique Loom.
  • Respecting the expertise of those who are in the know- unless your gut tells you otherwise!
  • Jill's past jewelry lines and some mistakes she made with them.
  • The wonderful partners that Jill has for her current line of rugs.
  • The fantastic fabrics that Jill's rugs are made of.
  • Jill discusses her fabulously affordable rug lines.
  • How Jill has learned to go with the designs that she likes.
  • All about Jill's luxury charity lunch this year, at Topping Rose House Hotel in the Hamptons.
  • The valuable swag bags that Jill gives away at her charity lunches.
  • The celebrities that show up for Jill's charity lunches.
  • The entrepreneurial aspect of Jill's charity lunches.
  • Enjoy the tour of Jill's apartment.
  • The phenomenal DXV design pieces in Jill's apartment.


Jills website: Jill Zarin

eSale Rugs

Jill on Social Media:




Kravet has a new code for you. You can get 10% off any one project using Kravet fabric, trims or wallpaper—specify Kravet fabric, trim and wallpaper for your next interior design project and use the code AWDB10 at checkout!!

MyDoma Studio is a software platform that helps you manage your client projects easily and efficiently. Go to MyDoma Studio to learn more.

Apr 20, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We are very excited to have Nicole Heymer back on the show today! Nicole is the owner of Curio Electro, a boutique creative agency that specializes in branding and websites for interior design firms and other interesting and creative businesses. Nicole is the genius behind my LuAnn Nigara website- and I really love it! There are certain things that we do that really represent who we are and what we do and my website is one of those things for me! And one of the reasons for Nicole coming back on the show is rooted in my own experience of being part of her company and going through the whole discovery process of building my website with her.  Listen in today as Nicole takes us through her entire, really organized and actionable process- it's just like therapy for your business!

Nicole's clear and actionable approach to branding has been featured by some of the design industry's favorite resources and organizations. From ASID's Tech Talk series to the New Jersey chapter and also to the Window Coverings Association of America, Nicole is an active ASID partner and she currently serves as the editor of the New Jersey chapter's Blueprint Magazine. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Stepping back to get an overview of what you're doing.
  • Starting out with a very clear plan.
  • How Nicole developed her process.
  • The whole planning process.
  • Looking ahead to the goals that you want to accomplish- then doing things in the correct order.
  • Some of the goals that designers could aspire towards.
  • Getting to grips with the messaging on your website.
  • Clearly showing people who and where you are, and what you do, on your website.
  • Being truthful with your messaging when creating your brand.
  • Taking your budget into account when planning your website.
  • Getting really clear about who you want to take action on your website.
  • Getting clear about the kind of action that you would like to be taken on your website.
  • Some things to consider when setting up your website.
  • Nurturing your clients' needs with lead magnets.
  • Telling the story of a project with your portfolio.
  • Ways of driving more traffic to your website.
  • Coming up with content for a blog.
  • About Nicole's Brand Discovery Class that's coming up shortly. Go to to find out more.

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Nicole Heymer #125 How To Brand Your Interior Design Business

Rachel Cannon #306

Sandra Espinet #287

Kae Whitaker #259

Marina Umali #248

Nancy Ganzekaupher #256

Apr 17, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We have Wendy Woloshchuk with us today and she's the principal of Details Full Service Interiors located in rural western Massachusetts.

Wendy is a real inspiration for designers! She lives and works in a rural area almost two hours away from the nearest design center and yet she's killing it!

This is because she knows exactly who her ideal client is and she's claimed it without wasting any time on ideas and pursuits that are not authentic to her client base and all her marketing is intentionally created to attract this client to her every day.

It was really no easy task starting an interior design business in a very small community, in the middle of a recession! Wendy is known for her no-nonsense approach and for her creative style with it's attention to detail.

Nothing makes her happier than when her clients see how she's managed to infuse their personalities into the design and they love the finished space! Listen in today and become inspired by Wendy, her business model, and her awesome business acumen.

Wendy opened Details in 2007 after going back to school to learn interior design as her second career in 2005. Details Full-Service Interiors specializes in designing comfortable, personalized homes for busy families who want to make the most of their family time and resources.

Wendy has been using Facebook as her primary marketing tool for the last five years. She shares fun tips and decorating ideas on her Facebook daily live show, The Daily Details, and she has recently started a consumer-facing Facebook group, called The Details Design & Decorating  Club, in order to keep her following and her business growing. Listen in now to find out more about Wendy and the way she runs her rural design business.

Just to let you know- this show is also available as a video presentation on LuAnn's Youtube channel, A Well- Designed Business.

Show highlights:

  • How Wendy first got into using Facebook Live consistently for her marketing.
  • Wendy walks through her whole process of pushing through with Facebook Live.
  • Ways to come across naturally and authentically in your videos.
  • How Wendy creates the content for The Daily Details.
  • How Wendy prepares herself for her Monday videos.
  • Ways for you to emulate what Wendy has been doing on Facebook Live.
  • When she really began to experience engagement on Facebook Live.
  • There are people watching you on Facebook that you don't even know about!
  • Why Wendy chose Facebook as her primary marketing tool.
  • Finding where your ideal client is hanging out on social media.
  • How Wendy found her niche within her community.
  • How Facebook Live makes you more accessible to your ideal market.
  • What it's like- and some tips for doing business in a rural area.
  • The benefits of building a great relationship with your reps.
  • Some free- and some for-purchase downloads that are available on Wendy's website. (Some of them are even MyDoma Studio packages.)
  • You can arrange for a consultation with Wendy and you can also purchase pre-paid furniture packages and even accessories via MyDoma Studio.
  • The benefits of having affiliate sites.
  • The DIY package that's available on Wendy's website.
  • Ways to build a portfolio on your website.

LuAnn has done a six-show series on the how, the why and the technical aspects of Facebook for business. These shows can be found on her website ( in the Social Media and Marketing collection.

For more FB marketing tips please search social media on LuAnn Nigara

Kravet has a new code for you. You can get 10% off any one project using Kravet fabric, trims or wallpaper—specify Kravet fabric, trim and wallpaper for your next interior design project and use the code AWDB10 at checkout!!

MyDoma Studio is a software platform that helps you manage your client projects easily and efficiently. Go to My Doma Studio to learn more.

Other episodes mentioned on this show:

Claire Jefford #237

Rachel Moriarty #55 and #214

Dixie Willard #273


Details Full-Service Interiors
Facebook: Details Full Service Interiors
Instagram: Details Full Service Interiors
Apr 13, 2018

Are you ready to harness the secrets of the best in the industry to create consistently amazing results in your business? this Power Talk Friday is Madeline MacRae. Madeline was LuAnn’s guest in episode 283, and returns for this episode.

Madeline is the CEO, founder and chief innovator for MM MacRae, a national learning, coaching and consulting firm. MM MacRae specializes in the development and growth of pros and companies specializing in the home professionals industry. She is such a high energy, driven person, and she shares a wealth of knowledge on this episode. If you’re ready to do what it takes to achieve freedom and long-term growth in your business, you will want to absorb Madeline MacRae’s information like a sponge! 


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Madeline and LuAnn led a seminar on goal setting at the International Window Covering Expo in Tampa, FL, and discovered their ideas on goal setting are identical!
  • 5 Day Sales Challenge (see 5 Day Sales Challenge Facebook Page) to help you learn the need for peer accountability, mindset and to give you concrete tools, that usually cost $3000.00 in our program, to help you tweak things in your business to make it more successful. It will also  make you a better salesperson. In addition, you will have a call to action each day. The 5 Day Sales Challenge will include Madeline making a live appearance in the group every day and will share ideas, inspiration, and to answer your questions. Madeline will do some episodes of Facebook Live leading up to the challenge and will let you know when she will appear in the group. Topics will include:
  • Day 1: Master your Metrix
  • Day 2: Confidence is King
  • Day 3: Systems Make Sales
  • Day 4: The Fortune is in the Follow-up
  • There is Gold in your Nose!
  • Discover your inner creativity in relation to sales.
  • Learn the importance of getting a definite yes or no answer when selling.
  • Utilize effective listening skills when listening to your clients’ needs.
  • Learn when a client is really a client, not a potential client or lead.


Resources Mentioned in the Episode: for consulting and coaching for Madeline’s Bootcamp landing page

5 Day Sales Challenge on Facebook

The 5 Levels of Leadership, by John C. Maxwell

Now Discover Your Strengths, by Donald O. Clifton and Marcus Buckingham

Strengths-Based Leadership, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

To get access to some of Madeleine’s goals training absolutely free go to Fast Track Sales Systems.

Apr 10, 2018

What does it look like to be so committed to the success of your business that failure simply CANNOT be an option? For some, there is a crutch to fall back on, but for others, the welfare of their family depends on the level of commitment—and there is no Plan B. Today’s guest is passionate about her design business and there is no doubt about her commitment to success and claiming her niche.

Kristen Thomas is the principal designer and owner of Studio Thomas, a full-service interior design firm based in Denver. With a degree in interior design and a background in real estate and home building, Kristen has spent the past 20 years honing her ability to transform homes into spaces that truly enhance and elevate the lives of her clients. When you hear Kristen on the show today, you will understand how the term “elevating and enhancing the lives of clients” is a true goal for her—a true mission. She has given careful and thorough thought to knowing very clearly who her ideal client is, what her ideal project is, and what the Studio Thomas aesthetic is. It’s because of this self-discovery that she made a very bold move this past January, and I’ll let her explain exactly what transpired.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • The growth of Studio Thomas in just 5 years
  • When failure is NOT an option, so you MUST make it work
  • “I’m really concerned with infusing value into my clients’ homes.”
  • The emotion behind the hard work and commitment
  • Creating the culture where employees are empowered and valued
  • Kristen’s goal: to have a company that people love to come and work for and where everyone’s voice is valued
  • The “slow” hiring process in creating chemistry and culture on the team
  • In January 2018---the complete overhaul because Kristen “didn’t want to be everything to everyone”
  • Deciding who you are, finding your best value, and being comfortable in your philosophy
  • Being the best at what you do and making the highest contribution, facing the fear of turning down the jobs that aren’t WHO you are
  • “You have to run your business and not let it run you.”
  • After acquiring 16,000 Instagram followers, Kristen erased it all and started over with intention at every step
  • Revamping, rebranding, and narrowing the focus
  • “Our favorite color is texture.”
  • The story behind the K. Thom lifestyle brand
  • Vetting the client—how it’s done
  • Why clients are willing to trust Kristen and Studio Thomas
  • Kristen’s husband’s role in Studio Thomas and how he helps the growing business
  • The visions, systems, and processes that make the business work and grow as you take bold steps in claiming your niche

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Camp Chroma


Kristen's Website: Studio Thomas
Kristen's Instagram: Studio Thomas
Kristen's Facebook: Studio Thomas
Apr 6, 2018

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! Financial planning may seem boring, however, the results of it certainly are not! Today we're very happy to introduce you to Hilary Hendershott, a CFA (certified financial adviser) with a lot of street cred. Hilary, who has been nicknamed The Investor's Voice of Reason, is the founder of Hilary Hendershott Wealth Management, a leading financial advisory firm for women and her mission is to motivate women and their loved ones to be financially empowered through wealth building. On the show today Hilary explains why you really don't need to feel intimidated, as a woman, at the thought of consulting with a financial adviser, so listen in to find out what she has to share with you today about money mindset and the importance of proper financial management.

Hilary is also the host of Profit Boss Radio, a weekly podcast where she and her guests offer inspiration, advice, and support for women in their financial journey. She's a TedX speaker, she's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NBC, ABC, Fox, Daily Worth, Forbes, and Investopedia. Hilary was recognized in 2014 as a Top Forty Under Forty Entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley. She's had more than thirty television appearances and she is considered the go-to personal finance expert in the Silicon Valley for NBC. Listen in now to find out why it's really critical for you to understand your finances.

Show highlights:

  • The right time to bring in a professional financial adviser.
  • The importance of saving money.
  • Why it really is well worth spending the money on getting some professional financial advice.
  • Why Hilary sees wealth building as the last female frontier.
  • Why you don't actually have a business until you're paying yourself a CEO's salary.
  • About Hilary's course Money Blueprint For Business Owners.
  • Being well compensated for the liability of running a business.
  • Some financial facts that everyone should know.
  • Not having to feel intimidated by your financial adviser.
  • Not throwing the baby out with the bathwater when dealing with a financial adviser.
  • The functions of a fiduciary.
  • Why Hilary avoids using 'Wall Street speak'.
  • Hilary explains the way that she does her business.
  • Understanding the type of business that you're in.
  • The difference between a lifestyle business and a sellable business.
  • Smart ways to save on taxes by forcing yourself to save.
  • Simple tweaks to help you to build a strong and profitable business.


Hilary's website:

Other episodes mentioned in today's show:

Danielle Liss #171

Jody Padar #229

Apr 3, 2018

I recently received an e-mail from Colleen from Colleen Knowles Interiors in Mercer Island, WA. Colleen says she is in the process of getting her back of the house systems more organized, and requests that we do a show on purchasing. So, on today’s show, Judith, Corey and I will address all the winding trails you may find yourself on when dealing with all the many facets of purchasing.

For many designers just starting out in the industry, purchasing and pricing can sometimes be a volatile topic. Industry norms along with the best practicing of purchasing can overwhelm you if you don’t have good systems in place. 

Show Highlights:

    Corey explains three different models for purchasing and pricing.

    Learn some of the pitfalls of the kickback model. 

    Steering away from legal problems.

    A designer can act as a sales consultant.. 

    A professional approach to pricing 

    Project minimum, flat fee and hourly pricing

    Collecting retainer and consultation fees

    How to incorporate pricing for online vendors

    Judith discusses managing purchased items onsite.

    Avoid discussing net purchase pricing with clients. 

*    The better you handle the contract and front end, the smoother the back end will be.

    LuAnn and Judith say there is no substitute for personal touches.



This episode is available on A Well-Designed Business YouTube Channel.

 Corey Klassen Designs

 Judith Neary, Roadside Attractions Design Studio