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.
RSS Feed
A Well-Designed Business® | Interior Design Business Podcast








All Episodes
Now displaying: May, 2018
May 29, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We are very happy to introduce you to Catherine Hersacher, the founder of Bespoke Fine Interiors in Aiken, South Carolina. On the show today Catherine talks to us about how she translates and brings her worldly exposure and background to the small-horse community of Aiken. Running an interior design firm in a small, tight-knit community has some very specific challenges, but there are pro's to it as well. On today's show, Catherine also talks a bit about her consultation process. She is able to achieve a design for any project that is cogent with her client's tastes and context. Listen in today to find out more about working as an interior designer in a smaller market.             

Catherine, originally from Massachusetts, founded Bespoke Fine Interiors in Aiken South Carolina in 2012, with fourteen years of design experience behind her. She previously worked for some of the top firms in the country, in the high-end residential and ultra-exclusive hospitality sectors of the design industry. Catherine gained invaluable knowledge in the luxury residential design field while working in Palm Beach, Florida. Then, moving to the Northeast, Catherine joined an exclusive hospitality design firm as an interior designer and specifications manager. Many of the projects were five-star and boutique properties, including hotels, clubhouses, residential towers and conference centers. These projects were often located all around the globe. Catherine was part of the Asia team and was frequently sent to present and conduct site visits in China and Hong Kong. Listen in to find out what Catherine has to share on the show today.

Show highlights:

  • Catherine discusses her backward approach to her career.
  • Catherine's return to school to get an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master's in product design.
  • Giving in to her horse addiction and moving to Aiken South Carolina.
  • The importance of setting your limits.
  • How Catherine manages to find the right work-life balance.
  • The type of design projects that Catherine works with, in Aiken.
  • Saying 'yes' to repeat work.
  • Catherine explains her superpower.
  • What Catherine loves the most about the market that she works with.
  • The awesome relationship that Catherine has with her current clients.
  • Working with a mid-level market.
  • All of Catherine's work comes from word-of-mouth and most of it comes from builders.
  • Why Catherine does not specialize in any particular market.
  • What Catherine finds the most challenging part of her work.
  • About Catherine's relationships with her contractors.
  • Why Catherine never thought that she would ever own her own business.
  • The way that Catherine has grown since starting her own business.
  • Catherine describes her initial consultation process.
  • Having the budget conversation in the first fifteen minutes of the consultation.

Other episodes mentioned in this show:

Susan Yeley #208

Natalie Hurst #172

Blanche Garcia #282


Website: Bespoke
Instagram: Bespoke Fine Interiors  @bespokefineinteriors
Facebook: Bespoke Fine Interiors
May 25, 2018

Welcome! Today we're really excited to have Chaney Widmer, the founder of Mix and Match Design Company, back with us- and she is also the sponsor of today's show!  (She was previously in episode #260.)  We were really impressed when we first met Chaney because she was so well-spoken, so poised, and so directed and focused about her business. We were also really impressed with the way that Chaney's whole business is completely E-design and that she doesn't do any client-facing in-the-house work at all. Listen in today to find out more about Chaney's niche.

Mix & Match Design Company was founded by Chaney Widmer in 2015 with the goal of making interior design services accessible and affordable for everyone. By harnessing the power of technology and using innovative online tools, Mix & Match has been able to help folks create homes that they love in a fun and efficient way - all online through "e-design" -while maintaining a personal touch. She wants to take the intimidation out of interior design - whether you are starting from scratch on a brand new home or redesigning a room that's ready for an update, she's ready to help!

Over the past several years, Mix & Match has grown into a multi-faceted business that serves not only clients but other interior design businesses as well. On the client side, Chaney offers one-on-one e-design packages, and also shares inspiring and educational design content to a broad audience through twice-weekly blog posts and on social media. In February 2018, she expanded into the "B-to-B" world and released an online course for designers (or aspiring ones!) who want to launch their own online interior design businesses. This self-paced course is released a few times a year and provides a "quick start" guide to getting an e-design business up and running. Enabling others to pursue their goal of starting a design business is a passion of Chaney's, and she's very excited to help them succeed! Mix & Match Design Company is based in the great city of Philadelphia and serves clients locally and nationally.

At the end of the last show with Chaney, we mentioned that she was in the process of coming up with a course for her interior design colleagues who are interested in learning about how to run a profitable and effective E-design business. She has subsequently come up with that course. It's called How To Launch An E-design Business, and it will launch on the 4th of June 2018. Today we will be talking to Chaney about exactly what is in her course and she will also explain how it works. Listen in to find out what Chaney has to share with you today.

Show highlights:

  • E-design is really flexible- it can either be your entire business or used as a side-hustle.
  • The in-depth nature of Chaney's course.
  • The way that Chaney has taken this aspect of design and systemized it.
  • How Chaney's course will really save you time.
  • How the principals in the course will be a good foundation for your design business.
  • Chaney's course is recorded, so you can do it in your own time and at your own pace.
  • The course can also be used to get the junior designers or design assistants who work for you up to speed.
  • The major topics that are in the four videos in the course.
  • Chaney really has her marketing well locked down!
  • Chaney's belief is that designers should be providing everything that their clients need.
  • Finding the right process for your clients.
  • Most people accept that Chaney is an E-designer and so she won't go and do in-person consultations.
  • The feedback that Chaney has had from designers who have purchased her course.
  • Chaney's goals for the course that she created.
  • Chaney is offering a free download from the course.
  • What you will learn from the workbook of the course.
  • Who the course is tailored for.


To get your free download of The start-up checklist for an E-design business go to E Design Biz Checklist

You can find Chaney's course How To Launch An E-design Business at: E Design Course

To get onto Chaney's email list go to the course landing-page at E Design Course.

How To Launch An E-Design Business course:
Mix & Match Design Company website: Mix And Match Design
Instagram: @mixandmatchdesigncompany
Facebook: Mix & Match Design Company
May 22, 2018

Download The Skills Assessment!

Welcome to today's episode of Design Biz Live! As many of you know, this means that I have Judith Neary and Corey Klassen with me and that we're going to have an in-depth discussion about the intricacies of running your interior design business. Listen in to find out more!

On the show today we are going to be talking about the important personality traits that you need to master in order to be really successful as an interior designer. Judith gives a fabulous description of what is and what isn't a successful interior designer and Corey discusses the specific questionnaire that he sends out to his clients before their first consultation, along with his specific eleven step 'What I will do and what I won't do' document that he attaches and goes over with them when they sign the contract. Listen in today to find out what it takes to create a smooth and easy process for your clients.

Show Highlights:


  • Some of the overarching traits that are really important for interior designers to have- or to develop. 
  • What adaptability means to Judith.
  • Corey's take on adaptability.
  • Why it's not okay to adapt your particular zone of genius to please a client.
  • About Corey's detailed Self Assessment Check List of Skills.
  • Working within your particular zone of genius.
  • Learning how to manage both conflict and resolution.
  • Corey's way of dealing with things that bother him.
  • Becoming willing to do the hard thing- so that everything else can fall into place.
  • Corey discusses his initial process with new clients.
  • Corey's process of knowing what he will and won't do.
  • The three things that Judith will not do.
  • How Corey works out what he will charge for each project.
  • Why Corey always presents his proposals to his clients in person.
  • Why Corey does not take any digital communication from his clients outside of their project in the MyDoma Studio platform.  
  • What Corey charges to cover his initial consultation and operation costs.
  • Being really clear with your clients about what you will and won't do. 


Other episodes mentioned in this show:

Lee Cockerel #222

This show is also a video on our YouTube channel







May 18, 2018

Welcome to another Power Talk Friday! We have Claire Jefford back on the show with us today (she was previously on #237) and we will be talking to her about how to create products, courses, and the kinds of things that designers can sell to consumers on their websites. She will explain what this looks like, how to do it, why you should be doing it, and also, some steps that you can follow in the process. LuAnn really enjoys talking to Claire and she loves having her on the show because it means that it's going to be a seriously good one, so listen in today to find out what Claire has to share with you.

Claire started her interior decorating business in 2011 and her firm specializes in 3D design as well as custom residential projects. Claire has a very keen eye for detail and she particularly loves to mix patterns and fabrics. Her company was named one of the top thirty interior design firms in Ontario in 2017 and she is very proud to be the highest reviewed design professional in the greater Toronto area on Howzz, with more than ninety reviews! Claire, not one to shy away from social media, has been creating videos on Facebook since 2013 and she started her own Youtube channel in January 2016. She also has a second business, where she coaches and helps other designers to run their interior design businesses. With her no-nonsense approach, she shares marketing ideas, proven processes and social media strategies, to help others in the field to build confidence in the way that they work. Claire also runs a free Facebook group called Interior Design Business Strategies, which is an amazing community focusing on the business of design. Listen in now to find out more. 

Show highlights:

  • Claire explains the difference between a product that you create and an affiliate link.
  • The right time to do affiliate links on your website.
  • Getting to know your audience.
  • Some steps to creating the kind of product that consumers can buy from your website.
  • Finding and recognizing opportunities to create your products.
  • Looking at your customers' pain points in order to create a valuable product.
  • Layering some affiliate links into your website.
  • The importance of building trust with your audience through your website.
  • Saving both time and money are always really important.
  • The benefits of having a Facebook group.
  • How to do a really effective pre-sale for your product.
  • The walk-through video that Claire created.
  • Being really clear about what you're offering on your website.
  • Knowing when you should throw in the towel.
  • Sometimes you're going to need to invest in what you're creating.
  • The time and effort that it took for Claire to create her 'Rock The Consult' course.
  • Categorising your blog posts.
  • The beauty of creating products that will retain their relevance over time.
  • Why you really need to charge for all the time you're using.
  • Remember to get testimonials from your customers!

Claire was also in episode #237: Claire Jefford - How to Get More Clients with Video Content

Other episodes mentioned on this show:

Kae Whitaker #274

Carla Aston #242 


Claire on Instagram: @ClaireJeffordDesigns

Claire's website: Claire Jefford

Claire on Facebook

Claire on Youtube

May 15, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! I have Steven G, of Interiors By Steven G, with me today and we will be talking about how and why Steven G came to the decision to leave the first interior design firm that he partnered with and how he launched his own company, based on the lessons (or the negatives, as he calls them) that he learned there. He will also discuss how he established his company and reputation with the luxury property developers in the South Florida region. Today's show is a fantastic example of gambling on yourself and of calculating the risk vs your return on investment, so please listen in carefully to what Steven has to share with you today.

Interiors By Steven G is one of South Florida's most outstanding interior design firms. Steven leads a team of more than eighty professionals, which include licensed interior designers who are fluent in seven languages, interior design renderers, a full Autocad department, design assistants, an in-house marketing and PR department, as well as a full warehouse team with their own fleet of trucks. Their locations include a one-hundred-thousand square foot corporate office and showroom and the NOW by Steven G Showroom. These are both located in Broward County. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • How Steven intentionally, and also organically built his collaborations with the luxury property developers in South Florida.
  • Why Steven has focused his career and business on the luxury condominium market.
  • How Steven used to reach his buyers through his sales center.
  • How Steven works between seventy and eighty hours every week to remain out-of-the-box as a designer.
  • How Steven's business first began to blossom, and how he found his niche.
  • The importance of being structured in the way you do your business.
  • How Steven has never forgotten where he came from- or to say 'thank you'.
  • Steven's humble approach to his business.
  • How Steven got his foot in the door with the luxury property developers, early on in his business.
  • How Steven assesses the potential return on his investments.
  • Reaping the benefits of long-term design investments.
  • How Steven realized that the first firm that he partnered with was going to crash and burn.
  • The way that Steven built his company on 'the negatives'.
  • Steven is always reachable- this really works for him!
  • How working hard can allow you to eventually land in a really beautiful place!
  • The importance of creating your own destiny.
  • Steven is a wealth of knowledge- and he is willing to share it with you, designers!
  • Why you always need to think ahead of the game.
  • Please take the time to go to Steven's website The work is really unbelievable!


Interiors By Steven G

Steven on social media:
May 11, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! Last Friday we started a great conversation with Ashley Hotham-Cox, the editor-in-chief of Home Design & Decor in Charlotte, about how to pitch yourself and how to get press. Today we are really happy to continue the conversation with Amy Flurry. Amy has appeared once before on the show, on episode #108 and she's really a smart lady, so if you haven't met her yet, you are really in for a treat! Listen in now to find out more!

Amy has two decades of editorial experience, conceiving ideas for stories, producing shoots, and writing copy for magazines and online publications. These include Country Living, In Style, Refinery 29, Conde Nast Traveller, Better Homes and Gardens, and Lucky Magazine. Amy authored Recipe For Press- Pitch Your Story and Create A Buzz, (which we spoke about in episode #108) after being inspired by her career in publishing. She has now written her second book, Recipe For Press- Designer Edition. This book is filled to the brim with tools for interior designers, architects, landscape planners, and product designers who need to take advantage of any new media opportunities which are available. Amy applies her collective expertise- from trend direction to product and brand development, working with companies to expand their marketing strategies and to connect businesses to the interior design trade. Listen in to find out what she has to share with you on today's show.

Show highlights:

  • The really great advice that Amy gave to LuAnn when they first met.
  • About Amy's fabulous new book, Recipe For Press- Designer Edition.
  • The overarching points that Amy wanted to get across in her new book.
  • Why designers need to create a strategy for getting press.
  • The shift that Amy has seen lately, in the design industry.
  • The new opportunities that are available now, for designers to get their names out there.
  • Why you need to have a really good pitch.
  • How to create a killer pitch.
  • Why you really need to know what you want to get from the press.
  • Remember that all publications need content!
  • The amount of work that you're going to be in for when you engage with a publicist.
  • Why it makes more sense to pitch for publications in your neighborhood.
  • Press is not about ego- it's actually about business!
  • Working your way up- starting with your local press and local market.
  • About Amy's layering strategy.
  • The way that Amy creates events that are really worthwhile for everyone in the room.
  • Why retailers really want you, as interior designers, in their showrooms.
  • The importance of sharing- and recycling images.
  • Celebrating the things that set you apart from other designers.
  • Some of the fabulous resources that are available on Amy's website- Recipe For Press.
  • About Amy's incredible company- Paper-Cut-Project. You can see it on Instagram.


Other episodes mentioned on this show:

Laura Thurman #272

Claire Staszak #166

Lynn K Leonidas #179

And Amy Flurry appeared before on episode #108


To order your copy of Amy's book go to Recipe For Press.

Go to Luann Nigara, to the 'live events' tab, to find the RSVP link for the opening night, at Lefroy Brooks, of the ICFF at the AND Building on 22nd May. The first 25 people will receive a free book from LuAnn!

To figure out all the things that you can do with MyDoma Studio go to My Doma Studio.

To get onto LuAnn's email list text the word designbiz to 444 999, or go to her website and go to the events page.

May 8, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! On the show today we are going to be having an in-depth conversation with Deborah Von Donop, an interior designer, and well-known blogger. We will be talking to Deborah about monetizing your blog and also about how and why it is really important to create a content-rich blog, in order to drive readers and design enthusiasts to your website for the opportunity to monetize through affiliate links and sponsored content. Listen in to find out more about networking as your biggest resource for growth.              

Deborah is the principal of DVD Interiors in Connecticut and she is the editor and founder of the national blog DVD Interior Design. Deborah also guests blogs for a number of other sites, including Westchester Magazine, I blog Magazine, Blissfully Domestic.Com and more. She writes weekly posts about design resources, highlights from industry events and also interior design topics which are aimed to educate and inspire her readers. Deborah's experience includes a BFA in Interior Architecture from Cal State University in Long Beach, a CCIDQ certification, an NCIDQ certification and a LEED GA credential. All of this combines really well to bring an in-depth knowledge to all of her projects. Listen in now to find out what Deborah has to share about upping your game in social media.

Note- This show with Deborah pairs very nicely with the upcoming show featuring Claire Jefford, which will air next week. It follows up on today's show with how to create your own content to sell through your website and blog, so be on the lookout for that!

Show highlights:

  • Deborah discusses her evolution from interior designer to online media marketing expert.
  • How Deborah really got to grips with the online marketing space from the inside out.
  • How the online marketing space has really widened Deborah's opportunities.
  • How Deborah is now applying her experience from her blog, over the last few years, to her interior design business.
  • Why Deborah really loves to teach people about the importance of republishing their work.
  • Why you really have to give a lot before asking for anything back in the online space.
  • Three good places to start with monetizing your blog.
  • How advertising has evolved to become more sophisticated.
  • Making money through affiliate marketing.
  • Why middle bloggers are rising in the online space.
  • Why you should always be consistent with your message in the online space.
  • About word of mouth marketing.
  • Ten great online environment options.
  • Getting your blog to the point where you can monetize it.
  • How much traffic you need to be a successful affiliate marketer.
  • The benefits of using evergreen content in your blog.
  • Creating income through sponsored content.
  • Why you have to be really passionate about blogging to make it.


To contact Deborah, or to get her Visibility Package go to DvD Interior Design 

Book mentioned on the show: Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck.

To get all the details about the Kips Bay show-house go to Kips Bay show-house

May 4, 2018

Welcome to today's episode! We are really happy to have Ashley Hotham Cox with us and she's going to be a really hot topic on the show today!  Ashley comes with a significant level of experience. She used to be with Traditional Home and now she is the newly appointed editor-in-chief of Home Design & Decor. Listen in today to find out what Ashley has to share about promoting your design work through features in interior design magazines.      

Ashley is a long-time Charlotte local- with a twist. As a North Carolina native, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor of arts degree in fashion and a master's degree in journalism before earning her experience as a writer at Charlotte, Charlotte Wedding, and Charlotte Home & Garden magazines, and also as an editor at Traditional Home in New York. She is also a designer, having earned her certificate in interior design from the Parsons School of Design. Ashley returned home in 2016 to join the team of Home Design & Decor. Listen in now to find out more about how to pitch successfully, to be featured in design publications.

Show highlights:

  • Ashley discusses the big differences between what she was doing at Traditional Home and what she's doing now as an editor-in-chief at Home Design & Decor.
  • Ashley discusses an overview of the editorial calendar and what she's looking out for, and how this affects you, as designers.
  • Finding the cut-off dates for specific features.
  • What you can do if you miss the cut-off date for a certain feature to promote some work that you've done.
  • Weighing up if you should publish on Instagram or not if you have missed a deadline.
  • Everything is always subject to change in time.
  • Becoming really familiar with a specific publication before pitching your work to them.
  • Ashley discusses what her front-of-book looked like for last year.
  • The exceptions to the rule of featuring new design projects only.
  • The kind of pitch that really gets Ashley's attention.
  • What you need, in order to be considered for a magazine feature.
  • Why you shouldn't be discouraged if you get a 'no' from an editor.
  • Photography is not cheap, so should you supply your own photos for a magazine feature, or not?
  • Why you need to turn the lights off when taking pictures for a publication.
  • Photographing interiors is very different to taking real estate shots.
  • Why Ashley doesn't really buy into trends.
  • Why you need to really get to know about a publication before pitching them.
  • Ashley's favorite thing about her job.
  • Things that will really make your project different, bring life to an interior- and a great story!

Social Media:





May 1, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We are really happy to have Jo Buckerfield with us today. She is the designer and project manager for the UK based design firm Your Space Living and her husband, Mike Buckerfield, is their studio manager. Mike has been Jo's champion in getting her onto the podcast and it's been no easy task because it's just not her thing to go out and be interviewed! Mike emailed LuAnn a few months back, saying that he'd been listening to the show and that he loves it! He explained that having Jo on the show would really bring it so much value because she is truly an amazing designer in the UK, so listen in to find out what she has to share on the show today.

When the home design company that Jo had been working for as a furniture designer for many years went out of business unexpectedly in 2012, she wanted to ensure that the clients who had been left with unfinished projects still got their dream homes. That was when Your Space Living was born. Working tirelessly and out-of-pocket for six months, Jo and Mike completed every one of the abandoned projects, and so they laid the foundations for the successful company that they are still running today! Jo's design expertise, creativity, and vision allow them to go beyond the standard and create beautiful spaces that meet the needs of modern-day families. Listen in now to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Jo is a full-service interior designer who leads with her kitchen design- she explains how this really works for her interior design firm.
  • Jo explains all about her great reward-based client referral system, which is also an awesome marketing tool.
  • How Jo evolved to becoming a project manager.
  • Jo's really rewarding personal approach to her clients.
  • The lovely gift hampers that Jo gives her clients to say 'thank you' at the end of a project.
  • The little touches that serve as reminders to Jo's past clients.
  • The intentional way that Jo keeps a positive spin about kitchen design on her website.
  • The massive difference between kitchen design and interior design.
  • How Jo manages to have enough time to spend with her clients through doing mainly kitchen design.
  • The recent evolution of kitchen design.
  • Why it really helps to understand the construction aspect of design.
  • How Jo really puts her heart and soul into the industry.
  • Jo's way of dealing with potential clients who are not the right fit for her business.
  • Constantly tweaking her website to ensure that the right message is being put out there.
  • Adding value for clients by giving them the right advice.
  • Ways to be able to work with your ideal client with no worries.
Social Media:
Your Space Living
Instagram: @yourspaceliving