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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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


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

Feb 27, 2018

Welcome to today's episode of A Well-Designed Business! We have Laura Buchner and Kirsten McCoy with us on the show and today we are going to be talking to them about how their interior design firm was founded in 1982 by Penny Steele, and how they purchased it from her in 2005 when she retired. Listen in as we pick apart their motivation for buying an existing business from someone else rather than starting their own business from scratch.

Laura and Kirsten are the principals of Meadowbank Designs, which is located in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania area. Meadowbank Designs has completed a wide range of projects throughout the country, for generations of clients, from historic preservation to vacation homes and also additions and renovations. They are best known for residential design which combines traditional motifs with a modern sensibility, and also for providing the highest quality of design excellence and personal service. Listen in today to find out about Laura and Kirsten's decision to buy their business, and how they went about acquiring it.

Show highlights:

  • Kirsten and Laura discuss their decision to buy the business.
  • The confidence that they felt about their relationships with the existing clients.
  • The really awesome way that Penny, the previous owner of the business, worked to create a great relationship between Laura, Kirsten and the existing clients.
  • What made them decide to buy an existing business, rather than starting up one of their own.
  • The organic process of how they came to decide to buy the business from the previous owner.
  • How the previous owner arrived at the value of the business.
  • The time that it took for the business to be fully paid off and for Kirsten and Laura to begin making a profit.
  • How they worked their finances, in order to get the business paid off as quickly as possible.
  • Using professional systems, in order to run a business the right way.
  • How they overcame the difficulties that they experienced during the recession in 2008.
  • The importance of their constant and clear communication.
  • The number of clients that they typically handle during any given quarter.
  • The roles that Laura and Kirsten each play for their projects.
  • The really mature way that they handle conflict when it comes up.
  • The different, yet complimentary things that Laura and Kirsten each bring to the business.
  • Some things worth considering, when thinking about buying an existing business.

Previous episodes mentioned on the show:

Fred Berns: Episodes #22, #48, #96, #174, #226 and #289


Meadowbank designs can be found at:

Meadowbank Designs

Facebook: Meadowbank-Designs

Instagram: Meadowbank Designs

Twitter: Meadowbank Designs

Pinterest: Meadowbank Designs

Fred Bern's website:

Feb 23, 2018

Welcome to today's episode of Power Talk Friday! We are delighted to introduce you to Duncan Blair, the director of marketing for Article, a furniture company out of Vancouver Canada, and the sponsor for today's show. Article recently approached LuAnn about getting onto the podcast to tell you about their products. LuAnn agreed to this because she thinks that it's an interesting company with great potential as a resource for you and your interior design projects. Duncan is here today to tell us all about Article, so listen in carefully as we pick it apart to see if it really is a viable option for us, as designers.                     

Article has been in business since 2013. It is an online company and an original, modern furniture brand that engineers remarkably better furniture shopping experiences. It is a dedicated, deadline orientated, people pleasing type of company, with a trade facing program, and they are currently in the midst of an initiative to spread their wings and further develop their trade program, to make it both more efficient and more effective. Listen in now, to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Duncan explains why he thinks that Article would make a really good alliance company for interior designers.
  • What Article does, to help make the designers who have a hard time ordering furniture from an online location, more comfortable.
  • Article's really generous return policy- if you don't like it, you can send it back- seamlessly, with no problem.
  • About Article's dedicated trade team, to guide you and help you to pre-purchase.
  • Jill and her team at Article are interior designers who really understand.
  • Article has a complete fabric swatch kit, which is available to designers at no cost.
  • Their really reasonable flat rate freight shipping fee, for anywhere in Canada or the USA.
  • Article's three-tiered shipping model.
  • Article's really awesome customer service.
  • Duncan explains about their free exchange service.
  • What really sets Article apart from other vendors, in terms of their delivery times.
  • Article really prides itself on its ability to always meet your deadlines.
  • The members of the team at Article are always ready to help you out with questions that are specific to the design industry.
  • All about the furniture at Article and where it is made.
  • About Article's fair trade policy and their pledge to only having a positive impact on the world.
  • What would be required in order for you to become a trade partner with Article? (Go to
  • The discounts that are available through their trade program.
  • About the quality and styling of the products which are supplied by Article.
  • Article's projected income for the next financial year.


Article on Instagram: @article

Apply for the Article Trade Program: Article
Article: Article
Linkedin: Article 
Houzz: Article 
Instagram: Article 
Facebook: Article
Feb 21, 2018

A very warm welcome to the three hundredth episode of A Well-Designed Business today- and happy birthday to us! February the 15th was the second birthday of the podcast and we are having our birthday party tonight (21st February) at Lefroy Brooks in New York City. Today is a really big day for the podcast and there's lots of awesome news too, so listen in now to find out more.

It really takes a lot of effort from many people to get this podcast aired each week and I'm truly grateful to everyone involved! I'm especially grateful to you, my designer friends, who show up and listen in to the show every single week! Listen in today as I share some news and express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has played their part in making this show so successful!

Show highlights:

  • A special mention of thanks to everyone that works so hard to get this show ready and aired!
  • Special thanks to our featured sponsors- Kravet Inc and MyDoma Studio.
  • How we know that Kravet is truly in the business of helping you to run a better business.
  • Why I really love MyDoma Studio so much!
  • A shout out to all our other sponsors.
  • Thanks to all the wonderful guests who have been on the show!
  • A really HUGE thank you to you, my designer friend, who listens to this show every week- It's because of you that I show up each week!.
  • How my world has expanded tenfold because of my designer friends, who follow me, interact with me on Instagram and Facebook, and give me really valuable feedback.
  • The changes that are happening with the show.
  • Why we will be airing our shows just twice a week, as of next week.
  • We will be adding more video content to the podcast as we go forward.
  • How the Well-Designed Business Fan Club got started.
  • The details about the first meeting of the fan club. You're welcome to join!
  • How you can really benefit from joining the fan club.
  • About my book- The Making Of A Well-Designed Business. It's finally out!
  • The biggest lesson that's in my whole book!

If are just hearing about this and you'd like to join us at our birthday party, there's still time for you to get in, so go on over to Party.

To get our amazing newsletter every Wednesday, simply text 444 999 and enter the word designbiz.

The first meeting of the Well-Designed Business Fan Club will be on Friday 23rd February at noon (eastern time). To join, email Deborah at and put LuAnn Fan Club in the subject line.

My book, The Making Of A Well-Designed Business, is available in e-book form and in paperback. The paperback is $14.95 and the e-book is $7.99, but from 21st February until 28th February 2018 the e-book will only be $3.00- in honor of our 300th episode! Go to The Making Of A Well-Designed Business.

Feb 19, 2018
The interior design industry was recently rocked with the news that acquired IvyMark for a reported $30 to $40 million dollars. There have been panel discussions on Facebook Live and other podcasters have addressed it on their shows as well. These discussions have covered, among other things, the motivations of both the Ivy team and of, the ramifications of the purchase to the interior designers who are using the IVY platform and the ripples this news is making through our industry.
I agree wholeheartedly that all of these discussions are important and valid and they have been well addressed. But today I want to address the lessons we can learn from this situation and talk about how and why it is so important for us as business owners to understand how Ivy and Houzz might have avoided some of this significant backlash from the design community. It begins and ends with you as a business owner, your conduct, your philosophy and your leadership.
Feb 16, 2018

Welcome to A Well Designed Business! Today we have Rich Rogers as our guest and he is the sales manager for the exterior side of Window Works. Rich is someone who has really been making LuAnn's life a whole lot easier in many ways and for many years and he is a real asset to the team at Window Works, with his experience in the trade and his knowledge about product lines. On the show today he will be talking about awnings and discussing some awesome solutions to almost impossible situations. Listen in to find out more.

Before coming to work at Window Works Rich was the senior regional manager for K E Dorosoil Awnings Inc., an Italian based company and the primary awning supplier that Window Works have used since 1985. They really provide an enormous range of outdoor shading solutions, with a slightly European, outdoor restaurant feeling. Listen in now to find out about a shady way of offering savvy solutions and making more money in your design business!

Show highlights:

  • Rich's thoughts on where designers tend to miss the boat with outdoor shading solutions for their clients.
  • Understanding both the products and the solution.
  • Creating amazing awnings for awkward spaces.
  • The lasting quality of the products that Rich works with.
  • The awnings are so awesome that people even take them with when they move house!
  • Creating awareness about quality, unique awnings, and their features.
  • Offering solutions using exterior products.
  • Operating automated products with your smartphone.
  • Automated products are not only functional, they're really beautiful too.
  • Some high-end options for you to offer your clients.
  • The featured 'Genius Project' and how this product line differs from others.
  • The unbelievable size of the awning that was put onto Nomad Pizza in Princeton.
  • Creating shady solutions at the Life Hotel.
  • The benefits of starting out with the Genius range of products.
  • Why you really need not be intimidated by this kind of product.


The Dorosol website: KE Outdoor Design

The Window Works website: Window Works NJ

Feb 14, 2018

Welcome to another episode of A Well Designed Business! We have Mikel Welch, of Mikel Welch Designs, as our guest on the show and today we pull back the curtain to find out what the lifestyle of a celebrity interior designer is really all about. And guess what? It turns out it's not at all the way we think it is. It involves a lot of risk-taking situations, unforeseen bumps in the road, sleeping on sofas at other people's houses and even asking friends for some help. Mikel, who is a really hard worker with a very clear vision for himself, grew up in Southfield Michigan. Today, he works as an on-air personality and design expert for Pickler and Ben TV show and he is also the brand ambassador to Inspire Closets. All this, in addition to running his own interior design projects. On the show today Mikel shares his really remarkable and encouraging success story. Listen in to hear about a turning point with Steve Harvey and other ways that doors keep on opening for Mikel.

Mikel worked as a set designer for the Steve Harvey Show in 2012, where he created lavish green rooms for prominent people, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, Halle Berry and Tyler Perry, just to name a few. In 2012, before joining the Steve Harvey Show, he was on the HGTV Design Star's season seven, where he finished as a top-four contender. Before that, in 2011, he was behind the camera, as a set designer for Style Network's hit reality show, Jerseylicious. He has appeared as a design expert on WGN TV, CBS-TV's The Talk and he has made special guest appearances on behalf of West Elm, CB2 and Pottery Barn. His designs have been featured in The Huffington Post, HGTV Magazine, Essence Magazine, Chicago's NBC-TV, HGTV's Shop This Room and The Fabulist on E! Network and Splash Magazine. Mikel was also recently profiled in CS Magazine, Modern Luxury Interiors and Crain's Chicago Business. It all sounds so exciting and Mikel really sounds like a lucky guy, doesn't he? Listen in today, as we pick his incredible career apart and find out the truth behind how it all really happened!

Show highlights:

  • What Mikel had in mind, and how things fell into place for him when he made the move to New York from Atlanta.
  • What has happened as a result of Mikel donating his time and services.
  • How Mikel used Craig's List to start his career as an interior designer.
  • The unglamorous start to his New York life.
  • Creating unbelievable opportunities by working strategically for free.
  • Getting set design experience while building a portfolio.
  • Mikel's first real experience of a reality show.
  • What he had to go through working on Jerseylicious.
  • Pushing through the fear and just doing it!
  • The benefits of boot-camp with a celebrity coach.
  • The challenges of working on television.
  • The really lucky break with Steve Harvey.
  • Why Steve Harvey liked and helped Mikel.
  • Mikel's way of working smarter, not harder!
  • An awesome new opportunity at Inspired Closets.
  • Taking the right kind of risks.


A soon as the new Kravet website goes live, you can use the promo code AWDB10, for a 10% discount on any Kravet fabric, trim and wall covering order.

Feb 12, 2018

Welcome to today's show! We have Ruthie Staalsen with us today and she's someone who is really loved by many! Ruthie operates out of the Dallas Fort Worth area in Texas, she has had more than fourteen years of experience as a designer and she's also on the board of the Design Blogger's Conference. Ruthie focuses on making homes look collected rather than decorated and there is a European flair to her personal design style- with an eclectic twist. She views her privilege of having had the opportunity to experience many different lifestyles as the greatest gift of her childhood. Listen in today to hear our awesome conversation with Ruthie about the value of mentorship, the value of attending conferences and Ruthie's way of running her business.

Ruthie was born and raised overseas  and many of her influences come from Europe, Africa and Central and South America. She is an internationally published interior designer and she has built her business from the ground up. She was awarded the 2016 Designer Of The Year from the National Interior Design Society for a kitchen renovation project and she was nominated as one of the top fifteen decorators in Dallas. Her work has been published in Elite Monde- a lifestyle and fashion magazine in Dubai and also in Traditional Home Magazine Great Kitchens. Listen in to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • The incredible kind of connections that can be made with others at the Design Blogger's Conference.
  • Ruthie's daunting first experience of a Design Blogger's Conference, about seven years ago.
  • The way that your business will benefit from your attending conferences.
  • Things that will keep you going and really spur you on with your business.
  • Ruthie's awesome relationship with her mentee, Cheryl Luckett. (Episode #291)
  • How you can really benefit from being a mentor.
  • Some of the things that newbie designers tend to struggle with.
  • Ruthie's take on charging the right fee, as a new designer.
  • What happened when Ruthie started to hire people to help her.
  • The huge responsibility- and benefits of hiring new people.
  • Some interesting things about the way that Ruthie has set her business up.
  • Ruthie's Away For The Day design service.
  • Mistakes will happen- just get up and carry on!
  • Living a really purposeful life as a designer.
  • Ruthie's personal approach to decorating people's homes.
  • How Ruthie finds the very best vendors to work with.
  • How Ruthie really manages to express her authentic self through her blog.


Her website and social:
Facebook Ruthie Designer
Instagram : Ruthie Designer
Linkedin : Interiors
Twitter : Ruthie Designer
Youtube : Ruthie Staalsen

To join us at our birthday party go to the RSVP at Luann Nigara Party.

Feb 9, 2018

Welcome to another episode of Power Talk Friday! There have been perhaps a dozen times in the last two years that someone has suggested to LuAnn that she does a show about vendors and what it's like working with them. Then, something quite incredible happened in a Facebook group recently, where a vendor spoke out very directly to a particular designer about his experience with other designers. This brought about mixed reactions from designers in the Facebook group. Some were incensed at his misdirected wrath, saying that it was ridiculous, while others felt it was better to just walk away. LuAnn's opinion, however, was that this was really a vendor to hang on to for dear life, because although he had been both blunt and less than politically correct, he was honest without being mean, cutting or personalizing his opinion- really epitomizing what it is that vendors have to go through. Listen in today, to find out what LuAnn has to tell you about how designers are directly affected by whatever their vendors are going through at that time.

For the last two years on this podcast, LuAnn has championed you, as designers, standing in your space and helping you to teach your clients how to do business with you. So when the vendor stands in their own space and wants to teach you how to do business with them, you really cannot take offense to that, now can you? Listen in today and learn as LuAnn explains how to work with your vendor and also, how you can express your needs to your client about how you want them to work with you.

Show highlights:

  • LuAnn reads the Facebook post from the very straightforward vendor.
  • Ways that you can learn to think from the point of view of the vendor.
  • The difference between your relationship with your client and the relationship that your vendor has with you.
  • The kinds of difficulties that vendors tend to have and how they usually deal with them when they are not yet standing firmly in their own space.
  • Why it's actually easier for a vendor to have “the hard conversation” upfront- even at the risk of losing the whole project.
  • What Lee Cockerell, the senior vice president of Disney World, had to say in episode #222 about doing hard things.
  • Becoming empowered, setting boundaries and teaching your clients how to do business with you.
  • Learning from your mistakes- without throwing your vendor under the bus.
  • What inevitably ends up happening to you when you try to blame your vendor.
  • It's really all about very good communication.
  • Some great tips for working really well with your vendors.
  • Protecting your vendors from information overload.
  • The benefits of using a project management software like MyDoma Studio.
  • Really valuing the kind of vendor that makes it clear to you how to work successfully with them.
  • Giving your vendor the benefit of the doubt. 


To be on our email list: Text the number 444999 and enter the word designbiz.

To come to our birthday party, generously hosted by Lefroy Brooks, on Wednesday, February 21st go to Luann Nigara Party 

On Monday, February 19th Blanch Garcia will be doing a Lunch And Learn at out New Jersey showroom on running your design business.

Feb 7, 2018

If you are facing new challenges in your interior design business or are just starting out with the podcast, then you might be a bit overwhelmed by all the information the Well Designed Business Podcast has accumulated over the past two years. If you are in need of a jumping off point, then look no further than this episode! It’s a solo show today as I organize and highlight the episodes that have made a real impact on me and the audience. The show is nearing 300 episodes, and that means if you are just now joining the party that you have quite a bit of info to sift through. Luckily, I am giving you a jumping off point so that the party can begin right away.

I have gathered together the best of the best into 5 different categories. You’ll hear my recommendations for practical business advice, building up a pipeline, understanding your YOU and your ideal client, creative inspiration, and the quick starter designers that have inspired me. If you are listening to the podcast, you are the kind of person who will work hard and be successful in your design business. I am celebrating the success of the show by helping you on that road to success. Consider this episode the fast track!

If you are just now joining us, welcome! If you are a longtime listener, I sincerely hope you enjoy re-listening to these episodes. You are on the path to success just by showing up for your business today.

More in this episode:

  • Hear my vision for the Well Designed Business Archives.
  • For practical business advice, listen to episodes 2, 36, 45, 68, 180, 233*.
  • Need help building your pipeline? Check out episodes 40, 245, 266
  • To understand your YOU, your ideal client, head over to episodes 15, 256, 22, 26, 125.
  • Several of you have listened to episode 192 multiple times! It’s so full of good info.
  • Time to dig into episodes for creative inspiration! Try episodes 21, 18, 165, 169, 184.
  • These designers really blew me out of the water. Here are your best places for Quick Starts episodes—167, 179, 211, 203.
  • I want you at the podcast birthday party!



Your Business in Words

Feb 5, 2018

Today we have Jana Platina Phipps, affectionately known as the “Trim Queen” by her clients, as our guest on the show. Jana and LuAnn met each other in person last year at the IWCE in Charlotte, where they were both speaking, and this year Jana will be speaking again at the IWCE in Tampa Florida. Jana is an embellishment expert, a designer and she's also an agent for Classical Elements. She develops custom trimmings for NYC-based fashion companies and she also designs made-to-order home and fashion accessories, using trimmings and vintage jewelry. Jana teaches other people her technique of Trim Alchemy, which involves turning something ordinary into something really extraordinary, using trimmings to express their personal creativity. Listen in to find out more about what Jana will be doing at the IWCE this year.             

Jana started a blog in 2013 and she uses her social media channels to keep an account of how the design community uses trimmings creatively. She lectures at The New York School of Interior Design, Continuing Education Seminars and on Webinars to the interior design community, drawing on her knowledge of the history of passementerie and also on her hands-on experience with fabrication. She is a regular contributor to WF Vision and Designers Today Magazines, and Universal Furniture’s Smartstuff Social Station blog. She also conducts DIY workshops and stages a Trim Alchemy Show at the Country Living Fairs across the country. Jana is planning a Trim Queen Maker Tour of Venice Italy for Spring 2018. Listen in now to find out what she has to share with you on today's show.

Show highlights:

  • Jana talks about what she has going on at the IWCE this year.
  • How Jana's college education has come into play for her in her career.
  • The details of what's happening with Jana's workshops in the Construction Zone at the IWCE this year.
  • Why Jana really loves going to the IWCE!
  • What you, as an interior designer, can gain from the community on the Construction Zone floor at the IWCE.
  • About Jana's work with Classical Elements.
  • How the blog post- Trim Queen came about, and the mission behind it.
  • The new avenue of creativity and business that Jana has created with Trim Queen.
  • The power of getting great feedback.
  • The fine line between giving people advice and being taken advantage of.
  • About Jana's really helpful peer mentoring group.
  • How Jana moved Trim Queen into becoming a really viable business.
  • Jana's really intentional way of starting out with doing video.
  • The magic of developing your business through the creative process.
  • Something that has really helped Jana with her creative process this year.
  • All about Jana's Trim Queen Maker Tour in Venice Italy next year.
  • What Jana's awesome concept of maker tourism is all about.
  • What's coming up with Jana and the WCAA, out of Connecticut. All the info will be on the events page of Jana's website. (


Trim Queen







Feb 2, 2018

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! I’m excited to introduce you to Summer Tannhauser, and I’m eager to hear what she can teach us about using Pinterest to grow an interior design business. She’s a Pinterest expert, a business coach, Mastermind leader, and a business/marketing mentor to female entrepreneurs who want to create an impact online through their personal brand and business. She has some really cool things going on now, like her Live More, Work Less business model, and blog series.

We have touched on the world of Pinterest in earlier episodes: Ep. 209 with Leslie Carothers and Sam Henderson of Savour Partnership, and Ep. 223 with Allison Fannin. Today’s episode focuses on the ins and outs of this important platform and pulls back the curtain on Pinterest to show how web designers can use it to build our brand.

Show highlights:

  • Why Pinterest is a vehicle for growing your business locally
  • Summer’s advice about using keywords about your location to draw people in and showcase your brand
  • Setting up your Pinterest account and profile---Do’s and Don’t’s
  • How to set up “rich pins” and validate them
  • How rich pins bring people back to your website
  • Start off with your business name in your profile, use keywords, location, your website, and a description of your business
  • Have a minimum of 15 boards to show that your profile is complete
  • Creating board titles using important keywords
  • Going from a personal to business account: how to clean up or delete existing boards that don’t fit or promote your business
  • How to fill your boards with a combination of other people’s boards and your own content
  • Why some pins should be on multiple boards
  • See what people are looking for to get great ideas for blog topics
  • Change your perspective and think of Pinterest as a search engine and NOT a social media platform
  • Summer’s advice for pinning people’s pins and following accounts to increase your engagement, if you have less than 100 followers
  • “The first step is to make sure your website is updated and presents your brand well. There is no sense spending hours on Pinterest driving people to a website that’s a hot mess.”
  • Focus more on your state name than city name, but include local town names on your profile and on boards
  • Your Pinterest content will have people engaging long-term over time, so don’t focus on short-term events and happenings
  • Getting consistent and active on Pinterest: Consider investing in a scheduling program so it can pin for you on a consistent basis
  • Which platform is best for interior designers if you have limited time?
  • Summer’s Live More, Work Less blog series, highlighting entrepreneurs who are making it work


Her website:

Summer Tannhauser

Her free course:

Free Pin Course

Summer’s social media:

Twitter - @summerktann




Tail Wind App (To use for Pinterest and social media scheduling)

Jan 31, 2018

Cheryl Luckett is the principal of Dwell by Cheryl, her interior design company. She has two areas of expertise that I’m interested in sharing with you today. She has taken her side hustle into a full-time profession, leaving the security of her corporate job. She actively engages in the business mentor/mentee relationship. Loyal listeners might remember a few weeks back, in Episode 267, with Rasheeda Gray of Gray Space Interiors. She described then how her mentor has helped her through the challenges of having a corporate job while working hard on the side in interior design. Cheryl is that mentor that Rasheeda spoke about.

Southern Home describes Dwell by Cheryl as “opulence in reach, with vintage treasures and ingenious restyles.” Cheryl believes her clients should dwell in a home they love. She describes her design as “sophisticated but approachable.” She launched in 2012 and continues to grow, with clients raving about her ability to transform a space on a realistic budget. It’s also her professionalism and attention to detail that earns her high praise. She shares with us about her 15-year career at a Fortune 500 company, along with her beginnings as a registered dietician and human resources professional. It was here that she developed her service skills and business acumen. I’ll remind you of Episode 6, where Erika Ward told us to “make sure that you think about and utilize your transferable skills when you open your interior design firm.” Cheryl will tell us how she has accomplished that.

Cheryl’s work has been published in Charlotte Home and Garden, Southern Home, The Charlotte Observer, Queen City Exclusive, and Hoffman Media’s Southern Spaces, to name just a few. She is a five-time recipient of Best of Houzz Award for Design and Customer Satisfaction, and in 2015, she was named one of the 15 best designers in Charlotte by Build Direct. Cheryl also believes in giving back, and she has partnered locally with agencies such as Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont and Metrolina Habitat Restores to promote non-profit retailers and their missions. Join me for this conversation with Cheryl!

What you’ll hear in the episode:

  • How I met Cheryl at the Design Bloggers Conference in Los Angeles in 2017
  • Insights on running an interior design firm while working a full-time corporate job
  • Cheryl’s path as a registered dietician, then in school foodservice, then human resources
  • Following her love of design and décor to start a blog and take design classes at the local community college
  • “I never treated this design business as merely a side hustle. I wanted to be ALL IN.”
  • How a Design Bloggers Conference in 2012 changed everything for Cheryl: “I felt like I was finally with MY PEOPLE.”
  • Planning an exit strategy from the corporate world
  • How Cheryl’s blog grew and spread to become an effective marketing tool
  • Looking for one YES
  • Juggling a full-time job while designing for clients and taking design classes
  • Why Cheryl had a “waiting list”
  • Finding interns through a design program for students
  • The criteria for leaving her corporate job, making the decision, and setting a time frame
  • The 36-month plan and Cheryl’s financial advisor
  • “Preparing for D-day”---building a website and putting systems in place
  • Cheryl’s relationship with Rasheeda and why she wanted to be a mentor
  • The guidelines and boundaries to the mentor/mentee relationship
  • Cheryl’s mentor and friend, Ruthie Staalsen, a designer in Dallas
  • Cheryl’s plans for this year’s Design Bloggers Conference
  • “Social media: the best money you’ll never spend on marketing.”


Curated Kravet (Use code “ck podcast” for 10% off your first order!)

Her website and social:
Her website: Dwell by Cheryl
Her Blog: Dwell by Cheryl Blog
Her Instagram: Dwell by Cheryl/
Her Facebook: Dwell by Cheryl/
Her Twitter: Dwell By Cheryl
Her Pinterest: Dwell By Cheryl/
Her Linkedin: Cheryl Luckett/
Jan 29, 2018

Today we are very happy to have Warren Pearl, the president of Lefroy Brooks, as our guest on the show. If you are a regular listener you may already know that Mr. Pearl has invited us to celebrate our second year birthday of the podcast on 21st of February, at his New York City showroom! Listen in today to get the details.

Lefroy Brooks has been in business for the last twenty-five years and they have showrooms in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. They are known as the Rolls Royce of bathroom and plumbing fixtures and on the show today you will hear how and why they got this name. Lefroy Brooks create plumbing fixtures who's design would compliment any decor, from any era, from early 20th century all the way to the end. Cooper and Graham take it from there, with their elegant and forward-thinking designs for the 21st century.  In addition to having a really outstanding line of plumbing fixtures which are renown for their superior quality, Lefroy Brooks are a company who really believe in and support interior designers with their education and customer service. Listen in today to find out what Mr. Pearl has to share with you.

Show highlights:

  • What earned Lefroy Brooks their reputation as the Rolls Royce of the plumbing fixtures industry.
  • The philosophy behind the Lefroy Brooks product.
  • How Lefroy Brooks became known as the Rolls Royce of bathroom and plumbing fixtures.
  • The selection of 21stcentury designs that can be accessed through Cooper & Graham.
  • Some really awesome and interesting background info about Warren Pearl and the really famous people that he has dealt with.
  • The special kind of customer service that Lefroy Brooks provides to the trade.
  • The role of interior designers in Mr. Pearl's vision for Cooper & Graham.
  • Why interior designers who haven't yet broken into the high end, luxury market should not be intimidated by the Cooper & Graham product line.
  • The CEU's that Lefroy Brooks provide for interior designers.
  • The fantastic new plumbing technology that's coming up in the future for Cooper & Graham.
  • The classic elegance and authenticity of the Lefroy Brooks fixtures.
  • The unique way that Lefroy Brooks approach their marketing.
  • About the different Lefroy Brooks classic collections, many of which were designed in the 1940's.
  • The Lefroy Brooks presence, outside of the USA.

Go to My Doma Studio to find out about your special offer, as a listener of the podcast.

Link to RSVP for Birthday Party:


Lefroy Brooks

Cooper And Graham





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