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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Jul 24, 2017

The guest on today's show is Susan Yeley, of Susan Yeley Interiors, in Bloomington, Indiana. A few weeks ago, Susan contacted LuAnn, because she listens to the show a lot and she thought that the particular challenges that she faces in her Design Firm could make an interesting topic. After learning a little more about it, LuAnn agreed and she really hopes that you will too. Listen in to find out about the challenges that Susan faces in her business, which is really defined by the area she lives in.

Susan started out as a struggling graduate student in Religion and Philosophy at Indiana University. She later took an unpaid internship at Thomas Jobb, a furniture and fabric showroom in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and became hooked on Design.  She then enrolled at the Harrington College of Design and eventually landed a job at a high-end Residential Design Firm in River North. Susan and her husband finally returned to their roots, a few weeks prior to the birth of their first daughter, in 2005. Listen in now to find out more about Susan and the specific challenges that she faces, when it comes to her business location and the fees that she charges.

Show highlights:

  • Susan explains what the demographic is like where she does her business and also what the factors are, that contribute to making it a little different to LuAnn's usual conversations.
  • Susan's really intentional, yet flexible approach to her business.
  • Many of Susan's clients have never worked with a Designer before.
  • Trust is a really important factor in business, in Susan's close knit community.
  • The packages that Susan used to offer, to sell to her value and services to her small town community.
  • Why she eventually discontinued the packages.
  • The conversation that Susan had with a friend, that caused her to examine the perceived value of her services. Now she makes no mention of figures on her website.
  • Susan's Gut Check On A Potential Home.
  • The really interesting blend of personalities in Susan's wonderful team of really skilled staff.
  • The rationale behind Susan's website.
  • Susan loves the small town life, even though it really makes it harder for her as a Designer.
  • Most of her money is made from once-off, hourly consultations, so Susan is really forced her to think creatively about how to make money, every day.
  • It's not been a feasible option, so far, for Susan to make any money from product mark ups, so she and her team have to think really creatively about what Interior Design looks like in their particular culture.
  • Some of the ways that Susan is trying to generate an income, in her tricky community.
  • Susan's online initiative, to sell things through her website. It's almost like a Town Gallery.
  • The mid range price point items that have been identified, that Susan and her team are working hard to make 'trade only available', in order to generate some more income, via her website.
  • Making money from property flips.
  • Incorporating Enoch Sears's (#202) idea, to collaborate with local Architects.
  • The three P's that Susan relies on- Planning, Priorities, and Patience. They really work for her!
  • Susan's take on Design Therapy.

Susan's website:

Jul 21, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is a really special force to be reckoned with! She's is also the very first guest to be talking about Twitter on the show! Madalyn Sklar is a Business Coach, Consultant, and Twitter Marketing Expert. Other than being an expert on Twitter, she's the host of #Twitter Smarter Twitter Chat and Podcast. She has the weekly #Social ROI Chat, she blogs and she creates courses and also speaks and teaches courses at Madalyn Listen to getting some awesome advice about marketing with Twitter from Madalyn.

Madalyn, who really has some visionary skills, is known for being the Number One Social Media Influencer in Houston, a city which has a population of two million people. She has been blogging since 2000 and she's been founding online communities since 1996 when the internet was new and she saw it as a really great way to connect people. Listen in now, as LuAnn interviews Madalyn, someone who really has the knack of being an early adopter of all things tech!

Show highlights:

  • Why you really should care about Twitter.
  • Engaging is really where the magic is, with Social Media.
  • Get on Twitter and listen to where the conversation is.
  • Madalyn's Twitter Secret Sauce- to help you to start meeting people and enjoying Twitter.
  • Create a Twitter List, either public or private- it's really a great way to organize.
  • Twitter Chats- #an awesome way to make connections with people.
  • Using Twitter Chats to get your business seen and heard.
  • Creating a really effective and clear Twitter profile.
  • You can boost your bio with a link.
  • A great tip to check the traffic to your Twitter profile- you may be in for a big surprise!
  • Why a Pen Tweet really is such a great idea to build your hash tag following.
  • Go to Madalyn's Twitter Smarter Twitter Chat and podcast, to learn more about Twitter.


Madalyn's website:

Go to to get to a page with a variety of charts that you can look through.

The best place to meet Madalyn- on Twitter! #madalynsklar

Jul 19, 2017

Today, LuAnn  is shaking it up a bit and introducing a new monthly feature, called  Design Biz Live. On the third Wednesday of every month, she will be talking with Judith Neary of Roadside Attraction Design Studio and Corey  Klassen of Corey Klassen Interiors and they will be discussing the specific problems and challenges that you are facing in your design firm. Somewhat similar to what LuAnn's been doing for the last eighteen months, however, with Design Biz Live, she will be dealing with the questions that you have by asking them of these two talented designers. So, it's the same, but different... Listen in to find out what it's all about!


If you'd like to know more about who Corey and Judith are, you can listen to episode #170, where LuAnn first met them and there you can hear all about their firms and their backgrounds. What really makes this new feature so actionable and worthy, is that Corey and Judith run two entirely different kinds of firms, with Judith's being a solo operation, on a small island and Corey's in a big city, with staff. This will be really fun and interesting and it will also give you two very different, yet valid perspectives.  What makes it live, is that in addition to this podcast version, there is also a video available, of the three of them, which will be posted on LuAnn's Youtube channel, A Well Designed Business, as well as on the LuAnn Nigara Facebook Page. LuAnn wants you to know that this format is a bit more laid back- more like a coffee jam session- and she also warns you about having these three crazies all in one place! Make no mistake about it, however, they're still going to be covering the business principals that you need to know, in order to be successful. At the end of the day, the goal is still to help you to be more productive and profitable. 


They've decided to start off with an introduction of the philosophy of both Corey and Judith, so they have each made a list of the top things that they think you should do, or you should know, in order to be successful in the Design Industry. You don't need to take notes, because if you go to, you can get your free PDF download of 'The things I learned from Judith and Corey Design Biz Live Episode #1'. Listen in now and enjoy the new show!


Show highlights:


  • The first thing on Corey's list- To be really completely obsessive about drafting and graphic communication. And also...please spell correctly! Corey explains why your construction drawing really needs to be a work of art.
  • The number one thing on Judith's list- Install a toilet, upholster a couch, hang wallpaper, mud and prep dry wall. In other words, get dirty. You really need to have an understanding of not only your trades and what's involved with the different aspects of the product that you're specifying or selling, but there is a respect aspect to this too, which you can only gain through getting a real understanding of the various skill sets involved with doing all of this- and doing it really well. Without this you're not going to be able to really connect with those trades.
  • Number two on Corey's list- You need to take accounting classes. You really do need to know the difference between a mark up and a margin, gross profit and net profit and how much you cost- not how much you earn. The latter includes overheads, facilities, equipment, your hourly rate and your costs for  getting back and forth. 
  • Number two on Judith's list- Work on a finish line at a Cabinet Manufacturers for at least two weeks. Not going to happen easily, but you should try! This is because you really have to have an understanding of the human element involved here. There are going to be imperfections- this is in the nature of the business, so this understanding helps lessen the shock or surprise value when something does go wrong.
  • Number three on Corey's list- Visualise the details. Stand in the room for five minutes and design it in your mind. If you really can't do that, you're going to have trouble getting through the whole process.
  • Number three on Judith's list-  Run the plumbing for your bath design and then do the tile installation. Think this through from the beginning. This is a fundamental, as it's about the reality of what happens on a job site, vs your drawings, vs life, vs product, vs the variation in the installation  process. This is, again, about having an understanding of  and a compassion for the trades. You can only get that through hands-on experience
  • Number four on Corey's list- Don't think for a second that going out on your own is going to be easy. It isn't! It's going to be the hardest stuff you've ever done in your whole entire life, but, it's really so rewarding and so fun!
  • Number four on Judith's list- Date a Lawyer and learn how to argue effectively. One of the huge challenges in the industry is that there's always conflict and conflict often comes up in communication.  This isn't about arguing, it's really about problem solving. About getting to the issue of what the conflict is about. It's about how to resolve things effectively and professionally, without creating more conflict.
  • Number five for Corey- Use really solid contracts with clients. Don't kill them with the contracts, though. ASID has a set of contracts that you can purchase.
  • Number five for Judith-  Take out your nose ring and go and work at Nordstrom for a year and learn how to dress. Find a style somewhere between Brad Pitt and Iris Apfel. It's really important for Trade Professionals to look professional. You really can make a personal statement and find a way to be neutral and appropriate to the situation, without challenging your customer. 
  • Number six on Corey's list- Take credit cards. The fee that's charged is usually offset by the amount of work that you save from having to go to the bank to deposit a cheque. 
  • Number six on Judith's list- Learn grace under pressure. Experience and manage customer triage. Work at a Big Box Store for a year. Great to learn to manage multiple clients at the same time and maintain grace, think on your feet in and do problem solving in a retail environment. Don't hire anyone without any retail experience.
  • Number seven on Corey's list- Follow through on everything and think about the big picture. This is really important to solve those unresolved things that are hanging around and to nip them in the bud. 
  • Number seven on Judith's list- Go old school and learn how to use a sharpie and paper to quick sketch your concepts.  This is just basic artistic ability- not tech. You can go to an art school to learn this. It's a really respected and impressive technique.
  • Number eight on Corey's list- Document everything. You never know when you're going to need it!
  • Number eight on Judith's list- Design something and build it. Not a 3D printed model- really build it yourself. You'll really get a fundamental understanding of how things are put together this way.
  • Number nine on Corey's list- Don't cheap out on software and solutions. They really are your best efficiency machine. You can do the same amount of work and charge the same amount of money, or you can do less work and charge the same amount of money...
  • Number nine on Judith's list- Learn the difference between a professional rejection and a personal one. They may not like you, but they should at least respect you. It's often hard to separate the two as creative professionals. This is learned usually through experience. Develop a professional perspective.




Corey's website:


Judith's website: 


Jul 17, 2017

Today's guest is Lane McNab, of Lane McNab Interiors. Lane, just like Darla Powell, who appeared on last week's show, has also come to Interior Design as a second career. Listen in to find out all about Lane and how she's developed her really successful Interior Design Business.

Lane grew up in Florida and attended school in both Tennessee and San Francisco. She continued her education at Oxford University and at Il Globo Institute, in Italy. Lane's Interior design career is backed with her vast experience and her work and her expertise have been featured in many places, including The Today Show, the East Bay AIA Tour Of Homes, Dwell, Modern Sanctuary, Lux Pad, 24 East, My Domain and also in her home town publication, Berkeleyside, as the go-to Interior Designer, for approachable ways to modernise an historical home. Listen in today, to find out how Lane's career path and the lessons that she's learned along the way have contributed to her success, both as a Designer and as a Business Person.

Show highlights:

  • Lane talks about her first career, as a solo opera singer, in the San Francisco Bay area- prior to her becoming a mom.
  • How Lane first started out in 2004, working with a contractor on her own projects and how this eventually developed into Lane McNab Interiors.
  • The Today Show wanted to include one of Lane's Design Projects in an article they were running, at a time when she still didn't even know if she really wanted to have a business.
  • The point at which Lane realized that she could really take advantage of the fantastic opportunities that were coming her way, and start her business.
  • Lane eventually shut down her blog and took a year to stay focused and she worked very closely with Julia Malloy as well as with a number of other consultants, prior to starting her business, as she realized that she really needed a jump start.
  • The huge amount of confidence that Lane gained, from working with Julia Malloy.
  • Lane always writes down anything that she doesn't understand, so that she can research it later because different projects always require different amounts of knowledge.
  • Lane explains how she found the necessary help when making her transition to a much larger project.
  • The really sage advice from Julia Malloy, that Lane still holds on to- 90% of successful entrepreneurs have the consistent quality of a high E.Q.
  • Explaining to clients not only what the best design is, but why!
  • The typical things that tend to trip Designers up, when working with construction.
  • A memorable challenge that Lane faced with the cabinet guy, which became a valuable learning experience.
  • Using a mistake as an opportunity to develop a really great relationship with the client.
  • Lane's way of working with her vendors, or trade sources.
  • Dealing with clients who aren't happy about having their project photographed.
  • Not taking the first 'no' for an answer...
  • The importance of being collaborative, as a Designer.
  • Lane's outsourcing of her expediting- how and why it works for her.
  • The importance of keeping really detailed notes as a reference, for Lane.


Labe's Website:

Jul 14, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is Kathy Knowles, a former HR Director who has become an entrepreneur. Her company is called Intuitive Strategies and Consultants and Kathy has become known as The Soulful Business Mentor. She really understands the challenges one faces, when leaving behind a successful, yet unfulfilling six figure career, to build a more satisfying business and life. Kathy has more than twenty years of experience of maximizing people and potential, as an HR Director, which has given her a real advantage in helping you to create your own Heart and Soul Business.

She and her team share proven strategies and formulas, to help you to establish a growth strategy that makes you more money and frees up more of your time. Magic words, right? Kathy's mission is to help more business owners and entrepreneurs to create a life of a business that they love, without sacrificing integrity, income, or sanity! There are really so many things that Kathy, as a talented Business Coach, could have discussed today, however, LuAnn decided to zero in on 'Help Business Owners Hire Right The First Time'. Even though LuAnn has owned a business for more than thirty years, she's really looking forward to this discussion, because for her, hiring really is one of the most troublesome parts of being in business. So, listen in, to get some great insights from Kathy's more than twenty years of experience.

This is going to be a really jam-packed episode, as Kathy has a ton of information for you. She has prepared a list of questions that are very helpful in assisting you to make the right hire. Several of the questions will be discussed in the interview today, however, her list is really much more in-depth, so if you are about to hire, or if you struggle with how to do that, you will enjoy this interview. To get Kathy's really valuable list of questions, go to and click on The things I learned from Kathy Knowles. Listen in now, to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Kathy explains that the process of hiring starts with you and being crystal clear about where you want to go with your business.
  • Hiring around the things that you're not good at.
  • Getting intuitively in touch with your business, in order to really grow your email list and to know which team member to hire.
  • Knowing how to choose the right person, when hiring someone for the very first time- using the List Of Four and then breaking it down a little further.
  • How to know when it's time to hire someone.
  • Asking the right questions when interviewing a potential employee.
    Talking about money during an interview.
  • Understanding that the way that someone interacts with you during an interview, will be the way that they will interact with your clients, should you hire them.
  • The importance of asking specific questions during an interview, even if you really hit it off with them.
  • Why you really shouldn't talk too much, when interviewing someone.
    The kinds of questions that are more likely to elicit a true response from an interviewee.
  • The importance of employees being accountable.
    Some suggestions for great questions to ask a potential employee, during an interview.
  • Creating interview questions around a personality profile- like Disc or Kolbe.
  • Links:

Kathy's website: – This is where you will find her free Gaining More Loyal Customers resource.

For Kathy's free Find and Fill resource, go to:\find-and-fill\

Kathy's email:

Jul 12, 2017

The guest for today's show is the truly remarkable Darla Powell, of Darla Powell Interiors, in Florida. Darla and LuAnn initially became friends through the social media of the podcast and then continued their friendship with conversations on the Designer Facebook Groups that they were both in and also through Instagram. It's not unusual for LuAnn to become friends with the people that she interviews for the podcast, and she and Darla also have a few friends in common (Mark McDonough from Tastefully Inspired and Karina from Superior K Interiors), so she really thought she knew all about her, until she went out and did her research for the interview. Then she was truly surprised to learn a few things about Darla that she didn't know before! Listen in to find out all about these surprising details.

Mark McDonough was actually the person who suggested to LuAnn that she should consider having Darla on the show. He pointed out that this was a second career for her and that she was going to be a truly amazing Interior Designer, as she was really putting her all into it, after having retired from her first career. Listen in now, to find out more about Darla and how she came to be doing what she does now.

Show highlights:

  • Darla talks to LuAnn about her first career- in Law Enforcement, for eighteen and a half years, as a Detective Sargent with the Miami-Dade Police Department, where she thought about quitting her job and becoming an Interior Designer almost every day!
  • Darla talks about her long journey from Law Enforcement to Interior Design.
  • How Darla really became really motivated to become an Interior Designer, after listening to one of LuAnn's podcasts, with Mark McDonough.
  • Darla's Instagram is only seven or eight months old and it already has way over seven thousand followers!
  • The biggest tip that Mark McDonough gave to Darla, about finding brands that align with her work and commenting on their posts straight away.
  • The great value in taking the time to be genuine and really engaging with people on social media. This makes you human and really helps your brand- and gets people to stay with you.
  • As long as you're putting out great content, your fans will still love you, even if you don't follow them back.
  • LuAnn and Darla discuss the portfolio which is up on Darla's website, which is actually her entire own home, done on a limited budget.
  • Darla talks about the fabulous blog, which is called Wing-nuts and Wallpaper and really reflects her brand voice.
  • How Darla boosts her following with her blog and with her Facebook posts.
  • How Nicole Heimer, (Episode #125) a really rockstar brander, has really helped Darla.
  • Some areas where Darla has felt a bit overwhelmed with her new career and what she's found helpful at these times.
  • How Susan Winterstein really helped Darla with her process, with an organized chart to inform the client about the whole design process.
  • Why Darla quit her first career way sooner than she originally intended to do so.


Darla's website:, where you will also find Darla's blog, Wing-nuts and Wallpaper.


Business of Design, Volume 3- Win The Flat Fee Game by Kimberley Seldon

Jul 10, 2017

The guest on today's show is Enoch Bartlett Sears, a licensed California Architect and the founder and publisher of Business of Architecture. He's the creator and host of The Business of Architecture, the number one podcast for Architects and he is also the co-founder of The Architect Marketing Institute. LuAnn had to wait quite a while to get to interview Enoch, as he really is busy, so she's grateful and very glad that he found an hour for her today and she thinks that you're going to be glad too! Listen in, to find out how you can increase both the income and the efficiency of your business, with the fantastic resources that Enoch has for you.

LuAnn came across Enoch because of his podcast. She's a regular listener and really enjoys his show and thinks that what he does is really terrific! She finds that he actually does a lot of the same things that she does on her podcast, except that his target is Architects, so she just switches the word 'Architect' in her mind, for Interior Designer. Enoch interviews Architects on how they run their firms and what they do to increase their income and efficiency. He also talks with outside Industry Experts, as does LuAnn on her Power Talk Fridays, to help Architects to increase the profitability of their firms. This is why LuAnn thought that this would be such a great fit for this show. Enoch is also a Business Coach and he's become famous for helping Architects to grow their firms and their income and increase their freedom, through the use of effective Client Strategies.

Enoch went through one of his very actionable strategies, a Twelve Step Questionnaire process, called Twelve Questions To Ask Before Your Meeting- So You Know What Hot Buttons To Push, which he recommends to Architects, with LuAnn. This was developed by Enoch's partner, Richard Petrie, who's known as The World's Leading Architect Marketing Coach. LuAnn was really impressed with it and as she went through it with him, she found that it could be translated right to Interior Designers. So listen in now, to find out more about this questionnaire which you could apply to yourself, to help you to attract your ideal Interior Design projects and clients.

Show highlights:

  • How to deal with the fears and insecurities that often exist between Design Professionals.
  • A tip for Interior Designers, to deliver more value when wanting to do work with Architects.
  • Enoch goes through his Twelve Questions To Ask Before Your Meeting- So You Know What Hot Buttons To Push.
  • Number one- Asking if are all the decision makers are present.
  • Number two- Setting the format and the ground rules for the meeting, in order to maintain an alpha position.
  • Number three- Framing the meeting's purpose and it's time frame with the client.
  • Number four- Asking the client some background questions, to discover their current situation or the 'now'. You really need to be quiet and listen carefully here!
  • Number five- Understand the client's goals and objectives and their vision for the future and also, how they want to feel in the space. Try to get the emotional impact of what they're going for.
  • Number six- Ask your success criteria questions, about how the client would know if they've achieved a successful project with you. This would involve helping them to imagine the future and to talk to you about what they are imaging.
  • Number seven- Ask your client what it would mean to them, to have achieved their objectives. This will be an emotional question, bringing out emotional answers, to discover their emotional drivers.
  • Number eight- Ask their current plans to achieve their objectives and find out the degree to which they are already on track. This is where you find out about any obstacles or challenges they may be worried about and also, how much time they have for the process.
  • Number nine- Ask them about the consequences, if they don't meet their objectives. This is about discovering their degree of motivation, to do the project and follow through on it and helping them to connect their current decisions with the consequences of those decisions.
  • Number ten- Ask the timing questions, about when they want to get their new results completed.
  • Number eleven- Map out the road to success with your client, with their options. This is where you really need to bring all your professional training to bear and look at the gap between where they are now and where they want to get to.
  • Number twelve- Book the next few meetings, if you feel that this client is a good fit.
  • The really great value in Designers creating contacts with Architects.
  • How you as a Designer, can best reach out to an Architect, to arrange a meeting about the possibility of working together.
  • What Architects really want to work on.
  • Ways that you can bring value to architects, as a Designer and get them to work together with you.
  • What Enoch does on his podcast and how you can find him, at The Business Of Architecture, on iTunes.


For some awesome, free giveaways:

Go to: and give your email address, to get your free PDF download of the questions and frameworks mentioned on the show, as well as the two questions that Richard Petrie calls his Mind Cannon.

Jul 7, 2017

The guest on today's Power Talk Friday is Dorien Morin-van Dam, the Owner and Social-Media Consultant with More In Media, which is located in sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dorien helps Small Businesses Owners with their strategies, planning, and execution, around Social Media. Listen in to find out more about Dorien and what she has to share, to help Small Business Owners with their Video Marketing on Social Media.

Dorien is a Coach and Trainer, who concentrates on Video Marketing and  Social Media Management. She particularly enjoys working with Video Coaching and helping people to overcome their fear of the camera. This is something that she runs into all the time, with local clients and Small Business owners who really need to be on camera, yet have real fear around doing that. Dorien has found that here is such a great need for this right now, with Video Marketing being so popular, that she is also busy writing a book about it. Dorien, who's a Mom with four teens and three dogs, loves to run marathons and cook and eat vegan food. She also really enjoys teaching, blogging and speaking about Social Media. Listen in now, to find out more about how Dorien helps people to overcome their fears about appearing in front of a camera.

Today, Dorien talks to LuAnn about:

  • The fear that so many people experience, of appearing on camera.
  • That there really is an easy way to overcome that fear.
  • That although she has no fear of the camera, she did have another extreme fear, through which she developed the necessary empathy to help others to overcome their fears around cameras.
  • The story about her epiphany- which enabled her to overcome her own fear and help others to do the same.
  • How she helps people to get ready to appear in front of the camera.
  • A new acronym for FEAR- that, instead of Fearing Everything And Running, you can learn to Face Everything And R
  • The Rise of Video in Social Media and the tremendous opportunities that it can bring for you, with this year being The Year Of The Live Video in Social Media.
  • The fantastic new developments coming up on Facebook, for Virtual Reality Meetings.
  • That the reach of a video is so much greater than either using pictures, or text.
  • Facebook Live- how it's pushing Video and where it's going.
  • Why Dorien thinks that you can't fail with Video- if you go through her process.
  • Low-cost ways of creating Videos.
  • Replacing your fear of how you look with a love for your brand.
  • The more you watch yourself on video, the more you get over your fear of it.
  • Really awesome tips for creating really great, confident videos of yourself, before going live on Facebook.
  • Being authentic, to better connect with people on video.
  • How to catch people's eye in the first few seconds, with your video.
  • Some ideas for you to use, to market yourself with video.
  • Using what's going on around you currently, as a topic for your video.
  • Creating great content for your videos.
  • How to straddle the fine line between oversharing and too little content on your video.
  • Re-purposing your content, for great results.

Dorien's book, No Fear Video, which will be coming out later this year.


Dorien's website:

Jul 5, 2017

Today's show is taken from LuAnn's presentation that she gave at the I.W.C.E.

LuAnn starts her presentation by explaining the mix that goes into creating a really successful business. She points out that you are actually your own magic pill and that you really do have the ability when it comes down to making decisions. All that you need is to have confidence in yourself and to know that you have a good business and that you're a good business leader. Then, you have to identify the obstacles and make a plan, rather than running away from them. The really important part though, is to make the decision, as confidence and a plan are nothing without a decision. So, every day, as a business person, you have to choose to go out and do what is necessary. Listen in now, to LuAnn's really valuable presentation.

LuAnn explains that Window Works was initially a franchise which started in the early 70's and went until the early 90's and that she and her two partners owned three of them. From year one and for the next ten years, two of their three franchises were number one and number two in highest gross sales, every year!  Today, LuAnn talks about the things that she has found when looking back, that have really contributed to their great success. Number one being Leadership, number two- Systems and number three-  Excellence. Listen in, to find out how to use these three ingredients to really attain the kind of success that you would love for your business.  

Today, LuAnn talks about: 

  • Her A Well Designed Business Podcast and what it's all about.
  • What goes into creating and being a terrific leader- 1) Establishing your company's mission. 2) Establishing your company's core values and 3) Establishing accountability.
  • What you will gain from having a really well thought out Company Mission.
  • Why you need to make your Company's Core Values, which are non-negotiable, really clear to both yourself and to your employees.
  • Why it's really so important to establish accountability in your business.
  • The book, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber and why the three business roles that it refers to are so important to understand.
  • Working on your business as well as working in your business.
  • That System is the number one thing that contributes to the success of your business.
  • The reason for the Red Pen System that they use at the Window Works office.
  • Why systems really do make your life (and your business) so much easier.
  • The real importance of impeccable customer service- and that often means that you have to let go of being right!
  • That it's sometimes hard to keep to your business systems and decisions, but it's really worth it!


Book: The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber – An amazing book for small business owners.

Jul 3, 2017

Today's guest is Manuella Moreira, one of LuAnn's long time early listeners to the show.  In May, there was a big event at the insanely gorgeous Ethan Allen Showroom in New York City, where Manuella works with Barbara Viteri, the Designerlebrity.  You can go back and listen to the audio of that show (#185 ), or you can see the video of it on A Well Designed Business Youtube channel- something really well worth seeing! Listen in to find out more about Manuella and her fabulous career.

Today, we're talking about Manuella's fascinating career, working for Ethan Allen. What LuAnn finds interesting is that it's really so completely different from what she would have expected an Ethan Allen Designer's career to look like and she points out that the opportunities that this brings for Manuella are truly remarkable. Listen in now, to find out more.

Today, Manuella talks to LuAnn about:

  • The research that she did and the decision-making process that she went through in 2013 when she had the opportunity to go to Ethan Allen.
  • That the CEO personally approves each Designer employed by the company- and there are fifteen hundred of them!
  • Why she chose to work for Ethan Allen rather than any other company.
  • That at Ethan Allen, they really value the Interior Design portion of their company.
  • The different levels of Designers at Ethan Allen and their ongoing training processes for their Designers.
  • Their really different approach to working with their clients.
  • That there really are opportunities for new Designers at Ethan Allen.
  • How Manuella and Robert Nelson, the other Lead Designer, assist the other Designers in the company to execute their projects successfully- they're really not competitive.
  • How they, as a company, manage the huge number of walk-in customers, who come into the showroom.
  • That the Designers at Ethan Allen don't really work specific hours.
  • That Manuella created her website for herself and feels as if she's running her own business but under the Ethan Allen umbrella.
  • That each Designer within the company really has their own approach to marketing themselves.
  • That Ethan Allen has really given Manuella the freedom to be creative.
  • That they only do their sourcing from Ethan Allen's product.
  • How they're evolving at Ethan Allen, as a brand.
  • That Ethan Allen's in-house Designers design 70% of the products that they have on offer.
  • Designing in such a way as to stay relevant.
  • Their two different Trade Programs at Ethan Allen and the credit and also the commissions that you could earn from purchasing from them, as a Designer.
  • That they're trying to work more and more with Designers, at their new Flat Iron location and the 25% discount they offer to the clients.
  • The whole online scenario for Ethan Allen and the new features on their website. Go to to find out.
  • That one design project really seems to lead to the next- and it all starts with a conversation.
  • How much Manuella really loves building relationships with her clients.
  • The really awesome video on Manuella's website. (
  • All the recognition and awards that Manuella has earned.

What's coming up on the horizon with Ethan Allen and Amazon and Manuella's role in that.


Manuella's email:

Manuella's website:

Manuella's Instagram: mgmdecor

Jun 30, 2017

Today is the first of two shows sponsored by Designer Inc. If you haven't yet heard of Designer Inc, be sure to go back to episode #85, where Heather Gillette, it's founder, was first introduced onto the show. On that show, LuAnn talked to her and to Designer, Mark Cutler about the introduction of Designer Inc to the marketplace. Today, Heather is back, joined by her co-founder, Dorothee Fischer, to share all of the latest developments to this valuable Interior Design Business tool. Listen in to find out all about these developments.

By using the To The Trade Only Designer Inc, you can cut your sourcing time by half. You can source by using filters- by product, by the showroom, by price point, by color, or even by dimension. It allows you to create client project folders, to organize your finds and you can share customized tear sheets with your clients. LuAnn points out that this software does not replace a Management System like MyDomo Studio- Designer Inc works in conjunction with your Client Management System, which is one of the really genius parts of it. With Designer Inc, which has all the trade sources on the site, you don't need to go back and forth to each individual site, when looking around for a particular item. You can search within the Designer Inc platform and compare, get quotes and purchase- all right there!  You can do this for multiple vendors for a single project, or a for single check-out experience. Once you've made your selection, you can simply go back and import your selection to MyDomo Studio and you're off and running! Sounds pretty fabulous, doesn't it! Listen in today, as Heather and Dorothee fill in all the gaps and tell you about the newest features to Designer Inc.

Heather Gillette is a tech person, who has specialized in early stage start-ups for the past twenty years, with a focus on the operations end. She founded and headed several departments at Youtube, including copyright enforcement, content review and user support departments. This was both pre and post-Google acquisition. Her teams kept Youtube legal and clean and processed millions of videos and user communications daily, with very little manpower. Heather is also the founder of New Decor, so she really knows the challenges that you face as Interior Designers, as Designer Inc was created specifically to increase their firm's productivity.

Dorothee Fischer is the co-founder and the Chief Marketing Officer of Designer Inc. She was also an early Youtube employee and she was their first post-acquisition marketing hire. She has twenty years of marketing behind her, nine of which she spent mastering social media. Her other areas of expertise include User Acquisition, Content Marketing, Partner Marketing, and Branding.


Today, Heather and Dorothee talk to LuAnn about:

  • The really special kind of relationship that gets built in, almost automatically, when people listen to this podcast and the people that LuAnn interviews. Heather can tell from the get-go, when people sign up for her site, that there's a different kind of relationship, due to this.
  • Heather explains the basics of what Designer Inc really is.
  • Heather explains some of the recent developments to their purchasing service, and why they launched it early.
  • How the quoting process works, within the Designer Inc site.
  • That Designer Inc will come back to you to confirm, should you have made multiple choices.
  • That you would pay no more order through Designer Inc, than you would if you ordered directly from the manufacturer.
  • How they make their money, at Designer Inc, through kickbacks from the manufacturers.
  • The loyalty program that they're developing, to offer you more savings.
  • That the commission will still be paid to the manufacturing or sales reps, for your order.
  • How the shopping experience actually happens, on Designer Inc.
  • Their Shop By Showroom filter.
  • Using the price filter on Designer Inc.
  • The various other filters that you can use, like style and dimension.
  • The flag feature that you can use, for your feedback, to make corrections on the site.
  • The save searches that you can use, to narrow down and save your searches as you build your projects.
  • That you can share items on the site, by inviting your client, so that they can also comment.
  • The really huge number of well-known vendors, on Designer Inc.
  • That they're a bit like the High Point Market, or Amazon, for Interior Designers.
  • What happens when an order goes wrong...that they take the responsibility and handle all of that, on your behalf.
  • That they handle all the shipping logistics, to the first destination.
  • That they really want your feedback, at Designers Inc.
  • How you, as Designers, can now invest and own equity at Designer Inc.




To invest in Designer Inc, go to: and search for designerinc

Jun 28, 2017

Today's guest is Joe Cariati, an award winning glass blower, artist, craftsman, and educator, who has had more than twenty years experience as a designer, maker, and mentor. Listen in to find out more about Joe and his really arty craft.

Joe opened his own studio in Los Angeles, California in 2003, where he still continues refining his craft and pushing his boundaries, both as a glass blower and as a designer. He launched his own business, Joe Cariati Design, in 2015. Listen in today, as Joe talks to LuAnn about his career, the things that he's learned about being a Creative and running a profitable business, and also about the new line of glassware, lamps, pendants, and accessories that he now has available for you, through


Today, Joe talks to LuAnn about:

  • His background, starting in college and the many years leading up to where he is today.
  • The thousands and thousands of things that are made in his studio every year, today, with a very small team of three.
  • His simplistic, yet complex way of making things, to get a particular quality that his glass has.
  • The risk he took in forming his own company, which finally solidified in 2007.
  • His desire to create a legacy company, where it could be passed on to his son, Vincent Cariati, should he want to become a glass blower.
  • The really close, family vibe within his company.
  • Joe's particular requirements for anyone wanting to come and work with him.
  • What happened for Joe in 2007, when he applied and was accepted to the New York Now Show.
  • How it was for him when he met Kravet for the first time in 2008.
  • The validation he got as a designer/maker, from being recognized by Kravet.
  • What he did to prepare for his meeting with Kravet back then.
  • What's available and the things that are happening with his new line at with exclusive colors and products!
  • How he arrived at the particular color groupings that were settled on with Kravet, for his exclusive collection.
  • All about the colors he uses and how that challenges him, as a Creative.
  • The aspects of his business that he's most active in.
  • How he figured out all the processes in his business, before deciding which aspects would be best done by him, personally.
  • How to set yourself up in your business, and which people you should hire, in order to move in the direction that you really desire to go.
  • Thriving off of a repeatable process and getting predictable results.
  • The design scene in America right now.


Jun 26, 2017

Today's show is a very different one. LuAnn is airing someone else's podcast on her feed and she really hopes that you will like it! She was a guest on Nicole Culver's podcast, called A Few Blissful Bites, a few weeks ago. Nicole is a podcaster and business person who teaches food bloggers how to turn their blogs into profitable businesses. LuAnn listens to Nicole's podcast because she truly believes that business principals are business principals and anybody who does a good job of expressing and teaching them, is worth listening to. So she asked Nicole to be a guest on her show, but the funny thing is that Nicole said that LuAnn should be on her show too! Listen in as LuAnn and Nicole talk about building a business that you can be proud of.


The thing about Nicole is that she's very actionable. She runs a community, she has a Blogger To Business Support Group, where she offers training and resources, she does workshops and she does goal check-ins and live Q & A- and she brings all of this to her food bloggers. LuAnn knows that if you're an Interior Designer who's blogging, and you would like to turn that blog into something that earns money for you some day, that Nicole's resources and her community will be valuable to you. LuAnn points out that she has no financial investment in this at all- she just knows that good business strategies for a Food Blog will be good business strategies for a Design Blog. Listen in now, as LuAnn and Nicole talk about the things that really drive business and profit.


Today, LuAnn talks to Nicole about:

  • Why, if you were to take the word 'design' out of her podcast, it could apply to the food (or any other) industry also.
  • How LuAnn actually got into podcasting.
  • That what LuAnn and her partners have as their core belief is that you have to stick to your company mission.
  • That you have to filter your new ideas if you want to be really successful with your main bread and butter business.
  • That there is a hurdle to doing podcasts consistently and well- it has to support your main business.
  • LuAnn tells a story to highlight the real importance of her partners and herself having understood who their customer was, in the beginning, with their brick and mortar business.
  • Figuring out your niche and positioning yourself for your ideal market.
  • How LuAnn deals with competition without letting it affect her business.
  • That you need to know your competition, but not worry about them.
  • LuAnn's intention for her podcast and how it's really helped her business.
  • That LuAnn really understood her priorities and her passion, when she started doing her podcast.
  • What LuAnn did to attract her ideal listener for her podcast- working with intention.
Nicole's website:
Jun 23, 2017

Have you been considering putting your toe into the podcast pool lately? If so, you will really learn a lot from today's Power Talk Friday, as LuAnn interviews Rob Greenlee, a pioneer in the Podcast Industry. LuAnn often talks about your 'only' on the show. Well, Rob's only is that he is the very first person to take a radio program and turn it into a podcast and that's pretty exciting!  If you're wondering why she's talking to a leader in the Podcast Industry, it's because Interior Design Podcasts are busy popping up all over. Although LuAnn and Nick have been covering the business side of the industry on their podcast, the consumer-facing side of podcasting has more and more Interior Designers joining their ranks. LuAnn has had a number of previous guests who'd had their own podcast by the time that she had interviewed them and this is apart from the dozen or so other shows that have launched in the last year or two, that LuAnn has not yet had a chance to engage with. These are all consumer facing and talking about the things that LuAnn doesn't talk about- the pretty stuff. Listen in as Rob indulges you a bit and LuAnn picks his brain about where this field is heading and also to help you to decipher some of the in's and out's of it.


Rob is the head of Podcast Content at, a really huge name in podcasting. He is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Podcast Network, Podcast He is also the former Content Manager of Podcast For Windows Phone, Zoon and Xbox and he currently co-hosts the new media show at Geek News Central Live, every morning at 9 am (Pacific time). Rob is also the former founder and lead host of Web Talk World Radio Show and Zoon Insider Podcast. The really cool thing is that Web Talk Radio was an eight year running national, syndicated terrestrial broadcast radio show and it's recognized as the very first broadcast radio program in the world, to begin podcasting! Listen in now to find out more!


Today, Rob talks to LuAnn about:


  • Why it's really not too late to start a podcast right now.
  • What's coming in the future, technologically, with podcasts?
  • How long it really takes to build a new media.
  • What current research about podcasts is showing.
  • The really powerful medium of podcasting.
  • What makes a successful podcast host.
  • Podcasting as a really viable form of advertising.
  • That you have to offer value, before you receive value, with this medium.
  • That authenticity and trust are fundamental qualities for success in this medium.
  • That your particular slant on design can really come across on the podcast.
  • Using video to supplement your podcast.
  • The best approach to podcasting as a marketing arm of a business.
  • What it takes to inspire the listener to have a visual experience through audio.
  • Ways to use listener's questions to create a podcast.
  • Why your Interior Design Podcast can really be unique.
  • That consistent production of shows really builds an audience.
  • Building a loyal base of listeners.
  • Choosing the best hook for your show.
  • Why you should really just jump in and do it!
  • That it's really okay to learn and evolve as you grow, with podcasting.
  • That it's really hard to predict where you will go with this particular 'box of opportunity'.
  • Doing your research, if you intend doing a podcast.
  • How you really can become an expert in your field through podcasting.
Jun 21, 2017

Today's guest is Reed Humphrey, the President of Alder and Tweed Home Outfitters in Park City, Utah, a family owned business that Reed runs with his two sisters. Reed was first exposed to the world of interiors at the age of eight, when he would travel all over the world with his parents, who were the owners of a successful lighting business, to visit suppliers and factories. This really allowed for Reed to develop a discriminating eye and knowledge for quality. This expertise has carried on as Alder and Tweed continue to source some of the best leathers, fabrics, furnishings, and suppliers in the world. Listen in to find out about how Reed and his sisters have used their really clear vision to re-invent and niche their business,  to service strictly, the vacation homeowners buying in Park City, Utah.

Reed, an open, humble and skilled leader, has operated the business side of Alder and Tweed for the past thirteen years, overseeing the logistics, strategy, marketing, and human resources. He also supports the wholesale side of Alder and Tweed Furniture. Since 2004, the firm has focused on a client-centric approach to projects, and it has grown to a staff of eighteen employees, with offices in both Park City, Utah and in Big Sky, Montana.

Reed, who lives in Sandy, Utah with his wife Jenna and his daughter, London, was raised in El Dorado Hills, California and moved to Utah in 2002, after being offered a scholarship to play basketball for Utah Valley University, where he studied business. Reed speaks Japanese fluently and enjoys basketball, golf and traveling. Listen in now, to find out more about Reed and his really successfully niched business.


Today, Reed talks to LuAnn about:

  • How the family business, which started out as a retail showroom, has evolved, over time, eventually targeting vacation home buyers in Park City.
  • How they decided to close their original business in Salt Lake City within one week, to move to Park City.
  • That the family all knew that they had to make a move, at the time- and fast.
  • The dynamics involved in running a family business.
  • What Reed and his sisters did to brand themselves in a different light, so as not be just another Design Business
  • How Reed and his sisters became are aware of the pain points of their clients, and what they do to help them to overcome these problems and make everything really easy for the client.
  • How they manage to allocate the money as an operating expense, to fly out to see the clients.
  • How they went into their new niche market and became known within it.
  • What they did to reach out to Real Estate Agents in Park City, within their first six months.
  • How they really make it their business to cover everything, seamlessly.
  • How their referral stream has really picked up.
  • How their Junior and Senior Designers work as a team, together with Reed's sister, Heather.
  • How the processes of their projects run.
  • How their Client Portal
  • Their fantastic team, which is capable of running different projects, at different stages, all at the same time.
  • The different packages that they have available, for all the various, different client needs.
  • Why Reed and his sisters haven't really made it known that they are the owners of the firm.
  • The biggest thing that Reed would caution people wanting to start a similar business with.
  • How they manage to operate their business without a showroom.
  • That they focus on quality and customer experience, rather than on the numbers.
  • What Reed and his team really love about what they do!


Upcoming events include today’s FB Live Flash Mob at 2:00 pm EDT from the Kravet Showroom.

Then, Design Uncorked – How to grow from Design Firm to Design Empire. A live interview with Kelli Ellis from the Kravet Showroom at Las Vegas Market on Tuesday, August 2 at 2:00 pm. 

Last week did you catch our 1st guest blog post by Kelsey Grose of Farmer’s Daughter Interiors? “How I Landed A Full Kitchen Project With No Portfolio”

It’s a great read.

Reminder: to be on our email list, text to this number- 444999 and in the text filed type designbiz it will bring you to 1 screen to enter your email and you’re all set.

Jun 19, 2017

Today's guests are Ronald Alvarez and Monica Santayana, the principals of Moniomi Design in Miami, Florida. This is really going to be a great show for the takeaways, so if you're in business with a partner, whether you're married to them or not, you will really get some great value today! Listen in as this very special husband and wife team talk about how they work and relate together and how this contributes to the great success of their company.


Ronald and Monica met while attending Florida International University, where they were both studying Architecture. They started Moniomi about five years ago and they've become unbeatable, due to the fabulous way that they lead their team, in the up and coming River Area of Miami. Monica focuses on the creative details and finishes and selecting the specifics of the Design Process, like the textiles and the furniture, while Ronald, who has his background in Project Management and Advertising, keeps everything running on time, within the budget and moving forward. They offer Full Service Interior Design, for projects of any scale, as well as Custom Art and Furniture Design, Graphic Design, Space Planning and Project Management.  Moniomi's commercial work includes a private aircraft terminal at Orion Jet Centre and their Hospitality Projects include Hyatt Place, Comfort Suites, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Pincho Factory Restaurant. LuAnn really thinks that you're going to enjoy this talk with these two very special people, as she really enjoyed getting to know them and she thinks that you will too! Listen in now, to hear their conversation.


Today, Ronald and Monica talk to LuAnn about:


  • The organic development of each of their different roles, within the business, which runs in a similar way to how they organize the rest of their lives.
  • The great level of respect and trust that Monica and Ronald have for each other.
  • How Ronald and Monica really support each other and also even push one another at times.
  • That Ronald initiated and brought systems into the business, while Monica concentrated on developing the firm.
  • Their one on one Discovery Consultations, to really get the feel of the client and ascertain whether they will be compatible, or not.
  • That they really look for creative freedom, with their projects.
  • How they coordinate and work together on a new project.
  • Where they fork off from one another with the projects and Monica focuses on the Design side of things, while Ronald focuses on the organizational side.
  • How they handle their vendor meetings.
  • That their construction documents and drawings need to be really clearly defined, for the Project Manager.
  • That clients tend not to see the Contractor as separate from and the Designer, which can be a little unfair on the Designer.
  • That most of their projects involve some type of renovation, which is bigger than the decorating side of things.
  • How the communication between Ronald, Monica and the rest of the team is organized, during a project.
  • That it's really just Ronald and Monica, as a team, that deal with the residential projects.
  • That their design team works with the Hospitality and Commercial Projects.
  • That their Residential clients know and feel comfortable in that they can reach out to Ronald and Monica, personally.
  • The great respect that Ronald and Monica have for each other's capabilities.
  • Why you need to focus on building a really strong team.
  • Monica shares some things she's learned, in hindsight.
  • Ronald's advice and number one take away- that all relationships, with your clients, employees and vendors really need to be valued.
Jun 16, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is Adam Urbanski, aka The Millionaire Marketing Mentor and he's a real headliner in Online Marketing and Podcast circles! There are so many ways that Adam could really help and influence all LuAnn's Designer friends to get that extra 'something' to tweak their businesses, so today, she's decided to go with Adam's Dream Business Design Process. Listen in to find out how this process helps Designers to identify what they want to sell the most and also how to sell to the most clients.

Adam, who has been in business for seventeen years now,  is really the 'go to guy' for Coaches, Consultants and other Service Professionals who want to attract more clients, convert more high-value sales, build an authority brand, or grow a Lifestyle Business that has more impact and generates more income. Adam's clients have often doubled, tripled and even ten times-ed their businesses, some of them in as little as ninety days! All of this and Adam started out with only $194 and limited English and he still managed to turn his first business into a seven-figure business in less than ten years! LuAnn knows that she's in the presence of a true expert with Adam, so she's very grateful that he's on the show today! Listen in now, as Adam shares some really hot tips with you, to help you to become a way better business strategist!


Today, Adam talks to LuAnn about:

  • Becoming a master of, and being known for a very specific approach.
  • What his six question worksheet allows you to zero in on.
  • How he discovered his ideal clients.
  • That 90% of his clients are women and this happened by design!
  • That marketing is really all about listening.
  • Adam talks you through his six questions and how to best approach working with them.
  • Finding your specific magic, as a Designer.
  • Thinking about your dream income, per client.
  • Identifying your dream project.
  • Identifying the characteristics of your dream client.
  • What you'd need to do in order to execute your project in the best possible way. (i.e. identifying your Superpower)
  • Really understanding the expectations that you have to meet with your project.
  • Expressing what you're really good at to your client.
  • Establishing systems for really clear processes in your business.
  • Knowing that everything is changing all the time, so you need to maintain a constant process of evaluation with your clients.
  • Asking yourself how much money you'd like to make from each project, per year.
  • Examining which three to six marketing activities you really need to focus on- to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  • That you should really become a one track pony, in order to not lose sight of your core competencies.



Adam's websites: or

Adam Urbanski is also on Facebook

Jun 14, 2017

Are you a little intimidated at the thought of incorporating art into your design projects? Well, today's show could really help you to move beyond that, as the discussion centers on the value of a trusted vendor- in this case, an expert Framer, someone who can really help you to attain success in this area.  LuAnn points out that the expert Framer is yet another colleague for you to rely on and so she couldn't think of a better way to have this conversation, than to have an artist on the show, alongside his favorite Framer. Listen in today, as LuAnn talks to Paul Thomas, a renowned artist and Daniel Beauchemin,  an accomplished Interior Designer and the owner of the famous Chelsea Frames, in New York City, about the importance of quality professional framing and how that can really enhance a beautiful piece of art.

Paul Thomas has been described as an artist of intuition. His paintings are composed through a natural pattern of creation, rather than a formal analysis. Paul's work is a true reflection of his personality- bright, cheerful, full of vitality and movement and filled with an inner radiance. Much of the translucence of the color tends to be lost when viewing Paul's work online or in a catalog, so it would really be well worth seeing it in person. His work is in both public and private collections in the US, Canada, France, Italy and South America. Some of the highlight collections include the US Consulate in Florence, Italy, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bologna, The Louis Azzaro Collection, The NYU Langone Medical Centre, Montefiore Medical Centre, Boston Scientific World Headquarters, Holiday House 2013, 2014 and 2015 and Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2015. In 2016, Paul won “Best In Show” at the Architectural Digest Design Show, where he collaborated with Charles Pavarini (Episode #16). Paul has also worked in collaboration with numerous other well known Interior Designers. In 2017, Paul's work became the exclusive art for Haru Restaurants in New York City.

Daniel Beauchemin grew up in a house where the design was part of daily life. It was a multi-cultural environment where he was exposed to the Canadian-American and European culture at home and his parent's friends spanned the whole world, so he developed an eclectic taste for beautifully designed things from a very early age. Daniel studied Architecture, with a focus on Furniture design, as well as Art History and Interiors. He came to New York in the early 1990's and worked with some notable New York City Interior Design Firms and he also opened his own firm in 1996, which he ran until 2009. He purchased Chelsea Frames in 1995 and it became the focus of his work. By 2009, it had become one of the most renowned framing studios in the USA, with customers all over the world. He left for a while and worked and designed for Larson-Juhl, but after seven years, he rejoined his partner, Jaclyn Acker, full time in Chelsea Frames, where he still works with Collectors, Designers, and clients on a daily basis. Listen in now and learn from a unique perspective, how you can incorporate fine art into your Design Projects with confidence!

Today, LuAnn, Paul, and Daniel discuss:

  • Daniel's perspective on the relationship between an Artist and a Framer and what he brings to the table when he works with an artist like Paul.
  • How Daniel was recently approached by Larson-Juhl to do their booth presentation at the Art Expo New York 2017.
  • How Daniel approached the Larson-Juhl booth at the Art Expo New York and framed Paul's pieces in three different ways so that he could effectively display both Larson Jewel's products and Paul's work.
  • Paul's thought that the artist's work is elevated by what the Framer does with it.
  • How Daniel guides designers to learn to develop an eye to select a really good frame.
  • That it's really Daniel's job to listen.
  • The three very different collection styles that Daniel used with the Larson-Juhl booth presentation.
  • The effect that Daniel's work- the art of framing- has on Paul and his work.
  • The real benefit of Artists, Framers, and Designers working collaboratively.
  • How Daniel actually 'finished' one of Paul's pieces.
  • Some tips for Designers to work better with Framers.
  • That Daniel works regularly with Designers all over the world, so you can feel free to reach out to him.
  • Paul's suggestion for making the best decision when choosing a frame.
  • That there are some Designers who actually create the room around the art because it's such an important feature.


Daniel's email:

Jun 12, 2017

Today’s guest is Kathy Kuo, an open, high-energy, talented designer, and Rockstar businesswoman.  You may have seen her amazing Instagram feed or heard of the online boutique she founded, Kathy Kuo Home. She’s also a wife, mother, cook, and world traveler. Born in Taiwan, raised in Boston, and now settled in NYC, Kathy graduated from the Rhode Island School of Interior Design and has traveled to over 30 countries. She recently starred in the FYI Network’s Rowhouse Showdown and her designs have been featured in several lifestyle publications. She’s here to discuss her career, her design firm, and how Kathy Kuo Home can help you!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • The impetus behind the e-commerce site she founded 10 years ago: it later became Kathy Kuo Home
  • How times have changed in the last 2-3 years
  • Kathy’s site, and how it is consumer-facing and trade-facing
  • Freedom and flexibility with online shopping
  • How Kathy’s network functions to meet clients’ needs
  • What it’s like working with celebrities
  • Great topics on Kathy’s blog: The top three? How to answer awkward questions, How to mix metals, and How to create a design board
  • Why your initial contract should include clear intention
  • How to deal with a client’s inflamed remarks
  • Vendors available at KKH
  • E-design: how it works
  • Why the presentation has to be significant
  • Kathy’s “Get the Look” project collection

Resources: (Find Kathy’s blog, shop, and design business information!) (Find the special offer for listeners!)

Jun 9, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is Jan Bowen, the Founder, and Principal of Strategic Solution Services. Jan is an author, a keynote speaker, a catalyst and a thought leader, with the central theme of her work being alignment. Jan talks about work aligning with life from both the inside and the outside. She is passionate about helping people to live their lives fully, through her work as an Author, a Coach, and a Public Speaker as well as through her business. Listen in to find out more about Jan and the really inspiring work she does.

LuAnn could talk to Jan about any of the several aspects of coaching that she does- Leadership Coaching and working with teams or individuals, but the subject of intuition is the one that came up. There are so many things that LuAnn can teach, but she realized that although she's a huge believer in intuition and she's spent her whole life, since childhood, cultivating it, she feels that teaching people how to cultivate and follow their intuition isn't something that she can break down into actionable advice. Intuition has become so instinctive for her that she doubts she has the language to teach it. So, today LuAnn will talk about that with Jan, because Jan really knows how to teach people how to use it- it relates to leadership training and to interactions with clients. Listen in now and find out from Jan how you can cultivate your intuition and use it to enhance your life and business.

Today, LuAnn talks to Jan about:

  • How her intuition speaks to her.
  • How she teaches people to cultivate their intuition.
  • What people tend to think that intuition is.
  • Allowing your intuition to build and develop.
  • Keeping a log of your successes with your intuition.
  • How to know the difference between just an idea and her intuition.
  • That intuition is rational- it's not emotional.
  • Starting with knowing what your personal feelings about intuition really are.
  • That your intuition will never lead you into harm- it will save you.
  • Your intuition is really your truest self, talking to you.
  • Paying attention to ways that you get your intuitive messages and the miraculous patterns that they form.
  • That many people get their intuitive messages when they're showering.
  • Having goals for how you would like your intuition to work for you.
  • How Jan uses her intuition in a unique way, within business relationships.
  • The many, many areas in your life that intuition can really work for you.
  • Keeping track of how your intuition talks to you, to increase the intuitive messages that you will receive.
  • Clearing your clutter, to be still and better hear your intuitive voice.
  • When you are physiologically busy, you can often be more open to hearing your intuition.
  • Allowing your intuition to talk to you, as you really do have all the information that you need, for everything.
  • Listening carefully to pick up the non-verbal messages that people are giving you.
  • That your heart is really intelligent!
  • Why you need to trust and follow your hunches.
  • That using your intuition makes it grow stronger.
  • Intuition is part of the human condition.


Jan's books:

It's Not That Complicated- How To Create A Personalised Template Of Alignment.

Why Do You Get Up In The Morning?- Demystifying Life Purpose

How To Hear What You Know


Jan's website:

Jan is also on Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter

Jun 7, 2017

The guest on today's show is Jane Cunningham, the President, Principal Designer and CEO of Room Resolutions. Interestingly, Jane is also a classically trained musician- she used to be the Principal Clarinettist in the Honolulu Symphony. Jane describes how she is particularly skilled at finding her way through the intimacy of the second movement of a musical piece. LuAnn learned from Jane's website how Jane sees the second movement in music in correlation to the journey we have in our lives, seeking a different tempo in the second half, or sometimes even changing the theme, or using a different key. That got LuAnn thinking about Fred Berns (#174) and she found it interesting that Jane not only knows what her 'only' is, but she has it right there, on her website! Listen in and find out how Jane's skill as a classically trained musician and her specific talent for the second movement inform her both as an individual and as a Designer.


Room Resolutions is a luxury Interior Design Firm, which is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, specializing in large scale residential and commercial renovation, as well as new builds. Jane runs Room Resolutions together with her daughter, Amanda, who is the firm's Design Manager. Amanda is responsible for educating the clients about the scope, the specifications and the details of the selections in the projects, from vendor relationships, procurement and expediting, to total Project Management, including the overseeing of the tradesmen and craftsmen. She also manages all the Social Media and website tasks. Sounds like a busy lady! Listen in now to find out more about the awesome firm that these two ladies run together!


Today, Jane and LuAnn discuss:

  • The 12 Core Values of her Company, that Jane has listed on her website.
  • How Jane arrived at her Core Values.
  • The value of being clear about who you are and what you want to convey to your clients.
  • The more that people get to know who you are, the more you can stand out.
  • That for Jane, there has to be an in-depth relationship with her clients, which starts with her being intrinsically honest about who she really is.
  • Vulnerability- how it works for Jane in getting people to know who she really is.
  • What Jane means by 'Champagne Professionals'.
  • How Jane's firm keeps everything in really detailed and systemized order.
  • Making sure that the communication is really clear when working on a project, by setting everything up in advance.
  • Jane's process of avoiding glitches in the Designer world.
  • Dealing effectively with changes, with clear communication.
  • How Jane handles with her client communication, by corralling them in the beginning.
  • How Jane ascertains if a client is right for her firm.
  • Two questions that you could ask your potential clients, to tell you a lot about them.

Some amazing things about Amanda!

Jun 5, 2017

Are you an Outlanders fan? If so, you're just going to love listening to the accent of today's guest! LuAnn warns you though, that if you're not, the first five to ten minutes of today's show aren't going to be your cup of tea! Today's guest is Laura Lochrin, who's originally from Scotland and she only moved here, with her husband and children, five years ago.  She now lives in sunny California. Listen in to find out about Laura and the particular way that she goes about her business.

LuAnn was really surprised to discover that Laura only opened her firm eight months ago. Today, they talk about the challenges that Laura faces in having a start-up design firm, two small children and a husband- all of this while living on the other side of the world from where she was raised! Listen in now, to their really fun conversation.

Today, Laura talks to LuAnn about:

  • What it was like for her, getting started in the USA.
  • How she grew her Instagram following in such a short time.
  • Her Instagram feed- how much of her own work is on it and how much of it is curated posts of other people's work.
  • Laura's way of working with Instagram.
  • How Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and now also Yelp are translating into business for Laura.
  • Appealing to the right people for her kind of work, through her Instagram feed.
  • Using Instagram as a Marketing Tool.
  • Those things are starting to get a little hectic with her solo business, now.
  • Time management- one of her biggest challenges at the moment.
  • The challenges of being a working mom.
  • How she makes things work, as a mom and a designer.
  • That she developed the necessary confidence to do design work as a result of her background in advertising.
  • Some of the challenges that she faces with her business, at the moment.
  • How much she's learned from listening to LuAnn's Podcast!
  • That she uses Design Manager to help with her administrative processes.
  • That she falls a little more in love with MyDoma, every time she uses it.
  • What she does that really helps her new business to thrive.
  • How Laura structures her fees.
  • That she knows the value of her work because she knows what she has to give up in her life, in order to make it happen.
  • Making the time to go to the Industry Markets and to meet other designers.
  • That her Superpower is all about the details- in every aspect of her life.

Laura's website: Laura Lochrin Interiors

Jun 2, 2017

Today, LuAnn is delighted to be getting together again with Anna Brockway, who first appeared on episode #79 of the show. Anna is the CEO and founder of Charish, which is also one of the show's sponsors. Anna is back today, as there are some crazy new updates to Charish that she and LuAnn want to share with you. Listen in to find out more about Charish and why it's important to you, as Interior Designers.

Charish is an Online Marketplace, which was started about four years ago. Three months ago, it had over 150 000 items available for sale on the site and nearly 1 000 000 buyers and sellers that do business there every month. Recently they've introduced a really cool virtual app that Interior Designers are going bananas about! Listen in now and find out more about Anna's really fun and fast growing business. If you're new to the show, please go back and listen to episode #79, to get the full story of how Anna started Charish and everything else that you need to know about it.


Today, Anna talks to LuAnn about:

  • A quick run down of what Charish is and how it helps Interior Designers with their businesses.
  • That the transactions at Charish are similar to those on e-Bay.
  • The delivery service that Charish provides.
  • The advantages of using Charish for Interior Designers.
  • The 'cash back' discount benefit, for Interior Designers who use Charish.
  • The new and exciting things that have been recently added to the Charish platform, making it an even better tool for the Design Trade to use.
  • How the fantastic, new, 'try it before you buy it' virtual app works.
  • That you can use the app to do design work on your iPhone.
  • Amazing ways that you could use the app.
  • The really large range of prices available at Charish.
  • The Charish Pink Book- a digital pricing guide. Their version of the Kelly Blue Book.
  • The environmental advantages to buying vintage furniture.
  • The styles and trends that are available at Charish.
  • The value points for used furniture.
  • Pricing for either time or money.


Anna's website:

May 31, 2017

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

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


Some highlights include:

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



Barbara's email:

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

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

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

May 29, 2017

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


Today, Amber talks to LuAnn about:

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


Amber's website:
Amber's instagram:

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