A Well-Designed Business®

In today's world being a talented interior designer isn't enough to ensure that you have a profitable and successful interior design business. Design school doesn't always teach you the critical business skills to be sure your interior design business be everything you imagined it would be! A Well Designed Business is here to fill in the gaps and give you real live business skills from some of the top interior designers. Your host, LuAnn Nigara shares her 35 years of success in the interior design industry, and she finds the most successful guests to share their interior design business best practices.
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A Well-Designed Business®






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Now displaying: 2016
Apr 13, 2016

Today on the show we are going to talk to Arianne Bellizaire! Arianne is not only a successful business owner of Arianne Bellizaire Interiors, she is a blogger, public speaker and an author of a Kindle Amazon top seller! She has been featured in several magazines. What really makes Arianne’s website so special are her videos. The story behind her passion for using videos in her work is very touching.

Arianne shares with us:

  • How the videos on her website came to be
  • Have the customer tell the story
  • IMovie on mac
  • Measure time with video
  • How did she start her platform?
  • Keep learning new things
  • Find what you are good at or passionate about and figure out a way to incorporate that into your work
  • “How To Get Moved In & Totally Unpacked: In 30 Days Or Less”
  • More books coming soon??
  • Use outlines to see progress

Links Mentioned:

Get her book “How To Get Moved In & Totally Unpacked: In 30 Days Or Less”

Check out this video of Arianne that we mentioned in the show

Apr 11, 2016

Welcome back! Today we are going to be talking to a fabulous designer who is always up for a new adventure: Susan Jamieson. Susan has been an interior designer for 25 years and has been featured in several magazines and tv shows. Her newest projects include her own paint line called Bridget Beari paints that has about 200 different colors and custom wallpaper designs. Stay tuned to hear her tips and upcoming projects and events!

Susan shares with us:

  • Richmond show house pictures- you have to check them out on her website!
  • What is Design on a Dime?
  • Have a PR agent to help get out past your local area
  • Blogging since 2007
  • Is there a book coming???
  • Where does she get the names of her products?

Links Mentioned:


Apr 6, 2016

Today on the show we have a brilliant and when I say brilliant I really mean it, brilliant business woman: Vanessa DeLeon. Vanessa has starred on several television shows on some big television networks such as NBC, Bravo, HGTV and DIY Network. She has also been in several magazines such as TIME, Cosmopolitan etc. and on top of that she is a spokesperson! Wow! Talk about impressive resume! Please stay tuned to hear all of her great advice and her shared experiences.

Vanessa shares with us:

  • The triple “D’s”
  • What she would have done differently before starting her own business at 20
  • When does the momentum pick up?
  • Dreams do come true
  • Are vision boards a yes or a no?
  • Entitlement…I don’t think so!
  • Vacation? What’s that?
Apr 4, 2016

Elizabeth Lamont is a self-made entrepreneur, interior designer and the owner of her store “Room at the Beach”, which has been named a top store in LA Magazine to name a few of her accomplishments. She has been in business since 1990! Elizabeth shares with us her tips and advice on how to be successful and stay successful. You don’t want to miss out on this episode!

Elizabeth shares with us:

  • Her transition from a 5500 sq. ft. store to an 1800 sq. ft. store!
  • How to source product
  • Make your shop an experience!
  • Kravet = the best
  • The most important thing to remember!
  • How to be successful in business
  • Vision boards!
  • What is in the future for Elizabeth…

Check out the full show notes at

Mar 30, 2016

Charles founded Pavarini Design nearly 30 years ago and it is a full-scale New York based Interior Design Firm that specializes in Architectural Interior Design, Custom Furniture Design and Lighting Design.  

Charles has sat on the Designer’s Lighting Forum of New York, board of directors for twenty-eight years.

And his talent has earned 21 awards for excellence in design over his career. The list includes the most prestigious of lighting awards, the coveted Lumen Award. In addition he has received the Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award for Architectural Lighting, an Award of Merit from the Illuminating Engineering Society for Lighting, a 2014 International Property Award for the Americas, an ASID Design Specialty Award, a CODA Works Award for a Public Art Installation,a Circle of Excellence Award and now lets add- to the list an award for Best in Show Architectural Digest Design.

You can see the full show notes at

Mar 28, 2016

Today on the show we have Nancy Ganzekaufer! Nancy is an art and accessories consultant. She is the founder and owner of her business Expressive Living. Before her business she worked in banking all the way to vice president! After this she was a stay at home mom and then became a personal trainer. While trying to figure out what to do next she got a phone call from her mother one day that would change career plans. Her mother wanted to get rid of her art work. Nancy started having home art parties and this is how her business in art and accessories all began.

Nancy shares with us:

  • Build relationships
  • “Niche is rich and broad is broke”
  • Research, research, research!
  • Tools to success
  • New business???
  • Free giveaways!!

Links Mentioned:

Mar 23, 2016

Rock star designer Malene Barnett created and built her business specializing in handcrafting custom carpets and dabbling in wall design and tile design. She has a background in surface design from F.I.T (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York. Malene has some great advice to share with us!

Show Notes:

  • Inspiration from experiences behind her work
  • How to get from point A to point B starting out
  • Growth plans
  • E-guide series!

Links Mentioned:


You can get all the resources at

Mar 21, 2016

Jeff Brooks has been a designer in business for 30 years! When he was starting out in the design world he did a lot of kitchen design until he decided to open his own design firm in 1986. He does a lot of residential work and has been interested in earth work and environmental design. Jeff has some fantastic advice for designers starting out or even designers who have been doing their thing for any amount of time!  

Show Notes:

  • What is the best use of a space?
  • Hospitality and public spaces
  • Execute a plan!
  • How to let someone know if the designer is within their budget      
  • Where does the inspiration come from?
  • Be kind

“Plan every project by starting with the intended result”. Jeffrey Brooks


Links Mentioned:

Jeff’s Website

Mar 16, 2016


Today my guest is Ren Miller: editor in chief of Design New Jersey! Ren has a background in design and editorial management. He worked with newspapers and then worked with a jewelry magazine. On 9/11 he caught a bus to get to his home in New Jersey and made the observation that the other people were just trying to get home because home is safe. That was his aha moment when he realized he wanted to work for a magazine that portrayed homes. He applied to Design New Jersey and was fortunate enough to get the job. Ren has worked his way up to where he is now and has been doing a fabulous job as editor in chief! 

Ren Miller shares with us:

  • Why should designers want to put their work in publication?
  • Know the magazine
  • Keep up with the trends
  • White rooms in publication
  • Background
  • How to get accepted
  • The “No’s”

Links Mentioned:


Mar 14, 2016

Robin LaMonte is an amazing interior designer who is based in Atlanta. She spent 13 years in New Jersey building her name and then she and her husband made the decision to move to Atlanta. Robin has started her empire from scratch…again. Today’s show is all about re-establishing yourself and your business after a move to a new city or state. But truthfully the strategies we discuss apply if you are beginning your interior design business or even if you need to give a boost to your established firm.

Robin shares with us how she has accomplished this and gives advice for other designers who are starting out in today's episode!

Mar 9, 2016

Denise and her team deliver diverse and fashionable designs for those who live on the fast track. Her company specializes in turnkey, concierge-level services---in as little as 90 days! They execute high-end interior design projects with their organization and signature deadline-driven design solutions. Denise honed her business practices, sophisticated methodology, and solid business acumen while working with Neiman-Marcus. You will be impressed with what she accomplishes with her relatively small staff. Join us for more from Denise!

In this episode, you’ll hear the following:

  • Denise’s business is built on a three-tiered philosophy: Delivered in 90 days, Designed in a Day, and Designer Full-Time. Stay tuned to learn more!
  • Denise’s full-service design came first, as she found a niche for people who want things quickly.
  • “Doing the job faster means getting your money faster!”
  • The niche was needed in the industry; Denise asked, “How can we brand it and make it happen?”
  • Her systems are driven by project plans, timelines, and a very scheduled process.
  • There are multiple team members working on multiple projects.
  • Organization and precise communication are essential for the Delivered in 90 Days option!
  • The client has to be ready to make decisions and move fast, just as Denise’s team does.
  • Every decision, order, and email has a deadline attached to it to keep the process moving.
  • This business requires a strong team who are ready to work within the timelines, and requires respect and trust from clients.
  • Surprisingly, Denise accomplishes this with just THREE employees!
  • The initial timeline is 2-4 weeks until presentation is made to the client, and then the team hits the ground running when a contract is secured.
  • Denise operates in other locations outside the Dallas area, but those are more difficult and present greater limitations.
  • Not every client comes to Denise for the 90-day timeline; many come for the design quality.
  • For other designers who question this process, Denise asks, “How much time did you spend and how much did you bill for? What if you compressed the time? How much time is wasted from week to week?”
  • The Designer Full-time option is a complete project, with construction, furnishings, etc. These are large projects that take 1-2 years to complete.
  • Denise implements a screening process for clients so that she can understand their needs and the scope of the project.
  • She gives great advice for accepting clients and knowing which clients are NOT a good fit; it all comes down to chemistry!
  • Designed in a Day gives Denise the opportunity to get out of the office for a day to help a client who wants a quick update with what they already have in place. 
  • Denise runs down the entire process of her Designed in a Day option, which is an unusual niche that fosters a face to face relationship and connection for the future.
  • Denise explains her partnership with Curated Kravet, the sponsor of our podcast. They are one of her favorite vendors, and she explains why!
  • Denise designed vignettes for them with their fabrics and in-stock items. You can view it online!
  • Denise’s advice for designers:
    • Make a plan for all that you do and your processes.
    • See where you can be very, very efficient.
    • Work smarter, not harder.
    • There is no need to fret over decisions.
  • Denise explains her upcoming project Show House in New Orleans, already in the design process!


Mar 7, 2016

Today on the show we have the talented, go getter Rona Speigel! Rona started her own business, Lifestyle Designs in 1980. About 4 years ago she started another business, Red-Zebra. Red- Zebra started out as just photography but then grew into something extraordinary!

Rona shares with us in this episode:

  • How Red-Zebra came to be
  • The “sideline”
  • What is ADA?
  • The process of post-production 

Links Mentioned:

Mar 2, 2016

Today’s guest is the queen of show houses: Barbara Ostrom! Barbara attended New York University and New York school of Interior Design and then went on to get her masters in architectural design from Pratt and received a graduate certificate from Sorbonne in Paris. After working as, a designer’s assistant for 8 years and then working with a company that designs stores she decided to start her own business. When Barbara first started out showhouse rooms were not popular. Since then she has really shown that she knows how to work the showhouse rooms. You can check out some of her fantastic showhouse rooms in her book: “Curtain Up!: Thirty Years of Spectacular Showhouse Rooms”.

To read the full show notes click here.

Feb 29, 2016

Today’s guest is the fantastic Lisa Dreissig! Lisa went to school at The Fashion Institute of Technology. She then worked for several startups and then moved onto an architecture firm. Working with these firms helped her immensely with the starting of her own business. But before she started her own business she created a blog that she started in 2007 when she was laid off from her job. It turns out that this blog has really opened the horizon to be a great way to have people get to know her and find potential clients. Lisa shares with us today how her blog has helped her business and why it’s a good idea for others to start a blog as well.

Lisa shares with us in the broadcast:

  • Her inspiration for her blog
  • Platform she uses for her blog
  • How to get through writer’s block
  • Make a personal connection
  • If someone doesn’t like what you post, then don’t work with them
  • Her advice for starting a new blog
  • Her biggest struggle with her blog
  • Recommendations of other blogs to read

Links mentioned:

Feb 24, 2016

On today’s show we have the lovely Erika Ward! Erika started out as an accountant for a design, build company. While still working in corporate settings she started her own firm called “Erika Ward Interiors”. She used her background in financing and her creative side to grow her business and has since then built her business to the greatness that it is now. Erika not only works with individual clients but also works close with retail brands like Home Depot! 

Feb 22, 2016

Welcome! Our guest today is the wonderful and talented interior designer, Christina Perry! Christina started at a young age rearranging furniture and accessories and discovering her passion of what she really likes to do. She attended The University of Missouri State and graduated with a bachelor degree in Science in Interior Designing. She then went on to work in several different jobs that showed her different aspects of the interior design industry. She realized that she was really interested in the creative aspect of the interior design industry and wanted to help people create a space that they will enjoy being in. 

Christina will share with us in this broadcast:

  • You should always try to continue to learn and grow
  • Her realization that most everything is done online
  • Why doing everything online is a good thing
  • What tools she uses to help her out
  • Interior design software
  • Her client project website
  • What obstacles or problems has she run into?
  • How she is reaching more clients
  • What marketing efforts she is using to let people know her
  • Studio web ware recommendations
  • Make it a personal experience!
  • Have clear open communication!
  • How did she arrive at a la cart pricing?

Links mentioned:

Feb 17, 2016

Today’s guest on the show is Paul Somerville! Paul is the owner and creative director for Paul J Somerville Design in Hoboken, NJ.  He has been designing for more than 30 years and I am delighted to share our conversation with you today.  Paul is thoughtful and he has astute observations on the business of interior design. 

He is going to share some very insightful ideas on how to run the business part of a designer’s business. 

In this episode Paul will share with us:

  • Verbal and written contract?
  • Flat fee and hourly rates?
  • When a goal is reached its usually easier for the client to pay
  • Don’t nickel and dime your clients!
  • Down time is a must
  • Where he gets his inspiration
  • His advice for new comers
  • Design is thinking!

Links mentioned: 

email -


Feb 15, 2016

Today on the show our guest is Shannon M. Leddy. Shannon has her own interior design firm in New York that she started thirteen years ago. She is also an Allied member of ASID and an adjunct professor at The Fashion Institute of Technology and also graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology. Shannon is going to share some of her experiences and advice on the interior design business.


You can read the full show notes here.

Feb 14, 2016

In episode 2, our guest is the founder of Funk Design Studio: Sandra Levy! She is going to be talking to us about how she runs her business, and more specifically how she handles the project management through effective systems within her business. Her best advice: you should be very clear and upfront with everyone on a project and set goals!

You can read the full show notes here.

Feb 14, 2016

In episode 1, LuAnn Nigara sits down with Heather McManus. Heather recently wrote a book and she created a video course. These 2 additional channels have created passive income to supplement Heather's successful design business. She's here today to share with us exactly what she did to make this all come together.

You can read the full show notes here.

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