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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Sep 28, 2019

Welcome! We're bringing you this extra little episode of A Well-Designed Business today because, over the past months, many of you have told LuAnn that you don't know what the Power Talk Friday Tour is. And a number of you have expressed just how much you need it, after finding out what it's all about. In light of this, LuAnn decided to take some time to explain exactly what the Power Talk Friday Tour is. Tune in now, to find out!

Over the nearly forty years that LuAnn has been in business, she's learned a lot about creating a successful business from the deeper conversations she's had with other business owners. Almost every other owner of a thriving business that she's spoken to has had some or other sort of business coaching throughout their career. This is why LuAnn believes in business coaches and business coaching. And why she believes in business mentors and mentees, and business besties. In today's episode, she defines each of these roles, and she explains how all of this ties into the Power Talk Friday Tour. Listen in today, to find out what the Power Talk Friday Tour is, and how it happened.

Show highlights:

  • How the Power Talk Friday Tour happened.
  • One-on-one business coaching is at the top of the food chain but not everyone can afford it.
  • Sometimes you need someone to help you implement the new things you've learned about.
  • Perhaps you just need someone to talk to about a new idea you've had for your business. 
  • LuAnn has selected the coaches that she respects and admires for the Tours, and she rotates them for each Tour.
  • Why the PTF Tour is enough of an investment to make you think.
  • Most of the experts typically charge between $400 and $700 per hour for one-on-one coaching.
  • The conversations will be geared to hit the points that are relevant to everyone in the room.
  • There will be small, round-table discussions with the experts after lunch. If the group is really small, you might even get a one-on-one.
  • This event is small for a very good reason.
  • Every single tour is different.
  • The day always ends with a celebration dinner!



To find the information about the next tour that's coming up, go to

If you'd like to find out if the Power Talk Friday Tour is right for you at this time, email LuAnn at, put Power Talk Friday Tour in the subject line, leave your phone number, and LuAnn will call you within 24 hours. 

Thank you to MyDoma Studio and Revel Woods for committing to sponsor every Power Talk Friday Tour!

Sep 27, 2019

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We have Ashley Micciche, the CEO of True North Retirement Advisors, on the show with us today, and we're talking exit strategies. This is a very important topic because you will need an exit strategy when you get to the point in your business career where you begin thinking about whether your business is viable to sell, why you should sell it, how to sell it, and what it's worth. Everything you do in your business is about building it and setting yourself up for success. So, even if you've only been in business for a short while, you have no intention of selling in the foreseeable future, and you feel that your retirement is still a long way away, you will still benefit from this podcast. Listen in to find out more.

Ashley started her career as a financial advisor in 2007, after graduating, magna cum laude, with a bachelor of science degree in business finance, from Portland State University. True North Retirement Advisors is an independent financial advisory firm,  located just outside of Portland Oregon, that manages two-hundred-and-thirty-million dollars in client assets. In today's episode, Ashley explains to us how she specializes in designing, building, and implementing business exit plans to help business owners secure their final and most important business decision- their exit strategy. Ashley's mission is to transition 300 small business owners successfully into retirement in ten years, so tune in today, to find out what she has to share about planning smartly for your future.

Show Highlights:

  • Most businesses revolve around their owners, and that impacts negatively on the value of the business.
  • Creating a thriving, systemized, well-oiled machine.
  • Thinking about how your business could go on after you, or be sold when you are ready.
  • Preparing for your exit as if you are going to do it.
  • Where to start with thinking about exiting.
  • What drives the value of your business?
  • Ashley dispells a myth about valuing a business.
  • Some things you should be aware of that decrease the value of a business.
  • Ashley has a valuation tool and checklist on her website that you can use to value your business in just a few minutes.
  • Some things to safeguard against.
  • Getting unstuck and exiting your business with three universal steps.
  • It's very important to get an expert to guide you through the process of selling or buying a business.
  • Go to Value My Business to value your business.
















Previous episodes mentioned in the show:

Meadowbank Team: #302

Do Not Let Us Design For You: #346

Eileen Hahn: #363


True North RA

Well Designed Article

Free Checklist & Unlimited Access To Our Business Valuation Tool

Alex: One Minute Retirement Tip: Subscribe on iTunes

Blog: True North Retirement Advisors

Website: rue North Retirement Advisors

Facebook: rue North Retirement Advisors

LinkedIn: Ashley Micciche

LuAnn will be at the IDS Elevate Conference in Portland Oregon on Friday 1st November. RSVP link: ID Sport Land

Sep 24, 2019

Welcome to the show! We have another one of those rare shows today, where our guest bravely pulls back the curtain and talks to us openly about what it's like to be an entrepreneur, and to go through very tough times where everything is on the line. Taylor Spellman, the CEO and Creative Director of Taylor Spellman New York, previously appeared on the podcast in episode #106. She's back with us today to talk about an eye-opening lesson she recently learned about running a business. Taylor wanted to share this lesson with you so that you might not have to make the same mistake in your business. Tune in now, to learn something very important from Taylor.

Taylor is a #smart lady, and she's really funny too! Her firm specializes in a concierge level of project management. At any one time in her business, Taylor has upwards of fifty million dollars of real estate interior architecture and design under her direction, as well as all the press and the Bravo TV shows that she has. Tune in today, to hear about the grave challenge that she recently faced and overcame.

Show Highlights:

  • Taylor explains what happened when LuAnn called to ask her to do LuAnn Live.
  • Taylor talks about the things that caused the very difficult time that her business went through.
  • Why you have to be very clear about what you want to do with your money.
  • The importance of being prepared.
  • Learning to trust the right people.
  • Why you need to have a finger on all your accounting systems.
  • There's a fine line between negligence and malicious intent, but the results are often the same.
  • How Taylor's ability to value the privilege of having a home has shaped her work.
  • Taylor learned the value of money the hard way.
  • Taylor tells a cautionary tale about the hazards of hiring friends.
  • Learning to run her business from her brain, rather than her heart.
  • Getting rid of all her staff and hiring new people.
  • The importance of tracking and checking everything in your business.
  • Protecting your business, and your staff, with accountability.
  • Keeping up with your goals as they unfold.
  • Realizing who you are and moving forward.


As CEO and Creative Director of Taylor Spellman New York, Taylor’s client-centric focus is bold and eclectic, showcasing the personality of the inhabitants of the spaces she creates. At any given moment, Taylor has upwards of fifty million dollars of real estate interior architecture and design under her direction. The firm specializes in a concierge level of project management with TSNY’s team of designers, contractors, and architects directing each phase of production from conception to completion at the top commercial, residential and new development properties throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Taylor has been featured in The Real Deal, Architectural Digest, The New York Times, E! News, Elle Décor and People Magazine in addition to hosting her own design show on BRAVO.

You can meet Taylor, in person, at High Point, with LuAnn, Sandra Funk, and Lori Paranjape, on Sunday, October 20th, 2019, at Suria, at 2 pm. This panel, titled Confidence Sells, is co-sponsored by MyDoma Studio and Suria.


Website: Taylor Spellman

Facebook: Taylor Spellman

Instagram: Taylor Spellman

Would you like to meet Luann in Connecticut on the 10th of October, 2019? This outstanding full-day event is co-sponsored by The Stanford Waterside Design District and Aspire Design and Home.

The first 100 RSVPs that also show up will receive a free copy of LuAnn's second book. To RSVP, go to Luann Nigara, and look for the event in the Events and Coaching tab.

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Elissa Grayer #451

Wendy Glaister #386

Sep 20, 2019

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We have Nicole Heymer, the owner and founder of Curio Electro, back with us today. Nicole is our website designer and developer, she's our branding guru, and she's also a co-author and the book-cover designer for LuAnn's new book, A Well-Designed Business, The Power Talk Friday Experts, Volume One. Nicole's chapter in the book is about the questions you need to be asking yourself and your clients, to discover, establish, and make very clear what your brand is. In today's episode, she will be taking the concept of defining your brand a step further by explaining how to express the uniqueness of your brand in every aspect of your business and giving you an exercise to help you to get this done. Tune in now, to find out what Nicole has to teach you about visual branding, brand voice, and messaging.

Curio Electro was founded in 2011. It is the go-to for businesses seeking smart and practical digital branding that gets results. They are experts in curating your brand voice and finding the aspects of your business that will draw in new clients by creating compelling websites and thinking through what happens after everything goes live. The collaboration with Nicole and her team is outstanding, so even after the website has been built, she and her team continue to provide marketing materials and social media graphics. We truly respect Nicole for her expertise and her business acumen. Listen in today, to learn how to express the uniqueness of your brand in every aspect of your business.

Show Highlights:

  • What you need to know about what shapes people's beliefs about your brand.
  • Knowing what it takes to make people believe something about a brand.
  • Creating moments for people, and telling stories.
  • The little things that are very important to deliver to your clients.
  • Using every aspect of your business to tell people exactly what they can expect from you.
  • Your message has to align with what you're doing.
  • People subconsciously judge you on your visual branding.
  • Demonstrating to the consumer how you stand out from the rest.
  • How you make more money when you have your brand clearly defined.
  • Nicole shares some ways to tell your brand story, to make it real for people.
  • Some ways to delight and surprise people with the technology you use in your business.
  • Talk about your charitable contributions. They say a lot about your brand.
  • Video is a really powerful way to tell your story.
  • How to organize and prioritize your systems and your marketing.
  • The different courses that Nicole offers to assist designers.


Nicole Heymer is the founder of Curio Electro, a boutique creative agency specializing in intuitive branding, compelling design, and actionable plans. Since 2011, Curio Electro has worked within a multitude of industries and with a wide variety of clients at every stage in their development, from nationally known interior design firms to local craft breweries. Nicole's clear, practical take on creating a memorable brand has been featured in print, on podcasts, and as the framework for branding workshops. She is an active ASID Industry Partner and has served as the Editor of NJ ASID's Blueprint Magazine.


Website: Curio Electro

Instagram: Curio Electro

LinkedIn: Nicole Heymer

Facebook: Curio Electro

Nicole's Course for Interior Designers: Branding Discovery

Get the Goodies from Today's Episode

For Claire Jefford's courses

Nicole will be at the Power Talk Friday Tour High Point

Nicole's Previous Episodes: #125 & #317

Previous Episodes Mentioned in the Show:

Pulp Design Studio #176

Savour Partnership  #209 and #458

Claire Jefford #237 and #325

Kae Whitaker #26, #66, #114, #259, #274

Sep 17, 2019

Welcome to today's show, sponsored by Kravet Inc. We have the privilege today of having the Dallas-based interior designer, Jan Showers, join us on the show. As a successful entrepreneur, Jan understands the value of collaboration, which is a very important element of her business. In today's episode, she discusses her multi-faceted career, and she talks to us about the full lifestyle collection that she's created for Kravet, what it includes, and how her collaboration with Kravet came to be. Tune in now, to find out more!

Jan's career spans three decades, and during this time, she has received many of the highest honors awarded to design professionals. Her magazine credits include Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Veranda, House Beautiful, InStyle, Traditional Home, British Home and Garden, Harper’s Bazaar, and Luxe. For the last five years, Architectural Digest has added Jan Showers and Associates to the AD100, their preeminent directory to the world of design. Jan has also written two books, Glamorous Rooms and the follow-up to that, called Glamorous Retreats. She's currently working on her third book, which is due to be released in the fall of 2020. Jan is truly one amazing lady! Listen in today, to hear about her insights and her reflections on her career.

Show Highlights:

  • Working hard, getting published, and having great photographs are all key to being noticed for the Architectural Digest's AD100.
  • Where the inspiration for her book came from.
  • The most challenging part of her business.
  • Twenty years ago, Jan couldn't find what she wanted in the trade showrooms so she began creating a collection of her own, the Jan Showers Collection.
  • Being prepared to get lucky!
  • To do what Jan has done, you'd need to have strong systems in place, and an amazing team behind you.
  • Jan talks about her collaboration with Kravet.
  • Jan's impressive portfolio supplied most of the photographs for her book.
  • Jan's third book, Glamorous Living, is coming out in September of next year.
  • How Jan's mother influenced her life and career.
  • High-level clients expect and deserve perfection.
  • Jan discusses her history with Kravet.
  • It's a good idea to start out working for someone else or to have a mentor.
  • Jan shares her key to success.


Jan Showers is a Dallas based interior designer and has been designing for clients for over 25 years. Her magazine credits alone place her in the highest echelon of designers. Aside from Jan’s interior design business, her career spans three different businesses. Jan has a to-the-trade custom furniture line, Jan Showers Collection, which is sold in eight showrooms across the U.S. Showers also has an antique showroom in the Dallas Design District, where she sells vintage items, as well as her new collection, 1308 Collection.

Showers’ partnerships include a full lifestyle collection with Kravet Couture, a furniture collection with Kravet Furniture, which debuted at High Point 2019, a hand-knotted rug series for Moattar, Inc., a lighting series with L.A. based designer Joe Cariati and a cowhide rug collection for Kyle Bunting.

Jan has written two books: Glamorous Rooms and her follow-up, Glamorous Retreats, both published by Abrams. She is working on writing a third book with Abrams to be released in fall 2020.


Website: Jan Showers

Jan Showers & Kravet Inc

Instagram: Jan Showers

Facebook: Jan Showers Associates

Twitter: Jan Showers

Glamorous Rooms

Glamorous Retreats

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Joe Cariati #197

Nate Berkus #433

Candice Olson #74

LuAnn and Jan will be at the Kravet showroom in the Boston Design Center on Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2019. Please join them there!

Sep 13, 2019

Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We are very happy to have Peter Lang, the Designer CPA, on the show with us today. Peter is one of the co-authors of LuAnn's book, A Well-Designed Business, The Power Talk Friday Experts. He wrote chapter two of the book, called 'Find The Best Accountant For Your Firm' because, as a creative, it can be really hard to lock down the financial side of your business. Today, Peter, who previously appeared in episode #349 of the podcast, talks to us about how he teaches designers to understand everything they really need to know about their finances. Listen in, to find out more.

Peter is The Designer CPA and he genuinely loves working exclusively with design professionals just like you. He has a really strong desire to help creatives, and his goal is to help you to become a confident partner with him around the financial side of your business. Peter is based in Rhode Island but he works remotely with designers all over the USA. Tune in now, to find out what he has to share. 

Show Highlights:

  • Peter and LuAnn are going to be doing Power Talk Friday together, at High Point, in October of this year.
  • What Peter learned from the LuAnn Live event, last March.
  • Having a great team does not mean that you should stop paying attention to your business.
  • How Peter started teaching people about the right way to be looking at their finances.
  • Why Peter won't work with certain people.
  • Peter chooses to work with people who care.
  • Peter talks about the different classes he teaches.
  • The design industry is not straightforward when it comes down to finances. Peter understands this and he teaches you how to run your books accordingly.
  • You want everyone on your team to be on the same page.
  • Peter explains what his second course is all about, and how it was created specifically for the design industry.
  • How these courses will prevent you from becoming marginalized by your CPA.
  • Peter teaches you what you need to know about taxes.
  • About the next course that Peter will be doing.
  • About LuAnn's Power Talk Friday Tours.


Peter Lang is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  He is the founder of The Designer CPA, a CPA firm that works exclusively with business owners in the design industry.  He has worked in public accounting since graduating from Providence College in 2002.  After working for several larger size firms in Boston and Rhode Island, Peter realized his true passion was to start a firm that specifically focused on designers.  

Peter currently resides in Rhode Island with his wife Carmen and their identical twin boys, William and Matthew.   He enjoys running and golfing outside of work.


Website: The Designer CPA

Power Talk Friday Tour

Peter's Courses: Classes For Designers

A Well-Designed Business®️: The Power Talk Friday Experts

Mydoma Studio: A Well Designed Business

Instagram: The Designer CPA

Facebook: The Designer CPA

Twitter: The Designer CPA

Previous Shows Mentioned:

Peter Lang #349

Sep 10, 2019

Welcome! Today, Sara Lynn Brennan joins us on the show. Sara is an entrepreneur, CEO, and Principal Interior Designer at Sara Lynn Brennan Interiors. Eighteen months ago, Sara contacted LuAnn, telling her that she wanted to go to High Point Market, but she wasn't sure what to do or where to go. So LuAnn arranged to meet her there, and Sara spent two days with LuAnn and Sara Daniele, the CEO of Mydoma Studio, going from event to event, hanging out, talking, and allowing Sara to get to know some significant and influential people in the design industry. Since then, Sara has become the first and only full-service interior design firm in Waxhaw, North Carolina, who specializes in Transitional Designs, where she and her design-build team take spaces from Bare Bones to Beautiful by utilizing her exclusive, approachable, and stress-free design process, transforming and renovating homes from start to finish. Listen in today, to find out what Sara has to share.

Sara’s design work has been nationally published six times in the last year including publications such as Romantic Homes, Traditional Home, Window Fashion Vision, and Cottages and Bungalows, who recently offered her a role as a monthly columnist. She’s also been noticed as a rising star among colleagues in the design industry being invited as a guest on podcasts, as a panelist at High Point Market and as a host and speaker at local design events and shows.  In today's episode, Sara talks to us about the extra layer that she's added to her design business, and she explains how she's put the lessons that she's learned from the guests on the podcast into action. Tune in now, for more!

Show Highlights:

  • How MyDoma Studio inspired Sara to create packages.
  • Sara shares a mind-blowing story about selling packages.
  • Why you really need to go and look at Sara's website.
  • Sara describes her really smooth process.
  • Getting clear about the steps that are involved in any process.
  • Coming up with a flat-rate fee.
  • The great reward of instant gratification.
  • Sara describes her consultation process.
  • The way that Sara personalizes her packages.
  • The discovery call is a very important part of the process.
  • Creating an approachable package to reach more people.
  • Coming up with a detailed DIY package.
  • A package called 'DIY with an option to buy'.
  • Sara talks about how she presents her e-design package.
  • Creating these packages been a labor of love for Sara.


Sara Lynn Brennan is an award-winning Entrepreneur, CEO, and Principal Interior Designer at Sara Lynn Brennan Interiors, the first and only full-service interior design firm in Waxhaw, North Carolina who specializes in Transitional Design. She and her design-build team take spaces from Bare Bones to Beautiful by utilizing her exclusive, approachable and stress-free design process, transforming and renovating homes from start to finish.

Sara’s design work has been nationally published six times in the last year including publications such as Romantic Homes, Traditional Home, Window Fashion Vision, and Cottages and Bungalows, who recently offered her a role as a monthly columnist. She’s also been noticed as a rising star among colleagues in the design industry being invited as a guest on podcasts, as a panelist at High Point Market and as a host and speaker at local design events and shows. Sara’s confident, unique and fearless approach to business and design make her an inspiration to those who work with and around her.

Sara is known for her recognizable “Romantic Transitional” design aesthetic, but her award-winning design team is not just about creating pretty spaces. It is Sara’s mission to educate and expose clients to the beauty and functionality of transitional design. She and her team pride themselves on creating practical, beautiful, and timeless homes that families can really LIVE in for years to come.


Website: Sara Lynn Brennan

Design Packages and Free E-Book: Sara Brennan

Blog Post: Luann Nigara Baby Designer

IG: @saralynnbrennan

FB: Sara Brennan

Soft Design Lab HPMKT Experience

Previous shows mentioned in this episode:

Wendy Woloshchuk #316

Mr. Inkredible #417

Kimberly Kay #234

Kelsey Grose #167

Megan Molten #455

Darla Powell #203 and #330

Deb Barrett #53

Tobi Fairley (1st one)

Lori Paranjape #34

Tori Alexander #445

Sep 6, 2019

Welcome to another episode of Window Treatment Friday, with LuAnn and her friend and co-host, Vita. Since starting the WTF series, they have been getting lots of emails from designers, asking questions related to their businesses. Finding the best business model for window treatment services was at the top of the list, so in today's episode, we will be outlining the framework for the 'Do It Yourself Model'. In this model, the designer takes all the risk and the responsibility- but gets all the money. In the following episodes, we will share different business models, so that you can choose the one that's the best fit for you. Today's show is an important one, so tune in now, to find out more!

Vita is a class-act lady! She's the CEO and founder of Vitalia Inc., which is your workroom and your partner for custom window treatments in the Philadelphia Metro area. Vita has been taking the lead in responding to all the emails and having the conversations with you, the listeners, about the things that really matter the most to you. After getting all your feedback to the first two episodes in this series, it made a lot of sense to address some of the more pressing topics that are on your minds. Listen in today, to find out what Vita and LuAnn have to say about finding the best business model for your window treatment services.

Show Highlights:

  • On September 23rd, the Lunch and Learn events will be kicking off once again for the season. LuAnn explains what the exciting first event, called Showroom Showdown, will be all about.
  • Helping you to find the best business model to pursue.
  • What the 'Do It Yourself' Model' looks like, and how it works.
  • You will need to learn how to measure. LuAnn suggests finding information from the WCAA about certification courses in window treatments.
  • Coming up with what the window treatment is, and learning to fill out the work and the production orders, with all the specifics.
  • As a designer, you need to have a vision and an understanding of the practical, functional needs.
  • Your lingo has to be very specific when communicating with the workroom.
  • You will have to keep track of the work in progress, and you will have to follow it up.
  • Different workrooms have different cultures.
  • Selecting the appropriate fabrics for the treatment you've selected.
  • Developing good relationships with the workroom.
  • Next week we will be discussing the business model where you work with a window treatment specialist, or a project management company.


On September 23rd, the Window Works showroom, in Livingstone, New Jersey is re-igniting and kicking off the Lunch and Learn events for the season. The first Lunch and Learn event for the season is called Showroom Showdown.


LuAnn and Vita will be presenting Demystifying Window Treatments For Interior Designers, at The Design Trade Resources Showroom, in Devon, Pennsylvania, on September 24th at 12 pm. This event is free and it is sponsored by Stout Fabrics. RSVP at


To learn more about working with Vita and Vitalia Inc: Vitalia Inc 

To learn more about working with Window Works: 

To RSVP for the Window Works Showroom Showdown

To learn more about WTF on A Well-Designed Business®️: Luann Nigara

To receive a free subscription to Window Fashion Vision Magazine

To attend the IWCE where both LuAnn and Vita will be presenting

To learn about the WCAA (Window Coverings Association of America)

To learn about Exciting Windows

To attend our upcoming event in PA, De-Mystifying Window Treatments go to

To learn more about the Interior Design Society

To learn more about Stout:

Sep 3, 2019

Welcome to another episode of our Design Biz Live series with Corey Klassen and Judith Neary! Today, Corey and Judith will be discussing five fatal errors that people tend to make in their businesses. Judith and Corey run their own design firms and they have both had years of experience in the design industry, so they know what it takes to create a successful business, and they understand what you need to do to avoid the pitfalls. Listen in today, to get their expert advice.

Corey is the owner of Corey Klassen Interior design, based in Vancouver. He provides professional interior design services for residential and commercial interior design projects while specializing in high-end kitchen and bath projects. Judith owns Roadside Attraction Design Studio, based in Vashon Island, Washington. She provides professional design services for kitchens, baths, and other fun living spaces. Tune in now, to find out how to avoid making these five fatal errors in your interior design business.

Show Highlights:

  • Judith talks about making the first fatal error- basing business models on demographics.
  • Your profit margin comes from how you do your business.
  • It's all about product, people, and place.
  • The peril of making a value call, or a judgment about someone, without first engaging with them.
  • Lead from selling in alignment with your business goals.
  • Being clear with your clients about what you will do and what you will not do.
  • Finding the right clients based on a psychographic rather than on a demographic.
  • Sometimes it's okay to do things for the greater good even though you're not being paid for it.
  • Being clear in your communication will be your biggest asset.
  • The difference between a customer and a client.
  • It's not about what you like. It's about what your client likes.
  • A true design professional will recommend rather than offer their advice or opinion.
  • You need to know your capacity and your capability.
  • Internalizing your external values with a code of ethics for yourself, for your contractors, and your clients.


Goodies Link: Luann Nigara

Corey's Website: Corey Klassen

Judith's Website: Road Side Attraction Studio