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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Oct 7, 2016

In this episode, the first of a series of 3 shows,  Shauna Lynn Simon, Owner/Founder of Beyond the Stage Homes and Styled, Listed, and Sold (SLS) Academy, talks about a strategy for connecting with your avatar (target clients/audience) on a personal level. She talks about the important steps, procedures, and pointers – the checklist to ensure the effectiveness of this strategy – holding workshops. It can be a powerful lead generation tool to build your brand and business. The success of the event could depend on how well you have prepared for it.


Show Notes


  • Choosing an engaging topic, and framing an attractive title
  • Educational and specific topic would be an ideal choice of topic
  • Choosing the right venue – inexpensive for a small audience, and a bigger venue or a showroom for a bigger audience, without sales pitching
  • The key to selecting the right venue
  • Content creation – valuable, informative, helpful
  • What to give away as handouts
  • Presentation techniques
  • Inviting guest resource persons
  • Securing sponsors
  • Marketing and promoting it in social media – fill every seat
  • Techniques in social media promotion
  • Shauna Lynn will cover other related topics in the forthcoming 2 weeks: 
    • Determining who your community is and how you fit into that community
    • Determining what you can contribute to the community to make it better, bigger, etc.
    • Identifying your voice and connecting with your followers, clients, fans with that emotional connection

You can listen to the full episode at our resource center:  Window Works

Oct 5, 2016

We have our first request for an interview from a listener of the show! Lauren Clement comes from an interior design family! Her mother has had her business since Lauren was two and now Lauren has her own business, Lauren Nicole Designs. She is going to share with us how she runs her business and tell us about the people she has on her team.

Show Notes:

  • Who are her mentors?
  • Who is on her team?
  • When should you consider a new hire?
  • What are Design 101 events?
  • A WWII airplane hangar design?

For the rest of the show notes, please visit our resource center: Window Works

Oct 3, 2016

For the past 8 or 9 months, we have had designer after designer talk about something that they are passionate about and turn it into a guiding force to increase business in their design firm. But I have not met anyone who has a design that is cruelty and vegan free…until now. On the show today is Deborah Rosenberg, a writer, lecturer, and founder of DiMare Design in Miami Florida.  DiMare is an interior design firm that promotes the use of vegan, organic materials. She will never use any materials that involve the harming of animals and she educates her clients, suppliers, and the entire industry about the advantages and benefits of cruelty-free/vegan design. She has incorporated her family values in her design business.


Show notes:


  • Why and how Deborah started focusing on this niche. How did this become a big part of her designs?
  • What does vegan mean?
  • The sweet reason why she is so passionate about using “humane interior design”
  • Leather manufacturers skin dogs to produce dog leather?
  • How long she has been in the design business and her niche
  • What materials she substitutes for animal-based leather
  • What materials she uses to substitute for chemical-drenched materials
  • Deborah is an animal activist with PETA. What she does for the organization
  • What she uses for wellness, healthy design especially for allergy sufferers
  • What are the desirable alternatives to leather, down, wool, and silk
  • Do clients find her now because her design is vegan?
  • It’s all about educating!
  • What fabrics are ok?
  • What is 72-hour turnkey design?
  • What other services does her firm offer?
  • Be as detailed as possible!
  • Where she sources these materials
  • How she charges for expedited service

For the rest of the show notes, please visit our resource center:   Window Works

Sep 30, 2016

Thanks for coming back to power talk Friday! We love our talks with Krista Coupar. She has our heads spinning a little bit with all of the information she has given us so far. Today is she is going to share with us her story and her brand.

Show Notes:

  • What is brand building supposed to be about?
  • Remember the inspirations!
  • What should the essence of your brand be?
  • What is the reason figuring out what your brand is?



Please visit our resource center: Window Works



Sep 28, 2016

Window Works features Asler Valero, a  Venezuelan-American interior designer with projects in the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. Asler's work has been greatly influenced by Stephen Sills Associates and Uniford Design Studios with whom he had collaborated on residential and commercial projects around the world. Asler is also recognized as a color expert by paint companies around the country, several of which he serves as consultant to.

Show Notes

  • What are the design lessons Asler learned at Sills-Hunniford Dwellings
  • The most important design element for Asler 
  • The purposes behind his choice of design elements
  • The reasons behind his choice of color schemes
  • The reason why he is very organized and precise
  • His tips on learning
  • His tips on the value of styling a room for photography

The rest of the show notes are in our resource center: Window Works 

Sep 26, 2016

Have you heard of Chairish yet? If you haven’t yet I am so happy to introduce you to this brand and Anna Brockway: one of the founders of this brand! Listen in to Anna’s story of how she started her company only three and a half years ago and it already has 150000 items available on the site

Show Notes:

  • What is Chairish?
  • Why did she start the business?
  • What is the Chairish pink book?
  • Is it a business or a feature?
  • Research the market!
  • What kind of special features does the Chairish site have?

For the rest of the show notes, please visit our Resource Center-- Window Works


Sep 23, 2016

If you’re planning to set up a family business, this podcast will give you valuable insights to help make your business a phenomenal success.  LuAnn presents the one big factor that has contributed to the success of the family business, Window Works. It’s the vital role played by her husband Vince.  He’s the so-called “Systems Nazi” in the company and his role-- accounting, finance, and systems administration—keeps the business organized, efficient, and effective. The role of the family members is to provide a strong, effective teamwork.  Everyone’s commitment (including their extended family of employees) is strong.  The plans and goals keep the family together in pursuing their common goals.

 Vince is fully committed to the quality of customer service that Window Works delivers. He sets up the rules, everyone else’s role, as well as the interconnected systems for 1) monitoring the processes and results, and 2) motivating the team to aim for a higher level of progress and success.

Window Works, as a family business, is less bureaucratic, has a built-in trust factor with established relationships (customers, partners, dealers, suppliers, employees) and provides for the hands-on training and early exposure to the next generation. That, by itself, is part of the business plan.

Show notes

  • Business planning often guides the entire planning process and sets the agenda for the future operations of the business. Vince and Luann develop both the big mission and small mission plans.
  • They aim for an exceptional level of customer service - the most critical factor that differentiates their  business from the rest of the  heavy competition
  • Price point is not the only factor - identify the product and service you want to offer, its value
  • Determine your “awesomeness” that makes you stand out in the marketplace
  • Find out what the customer needs, wants, and is capable of paying for
  • Aspire to bring the very best among the many products and services you offer

Get the rest of the tips from our resource center: Window Works 

Sep 21, 2016

Today we have Katie Deedy with us! Katie is a textile designer which includes: wallpaper, tile, fabric and accessories. Her business, Grow House Grow,  specializes in narrative-inspired pattern work. We are going to talk about how her business got started, what sort of things she learned along the way and how she got her name out there.

Show Notes:

  • How did her business start?
  • What is her business?
  • How does history impact her work?
  • What advice would she give to someone starting out?
  • Don’t be ashamed of the side job!
  • How did she make herself known?
  • How can you access her product?
  • What other products has her work crossed over into?
  • How did her work end up in a museum?

For the rest of the show notes, please 

visit our resource center:

Sep 19, 2016

Welcome back to another episode of  A Well Designed Business! Today we have Shauna Lynn Simon who is a fantastic home stager! Shauna is going to share with us how she  steered her talents to home staging and why she decided on the  home staging niche rather than interior design.

Show Notes:

  • How did she get into home staging?
  • How did she reanalyze her situation when things did not take off the way she wanted?
  • How did she figure out who her target client should be?
  • Selling yourself vs selling a product
  • What is the “wow” factor?
  • What is in her client care packet?
  • What are the differences between interior design and home staging?
  • How do you tell someone their house is filthy?

You can get the rest of the show notes from our resource center: Window Works


Sep 16, 2016

Welcome back to another power talk Friday! Today we have with us, Marianne Cherico! Marianne spent 27 years as a top producing realtor. She was a part of a two-person team that sold 100 houses per year! On top of her already impressive work in real estate, she started home staging in 2005. But then on top of home staging her most recent thing she has started and achieved is coaching. Coaching by Marianne helps us get unstuck, understand our limiting beliefs, and how to grow our business.

Show Notes:

  • Should you be all strategies?
  • Who are you “being”?
  • Why is mindset so important?
  • It’s not woo woo!
  • You have to be intentional!
  • What would the CEO do?

Get the rest of Marianne's valuable info from our resource center: Window Works

Sep 14, 2016

You may have heard of a show called “Devine Design”, right? Well, today we have the star of Devine Design on the show! Candice Olson started out in commercial design and then worked her way into residential design and then into her tv shows. She is going to share her work experiences with us and her collaboration with Kravet Inc.!

Show Notes:

  • How did Candice become “Candice Olson”?
  • When did she decide the show had to come to an end?
  • Who is Chico?
  • How did you get on the show?
  • How does she decide to do another collection?
  • What is the labor of work when doing a collection?
  • Let’s talk window design collections!

Get the rest of the show notes from our resource center.  

Sep 12, 2016

Kim Kuhteubl graces our show today.  She is an   award-winning film producer, author, actor, and member of the Producer's Guild of America. Since 1999, she has been producing stories and shows   about interior design and real estate development in various media format  such as print, television, and on digital platforms. She is the founder of Me by Design, a firm that specializes in branding and visibility for interior designers and the design trade.  Me By Design is an idea  boutique for the home goods /homeware industry.  The business objectives include how to boost the brand value, visibility and audience engagement of boutique interior design firms and legacy design brands with a range of cross-platform, data-driven tools. Methods and techniques include digital storytelling, influencer, and social media marketing as well as bespoke video.

Kim also serves on the Board of Advisors for Thrive GPO, a group purchasing organization and procurement service providing nonprofit organizations with access to better pricing for common goods and services.

She has just recently published her book Branding + Interior Design.   Listen to the podcast to get the details of the following:

Show Notes

  • All the various related industries that Kim has participated in
  • Her grandfather was a major influence in her life and business
  • Find out the secret to her overwhelming success. It’s something intrinsic
  • At the start of her career, she was earning awards  but she had very little income
  • Her work values and attitude
  • How creativity can serve people. The work of creative professionals has value which needs to be purchased and paid for.

You can get the rest of the show notes and resources from our resource center:

Sep 9, 2016

We have a special treat today! We have Jim Palmer, “the dream business coach”! Jim is an author, marketing and business building expert and in-demand coach. He is going to be talking with us in particular about something that we all struggle with as business owners: How do we get more business?

Show Notes:

• How do you attract more clients?
• What sort of things can entrepreneurs do to attract business?
• What was his turning point?
• What can you do get over your fears?
• Don’t become an also!
• Newsletter versus an email
• What is the most important number to know?


See the rest of the show notes at our resource center:

Sep 7, 2016

Just in time for school,  we have Ellen Fisher, the dean of New York School of Interior Design! We are going to talk about the creating of designers and piggy-back off of the discussions from the past couple of weeks on how to make the experience for either an in college intern or a new graduate.

Ellen Fisher has been with New York School of Interior Design since 1999, beginning her career at the College as a member of the faculty, and later becoming lower division area coordinator, associate vice president for academic affairs, and ultimately, vice president of academic affairs and dean in 2012. Fisher is a New York State certified interior designer, with graduate degrees in teaching with technology, and architectural studies.


Read the full show notes at our resource center: Website


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Sep 5, 2016

Nick May is with us today from The Chaise Lounge Podcast! Nick is the very first podcaster to devote the entire platform to the business of interior design. He is truly the trailblazer of our industry. He has been helping you with your business since 2014! Today we are going to learn more about the voice behind The Chaise Lounge.

Show Notes:

  • What is his business model?
  • When did he start painting?
  • When should you move more people in?
  • Where is the marketing magic done?
  • How did he get into podcasting?
  • What two ways does his business work with designers?
  • What kind of opportunities does his business offer?
  • What is IDI?
  • Go do Facebook live!

Get the rest from our resource center:

Sep 2, 2016

It’s another power talk Friday! Today we have Stacey Brown Randall. She is a business growth acceleration specialist! Stacey’s mission is to help small businesses and solopreneours make more money and find more time. She is a certified productivity coach, an adjunct professor and she has her masters in organization communication. Today we are going to talk about the topic of taking control of your business.

Show Notes:

  • What three segments does Stacey’s business focus on?
  • How does this power talk piggyback last power talk Friday?
  • What is the four quad system?
  • How do you get true freedom from your business?
  • What is “identifying the bullseye”?
  • Write your processes down!!!
  • Find someone that can hold you accountable!

You can read the rest of the show notes at our resource center:


Aug 31, 2016

Today we have Chad James with us from Chad James Group. Chad has a very thoughtful way of setting up his business. He considers his firm an educational firm and has the roles divided up into very specific categories. He identifies people as interns, apprentice, junior designer, design assistant and Chad himself. He is going to discuss with you ways to duplicate the systems he uses to manage his team with these categories.

Show Notes:

  • How did Chad come to use the systems he uses?
  • What does he look for in an intern?
  • How does he handle his hire process?
  • Does each new person have to start at intern and work their way up?
  • Take the initiative!
  • How does he handle his staff day to day?

Check out the rest from our resource center:

Aug 29, 2016

Today on the show we are in for a real treat! Alan Tanksley has a “royalty” background in interior design and has his own successful firm: Alan Tanksley, Inc. We are going to talk about his “royalty” background and how space you work in can make a difference.

Show Notes:

  • Was Mark Hampton his first job?
  • What has he learned working for different designers?
  • How has his design changed?
  • What advice would he give to someone starting out?
  • How does the space he works in inspire him?
  • How did he design his space?
  • Make sure your team “fits” together!

See the rest of the resources here:

Aug 26, 2016

On this week’s power talk Friday I have a returning expert: Kae Whitaker of Kae Whitaker Solutions! When Kae was on the show before she shared with us a case study with a particular interior designer that she helped turn her business around in three months-Farrha Hyman. Today she is going to talk with us how to hire the people you need.

Show Notes:

  • How do you decide how many people to have?
  • Where should you look for people?
  • What college student majors is a good pick?
  • How do you increase workflow?
  • Make good relationships with coordinators!
  • What does the interview process look like?
  • Paid employees versus intern
  • When is the best time to find an intern?
  • What are the six things that have to be in place for an intern?

See the rest of the resources here:

Aug 24, 2016

We have Natalie Reddell  for this Well-Designed Business podcast episode. She is an interior designer, lifestyle blogger, and founder of Commander in Chic Design firm.

Natalie began her career as a designer at the age of 4 , when she began collecting toothpaste tube tops as buffet lamp lampshades for her dollhouse.  When she's not working, she can be found at home with her 17-year old son, Schuyler, and  Scarlett O'Hara (their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel).

Natalie received her undergraduate degree in interior design from Florida State University. She also studied the history of architecture & design at Parsons University, Paris, France. She has been in the industry for more than 16 years & has experience in kitchen & bathroom design,home staging,  historic-restoration, commercial design & buying for a large furniture company. Her work now is mostly high-end residential design. She has clients in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas, Montana, Colorado, Panama and the Bahamas.

For the rest of the show notes, please visit:


Aug 22, 2016

We have Laura Umansky from Laura U! This is a special interview for me because I love to meet the people you look up to in the design world. We love to see them create beautiful interiors but also big business platforms for themselves. Today we are going to talk to Laura about this. Laura founded her business Laura U in 2006 and personalized customer service is paramount.

Show Notes:

  • What was her work experience before going out on her own?
  • Was there a business plan?
  • What’s it like working with her husband?
  • How did she establish the minimum of rooms she will do in a project?
  • What are the processes her business uses?
  • How is destination design different?
  • What are the biggest challenges in destination design?

For the rest of the resources, please visit






Aug 19, 2016

Welcome to another power talk Friday! I have Tim Templeton with us today. Tim is the author of a referral of a lifetime in the Ken Blanchard series. Ken is a veteran executive entrepreneur, consultant, international best-selling author, speaker and lifelong learner. Tim and I are going to be talking about referrals. We will discuss how to get them, how to access them, how to ask for them and how to maximize them. I know from personal experience that this is something that entrepreneur’s struggle with.

Show Notes:

  • What is the importance of referrals?
  • What is Tim’s philosophy?
  • How did Tim meet Ken Blanchard?
  • Is there an art to getting referrals?
  • What process should you use to get a referral?
  • How should you go about rebuilding a relationship?
  • All referrals are not treated equally!
  • What is a perfect client avatar?


Tim’s Website:

The Recognized Authority

Always Positive in Your Business

The Entrepreneur’s Handbook

Vince Siciliano

The Tipping Point

Mark Levy   

The Referral of a Lifetime Guide Book

Aug 17, 2016

Welcome back! Today we have Lori Sawaya! Lori has been in the business of color for over 20 years. She has a background working with print, architecture paint, and color. Her experience and knowledge enable her to make complex color concepts easy for everyone to understand. Today we are going to talk about color, what you should keep in mind when picking a color and new tools you can use when it comes to color.

Show Notes:

  • What is her opinion about color?
  • What is spectral data?
  • What is colorimetry?
  • What are the most common color mistakes?
  • Why is light so important?
  • Have any mistakes been made?
  • Be professional as you can!
  • What new tools can be used?

For  the rest of the show notes and resources

please visit:

Aug 15, 2016


Hi!  Welcome to another episode of A Well-Designed Business! Today is the actual 6- month anniversary of the podcast and I thought I would do a solo show and reflect on The Things I Learned From A Well-Designed Business. And then I am going to share with you, my Top 10 favorite podcasts.

Now these are by no means the only things learned in these last 6 months and they are not even necessarily the absolute most important. And as a matter of fact, I have specifically not included the coaches and consultants on this list. Every one of the consultants I have had on has shared extremely valuable advice, but it is straightforward and easy to grasp listening to their interviews. Today I am concentrating on regular designers like you who have discovered something, implemented something and are by doing it have made improvements to their businesses. So are you ready?

  1. Sandra Funk Levy- The Importance of Systems for a Profitable Interior Design Business ; Episode # 2.  Sandra is all about the systems, systems, systems. You need to get your systems locked down from hello through goodbye when the project is complete. That's just what Sandra Funk Levy has done at House of Funk. She has implemented very specific daily, weekly, monthly and yearly systems and goals.  She urges us to create processes because she knows 1st hand when you use them consistently you will improve your businesses bottom line. Link:
  2. Rachel Moriarty – Message to Solopreneurs- Act As If the World is Watching; Episode #55. Rachel acts as if 1000 eyeballs are on our on you because one day they will be. Rachel implores soloprenuers to do 2 things- handle your image and everything connected to it in the most professional way as if you were a big firm that everyone is watching but also and as important to run your firm as if you were a big guy. Respect your own work hours, implement systems that even if only you are using them will serve you one day when you have employees.Link:  
  3.   Stephen Cooper episode # 31 Develop strong personal relationships with your vendors (The Value of a Trusted Vendor )  When you invite ethical vendors into the design process with your clients you have more productive meetings. The expert can in the moment make suggestions, which enhance your vision for the project. And a reliable vendor in the meeting can prevent you from spending hours designing concepts that cannot be executed.  Link:  
  4.  Susan Brunstrum -Practical Advice for Project Management, episode #36. Susan ends every client project with a three- step process. She sits down with her financial manager and they evaluate the project and runs a profit analysis- looking for errors and ways to be more profitable next time. She has a meeting with our entire staff evaluating the efficiency of the process for that particular project and they discuss what went right what went wrong how can they improve the next time. Lastly, she invites every single client out for lunch or dinner at the completion of the project to get their feedback and to say thank you to them for their business. Link: 
  5.  Farrha Hyman Success Story- How I Re-Designed my 15 Year Old Firm, Episode #43. Even a 15-year-old firm can turn around with the help of the right business coach and the biggest Takeaway from Sarah that you have to follow the advice of that business coach even when it pushes you out of your box. Link:
  1. Erica Ward Identifying Your Transferrable Skills (Getting real and evaluating yourself and what you bring to the table) episode # 6. Identify what are your transferable skills and hire opposite those skills. Barbara Viteri talked about the same type of thing and they both encourage you making a lists of:
  • the things you’re good at
  • the things you know how to do
  • the things you like to do
  • the thing you’re not good at
  • the things you don’t know how to do
  • the things you don’t like to do  

then with the list that’s opposite of yours, you arrive at the qualifications that you’re looking for in your first hire.  Link:

7. Nancy  Ganzekufer- Niche is Riche, Broad is Broke. Episode 15.  Countless examples, Cheryl Janis specializing in boutique healthcare spaces, Terri Lind Davis with her art and boomer focused design, Heather McManus with her video series and her book, I could go on…all of these designers and many more have created a niche so that they can stand apart from any other designer a prospective client might be contemplating. Andrew Joseph from Andrew Joseph PR said to us- discover what is your “you”, what is your essence, what makes you different from the others.   Link: 

  1. James Swan Meet the Man Behind The Million Dollar Decorating Podcast; Episode # 49 research and investigate first if the dream the desire you have for your firm is actually aligning with the way you want to live your life. Link:
  1. Merrill Santopietro How to Re-Invent, Revitalize Your Firm, Even After 20 Years- Episode # 40 yes obviously be a go getter employ old-school techniques for drumming up business but most importantly show prospective clients the problem they have and why you are the answer the solution to the problem. Link:
  1. Mary Fisher . Author, Artist, Advocate, Social Entrepreneur episode #34 Mary taught us lots of things but I think the most poignant was that she said to make sure you take time every week to be in your own head to let your creativity flow from Mary it’s her art and expressing and creating new canvases new sculptures for me it’s exercise I wish I could run and write at the same time because the ideas come flowing on the single run or walk I go on. Link:

Top 10 podcasts I Listen to:

  1. The Chaise Lounge
  2. Biz Chix with Natalie Eckdahl
  3. Problogger Podcast Darren Rowse
  4. Happier With Gretchen Rubin
  5. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
  6. The Strong Women’s Club with Edie Berg
  7. Kate’s Take with Kate Erickson
  8. Fresh Air with Terri Gross
  9. The Leonard Lopate Show
  10. Stuff you missed in History Class

Thank you so much, I hope you enjoyed this different episode. Please remember to connect with me on Facebook at www/, find all about Window Works at and don’t forget about your 10% discount on your 1st purchase. At checkout enter CKPODCAST

Thanks so much, have a great day!



Aug 12, 2016

It’s power talk Friday! Krista Coupar is with us again! Today she is to talk with us about work-life balance. The key questions we need to ask ourselves to arrive at this perfect equation.

Show Notes:

  • Are hours wanting to work and amount of money wanting to make realistic?
  • How do you make more money working less hours?
  • Math vs finance
  • Why is it so important to simplify?
  • Why is it important to understand the seasons in interior design?

For the rest of the Show notes, please visit:

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