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Business

The Chaise Lounge Podcast

Updated 6 days ago

Business
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Talking the Business of Interior Design Podcast

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Talking the Business of Interior Design Podcast

iTunes Ratings

121 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
4
1
0
1

Very informative and uplifting

By RameshDon - Sep 10 2019
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I really love this podcast for very actionable advice and how uplifting it is.

Amazing Podcast

By Nickpainter - Jul 28 2018
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Nick May continues to bring quality, useful, invaluable content across the realms of social media.

iTunes Ratings

121 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
4
1
0
1

Very informative and uplifting

By RameshDon - Sep 10 2019
Read more
I really love this podcast for very actionable advice and how uplifting it is.

Amazing Podcast

By Nickpainter - Jul 28 2018
Read more
Nick May continues to bring quality, useful, invaluable content across the realms of social media.
Cover image of The Chaise Lounge Podcast

The Chaise Lounge Podcast

Updated 6 days ago

Read more

Talking the Business of Interior Design Podcast

Rank #1: S21 E15 – Influencer Power with Erin Gates

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On this Tuesday edition of the Chaise Lounge, Nick’s guest is author/influencer/designer Erin Gates, the woman behind Elements of Style. She grew up in her family’s clothing store around women’s fashion and her architecture-inclined father’s architecture business, so, after graduating college with a degree in collage, she found a way to synthesize those influences into a career designing interiors
Mar 26 2019
1 hour 8 mins
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Rank #2: S22 E4 – Custom Kitchens and Cabinetry with Jean Stoffer

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This week, on the first regular Chaise Lounge episode of the season Nick chats with Michigan designer Jean Stoffer. Stoffer is another designer who found out about design as an adult. She grew up in a cozy home that was never intentionally designed, and got a business degree. She discovered the craft of design when she got a job as a business administrator at a design firm where the designers turned her interest into an informal apprenticeship, teaching her how to draft and why choices get made. And one day, a friend of her mother’s called looking specifically for her to help out with her house now that all her kids were off at school. And, through word of mouth, empty-nesters kept seeking her out.
May 10 2019
59 mins
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Rank #3: 146 – Julia Buckingham: From Stay at Home MOM to Interior Design Powerhouse

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Julia Buckingham: From Stay at Home MOM to Interior Design Powerhouse
On this Episode of The Lounge, Nick sits down with Julia Buckingham of Buckingham ID in Chicago at The Public (formerly the Ambassador East). They are both in Chicago attending Neocon. The last time Nick and Julia talked was on an actual chaise lounge with Michel Boyd at the Atlanta Market. Julia currently lives in "Casa Lantana" in Pheonix, Arizona but her office is still in Chicago with her daughters. Her favorite fashion accessory is shoes and her favorite place to vacation is Marrakesh in Morocco, which she visited with the #blondesquad (interior designers Holly Phillips, Cathy Austin, Tami Ramsey, and Krista Nichols). The most moving traveling experience Julia has had though was getting the opportunity to visit the manufacturing plants and homes of the people who manufacture her products.
The Business Today
Julia is in the process of opening a Modernique boutique shop in Pheonix, Arizona. Her business in Chicago is booming as she guts homes while maintaining their historic integrity and architecture through renovations and add-ons. Her firm consists of 5 people and focuses a lot on business and operations. She has 3 designers plus herself, one operations manager, and one business manager. She and Nick can't stress how important it is to have people to help run the business side of a firm. PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Nick met a student attending an ASID event while in Chicago who was actually interested in working on the business side of interior design. So Megan, if you're out there Julia would love to connect with you because business is what it's all about. Message us to connect! :)
Internships
Amy Flurry's art from her company paper-cut-project was installed by Julia for a client project in Chicago. Amy also recently asked Nick to talk about Internships on the show. So Nick asks Julia what she thinks:

Herrington School of Design was where Julia pooled her interns from before it closed. Having an intern was integral to Julia's business. She herself has hired 3 interns over the past 10 years as a part of her design team. Interns understand that they are starting out at a level where they need to be open-minded and they embrace the tasks of an entry-level position. She does get resumes from students whose schools don't require an internship program, but she knows it can be difficult to put time and motivation into an internship without receiving any credit or compensation. In her opinion, more schools should require an internship. Julia also has people who want to relocate to Chicago to intern for her, but it's difficult to financially commit to their travels and rent expenses without knowing them.

With that being said, her firm has at least 2 interns every summer and if SHE has not hired them afterward herself, some of the most amazing firms of Chicago HAVE. Having the ability to intern for a firm is integral to the growth of design students and can lead to potential job opportunities. Julia also suggests reaching out to designers to ask questions and see if they will become your mentor. 5 years ago, Tiffany Brooks who won HGTV Designer of a year, asked to meet up with Julia because she was stuck and didn't know how to have her own design firm. After they talked, Julia became her mentor and now she is rockin' it in the design world. You can talk to and learn from designers, or even go in for a couple days to see what it is that they do and how much work it is.
Julia's Story
10 years ago Julia was just a mom at the Jewel. She didn't plan for a new career but she'd always loved shopping and collecting antiques. Julia and her husband have had 15 homes in 30 years of marriage and consider themselves "Cereal Flippers." Her husband handles graphics, branding, and putting spaces together while she designs them. Their love language was/is working together on these projects. Then, someone walked up to her one day and asked to buy her home,
Aug 08 2017
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Rank #4: 108 – Edyta Czajkowska – Solo Chicago Interior Designer

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Edyta Czajkowska: She does it all as a Chicago Interior Designer
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Edyta Czajkowska. Edyta talks about why she eventually chose interior design over architecture, what she loves about keeping her business small, and what’s on her roadmap for the next ten years.
Getting to know Edyta
Edyta is joining Nick in The Lounge from right outside of Chicago. She would love to know how to sew, specifically window treatments. Edyta was a ballroom dancer and currently indulges in reality TV, including Flipping Out. Along with some white wine or a mojito, Edyta loves the paint color Revere Pewter and frequently uses it in her designs because its warm and fresh.
When Did Edyta Become Interested in Interior Design?
Edyta’s mom was always into creating a beautiful home, but since she didn’t know any other way, Edyta didn’t realize she was specifically interested in design. Later in high school, Edyta was able to choose interior design electives and knew she was heading in the right direction. She continued on to design school and started working after graduation.

Edyta thought she wanted to get her Masters in Architecture, but soon identified she was pursuing this for the wrong reasons. She determined that she enjoys the details and personal aspect of design. Edyta is not the type to spend so much time in front of a computer in a CAD program.

Edyta acknowledged that she learned a great deal in school, but that it’s not the only way to learn and get into the profession. She enjoyed being able to choose courses that help steer you in the direction you want to go and mentioned that the business classes were helpful.

Edyta has worked in both commercial and residential settings. She likes the processes and formalities in place when working on commercial projects, but soon identified that she really enjoys working with individual people to help them create a lifestyle.

In 2009, Edyta set out to start her own business taking on small projects including decorating an apartment. This first project soon snowballed into more business. Edyta & Co. Interior Design was off to a great start!
What the Business Looks Like
Currently, Edyta runs the show, with the help of an assistant as needed. Her interior design projects are primarily residential, and she takes on two to three at a time, ranging from a single room to whole home.

She is still challenged when it comes to sitting down and completing the business side of things, including taxes, bills, etc. She knows this is a necessary evil to keep the business running, but would prefer to spend this time finding creative fulfillment. Edyta’s best clients are referrals and repeat clients. Even lately, Edyta’s designer friends are referring clients her way due to her Mid-Western, Chicago location.
What’s next?
Over the next ten years, Edyta has some lofty goals in place. She would like to still be involved with interior design and working with clients, but in addition would like to take on more projects in different states or even abroad. She would love to create or license a textile line and have a showroom.

Learn more at Edyta’s website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Artists Delight: Modra Studio
Nick chats with Fernando Apodaca and Tamalyn Shea from Modra Studio.  Fernando and Tamalyn discuss their passion for transforming fine art into so much more and Edyta talks about why she eventually chose interior design over architecture, what she loves about keeping her business small, and what’s on her roadmap for the next ten years.

How Modra Studios Began

Fernando Apodaca and Tamalyn Shea are joining Nick from La Jolla, California, where they create fine art pieces in 3D and translate them into 2D forms of fabric, drapery, upholstery, pillows, etc. Fernando and Tamalyn met at a charity event eight years ago with a dream of merging a creative studio with textiles. They soon began working together.
Jan 17 2017
52 mins
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Rank #5: 192 – SPECIAL EDITION: Houzz Purchases Ivy

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SPECIAL EDITION: Houzz Purchases Ivy
On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Frank Leyon, Director of Global Sales of Oly Studio; Rachel Waldron, Owner of Waldron Designs; Julia Malloy, Owner of Bold Summit; Steven Avitable of Theodore Alexander; and Shawn Hughes of Steelyard about breaking industry news: Houzz purchases Ivy. Tune in and enjoy.

Upcoming Events

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13
Wrap Up
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
Feb 10 2018
1 hour 11 mins
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Rank #6: 116 – Barclay Butera: Interior Design Icon

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Barclay Butera:  Interior Design Icon
On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Barclay Butera. He shares his experience of growing up in the family business, what it was like to branch out on his own, and how important it is to surround yourself with good people.
Getting to know Barclay Butera
Barclay joins Nick in the lounge from California. Barclay attributes much of his success to surrounding himself with good people. He likes to vacation in Paris and swap out pillows in his home for each season of the year. He also loves a good issue of Elle Decor or House Beautiful and a Ketel One martini with three olives.
How did Barclay get into design?
Barclay grew up in a family design business in California. From a young age, he worked in the resource library and was trained by his mom and her staff. From there, Barclay studied political science and economics in college and even went on to complete a year of law school. Ultimately, he ended up back at his mom’s company.

Though there were mixed emotions when Barclay decided to start his own business, his education prepared him for the business side and his mom prepared him for many aspects of design. Barclay needed to develop his own way of thinking about design.
What does Barclay’s business look like today?
Barclay currently employs 50 individuals, 22 of which are interior designers. The team is working on around 100 projects at a time, and many are ground-up construction. He is able to stay organized and keep his life balanced by surrounding himself with a great team who understand the business and have common goals to work towards.

When hiring, Barclay looks for a fresh perspective to help him stay current in design and licensing as well as self-starters who love the business. On a daily basis, Barclay could be running errands, be in client meetings, be spending time in the showroom, or be dropping his pup off at doggie daycare.

The showroom aspect of his business is closely related to the design business. He is able to bring in more foot traffic through the showroom and convert many of those patrons into design clients. He uses the showroom as a tool to show people what they do. Barclay says that the hardest part is being open six days a week and staffing those hours, but in the end, the benefits outweigh the costs.

The showroom has helped Barclay with licensing deals too. The successes in the showroom have helped him prove himself when approaching manufacturers. About fifteen years ago, Kravet approached Barclay with a licensing deal on fabrics, and today, even more products are in the mix, like carpet.

Barclay acknowledges that the awards that he has received are wonderful, but even more valuable are the invitations to speak to students, trade audiences, or business owners and entrepreneurs. He wants to give back and appreciates that he is recognized as a successful entrepreneur.
How does Barclay spend his time?
Barclay has invested money in advertising but also invests his time into getting involved in the community. He is able to spend about a third of his time on business and marketing, a third on licensing, and a third designing, which he loves. Barclay looks at each project from the aspect of the person who will experience it.

In regards to licensing, Barclay mentions that these deals can be hard to come by. He recommends being patient and developing your brand and audience in the meantime so that you are prepared and have something to offer when the time does come.

With the availability of information and products on the Internet, Barclay has seen his margins affected. And while it is difficult to combat how websites, social networks, etc. have impacted the industry in terms of margin, Barclay has decided to stress his superior level of service. The need for good service is imperative.

To learn more about Barclay Butera, visit his website.

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes,
Feb 23 2017
58 mins
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Rank #7: 122 – BIG Podcast: Marketing, Business, and Hospitality for Interior Design.

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122 - BIG Podcast: Marketing, business, and hospitality for interior design.
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Krista Coupar of Coupar Consulting. Krista chats about how her business supports the design industry through business, marketing, and fulfillment. Nick also checks in with Mary Alice Palmer from HKS Hospitality on her experience of heading up a new division in a large firm.
Getting to know Krista Coupar
Krista Coupar is calling into The Lounge from San Francisco, CA. She loves shoes, even if they are painful, they are worth it. Krista finds inspiration in Paris and London but prefers Hawaii as a getaway. She also loves anything bubbly, including prosecco and champagne.
How did Krista get into design?
Krista is trained in interior design, but her current business is not design. She actually started in the family business of silk trading and fabric importing, then started her own business. Krista loves the design industry but always gravitated towards business side. She is fascinated by how the business works, how people work together, and getting projects from beginning to end.

Kendall Wilkinson hired Krista to run the business side of her company with a team of consultants to help. Krista compared this experience to a real life design MBA. She found that there was not enough time in the day to serve clients and run the business and that she needed to delegate tasks.
What the business looks like today
Coupar Consulting is a larger umbrella that consists of Coupar Communications and Studio Coupar. Coupar Communications offers branding, PR, marketing, content management, web design, and social media. Krista mentioned that most designers have a website, but many are outdated, i.e. not updated in the last two years. This side of the business consists of nine employees.

Studio Coupar takes care of technical design and fulfillment. Designers have the vision and sell the dream. Studio Coupar executes the fulfillment, installation, styling, and photography of the project. Studio Coupar employs nine individuals. Krista mentioned that while some clients utilize both sides of the business, there are also plenty that just needs assistance on one side.

Krista opened her business in 2014. She still finds that designers don’t value their time enough and underestimate the time to complete a project. Krista still learns on a daily basis and loves working with her team and clients. She still doesn’t like paperwork.

Learn more at Coupar Consulting, Facebook, and Instagram.
Getting to know Mary Alice Palmer
Mary Alice Palmer from HKS Hospitality is calling in from Fort Worth, Texas. She prefers phone calls to texts since there is less room for misinterpretation. Mary Alice also enjoys contemporary art, ice cream, boots, and tequila.
How did Mary Alice get into design?
As a child, Mary Alice built houses, furniture, and clothing for her Barbies. She even drew out floor plans. Mary Alice started in advertising in college but was picky about what to advertise for. She became interested in architecture and ended up at Parsons.

Mary Alice started working with John Saladino in residential design. While she enjoyed her time there, Mary Alice wanted to explore other avenues of design and started working in the art department of a feature film. She ended up moving to Los Angeles and worked in independent film production. Mary Alice likes set design because it's about creating an atmosphere and representing a mood and experience, similar to hospitality by an experience or vision for a guest.
What the business looks like today
Six years ago, Mary Alice was asked to head up a new division for hospitality interiors within HKS. With 78 years of hospitality and architecture experience, the company wanted to diversify their offering with interiors.

Mary Alice is able to identify and bring in talent. She looks for work they have done, a unique vision, and a nimbleness and willingness to work on differe...
Mar 31 2017
1 hour 10 mins
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Rank #8: 263 – Maria Killam: Color Expert

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Welcome back to The Lounge! Today Nick chats with Maria Killam, a color consultant, from the heart of Vancouver. The two talk trends, scrape the surface of the science of color, and cover all Maria has to offer in classes and online.
Nov 27 2018
30 mins
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Rank #9: 134 – Sarah Wilson: Career Reset into Interior Design

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Sarah Wilson: Career reset into Interior Design
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Sarah Wilson of Chansaerae Interior Design. Sarah shares how she restarted her career in a new industry, working for herself, and also shares her goals for 2017.
Getting to know Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson joins Nick in The Lounge from Palm Springs, California, where she owns and operates Chansaerae Interior Design. Sarah loves to vacation in St. Croix, where she grew up. Her favorite room is her bedroom, but she would love even more to have a walk-in closet. Sarah admittedly is not a pet person; she would rather have the freedom to go wherever she wants, whenever she wants.
How Sarah got into design
Interior design is Sarah’s third career. She started in school for graphic arts and worked in that field for three years. Sarah had her son, then went back to school for her Bachelor's degree. Wanting to earn more money, Sarah earned her Masters in Information Technology.

She eventually realized that she missed the design aspect of her profession. Sarah had always designed her own spaces and didn’t want to work for someone else so she made the switch. Starting next month, she will have been a business owner for two years. She loves the reaction she gets from clients when the space she designs is done.
Getting the word out
In terms of marketing, Sarah participates in both digital and traditional methods, including Instagram, local newsletters, and Facebook ads. Sarah has also had luck developing mutually beneficial relationships with contractors and joining networking groups.
Making the switch
Sarah mentioned that she embraces change. It doesn’t scare her. When she wasn’t happy with her previous job, she knew it was time for a change. It may have seemed like a quick decision, but it was on her mind for at least ten years. Sarah started with seeking out design education, then followed through with internships, and ultimately opening her own firm.

It was never her goal to work for someone else, so she used her internships to learn what she needed to open the doors to Chansaerae Interior Design. Sarah identifies with how personal design is. She wanted to do things her own, way with her own point of view.

Current projects include a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodels, a fireplace refresh, furnishing a whole home, and even home staging. In 2017, Sarah hopes to expand even more into home flipping. She knows what sells homes and wants to employ her expertise.

Learn more at Chansaerae Interior Design.
Upcoming Events

NeoCon - June 12 - 14

PCBC - June 26 - 28

Las Vegas Market - July 30 - Aug 2

BDNY 2017 - Nov 12 - 13

KBIS - Jan 9 - 11

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
May 27 2017
30 mins
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Rank #10: 103- Staging Success with Lori Pedersen

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Lori Pedersen’s journey into staging
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, one of the top interior design podcasts, Nick chats with Lori Pedersen, a Canadian home stager. Lori talks about how she got into home staging, what her business looks like today, and even answers some audience questions.
Getting to know Lori Pedersen
Lori Pedersen has been a certified home stager for four and a half years in Toronto, Canada. She loves wine, including sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio. Lori has been more adventurous lately in enjoying a vacation to Alaska where she was greeted with beautiful scenery and fresh air. She can’t leave home without her phone, a cold bottle of water, and her project bag.
How Lori got into Staging
Lori always loved and admired beautiful homes and she always had a creative streak. Early on, Lori was able to work under Miriam, her mother’s interior designer. At the time, Lori was not in the position to go back to school, but she wanted to get to work. Home staging was her next best option.

Lori called home staging real estate marketing. Staging is de-personalized. It highlights the selling features of the home, but interior design is focused on the individual and decoration of the space.

When Lori listed her home for sale, her agent said her home was ready and she didn’t need a stager. This agent continued to send jobs to Lori after she was certified. Real estate agents are Lori’s top clients. She consults on a room by room basis to maximize the value of the home.
What Lori’s Business looks like
Lori mentioned that staging is impossible to do by yourself. Her assistant, Sonja, keeps her focused as well as 8-10 certified professionals she can bring out to projects. Lori warned to

be careful of overhead and recommended to keep costs variable. There can be peaks and valleys that follow the real estate market.
How does Lori get the word out
Lori and her team have established an online presence and continue to network with agents, investors, and flippers. She mentioned that the best marketing is word of mouth and referrals.

Online, Lori uses Facebook and Houzz as online portfolios. She also wants to get into blogging.
Audience Questions
Q: How do you make vacants cost effective?

A: Vacant homes look small, cold, and uninviting. Staging usually pays for itself four times over. It is cost effective that it's an investment.
Q: How do you charge?

A: Provide a proposal for every property since they are unique and custom curated rather than a flat fee or hourly rate. It is determined on a case by case basis as a  combination for hours and rental cost, but one line item for the client.
Q: What does your inventory look like? Fixed inventory? Rent?

A: Own inventory of soft goods, accessories, but rent in large items. Starting out it can be intimidating or if you don't have many resources or are remote, you may need to carry more inventory.
Q: Does staging ever lead to customers asking to design their new house house?

A: Yes, it’s an honor to be asked. Every day is completely different. The goal is to make clients happy by selling staging items for the new home or staged items as part of a sale. It’s a good way to fill in less busy times.
Q: What’s the hardest part of running the business?

A: Delegating. As staggers, you have to be a control freak so it is hard to let go, but it’s the only way to grow the business. It takes a conscious effort.

To Learn more about Lori, please her website LoriPedersen.ca
Wrap Up
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com.  Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
Jan 03 2017
49 mins
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Rank #11: 131 – High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #4

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High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #4
May 14 2017
1 hour 4 mins
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Rank #12: 208 – High Point Spring Market 2018: Passion Sucks

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High Point Spring Market 2018: Passion Sucks
Today in The Lounge Nick sits down at High Point Market with an all-star panel to discuss “Passion Sucks. It’s All About the Money!” a forum on taking an interior design business from dreams to not only creative but financial success. On the panel is Robin Baron of Robin Baron Design in NYC; California-based designer and real estate star Barrie Livingstone (who was also Nick’s first-ever guest in The Lounge!); and David Charette of outstanding design firm Britto Charette in Miami.Also, enjoy highlight os The Morning Show with Barrie Livingstone who joins Nick as co-host to interview Jeffrey Johnson of Jeffrey Design LLC, Gary Pettit of Seasonal Living, Libby Langdon, and Kelli Ellis. Find the full live video on our Facebook Page.The Nit and Grit of GrowthNick and the designers agree that there’s no shortage of passion in the interior design industry, so the difference between firms that sink or swim are smart business practices. The panel tackles everything from liability reduction and software use through management and hiring practices, where everyone has their own style of doing things. David, in particular, offers valuable insight into management at Britto Charette, where employee perks like great healthcare, free lunches and happy hours, and potlucks aim to keep staff loyal and hardworking -- but most importantly, happy. David also discussed the challenges and blessings of partnering with his spouse, and recommends working together but in different market sectors.No Lack of PassionNick’s questioning then turned philosophical with discussions into definitions of success, motivation, and the real value of money. For Robin, success is making a difference in the life of a client -- and failures are your best teacher; for Barrie, winning means getting everyone involved in a project on the same page and feeling like they’ve won, too; and David says he is still searching for the job that frees his passions but doesn't see himself ever retiring -- so he's got ample time to chase his creative spark!
Chaise Lounge Updates
EXTENDED DEADLINE: Don’t forget about the #makemychaise design competition click this link for more info.Nick is in Dallas for Dine and Design. Follow along on our Instagram!

Our Events Page

Resources
Datacolor–If you’ve ever worked with a Benjamin Moore dealer and asked for a color match, then you’ve probably worked with Datacolor without even knowing it. Now, Datacolor has announced the ColorReader, a tool that identifies paint colors from any surface and provides you the closest existing paint match right on the spot! Stop cutting out your drywall or scanning fan decks and start saving time by confirming color with the help of the ColorReader. Revolutionize your color tools and visit www.datacolor.com/may for more information.Moore & Giles, JLF Collections, Design Manager, Benjamin Moore, Porcelanosa, Universal Furniture 
Upcoming Events
HD Expo – May 2 – 4ICFF – May 20 – 23NeoCon – June 11 – 13

More About Our Sponsors

Wrap Up
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
Apr 24 2018
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Rank #13: 168 – High Point Market: Passion Sucks! It’s All About the Money

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High Point Market: Passion Sucks. It's All About the Money!
Today in the Lounge, we have a live recording of Nick's panel "Passion Sucks. It’s all about the Money!" at Universal Furniture's event room during High Point Market. Nick hosted this panel with superstars Kelli Ellis, Chad James, Steven Favreau, and Nina Magon. Also on the episode, Nick talks with Jill Erwin of Jill Erwin Interiors. Jill talks about her how she transitioned from fashion into interior design, how she runs her business and all about her killer marketing tactics.
Passion Sucks. It's All About the Money!
All of us in the interior design industry are passionate about interior design, but that doesn’t mean all of us are successful. Passion can only take us so far, so what differentiates those that are successful, from those that are trying to become successful? Nick talks to industry-leading design firms from across the country, to learn how they’ve broken out of mediocre to build stand-out design firms. Learn not only how to get press coverage but also how to make REAL dollars.
Panel Summary
Kelli Ellis is an interior designer, licensing LLC, author, business coach and TV personality. While design is her passion, it’s also her business. Nina Magon was an economics and finance major turned interior design. She was on American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus in 2013 as a semi-finalist. Nina just completed her project on 51fifteen Cuisine and Cocktails with Sax Fifth Avenue in Houston, Texas and does both residential and commercial design. Before Steven Favreau became an interior designer, he was a professional dancer and singer. Based out of Boston, Steven is opening up the Favreau’s Factory, which is an 11,000 square foot think tank for himself, architects, high tech web people and photographers. It will launch January of 2018. Chad James is based out of Nashville, Tennessee but he has a plethora of clients all over the World including in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands. He originally studied Architecture at Auburn University and five years into his career he decided to start designing the interiors his buildings. His company does Architecture Consulting and 75% of their projects are residential, the rest are Commercial.

Steven relays that one of the things you learn in becoming a successful designer is to always be looking for clients with large budgets. If you are able to do what you'd like without limitation, you will be better at your job and be able to show this off. For Steven, it’s all about how you present yourself to clients. If he is put up against other designers for a job, he always makes the client feel comfortable that’s he is the right choice because he is going to get it done right. Steven believes social media is where it’s at but, networking, such as going High Point, is also important.

Nina has been called the number one contemporary designer in Texas. To make her firm stand out, she has a no-nonsense policy. This policy means that they don’t fool around with clients or their money and they deliver the best customer service. She only hires people who believe in her brand and who are modern and forward thinking. Four staff members out of her 12-person firm were educated in Columbia. They are able to bring new and innovative ideas to her company which help set her apart. Nina receives new clients by making all her previous clients very happy. Word of mouth goes a long way. For every project, Nina shoots to make 35%. Her firm charges $250 an hour with $20,000 minimum. Nina is involved in every aspect of the project and everyone she works with is an extension of herself. Nina prefers working on full houses and high profile projects which help get her name out there. 

The first time Kelli started to feel successful in her career was when she started getting knocked off. She doesn’t see this as a negative because she broadcasts so much of what she does and has a “look at me” kind of company,
Nov 06 2017
1 hour 49 mins
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Rank #14: 165 – Shayla Copas: From Homeless to Luxury Interior Designer

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Shayla Copas: From Homeless to Luxury Interior Designer.
Today in The Lounge, Nick speaks with Shayla Copas of Shayla Copas Interiors at the Zuo Modern Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. Shayla discusses how she runs her business with only a small group of people and a few interns. Find out how Shayla advertises in a way that people don’t really do anymore and how she became an interior designer withOUT a proper design education. Nick also speaks with Brian Pagel from Emerald Expositions. They chat about The Chaise Lounge’s new partnership with KBIS and what to expect this year from the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in January.  
Getting to Know Shayla
Shayla’s favorite type of music is rap, she loves Tupac and Biggie. Her favorite fashion accessory is her pink Valentino shoes and handbags. Her ideal Saturday night is being at home next to her husband with a glass of wine, watching movies. Shayla’s favorite vacation spot is in Italy on the Amalfi coast. When asked ‘beer, wine or cocktail?’ Shayla picks a Caymus wine...by the case. As a child, Shayla would rearrange the furniture in her house and redo her bedroom at least three to four times a year.

Shayla originally went to school for marketing and nursing and had almost graduated when she decided to follow her talents in interior design. Shayla’s marketing experience helps her not only market her own business but her husband’s as well. She met her entrepreneur of a husband in Portland, while out with some friends and now they’ve been married for 20 years. At one point, her husband was the fourth biggest commercial contractor in Arkansas, but he’s only helped out in Shayla's business four times.

Shayla was 19 years old when she was kicked out of her home because she was pregnant. She went to a pregancy home where they convinced her to continue school, start a career, and give back. Shayla asked the baby’s father for child support but the father’s parents didn’t want him to help her. Instead, they gave her some silk plants to sell on the street and told her support the baby that way. So, Shayla stood in a pet store parking lot in Vancouver, selling silk plants rain or shine for 8 months. She began to supply silk plants as housewarming gifts for apartments around the nation. Her own apartment was filled to the ceiling with silk plants and trees in order to keep up. The production cost and materials for each plant was only about $10 but she sold them for $25-$125. Shayla was thankful for her source of income but, she was always thinking beyond what she was currently doing and looking for the next business venture.
The Business Today
Shayla now runs a luxury design business that does both commercial and residential work. She has a small staff from two to ten, depending on the season. Shayla markets, sells, and designs. She has interior designers on retainer and recieves a lot of help from her interns.

To market herself, Shayla uses print advertising. She does advertorials with her local magazine and is getting ready to go national. Her advertorials are made from a monthly kit that the magazine supplies her, which helps them not feel like ads. She wants her customers to see her personal touch as a designer while being authentic, organic, and not contrived. Shayla gets some business from her social media platforms as well and uses Instagram to convey her brand. She loves posting stories to bring in more followers, showing off products from her vendors and from her portfolio, unless the images are going to be published. Shayla and Nick tell us that you should redo your website every two to three years because the business is always changing, and you should be as well. Shayla thinks designers should also include their press on their website.
Shayla’s favorite part of the business, besides design, are her clients and the relationships she builds with them. While her main focus is in luxury design, she will do small budget projects as well.
Oct 27 2017
1 hour 21 mins
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Rank #15: 266 – Celebrity Designers: Kelli Ellis & Lonni Paul

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Today, The Lounge presents two chats. Nick hosts Kelli Ellis to discuss her recent hospitality projects and her visit to Polywood in Syracuse, Indiana. Then Nick talks to Lonni Paul, an L.A.-based designer who made the transition from modeling to architecture to interior design, and appears as a design expert for E! with designs all over the world.
Dec 06 2018
51 mins
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Rank #16: 251 – Wendy Glaister: Bringing Your A-Game to Business

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Today in the Lounge, Nick chats with Wendy Glaister of Wendy Glaister Interiors from the Bay Area, to talk about how she came to be the head of her own firm after deciding not to go down the path of being an attorney. Learn about her tactics for marketing in the digital age and how she stays centered as a designer with a plate that’s always full.
Oct 05 2018
47 mins
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Rank #17: 107 – Anthony DiGuiseppe’s Journey From the Naval Academy to Interior Design

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Anthony DiGuiseppe’s journey from the naval academy to interior design
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, one of the top interior design podcasts, Nick chats with Anthony DiGuiseppe in New York. Anthony talks about his path from a military academy to Pratt, an influential colleague, and tips for hospitality design.
Getting to know Anthony
Anthony’s office is currently on the Upper East Side of New York. He prefers a vodka martini straight up with a twist and loves to spend time at his home in upstate New York, a 1740’s Dutch stone house. Anthony recently read The Tipping Point, where he picked up a sense of where things are going and how to identify life-changing events. He is also a James Bond fan and having Daniel Craig live in a neighboring town isn’t too shabby either!
What the Business Looks Like
Anthony’s interior design, architecture, and development firm is and has always been small, with a staff of five. He intentionally keeps it small to stay active in both the design and client interactions. Currently, there is a focus on hospitality and multi-family residences, but before that the group worked on residential projects, offices, etc. Anthony mentioned “cross-dressing,” which he defined as hotels wanting to feel like home, but homeowners wanting to feel like a hotel. In addition, consumers no longer have to always go through a designer to get product, so designers now need put it all together to look good and function.
When Did Anthony Become Interested in Interior Design?
As a freshman in high school, Anthony loved art classes and often won awards, specifically for an octagonal house model. He received an A even before he finished it! He then went on to attend school for naval architecture for 2 years, then moved away from the military. It just wasn’t for him.

Anthony didn’t have a portfolio to apply to other schools with so he put one together in his free time. He was accepted at Pratt, but the Architecture program was full. Anthony decided to check out Architectural Engineering.

Upon graduating and securing a job, Anthony started working on historic preservation for the Copihue Museum. There is a glass canopy on the entrance for which he had to come up with the structure.

Soon, Anthony went back to school in the evenings to become an engineer and took a position as interior assistant for Joe D’Urso, who was the most influential person Anthony has worked with. Joe taught him about the aesthetics of design. At the time, there weren’t many architecture jobs for “newbies,” so Anthony started working on interior architecture projects. He liked having his hands in all of the details you can see, feel, and touch.
How to get the word out?
Anthony has attended many conferences for hospitality. These are the places to meet people or even be a speaker. As a speaker, people look at you as the expert. He also made efforts to call and follow up with people he met. As a shy kid growing up, this was tough at first, but as he became more seasoned, he started asked people about themselves to break the ice. People were very friendly, and he became more confident and comfortable in giving advice.

Anthony likes to work on the entire project, not just one aspect. He loves working on spas to promote wellness and healthy living. Boutique properties are his favorite kind of project where the design work shines. Boutiques tell a story either per location or even per room.

Anthony has been in business for thirty-one years, and even though the cash flow and paying the bills still keep him up at night, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, he would like some additional office space and organization, but his clients like the current set-up!

Learn more about Anthony at his website and Facebook.
Wrap Up
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com.  Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes...
Jan 13 2017
44 mins
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Rank #18: 218 – Nicole Hogarty: Boutique Residential Design

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Today in The Lounge Nick joins Nicole Hogarty, principal of Nicole Hogarty Designs. Nicole chats with Nick about growing up in a small town, the importance of design in her childhood, pursuing her education at Parsons School of Design, and diving head first into her design career!
May 23 2018
55 mins
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Rank #19: 174 – Matthew Ferrarini: The Next Wave of Kitchen Design

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Matthew Ferrarini: The Next Wave of Kitchen Design
Today in The Lounge, Nick talks shop with Matthew Ferrarini of Ferrarini & Co, Kitchen and Bath Designer. Matthew works out of Philadelphia, but today Nick is catching up with him on location for a client in Miami. Turns out Matthew has interior design in his blood as the son of an interior designer mom and a contractor for a dad. Find out more, in this episode of the Chaise Lounge.

Breaking the Ice
Nick opens up about a favorite topic for a lot of guys…automobiles. Matthew is a fan of Tesla as an everyday vehicle and Ferrari for a higher end wow-factor. When asked about recent movies, Matthew shared that he recently got the chance to watch the movie Ma Ma with Penelope Cruz. Perfect segue to Nick’s recent trip to Spain with Porcelanosa. Turns out Matthew been to Barcelona a few times and is also a big fan of Spain’s rich heritage, culture, friendliness and just overall coolness.
Getting Into the Business
Matthew attended Temple University (go Owls!) for a pre-law degree. Temple is well known for their law school, but somehow Matt just couldn’t shake the calling of design. While at school, he also pursued a certificate in interior design and construction management. He joined forces with his Mom and worked in the family business while still attending school. Upon graduation, he started his own company focusing on kitchen and bath with mom, Donna, as a partner.
From Humble Beginnings to Starting an Empire
Starting out was rough; very humble beginnings. Having lost substantial assets upon the split of his parents, Matthew made a grassroots effort to grow his business. Local marketing with flyers and an open mind is how Ferrarini & Co got off the ground. In the beginning, no project was too small and the business took pride in the work they did and the ensuing referrals. Good work and excellent customer service got them from a home-based business to a design office and showroom staffed with 5 people that accept clients nationwide.  
What it Takes
Matthew credits his success with clients to the broader view that he takes when designing his kitchen and baths. He doesn’t just focus solely on the space that he is tasked to redesign, but incorporates all adjacent areas to ensure a seamless flow. His knack for design really comes to light in space planning and problem-solving. Here is where his passions shine. He has made it a point to stay within his strengths and delegate the things he isn’t so passionate about to team members that are.
Accolades and the Way of the Millennial
Matthew Ferrarini’s point of view has earned him the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) ’30 under 30’ award. He believes in being progressive in his business and for a Millennial, that spells ‘tech’ heavy. Ivy is his software of choice to keep his business running smoothly. He transitioned from using a program that was more builder/construction directed and hasn’t looked back. He also uses Dropbox for file storage and Houzz as an avenue to work with clients using their lookbook feature. What seals the deal for a lot of his clients, is the use of photo-realistic renderings of what the space will look like prior to even lifting a hammer. As a value-added feature today, Nick is predicting that this will become standard in the coming years and you won’t be able to call yourself a designer without it.

Matthew believes in spending the time to find out as much about a client and their lifestyle as possible and creating one show-stopping design to present to them. Now that the business has grown, the marketing approach has certainly changed from the local flyer days. Ferrarini credits his storefront, referrals, and digital marketing through the website and online presence as the avenues that have gotten his name out there. His website is user-friendly, visually captivating and has something for every client. Even those that may not be ready to pull the trigger on a remodel just yet,
Dec 01 2017
56 mins
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Rank #20: 250 – Barrie Livingstone: The Endless Horizons of Design

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Hey everyone! Today in the Lounge, Nick chats with Barrie Livingstone for the 250th episode! The two talk about the growing Airbnb design market, Barrie’s new book, selling homes, and Luca Boffi’s new endeavor.
Oct 02 2018
40 mins
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