High Point North Carolina Spring Market continues on day 2 with two new interviews from The Chaise Lounge. Today Nick May joins Christi Tasker of Puttin’ Out, to glean valuable insight into the PR and marketing side of an interior design business and in the second segment of High Point Market podcast Nick joins well known designer and TV personality Thom Filicia for an in depth interview into his background, how he runs his highly successful firm and brand and many other useful tips for growing your design business. Tune in to hear it all!
Christi Tasker: Puttin’ Out
You may be reading this and wondering what exactly Christi Tasker of Puttin’ Out does, well it’s all in the name. When starting her business and trying to come up with a name that would stick, a friend asked her, “Well, what exactly do you do?” To which Christi replied “I literally put out content all day long!” Christi uses her background in interior design and a career transition to PR to work with interior designers and manufacturers to promote their designs and products.
Christi’s business, Puttin’ Out has been in business since 2010. Before her the successful start of her PR firm, Christi owned an interior design firm outside of Atlanta. Around 2007 she was ready for a new challenge, tune in to hear Christi and Nick discuss the transition from interior design to PR, and how the PR firm has now grown to include a variety of client and brand types, beyond interior design.
In the episode, Christi dispenses information on the best was for a designer to get attention, including advice on how to broadcast yourself, how to present an accurate cost of your work to reflect the budgets you work under and what kind of client you are looking for. Furthermore, Christ and Nick talk about managing client expectations and how Christi works with each of her clients individually, and the differences in her more established designer clients versus someone who is just starting out.
Thom Filicia: Live from “The Bar” a.k.a The Lounge
In this segment of today’s show, Nick Interviews Thom Filicia live at the High Point Market Vanguard Showroom, which Thom refers to as ‘the bar’ after 4 pm. You may know Thom Filicia from the hit television show ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’, of which he was a part of for 5 years. Additionally, Thom has appeared on other networks, including HGTV for several years.
Thom studied interior design at Syracuse University, however his interests growing up included all things design from modern architecture to industrial design to automotive and boat design. When choosing his path in school, Thom knew his interest always lied within residential architecture, and with the product design aspect of interior design it all aligned to point him full speed toward interior design. Nick and Thom discuss the importance of internships while in school. Thom got his start through a summer and winter break internship with the Parish Hadley design firm in New York City, which ultimately led to a job offer with the firm upon graduating from his degree program.
For the first 8-9 years of his successful career, Thom worked for several design firms before deciding to take a summer off to slow down and determine exactly what his next move would be. It was during that time off that Thom picked up a few clients on his own, which ultimately grew into his very own design firm. Thom states, “It happened organically, and I was able to give my employer 4 months notice before going off on my own and even helped find my replacement.” Thom highlights the important of leaving on good terms and identifies that his moves in his career were always based on looking for the next challenge for him personally and professionally.
Listen in to hear Thom describe a very interesting 2 hours he spent stuck in an elevator, and how that turned into an offer to be a part of a new and exciting show called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, you may have heard of it! Throughout his time spent on that show and others, Thom was able to keep his interior design business going and through the success of the show, and the face and name recognition it gave him, Thom was able to launch his product line, Thom Filicia Home Collection.
Thom’s firm includes 20 people, with potential to increase up to 26 over the next, however Thom states he won’t want it to get too big. He’s never worked for a big company, always working for firms between 5-20 people. Thom states that any bigger might not fit his personality very well and that he enjoys the open environments that come with a smaller firm.
Nick and Thom lastly discuss team collaboration and control of a design firm. He says, “As good as anyone is at anything, they can’t be good at everything.” Thom sees the growth of his team as a great thing, “everyone is collaborating and doing great things and are able to do much more than anything I could ever do on my own.”
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!