When I meet a designer for the first time, I always ask: “Do you know what a podcast is?” and I get lots of funny responses: Usually an “I think so” or “A what?” and then my favorite, “Of course, I watch them all the time!” I love teaching people about podcasts because they are so versatile and such great resources. That’s why I launched The Chaise Lounge Podcast: it combines my passion for the business of painting with my love of podcasting.
I was raised in a home where interior decor was not a foreign concept. My parents entertained a lot, so I was introduced to the art of conversation at a very early age. What does this have to do with painting? Everything. This was my training ground for being around successful people, learning how to carry on a conversation, and build rapport — like networking 101. In college, I started a painting business and painted for many of our neighbors and friends. I didn’t know much about painting at the time but the Benjamin Moore store that I bought materials from was always willing to lend information, support, and product knowledge. Each summer, I would hire my friends, market and sell exterior painting jobs, and climb ladders. Year by year, it got easier and easier, but my dad would say, “Now Nick, remember, you are going to school so you don’t have to paint the rest of your life.” Well, I showed him…
After my wife and I bought our first home, I knew the walls needed to be painted something other than white. So, after coming home from my cube (a corporate inside sales job) on New Year’s Eve, we went to Home Depot only to find that it was a very popular thing to do on New Year’s Eve. Of course, in true Home Depot fashion, there was only ONE guy behind the counter and tons of people waiting around. So I started helping people decide which paint to buy, what brushes they would need, and what prep tools would help. On the way home, I had an “ah ha” moment: I needed to start painting again. Since this realization, we have built the largest paint contracting business in Denver, CO, Walls by Design.
Now let me back up for a second. Prior to this, I had started a podcast with a friend of mine, called Small Business Naked — a cheeky name for a podcast where we would interview successful business owners from across the country. (Sound familiar?) We would find stories in Inc Magazine or Entrepreneur and reach out to people for an interview. It was a TON of fun, but at the end of the day, it was not helping me build my painting business practices. Instead, I had the idea of hosting events for interior designers, as a way to promote Walls By Design and to help the design community build better businesses. I reached out to a few interior design consultants/speakers, and finally found a man in Colorado named Fred Berns. We hit it off over the phone and he told me the event would cost about $2000. Well, that was a little more than expected, so I told him I would have to call him back. A week later, I called back with 5 other companies who would help me bring him to Denver to talk to our designers!
We hosted the event at the Builders Appliance Center (known in Denver as the BAC), a large luxury kitchen appliance showroom. We provided lunch and wine, presented our speaker, and offered networking opportunities. It was a big hit, and the group of us decided to continue to host more events on an ongoing basis. We called it IDI: Interior Design Initiatives. As we kept hosting events, we realized that in order to continue to have designers come back, we would have to locate speakers that would draw a crowd. In order to get speakers to invest their time, we needed to provide tons of value.
While I was trying to figure out how to get the best speakers, I realized that I could marry my the ideas of IDI with podcasting. Thus, The Chaise Lounge podcast was born! Since launching in 2014, I have interviewed hundreds of the country’s top interior designers asking HOW they got into interior design, WHY they started their own firm, and WHAT makes them SO successful… and my favorite: “Beer, wine, or a cocktail?” I don’t talk much about proper interior design, how to put a room together, or the latest trends in window treatments. Instead, we talk extensively about the business side of design. Today The Chaise Lounge is the top interior design podcast — downloaded in over 100 different countries — and we’re beyond excited to see what the future holds.