Susan Jamieson: Queen of Color
Today in the Lounge Nick chats with Bridget Beari Designs principal Susan Jamieson, live from Universal Furniture at High Point Market. Nick and Susan discuss what got her interested in interior design, her business today, and Susan gives some advice for new designers in the business.
Getting to Know Susan
Susan’s coffee table includes books from John Cage and Kelly Wearstler, an antique vase, and two candlesticks. She’s usually out of bed by 5:30 in the morning and typically browses Instagram and emails before heading to the office. Susan likes to vacation in Mexico in a home she designed for a client — on a private island. And beer, wine, or cocktail? She’s partial to Piemonte wine.
How Susan got started in Interior Design
When Susan was little girl she would peruse the JCPenney Catalog, cut out pictures of furniture and make a house. In college, she thought she wanted to be stockbroker but hated her classes. Meanwhile, while her parents were renovating her grandmother’s home, she attended meetings with the architect and residential designer. They ultimately struck up a good working relationship — in fact, so much so that she worked with that designer for six years while finishing her BA from The College of William and Mary. Later, she attended design school.
What the Business Looks Like Today
After 22 years in the business, Susan has five staffers: three designers in the studio, one CAD person, and two contractors. Together, they specialize in wallpapers and color coordination, and Susan jokes that her clients call her the “Queen of Color.” They sell with Bradley USA in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, online to the public and in supply in Austin, Texas. A fun fact: Susan feels her business has succeeded more because it’s not named after her — it’s named after her dogs, which she decided to do to cultivate a separate brand instead of attaching her name to the company.
Susan’s Advice for New Designers
Susan’s advice for new designers: you have to get the client involved in what you’re doing and show them what they want to see. At the end of the day, you have to make the client want to buy your service. And it doesn’t have to be all high-end clients: you can start out small with young clients and move with them from house to house.