Author

About the Author
Grant is diving into the world of podcasting and interior design as an audio editor, blogger, copy editor and marketing content creator. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Grant has lived on the Front Range for five years and is a political scientist by training but journalist by craft, contributing to newspapers and media outlets in Boulder and Denver. He’s written on a wide range of subjects, including street racing in Denver, animal rights activists that steal chickens slated for slaughter and a mailman who is terrified of dogs. When not spreading the word about the world of interior design, Grant writes fiction and non-fiction, plays music in bars across Denver, and hikes Colorado’s toughest mountains.

234 – Julia Molloy: Bold Business Logistics

Today in The Lounge, Nick is joined by interior designer Julia Molloy for a conversation on today’s interior design business models and the ways that designers are generating revenue. Plus, she details strategies to bring your business to the optimal industry-wide gross profit margin.

In addition to having ten years of professional experience, Julia is the founder of BOLD-Business of Luxury design summit and is considered an expert on the business of interior design. Her events are organized at various times throughout the year, all over the country. She recently wrapped up events in Dallas and Costa Mesa, and her upcoming event is in Portland, Oregon on September 17th and 18th. Check back on her website soon to see the dates for the 2019 summits, which will be hosted in either early spring or fall.  

Business Logistics Today

Julia knows that business models differ from region to region and type of design firm. Most of the clients she works with are boutique model firms with about 2-7 staffers. Regardless of the size, Julia says that designers generally struggle with two challenges. The first: keeping an organized workflow, info structures and systems in place — and the second: optimal billing and a high profit margin. And on top of this, new technology and product competition is decreasing product revenue. Hence, a majority of her work focuses on re-framing the billing structure of an interior design business, which we describe in more detail below.

Methods of Generating Revenue

Julia says that there has been a huge shift from past to present billing models and, as a result, the industry standard has shifted. Generally there are three methods to generate revenue: the margin on the product, time billing and service profitability, and fee billing. She calculates overall revenue for a project by what the client has spent on the project divided by the cost.

The optimal gross profit margin per project should be at a target of 40%. This percentage comes directly from Mark Collins, the managing partner of Designer Advantage.

Generating Optimal Gross Profit Margin

No matter which firm you’re at, there are various systems to generate the optimal gross project margin. One is markup on product: try to purchase products with a discount 40-50% off retail. With this method, you can markup 35% with the low- to mid-level clients, while being competitive. In the contract, offer a 10-20% discount off retail — that way, you are not obligated to pass the extra discount to your client.

Another method is focusing on time efficiency. She says that, if you are doing all the work, you should be charging the company no less than $50/hour. She recommends charging $125-300/hour as a principal designer, even if you are starting out. Hiring a junior or assistant designer is a money machine, especially is they are attached to the project. For example, if you hire a junior or assistant designer, plug in $50 an hour, paying a junior/assistant $30/hr, with days off and compensation etc., and markup 30% buffer for payroll, insurance, and so on. If you are doing most of the work on the project versus a junior or assistant, you are costing the company $20 more per hour for the company. This method frees up 10% of your time by hiring a junior/assistant for $400-600/week, with a net profit of $3,000/month for the company. “When you get the efficiency and structure in place,” she says, “there is more creativity and you are serving your clients faster and better.”

To learn more about Julia, attend a Bold Logistics summit, and buy her profit calculator, visit her at www.juliamolloy.com.

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

233 – Angela Schuster: Uniting the Painting & Interior Design Worlds

Today in The Lounge, Nick hosts a special interview with Angela Schuster, who has extensive expertise in both the interior design and paint contracting industries. Based in Northern New Jersey, Angela’s decorative finishing and painting business, Faux Time Design, serves a variety of clients in the greater New York City area. Through her collaboration with various interior designers and general painting contractors, Angela emphasizes the importance of effectively marketing one’s business.

A Career Change

With a degree in marketing under her belt, Angela originally began a career in corporate planning and sales. It was not until a decorative artist gave her a quote on a mural for her newborn son’s nursery that she found an interest in design. She found it too expensive and decided to tackle it herself. Angela later returned to school for art and design where she studied under some of the leading names in the decorative finishing industry including Gary Lord and Melanie Royals. In 2005, she launched her company Faux Time Design.

Marketing is Everything

Using her marketing background, Angela developed a business plan for her new startup. This included an intensive email marketing and social media campaign. In addition, there are two marketing actions made by Angela that she believes were “instrumental in making [her] company what it is today.” The first is that she hosts annual art gallery-style open houses at local hotels in conference/banquet areas, in which she arranges her decorative finishes on easels. She invites designers, contractors, builders, and clients, and talks about up-and-coming trends and concepts in the field. Angela says that it isn’t uncommon to book four to six months worth of work from these events.

Taking Your Design Business to the Next Level with Showhouses

The second avenue of marketing that helped dramatically grow Angela’s business was her use of showhouses. These are special houses typically sponsored by nonprofit groups that showcase the exclusive designs of interior designers and decorators who each design a room in the house. Although designing a space in a showhome is a several week-long time commitment of from set ups to follow ups, Angela testifies that these events are huge marketing tools for designers to discuss designs with potential clients. She highly recommends that designers look into booking showhouses early on and reach out to the designers featured the previous year.

Angela shows how imperative effective marketing is, especially when growing a young design business. Whether that means digital marketing, showhouses, or word of mouth, she advises designers to never pass up an opportunity to market and advertise their design business.

Learn more about Angela Schuster at www.fauxtimedesign.com.

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

232 – Douglas Graneto: The Natural Talent

Today in The Lounge we have Douglas Graneto of Douglas Graneto Design from Greenwich, Connecticut. Nick has a great conversation with Douglas about shoes, traveling, choosing a career, and finding success. Plus, they dive into marketing and Douglas’ challenges for the future.

Getting to Know Douglas

Douglas is originally from Portland, Oregon, but has been based out of New York City for much of his career. He’s fallen head-over-heels for shoes — recently, he’s loving his double-strap leather Guccis. When he’s not running his top-notch design business, Douglas loves to spend time with his husband and their daughter, or if they’re really lucky, take a trip to Capri! He’s a big proponent of traveling in general, but especially outside of the U.S. for new sights and perspectives.

Beginnings

Interestingly, enough, Douglas didn’t know that he wanted to be an interior design until he was actually working for one. He’s got a degree in art history and only took a few classes related to design, like histories of architecture and furniture, which he really enjoyed. In fact, he didn’t even know that interior design was a viable career! Instead, he learned on the job, working directly under Tony Ingrao — what he calls a “trial by fire,” but he had the talent to get through with flying colors. In his first job, he had many different responsibilities as a project manager and credits Tony for being a great mentor in those 9 years he stayed with the firm.

The Firm Today

Now, Douglas runs his own firm with a staff of four: himself, two project managers, and his husband who runs the office! They focus on residential projects in Connecticut, New York, Miami, and recently took a project in Tennessee. Indeed, much of their projects are acquired by word-of-mouth only, whether that means old clients who put them in touch with friends and family, or an old client that needs a new project. They don’t market themselves but focus instead on social media promotion and volunteer work in their communities, which has gotten them many write-ups in local media! “I feel like being a part of your community is a huge part of a respected designer,” he says. He has recently hired a publicist, though, who has been very successful, and he’s poised to begin marketing himself a bit more to weather lean periods.

Learn more about Douglas at www.douglasgraneto.com!

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

231 – Glenn Gissler: From Milwaukee to Manhattan

Welcome to The Lounge! Today, Nick is joined by Glenn Gissler. He’s the founder and principal of Glenn Gissler Design, a luxury residential design firm. On the podcast, Nick and Glenn discuss Glenn’s education, how he got his start in the industry, and what his firm looks like today. Plus, we give you a sneak peak at our brand new podcast The Student Lounge. Read on for more information about Glenn, The Student Lounge, and what The Chaise Lounge has been up to!

Background

Glenn grew up in America’s Midwest in a small suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He considers it an advantage to be from the Midwest because of how “regular” it is, and he admires simple values. The lack of entitlement in his childhood is something that he finds extremely advantageous in his career as a luxury residential designer.

Education

Glenn’s education was somewhat unconventional and a key component in making him the designer he is today. Rather than the expected four, Glenn was in college for about seven years. He spent his first two years at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he took a large array of classes and almost majored in sociology. After realizing that the University of Wisconsin was not for him, he joined a work-study program in Boston called Boston Architectural Center (now College). During the program, he worked for architects during the day and took classes at night. After two years, he found that the program was not for him. He then transferred a final time to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he studied architecture and received his degree!

Getting Started

After graduating from RISD, Glenn began working for Juan Montoya, where he stayed for two years. After leaving Juan, Glenn went to work for another notable Latin American designer, Rafael Viñoly, to set up their design showroom.  He stayed with Rafael for another two years until he was asked to design Michael Kors’ first showroom, a 10,000 sq. ft space with a budget of $250,000. He quit his job and opened his own small office in 1987. Two weeks later, though, Black Monday sent shock waves through the economy.

Glenn Gissler Design

Glenn weathered the economic downturn — and several more! Today, the office is made up of four staffers who approach interior design in a very broad sense. The firm covers everything from architectural design all the way down to art advising. After many years of working with his lead designer they have developed a well-oiled and efficient method of work. However, they choose not to take on too many clients. On the interior side of the firm, Glenn and his team focus more on layout, furnishings, budget, and design context. They also have a focus on what Glenn calls “architectural corrections.” Some projects also call for them to act as design directors, including overseeing landscape design.

Learn more about Glenn at www.gissler.com!

Chaise Lounge Updates

Nick May has won the Industry Leadership award from the RESA Home Industry Staging Awards! We’re so grateful for the recognition. Stay tuned for dates and info for the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) expo and award ceremony!

We’re also in the running for the 13th Annual Podcast Awards! We’d love to have your vote, which you can cast in the Business or People’s Choice categories. Let us know you’ve voted!

Our blog is up and running! Look for us on Mondays and Fridays to hear from foremost designers as on topics like the latest at market, social media marketing and the nitty-gritty of running a business.

Stay in the know. Head over to our Events page to connect with Nick at market and beyond.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

230 – From Pitch to Press: Live from Los Angeles

Today we have a very special episode live from Los Angeles! Last week in “From Pitch to Press,” an all-star panel with four incredible interior designers — and Nick! — dove into the nitty gritty of getting press and different PR strategies. As Nick says, press is incredibly important for anyone running a business in this industry. After all, how else are folks supposed to hear about your interior design firm? Our four designers have all excelled in getting press and have a ton of advice to offer: Lori GilderJeanne ChungDavid Dalton; and Roxy Sowlaty.

Hire Out or Run PR Yourself?

On the merits of hiring out PR, David says that hiring in-house is a good idea because the designer is able to micro-manage all communication out of the office. Roxy is also unsure that hiring out is worth the high cost, especially now with social media, so she’s managing herself; as is Laurie. She prioritizes relationship-building and events, and growing relationships with people that you can trust. And Genie agrees, saying that she knows herself best and is most comfortable with showcasing her own talent.

Roxy is all about blogging and YouTube to create press herself, but says that people who “blog more, design less.” As for her TV show, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills — that’s absolutely helped her reach clients.

Advice Highlights

  • Print magazines are probably becoming less relevant to millennials, even though a lot of people still love magazines. Posting press on social media is a good bet, but some magazines don’t want you to do that.
  • Write language into a contract to ensure that you can use photos of your client’s home. Many clients don’t allow it at all.
  • Craft a specific pitch to magazine editors, and do research on the people/magazines you are pitching to. Never get bitchy if you are turned down.
  • Submit to competitions!

Chaise Lounge Updates

Our blog is up and running! Look for us on Mondays and Fridays to hear from foremost designers as on topics like the latest at market, social media marketing and the nitty-gritty of running a business.

Join Nick for not one, not two, but three events at Las Vegas Market! On July 29, Nick is moderating “From Creation to Consumer: Everything You Need To Know”, a panel discussion on the value of collaboration to create new brands! Buy your tickets now! On July 30, join Nick and friends for the Hamptons White Party & Outdoor Living Discussion. Don’t forget to wear white! Learn more and RSVP here.

And on the 31, don’t miss “Your Style, Your Brand”. Two iconic designers who have mastered the ins and outs of personal branding are joined by a stylist and photographer to give you tips and tricks on how to improve your personal brand. One lucky winner will receive a full makeover and professional headshots to ignite his or her journey to success. Join Kelli Ellis, Shayla Copas of Shayla Copas Interiors, Aaron Perkins (stylist) and Kristen Mayfield (photographer) at Las Vegas Market for this discussion, and makeover, with moderation by Nick.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Check out the rest of our events and learn more here.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

229 – Angelo Adamo: Creating Memories In Design

Today in The Lounge, Nick is joined by Angelo Adamo, a former interior designer at Walter Robbs in North Carolina who is now running his own firm, Angelo Adamo Design. The two chat about the meaning behind designing interiors and Angelo’s fascinating design philosophy of creating memories that last.

A Bit About Angelo

Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Angelo has been based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the past seven years, and just recently moved to Michigan. Before coming to America, he was trained as a sports scientist in Australia and worked with cycling Olympians. Then, modeling gigs and an offer from Motorola to design fitness center spaces brought him to Chicago. Music, fashion, and design all intertwine in Angelo’s mind, so immersing himself in these worlds was integral to his design practice.

While redesigning his future wife’s space, he found he had a knack for interior design and enrolled at Harrington College of Design to begin his journey in the trade. After completing school, he moved to New York City to begin working on high-end residential projects. Becoming a design manager in the Big Apple, he had the opportunity to learn the program of managing the business side of projects. When the finances and scheduling are managed, he says, everything goes smoothly in the design process. Then, after this period, he began his own business endeavors but slowed down to start a family. He joined Jacobs in Raleigh, North Carolina before moving to Winston-Salem.

Walter Robbs and Going Solo

Angelo then joined Walter Robbs as a Senior Designer. He says he had the freedom to cultivate clients himself while creating various types of projects including restaurants, sports centers, residential, commercial, and university buildings, as well as motor yachts. As of June 2018, Angelo has just recently struck out alone to build Angelo Adamo Design. Angelo consistently works on projects in healthcare, though he is currently more interested in high-end residential. When planning, he makes the process intimate. In the programming phase, his goal is to understand the client and make the space personal. His goal is to create something that the client can resonate with — to “design to create memories.”

Memories in Design

What keeps Angelo going are his memories from Australia and living in Italy as a little boy. The feeling of familiarity brings delight, so he likes to create that for his clients. Following trends is not what Angelo likes to do. Instead, giving his signature look and including elements the client appreciates is how he goes about designing. By doing this, the client can feel that the space is meant for them specifically, and is not merely mimicking what is currently in vogue with interiors.

To learn more about Angelo, visit his blog, Angelo On Design.

Angelo will be at the Las Vegas Market in July, speaking on transitions from residential and commercial design to create memories. In the works, he has a TV gig and is designing furniture to create memories.

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

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