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.

228 – Bria Hammel: Life Skills For Every Designer

Today in The Lounge, Nick joins interior designer Bria Hammel of Bria Hammel Interiors, who discusses her entry into the design world and the skills she has learned along the way!

Light Bulb Moment

While attending the University of Kansas, Bria pursued a business degree and planned to work as a fashion buyer after school. She soon realized that there were not many places she could work as a fashion buyer in Kansas, so with the helpful advice of a friend, she decided that an interior design degree would fulfill her creative calling. She went on to earn a superior education in interior design from Johnson County Community College, where she learned ‘life skills’ for the interior designer. After graduation, she jumped right into the workforce with great success by interning and then working for a residential designer. She had hands-on experience in new construction and remodeling, furniture sales, and window treatments.

Three Lessons from Ethan Allen

During her twenties, Bria worked for Ethan Allen and quickly moved into management, where she learned sales and business skills by managing sixteen designers. These hard-earned skills eventually advanced the success of her own design firm, Bria Hammel Interiors.

Lesson #1: Sales skills are the most important and necessary skills in any occupation, and the ability to sell is the centerpiece of success for designers.  “It doesn’t matter how great of a designer you are, how you can put beautiful things together — you have to be able to sell it to your client; otherwise, you will never have a successful business.” Knowing how to close a sale and “push things forward” has been of great value to Bria as the owner of a design firm.

Lesson #2: Bria shares the importance of developing people management skills. She explains how valuable it is to understand your staff and their learning styles while encouraging their leadership qualities. Today she has amassed an amazing staff who work well together on projects around the country.

Lesson #3: “Thinking Big” has helped her to grow her design firm by creating exposure and attracting new clients!

49,000 and Counting…

Today, the lessons she learned along the way has helped to make Bria Hammel Interiors successful.  She’s proud of her team and what they have been able to accomplish. She boasts that the firm has over 49,000 Instagram followers who have been a tremendous asset. Bria and her staff are well-connected with the design world: she’s a board member of Gail Doby’s Coaching and Consulting and this positions her to meet designers across the country. She and her staff often engage at Genius Exchange and High Point Market which have worked well to keep skills sharp and network.

Check out Bria Hammel Interiors in August, when Bria and her associates will launch their new brand Brook and Lou. They will specialize in ‘livable furniture’ and market beautiful textiles from India.

Chaise Lounge Updates

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. Last but not least, on the July 31, don’t miss “Your Style, Your Brand”. Join Kelli Ellis and Shayla Copas of Shayla Copas Interiors, who have mastered the ins and outs of personal branding who are joined by stylist, Aaron Perkins, and photographer, Kristen Mayfield, 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.

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

The winner of the #MakeMyChaise competition has been revealed! The winning look will be on display at the JLF booth at BDNY in November

Resources

Upcoming Markets

High Point Market October 13 – 17

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

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, and you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast.

Keep dreaming big, and keep designing a superstar design business. See ya!

227 – Chloe Brown: The Designer’s Art Connect

Welcome back! Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Chloe Brown of Fresh Paint Art Advisors! She’s an art consultant who has a tremendous amount of experience working with interior designers, and today she shares her wisdom on the niche role of art advisors in the residential, commercial, hospitality and healthcare design world.

Getting to Know Chloe

Chloe is based in LA with Fresh Paint Art Advisors. The firm curates art collections for residential, hospitality, commercial, and healthcare projects, which means coordinating between clients and a roster of about 500 artists – from sculptors, to painters and illustrators — as well as interior designers. The goal is to curate an art collection that fits the narrative established by the designers in the space, and to make sure that the clients are able to enjoy an inspired interior.

The Fresh Paint Process

Although the brick and mortar HQ of Fresh Paint Art Advisors is in LA, they’ve done work in Australia, China, and the U.S. Chloe says the business was started 38 years ago, not by her, but by Josetta Sbeglia, and Chloe says the firm is a big family — even though they aren’t all technically related!

Fresh Paint will work in-depth with their clients to understand exactly what they are looking for. However, she says there is a lot of variability with her clients: some are very specific and involved in the process of choosing art, while others aren’t at all. On the hospitality side, for example, Fresh Paint really hopes to expedite the process of choosing art. With a private home or residence, though, the process is much more intimate and protracted.

Working With Your Budget

One of the great things that Chloe is able to do as an art consultant is to work with budgets. Clients can go through the whole process to acquire the right art for the project and then be given a high-end or low-end project estimate, but still have art provided that is right for the design aesthetic. Chloe says their biggest budget on a project is currently around $1 million! The project is a resort with about 750 rooms. Not including corridors, that means about 3,500 pieces of art are required for the project: whether reproductions, originals, sculptures, paintings, installations, and beyond. For residential, their biggest project is currently about $350,000 for approximately 45 pieces.

Chloe gives a tip: a series of small, intimate pieces with one major “statement piece” is a better bet for the budget-concerned client, rather that several big, feature pieces. On the topic of client requests, Chloe says that Fresh Paint gets strange requests all the time, and that working with clients to pin down those exact requests is a really important part of what they do. In fact, those strange requests force the consultants to go looking for new fabrics or perhaps even new artists to provide the best pieces.

“You want the client to enjoy their space and love their space. And at the end, when it comes together…and there’s a flow to the space in the home, it is exciting. That’s really what we love to do.”

Learn more about Chloe and Fresh Paint Art Advisors at their website, on Instagram @chloeatfreshpaintart and on Facebook!  Also, Chloe would love to hear from you via email at Chloe@freshpaintart.com. Any questions are free!

Chaise Lounge Updates

Join Nick May in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 28th for “From Pitch to Press: Everything You Need to Know” — an all-star panel of designers including Roxy SowlatyDavid DaltonJeanne Chung, and Lori Gilder will discuss how to get the right press for YOU. The event will be held at the PORCELANOSA Showroom, 8900 Beverly Blvd. Suite 101, West Hollywood, CA 90048. As if that wasn’t good enough, the event is sponsored by PORCELANOSAVING Vodka, and CALIFORNIA Home and Design Magazine, and will be catered by Iron and Earth.

RSVP HERE!!!

The winner of the #MakeMyChaise competition has been revealed! The winning look will be on display at the JLF booth at BDNY in November!

Resources

Click here to see how our sponsors can help you grow your business. And check out Recipe for Press by Amy Flurry! (This is a must-have.)

We are offering a Trade Discount for our listeners!! — Follow the link below and use discount code may to receive the 20% OFF Datacolor’s ColorReader. Visit www.colorreader.datacolor.com/may to see what Datacolor can do for you!

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!

225 – Eric Mauskopf: World Class Framing

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Eric Mauskopf of J Pocker Custom Frames. Learn about the history and legacy of the Pocker Brand, where the store is today and their upcoming plans for the future. Eric Mauskopf is the newest owner of J Pocker, which specializes in high-end custom framing and artwork in NYC. Eric purchased the store in 2017 from Robyn Pocker, whose family has been in the frame business since around 1926. They currently operate four stores: in New York, NY, Bronxville, NY, Greenwich, CT and Westport, CT.

Transitioning the Business

Prior to purchasing J Pocker, Eric was managing high-end real estate and condos in the NY area. After 20 years in the industry, Eric realized that he hit the ceiling and that he wasn’t happy doing it anymore. On his search for something new, Eric spent 2 years meeting with over 25 different businesses before he met Robin Pocker through a business broker. Once the two finally met they instantly clicked and a business relationship was formed. Robyn stayed on for about 4-5 months to teach Eric the business. Eric says that one of the biggest challenges has been getting to know the designers that have been loyal to J Pocker for many years. His focus is to help them realize they are still working with the same people as before and continue to maintain relationships while seeking out new business.

The Pocker Brand

Eric says he chose to buy J Pocker because their brand is synonymous with framing in the industry — he wouldn’t dream of changing the name. People across the country know and recognize J Pocker and also Robyn Pocker, who is still available to help and guide Eric.

The Store Today

Today J Pocker has nine sales designers across four stores and a total employee count of 28. The stores serve as design consultation centers and galleries. They also have a factory where the actual custom construction is manufactured. Most of their orders are custom frames, many of which are hand carved or gilded, and a typical custom-made product can take about four to six weeks to craft. J Pocker also does art and framing, and they are always looking for new artists to work with.  Recently, J Pocker collaborated with Bunny Williams on a curated collection of art prints. This collaboration was immensely successful and they would be interested in doing this again with Bunny or another Interior Designer.

Working with Designers

J Pocker is willing to work with any interior designer on any project they are working on. If you are not located in NYC or Connecticut, their designers will work with you over email. Often times, designers believe that J Pocker only sells high-end products. Although they do have high-end products, they also sell the same products that you would see in any other frame shop. Their employees are also designers and they are willing to work with you and help you at any budget.

To learn more www.jpocker.com or visit one of their four stores!

Chaise Lounge Updates

Join Nick May in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 28th for “From Pitch to Press: Everything You Need to Know” — an all-star panel of designers including Roxy Sowlaty, David Dalton, Jeanne Chung, and Lori Gilder will discuss how to get the right press for YOU. The event will be held at the PORCELANOSA Showroom, 8900 Beverly Blvd. Suite 101, West Hollywood, CA 90048.

As if that wasn’t good enough, the event is sponsored by Porcelanosa, Ving Vodka, and CALIFORNIA Home and Design magazine, and will be catered by Iron and Earth.

The winner of the #MakeMyChaise competition has been revealed! The winning look will be on display at the JLF booth at BDNY in November!

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!

226 – Christine Phillips: Publicist Extraordinaire

Christine Phillips: Publicist Extraordinaire

Today in the Lounge Nick chats with Christine Phillips of Viola! Public Relations and Design. Christine is a publicist and occasional designer based out of Wisconsin. During the chat we learn about Christine on a more personal level. She speaks about how she entered the business, found clients, how to know when you’re ready for a publicist, and maintaining professional relationships.

Background

Born in Illinois, Christine describes herself as a Chicago runaway. She decided to move to Wisconsin in search of a simpler life after the stress and traffic of the city became too much. Christine went to school for theatre but realized after a few years that the nomadic lifestyle of theatre did not suit her need for stability. She then settled into fashion and later, after moving to Wisconsin, she began to work in the home. After working for Kohler for four years, Christine decided to branch out on her own, and in 2005 started her own business.

Getting Business

Christine has never advertised her business. In fact, her first clients came just a few days after she left Kohler. She was contacted by a company to design showrooms for a firm, which led her to do tradeshow design. Christine believes that if you love what you do and you are a happy person, business will come to you. She had never been the person to go “trolling” for business but instead allows clients to come to her naturally.

Are You Ready For a Publicist?

Christine talks about how a designer can tell when they’re ready for a publicist. She believes that a designer will be ready for a publicist when: (1) they’ve got a good bank of work, (2) they’ve experienced a bit of press and (3) they’re willing to listen and do what they need to do. If she is contacted by someone who believes themselves to be ready she will send them Recipe for Press, by Amy Flurry, which gives a glimpse into what it takes get press. She believes that this will allow designers to more accurately assess whether or not they are truly ready for a publicist and also create a greater appreciation for what she actually does.

Maintaining Professional Relationships

In addition to knowing whether or not they are ready for a publicist, Christine also believes that designers should know how to maintain relationships with editors. She talks about how the reaction to rejection can leave a lasting impression that could make or break future opportunities. She speaks on how impressions are long lasting but rejection can sometimes only be in that moment. Christine believes that no matter what side of the interaction a person should be as gracious and kind as possible and this will help build positive relationships in the industry.

Learn more about Christine Phillips at: www.violapranddesign.com/about

Chaise Lounge Updates

Join Nick May in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 28th for “From Pitch to Press: Everything You Need to Know” — an all-star panel of designers including Roxy SowlatyDavid DaltonJeanne Chung, and Lori Gilder will discuss how to get the right press for YOU. The event will be held at the PORCELANOSA Showroom, 8900 Beverly Blvd. Suite 101, West Hollywood, CA 90048. As if that wasn’t good enough, the event is sponsored by PORCELANOSAVING Vodka, and CALIFORNIA Home and Design Magazine, and will be catered by Iron and Earth.

RSVP HERE!!!

The winner of the #MakeMyChaise competition has been revealed! The winning look will be on display at the JLF booth at BDNY in November!.

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!

224 – Kathy Anderson

Today in The Lounge we’re joined by Kathy Anderson of Anderson Design Studio in Nashville, Tennessee! Kathy is in the middle of the entertainment design industry and works with big stars and brands down and around Nashville. Today, she chats with Nick about her journey through the design industry and offers wisdom on hiring, social media, and more!

Getting to Know Kathy

Kathy is from Kentucky but was raised in Nashville and she’s always loved it. She studied interior design at UCLA at 21, but always knew that she wanted to be an interior designer. She has two kids, both adults now, and her fondest memories are with them — and one of her sons is a cabinet market in downtown Nashville. She loves to eat out and support her local restaurants, as well — though she admits that she can be a bit nitpicky when walking into a poorly designed establishment! Kathy says that UCLA more or less chose her, when she followed her then-boyfriend out to LA.

The Early Days

There, she began at a small design firm that she still models her business off of. After three years with them, she headed back to Nashville to work with Gresham Smith and Partners, and bounced around at a few architecture firms. Eventually, though, she wanted a raise and left to start her own business to do so! She ‘s a firm believer that learning and growing is the most important part of any job, but especially when designers are in the early phases of their careers. Plus, learning and growing at a small business is much more conducive to learning and growth, since all employees have to wear many hats and take on responsibilities.

The Business Today

Kathy’s got a few designers, including one entry-level designer who assists all her designers, as well as an office manager, and everyone has a lot of responsibility. She began exercising her skills doing commercial business, but now, she’s designing residences for Reba McIntyre, Dave Cobb (who produces Chris Stapleton), and Kid Rock! As far as her hiring process goes, she doesn’t hire anyone without an interior design degree, but often hires unpaid interns that shine. In her office, everyone has a different personality and work style, and she says it is really important to have everyone be self-sufficient. Her newest designer is a blogger and the office takes turns writing blogs as part of a new marketing strategy, all of which takes place in-house. She’s also on Instagram and Facebook and says it can be somewhat overwhelming. What she loves, though, is connecting with designers and crafting a warm and cozy — but modern — design aesthetic.

Learn more about Kathy at the Anderson Design Studio at www.andersondesignstudio.com.

Chaise Lounge Updates

We’re excited to see you all at the Gail Doby Genius Exchange, July 12-14 in beautiful downtown Denver!

Our fabulous sponsor Porcelanosa will be celebrating the grand opening of their San Diego showroom on June 26!

And on Thursday, June 28, Nick will be in LA with an all-star cast of designers — David Dalton, Jeanne Chung, Roxy Sowlaty, and Lori Gilder — to talk getting press! The forum is from 6-8 p.m. at California Home and Design. Iron and Earth are catering, and the event is sponsored by Ving Vodka. Stay tuned for more details!

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!

223 – Alberthe Buabeng and Ariel Johnson

Today in The Lounge we have two incredible designers, Ariel Johnson of Ariel Fox Design and Alberthe Buabeng of Albie Knows. Respectively, these designers offer invaluable advice about finding passion and setting up the businesses they dreamed.

Alberthe Buabeng

Alberthe “Albie” Buabeng hails from north of Seattle in Washington State, and is currently working toward completing her Master’s. While doing so, she’s having to limit her design projects to one or two a month and focusing on consulting and content — and, of course, her family! She loves wine and says she has “stumbled” into a unique corner of the design industry by flexing her marketing muscles.

Albie is an online-based designer and says she is really levering her social media and online marketing strategies with tools like her YouTube channel and stellar blog series, which you can check out here. She also has affiliate relationships with different brands — a unique relationship where she links to brands in her blogs and then gets a cut of that brands’ sales when she gives them traffic. In the summer, when she limits her design projects even further to focus on studying, those commissions result in about 70 percent of her revenue!

Don’t miss Albie’s two day E-Design Experience THIS WEEKEND, June 16th-17th, where you’ll join Albie and a cohort of designers to network and learn how to navigate the emerging market of E-Design!

Click here to see Albie’s work.

Ariel Johnson

Ariel’s Journey

Ariel Johnson began as a litigation paralegal in an NYC high-rise but says she quickly became disillusioned defending white collar criminals. She began sketching shoes in her cube before being caught by her boss, and she eventually got picked up by a fashion firm and walked the runway for a few years. At 26, though, she knew that her modeling career would be coming to a close soon, and she enrolled at Parson’s The New School of Design where she studied — that’s right — Tim Gunn, before Project Runway fame.

Her first internship was with Franklin Studios, Frank Madrano’s firm, and Ariel says it was an incredible experience in those six months. She graduated in 2008, in the heart of the market crash– but what didn’t kill her made her stronger, and she credits the lean period for making her tenacious. With no prospects, and a divorce, she began to freelance and contract, and eventually got lucky while searching for a cheap apartment in Hollywood. The building was looking for an interior designer, and the rest is history!

The Business Today

Ariel Fox Design is an all-female design force of thirteen staffers and includes architecture, a furniture maker in-house, and 4-5 new designers in 2018. The firm focuses on commercial, condos, and multi-family, which she says is a natural segway to hospitality. She says her firm runs on being stubborn and figuring out how to do things in house and never taking no for an answer. Plus, adapting to change — in the industry and beyond — is crucial. Of course, there are things about her business that she doesn’t love to manage: HR and firing people in particular.

See more of Ariel’s work here

Chaise Lounge Updates

We’re excited to see you all at the Gail Doby Genius Exchange, July 12-14 in beautiful downtown Denver!

Our fabulous sponsor Porcelanosa will be celebrating the grand opening of their San Diego showroom on June 26!

And on Thursday, June 28, Nick will be in LA with an all-star cast of designers — David Dalton, Jeanne Chung, Roxy Sowlaty, and Lori Gilder — to talk getting press! The forum is from 6-8 p.m. at California Home and Design. Iron and Earth are catering, and the event is sponsored by Ving Vodka. Stay tuned for more details!

Resources

Upcoming Markets

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

Dallas Market – June 20– 26

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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