Kelli Ellis: Interior Design Entrepreneur
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Kelli Ellis, an Interior Design Entrepreneur. Kelli talks about the jump from law school to design, being bold, and understanding why someone loves or hates a design.
Get to know Kelli Ellis (5:17)
Kelli is calling in from her first home in Las Vegas, NV. She splits her time between the Sin City and Orange County, California, where she grew up. In Vegas, Kelli fell in love with high-rise living and recently purchased a penthouse. She finds it harder to design her own space than designing for clients.
Kelli possesses the superpower to be able to deal with anyone. Wonder Woman is her spirit animal, and she has the cuff jewelry to prove it! She also enjoys a guilty pleasure of very occasionally ditching work for a fun childhood activity, including bowling, roller skating, a movie, or the like. Kelli enjoys period pieces (Somewhere in Time & Dangerous Beauty) and Moscow mules.
How did Kelli get into interior design? (13:20)
Kelli is an only child and showed an interest in interior design starting at the age of five. Rather than actually playing with Barbie dolls, she would spend hours laying out the floorplan of Barbie’s house, building furniture, and turning everyday items into wallpaper and walk-in closets.
Later, upon obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Kelli started law school, where she drove herself nuts achieving a 4.0 grade point average. In doing so, she proved to herself and her father, a judge, that she could do it, but she also knew she didn’t want to continue in law.
Meanwhile, Kelli had been designing her friends’ and family members’ homes all through college. And as it turns out, she made a friend in law school who became a voice-over agent. This friend encouraged Kelli to audition for jobs for over nine months before Kelli tried it out and landed Clean Sweep on TLC.
What does Kelli’s business look like today? (23:55)
Kelli’s business is lean and streamlined. She works with two design assistants. The team is currently handling two new construction projects (8,000 and 13,000 sq ft) and one remodel (9,000 sq ft). In addition, Kelli has also had the opportunity to get involved with licensing art, tile, rugs, fabrics, furniture, etc. She loves the creativity in licensing, but also chooses to continue to work on projects to keep her current.
How TLC expanded Kelli’s personal brand (33:23)
After her time on TLC, Kelli started to notice that some people were able to parlay that opportunity into others, while others didn’t. She soon learned that a lot of the time, all you have to do is ask. Kelli recommends being confident in what you want and not being afraid to be bold. As a designer, you are a walking resume. Kelli suggests being proud of what you have done – don’t downplay everything. There is an opportunity to build a personal brand more than ever these days. Start with a Youtube channel, get noticed, and provide a perspective that people are looking for.
Kelli’s side project, Design Campus (38:45)
Design Campus started as a live event to educate the audience. Then, Kelli decided to take the show on the road as Design Camp. Soon, SubZero and Wolf came on board and provided credibility to the program. These days, Design Campus is completely online offering accredited CEUs and more for $30 a month.
What’s next for Kelli (42:20)
Kelli is currently working on a show coming out on The Design Network called Design Therapy.
Design psychology is a passion for Kelli, so she created coaching program to understand why someone loves or hates a color, fabric, style, design, etc. She uses this information to improve the lives of her clients based on the three good F words: Function, Flow, Feel.
If you would like to connect with Kelli, please visit KelliEllis.com, where you can find information on her shows, videos to get started, licensed products, and more. Reach out and say hello! She is also offering a download of her book, Do I Look Skinny in This House? – Just scroll to the bottom of her homepage and provide your email address.
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!