Shayla Copas: From Homeless to Luxury Interior Designer.
Today in The Lounge, Nick speaks with Shayla Copas of Shayla Copas Interiors at the Zuo Modern Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. Shayla discusses how she runs her business with only a small group of people and a few interns. Find out how Shayla advertises in a way that people don’t really do anymore and how she became an interior designer withOUT a proper design education. Nick also speaks with Brian Pagel from Emerald Expositions. They chat about The Chaise Lounge’s new partnership with KBIS and what to expect this year from the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in January.
Getting to Know Shayla
Shayla’s favorite type of music is rap, she loves Tupac and Biggie. Her favorite fashion accessory is her pink Valentino shoes and handbags. Her ideal Saturday night is being at home next to her husband with a glass of wine, watching movies. Shayla’s favorite vacation spot is in Italy on the Amalfi coast. When asked ‘beer, wine or cocktail?’ Shayla picks a Caymus wine…by the case. As a child, Shayla would rearrange the furniture in her house and redo her bedroom at least three to four times a year.
Shayla originally went to school for marketing and nursing and had almost graduated when she decided to follow her talents in interior design. Shayla’s marketing experience helps her not only market her own business but her husband’s as well. She met her entrepreneur of a husband in Portland, while out with some friends and now they’ve been married for 20 years. At one point, her husband was the fourth biggest commercial contractor in Arkansas, but he’s only helped out in Shayla’s business four times.
Shayla was 19 years old when she was kicked out of her home because she was pregnant. She went to a pregancy home where they convinced her to continue school, start a career, and give back. Shayla asked the baby’s father for child support but the father’s parents didn’t want him to help her. Instead, they gave her some silk plants to sell on the street and told her support the baby that way. So, Shayla stood in a pet store parking lot in Vancouver, selling silk plants rain or shine for 8 months. She began to supply silk plants as housewarming gifts for apartments around the nation. Her own apartment was filled to the ceiling with silk plants and trees in order to keep up. The production cost and materials for each plant was only about $10 but she sold them for $25-$125. Shayla was thankful for her source of income but, she was always thinking beyond what she was currently doing and looking for the next business venture.
The Business Today
Shayla now runs a luxury design business that does both commercial and residential work. She has a small staff from two to ten, depending on the season. Shayla markets, sells, and designs. She has interior designers on retainer and recieves a lot of help from her interns.
To market herself, Shayla uses print advertising. She does advertorials with her local magazine and is getting ready to go national. Her advertorials are made from a monthly kit that the magazine supplies her, which helps them not feel like ads. She wants her customers to see her personal touch as a designer while being authentic, organic, and not contrived. Shayla gets some business from her social media platforms as well and uses Instagram to convey her brand. She loves posting stories to bring in more followers, showing off products from her vendors and from her portfolio, unless the images are going to be published. Shayla and Nick tell us that you should redo your website every two to three years because the business is always changing, and you should be as well. Shayla thinks designers should also include their press on their website.
Shayla’s favorite part of the business, besides design, are her clients and the relationships she builds with them. While her main focus is in luxury design, she will do small budget projects as well. Shayla had a client whose husband did not want to hire an interior designer but was so sad living in a home with no decor. They came up with a $2000-$3000 budget for accessories. Shayla received a call from the client the night before they were supposed to meet saying that she couldn’t go through with it. Shayla told her to call her back when she was ready. A few months later the client called to ask Shayla to come and present the bill to her husband in person. So, Shayla went to their house, brought the decor that was in the budget and warned that she was going to bring extra, just in case to see what it would look like. After the reveal, the client was crying and said she had not been that happy in five years. When Shayla met with the husband, she gave him two different options, one that was right on budget and another that was a little over. They chose to go with the one that was a little over budget because they loved all of the new decor in their home. Shayla enjoys doing this kind of project as well, as it brought so much joy to her client.
Shayla is a self-taught interior designer, her staff are the ones with the education. It’s been hard because sometimes people judge her for not having a degree, but she tries not to let it get to her. Even without a degree, Shayla is a very talented designer. She has read every interior design book from the college her interns go to. She’s worked designing healthcare offices and large commercial spaces and would still like to dip into hospitality design in restaurants and hotels. Shayla says the hardest part of being an interior designer, is billing the clients.
Brian Pagel and KBIS
Nick chats with Brian Pagel from Alpharetta, Georgia, the Senior Vice President Emerald Expositions and the Senior Vice President of Show Management for KBIS. KBIS is the largest source for Kitchen and Bath exhibitions in the Northern Hemisphere and North America. This show has been going on for more than 50 years and the showcases include all kinds of brands from appliances, countertops, cabinetry, and decorative hardware. This year KBIS is partnering up with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders and CEDIA to make the show possible. CEDIA is all about connected space and earlier this year Emerald Expositions purchased CEDIA. Due to this, they are now able to bring you all the products and innovations out there to monitor water consumption, electrical usage, turning lights on and off, and checking cameras from anywhere remotely around the world. This year the keynote speaker is Cindy Allen, the Editor and Chief of Interior Design Magazine.
Benjamin Moore In case you didn’t know Benjamin Moore just announced the color of year: Caliente!!! A fun fact about this color is that it’s the exact same color as the chaise on the Chaise Lounge Logo. If you find that hard to believe just look at our Instagram post. Hey, Benjamin Moore just putting it out there, you should rename ‘Caliente’ to ‘Chaise Lounge Red.’
Design Manager At High Point Market Nick caught up with Lindsey from Steelyard at an event sponsored by Universal to the Trade. What makes Design Manager really stand out is that they are a one-stop shop and you don’t need to learn QuickBooks to use it. It’s really easy to add team members as well! Design Manager even lets you do very detailed proposals that can include pictures for your clients to better understand where their money is going. You’ve got nothing to lose with their FREE 30 day trial!!
KBIS The Chaise Lounge Podcast has been declared the official podcast for the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. KBIS is the best way to keep up with the latest and greatest in the Kitchen and Bath world. KBIS is just under 450,000 net square feet of exhibit space and is all located in one building. Register here for KBIS 2018, and find out the cost to attend the show, the floor plan, the latest exhibitors, as well as what hotels are available in the area. Be sure to check out the KBIS App for a faster easier access to navigating the show.
- Upcoming Events
BDNY – Nov 12 – 13
KBIS – Jan 9 – 11
Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16
Dallas Market– Jan 17 – 23
Las Vegas Market Jan 28 – Feb 1
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!