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Product Design

206 – Industry: Phyllis Harbinger and Daryl Calfee

Industry: Phyllis Harbinger and Daryl Calfee

This Friday in the Lounge Nick is joined by Daryl Calfee, Vice President of Marketing for leather manufacturer and Chaise Lounge sponsor Moore & Giles, for a fascinating conversation on the history and art of luxury leather production. Plus, Moore & Giles will be giving away a FREE luxury bag for listeners who follow The Chaise Lounge podcast on social media. Details coming soon! Next, Nick chats with monthly speaker Phyllis Harbinger about hiring smart to make sure that your firm never suffers from employee issues.

Daryl Calfee: Leather is a Luxury

Nick sits down with Daryl Calfee, VP of Marketing for leather producer — and newest Chaise Lounge sponsor — Moore and Giles.

The Moore and Giles Story

Daryl says that you’ve probably sat on Moore and Giles leather — and may even have it in your home — without knowing it. The company has been based out of Lynchburg, Virginia since the 1930s, when its founder, Donald Gray Moore, was laid off from his gig working at a local shoe factory and instead became the factory’s leather supplier. Later, the company expanded into furniture sales. In the 1990s, however, the firm switched its attention to building a new luxury, worn-in leather product and partnered with Spain-based tannery Tanerias Omega. The first order was a whopping 50,000 square feet, and despite initial challenges, they learned how to develop institutional knowledge for natural leathers. Now, Moore and Giles are a fixture in restaurants like Starbucks, hotels in Vegas, and Boeing aircraft for their vintage, worn-in and waxy leather.

Passion for the Product

Daryl discusses the history of leather, which has evolved with humanity for thousands of years and has become a luxury good only relatively recently.  Moore and Giles, he says, invests heavily in sustainable, high-quality rawhides from different climates for different needs — whether that means sourcing from South America, where hides are very large but thin, or a northern climate like Germany for a naturally thicker hide and is generally more free of scarring. Aside from color saturation or some light waxing, Moore and Giles avoid painting on color — which Daryl says is a cheap move to cover up a low-quality rawhide (Nick likens to a faux finish). Instead, they embrace the imperfections and celebrate that each one is going to be different. Faux leather doesn’t exist, Daryl says — it’s something else entirely. And when passion for creation and expression trumps cheap manufacturing, the money follows.

Phyllis Harbinger: Hire Smart

Phyllis, a regular guest in the Lounge, shares the lessons she has learned while intelligently growing her firm, Design Concepts Interiors, from a “lean and mean machine” of one into a team of creative and self-sufficient individuals. She says that she hired her first — and second — full-time employee through establishing an intern program about fifteen years ago, and invested handsomely in both.

The Value of Nurturing Interns

“It’s not inexpensive, but you get what you pay for,” Phyllis explains. “When you find that talent, and nurture that talent, it goes places.” Initially, Phyllis focuses on teaching and mentoring interns before raising their pay from minimum wage when they become more competent and experienced. She even Ubers her current intern to and from work in order to nurture what she considers to be an indispensable relationship. Her third employee was a former student who showed promise and drive. In time, all three grew into positions that naturally fit their personality and freed Phyllis to avoid spending time on accounting or CAD and creatively run her business.

Respect Gets Respect — and Returns

Above all, Phyllis says employers should be guided by respect and recommends thinking freely about hiring: whether that’s considering several part-timers over one full-timer if that is mutually beneficial; establishing a three month trial period for new hires; looking into virtual employment starts for outsourcing; and even hiring an attorney to have your back if a hire goes south, or you improperly (and immorally!) classify an employee as a contractor.

To reach out to Phyllis for strategy calls, email her at info@harbingerdesignconsulting.com

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes and be entered to win a FREE Moore and Giles Benedict Weekend Bag!

Join Nick Saturday morning April 14 for his forum “Passion Sucks: It’s All About the Money!” from the Universal Showroom at High Point. Check out all of our High Point events here!

Don’t forget about the #makemychaise design competition click this link for more info.


DatacolorIf you’ve ever worked with a Benjamin Moore dealer and asked for a color match, then you’ve probably worked with Datacolor without even knowing it. Now, Datacolor has announced the ColorReader, a tool that identifies paint colors from any surface and provides you the closest existing paint match right on the spot! Stop cutting out your drywall or scanning fan decks and start saving time by confirming color with the help of the ColorReader. Revolutionize your color tools and visit www.datacolor.com/may for more information.

Moore & GilesJLF CollectionsDesign ManagerBenjamin MoorePorcelanosaUniversal Furniture


Upcoming Events

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

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!

181 – Steven Favreau: From Broadway to The Favreaulous Factory

Steven Favreau: From Broadway to The Favreaulous Factory

Steven Favreau attributes his success as a designer to his first career as a singer, dancer, and actor on Broadway. As an actor you are the business, constantly training every day and always looking for the next job.  It is a good way to realize that you can only be your very best and the rest is out of your control. The skills he learned from his first career are still utilized to this day. Growing up in Milford, Massachusetts, Steven became involved in theater in high school, believing that his future career will be in fine arts or theater. His journey as a professional actor led him to Broadway, Dutch television, Paris, as a dancer at Moulin Rouge, and as a cruise ship performer, eventually making his way to Cruise Director for American Hawaii Cruises. Eventually, he lost the theater bug and went back to school to study interior design at Fashion Institute of Technology. While in school he worked part-time at a public relations firm, then as a fundraising director and marketer for Papermill Playhouse in NJ before getting recruited to San Francisco.

After moving to San Francisco Steven opened Stage Struck, a local home staging company. The concept of staging has its origins in San Francisco, and there few sellers who don’t stage their homes. Working with a network of realtors enabled Steven to grow his clientele. The concept of staging is best practiced when thought of as marketing for a house. Instead of what the homeowner wants, think about what everyone else would want to see in that house. The challenge is to create a neutral home that will appeal to as many people as possible but still have that wow factor. After Steven found his groove, he began getting multiple offers and continued referrals. Eight years later, Steven decided to return to the east coast to be closer to family but continues to manage his San Francisco staging company. Nostalgic for Europe, Steven was looking to purchase a vacation home in an area that reminded him of Europe but wasn’t a European city. He was drawn to the unspoiled nature of Vermont and ultimately purchased and renovated his vacation home.  

East Coast Return and Career Growth

Steven’s newly renovated vacation home became the cover story and feature of Design New England Magazine’s December Issue. In anticipation of the article’s release, Steven hired a publicist to market himself. He attributes the immediate growth of his business to having a publicist as they were able to do in 6 months what it took him 6 years to achieve in San Francisco. The publicist introduced him to top builders, architects, and editors. However, Steven recommends knowing what you want to get out of the partnership before bringing a publicist on as they need to be guided to ensure their ideals fit with your master plan.

Today, Steven runs a multifaceted design company, Favreau Design. A strong believer in the power of intention, Steven recommends others to start learning how to dream and putting that dream out to the universe, speaking it out loud and often. His intentions are coming true once again with the opening of the Faverlous Factory, a11,0000 sq ft urban loft. The Faverlous Factory will be part showroom, part open workspace, co-shared with like-minded builders, architects, and inventors.  The showroom component will dedicate 3000 sq ft to selling furniture, curated vintage pieces and antiques, wallpaper, and lighting. Additionally, Steven and his fiance are co-founding an online design site for millennials called Printz. A joint partnership with an MIT alum, Printz is an online platform that blends social media with 3-D design software, allowing friends and family to provide their opinion on potential products prior to making a purchase. It is currently in beta testing. Steven is also stepping into the product development arena, working on producing licensed products for a NYC based rug company.

Keys to Success

Having a strong personal brand is a key to Steven’s success. His background in theater led him to multiple speaking engagements that ultimately led to referrals. Being a brand ambassador for Robert Allen Fabrics for a year also gave him lots of exposure.  He recommends others to dare to dream, and to do things any way you can, and as often as you can. Surround yourself with people that you trust, understand your brand and be very protective your time. People are looking for you to be your true authentic self. Steven brings his personality to everything he does. At 51, it finally feels like he is walking in the right shoes.

To connect with Steven visit him on his two Instagram accounts: Steven Favreau and Favreau_Design, Facebook, or on his website, www.favreaudesign.com

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

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!

178 – Sharyn McBride: Where Travel and Design Collide

Sharyn McBride: Where Travel and Design Collide

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Sharyn McBride of Belson Design and Design ToursSharyn is located in beautiful Melbourne, Australia and is driven to expose her fellow Aussies to a design education that reaches far beyond her native shores. Find out more, in this episode of The Chaise Lounge.

Breaking the Ice

First and foremost…Nick wants to visit Australia and he isn’t shy about sharing it! After making that point clear, he learns some interesting fashion tidbits from Sharyn. She is a big fan of shoes as a go-to statement accessory. Her faves are colorful ankle boots. Though not necessarily a fan of the Ugg boot, she is happy to share that these are originally from her native land and that it was interesting to watch them evolve from house slippers to full-on streetwear. Her favorite room in her well-designed house is her master bedroom. It is truly her sanctuary. The only spot that is off limits is her garage full of finds from her travels abroad, which can get a bit messy! The best advice that she received from her parents growing up was to never give up and her mum’s especially sage advice: don’t leave the house without lipstick!

Getting into the business

Sharyn McBride started her career as a buyer in the fashion industry. She noticed a gap in the market after welcoming her own baby boy and created a line of embroidered bespoke baby blankets. Sharon fell gravely ill in the early 2000’s and faced a two-year climb back to health. It was at that point that she decided that she would exclusively pursue creative work. She knew that all of the efforts and hard work would give her that sense of joy and satisfaction; as long as she pursued her passion. Her interior design career began in her home and friends’ homes. It was also at this time that she realized that exposure and education equaled really great design. She traveled to around her native Australia and to the US; New York specifically. There she was able to learn more about show homes, such as Kips Bay and the design markets available to designers in the US.  Belson Design was launched soon after in 2016.

The Development of Design Tours

After having the opportunity to travel to the US, Japan and other parts of the world, Sharyn realized just how little exposure the Australian design community was getting. There were so many more resources to discover beyond her borders. There was an opportunity to give Australian designers access to show houses and masters of design such as Frank Lloyd Wright. Sharyn developed tours to the US and Japan that she now runs three times a year! Nick gave a great suggestion to set up US tour groups to come down to Australia…let’s see if this takes off! Sharyn is all for being a part of orchestrating culture absorbing trips.

Making time for Design

Despite running three 7-9 day tours a year, Sharyn still finds time to serve her clients through Belson Design. Her upcoming projects include a mid-scale home renovation and her very first commercial gig at tile showroom in Melbourne. She is mainly a one-woman show but has the helping hands of a part-time tour assistant and design assistant. She also has built great relationships with contractors, so her clients have that additional option if they do not have contacts of their own.

Sharyn is adamant about being confident as a designer and not being afraid to value your services as they should be. She charges per service for her initial contact with clients. She has differing fees for consultations, mood boards, and full design plans. Never let a client rush you into decision making. As creatives, we need time to absorb and create our plans.

The Keys to Successful Marketing and Presentation

Sharyn really believes in great presentation. That starts with a great website and business cards. These are just the initial tools, however. The magic is in pounding the pavement…network, network, network. Get as much exposure as you can. Our industry can be grueling with long hours and a lot of effort to get the ball rolling. Find avenues to shake hands with people; go to showrooms, design events, etc. Get savvy with your online exposure too. It’s easy to backlink with fellow businesses in the industry so that your website can be more attractive to Google. This is a great way to improve your presence online without a lot of monetary investment.

Belson Design has received most of their clientele through word of mouth and website hits. This leads to another important topic; photographs. Photos are critical in the design industry to showcase your work. No matter how small a project is, always takes photos. Even if you don’t have access to professional photography, visually documenting your projects is a must. Social Media is another visual platform for showcasing your behind the scenes work. Sharyn stresses the importance of authenticity on social media. Be present to doing what you’re passionate about and persevering even when the going gets tough.

Sharyn invites you to follow her Instagram @belsondesign. Learn more about Sharyn, Design Tours and Belson Design at: www.belsondesign.com.au

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website atTheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, andTwitter 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!

169 – High Point Market: Alexander Julian

Photo source: Who’s Who HPMKT

High Point Market: Alexander Julian

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Alexander Julian, fashion and furniture designer, at High Point Market. Alexander talks about where he found his start, and what he’s learned in his journey to success. Nick went live on Facebook with Alexander Julian at the Universal showroom. Watch here!

Getting to Know Alexander

Alexander has an affinity for older films, so while the most recently made movie he saw was “Hidden Figures,” the last movie he watched and enjoyed was a 1938 rom-com called “Bringing Up Baby.” When he’s not reading emails, he’s reading the works of P.G. Wodehouse. Alexander’s favorite piece of technology is the iPhone for all the work it enables him to do. The last piece of furniture he added to his house was a bowtie table he designed and produced with Jonathan Charles. His own designs are not the only that festoon his home, however; he has many wonderful antiques as well. His wife has worked with antiques for years and he considers her to be his mentor on them.

As the bowtie table might suggest, Alexander’s favorite fashion accessory is the tie. He claims that they are the only piece of men’s apparel that has a great deal of latitude and room for self-expression.

How Alexander Got His Start

Alexander grew up in the clothing store his parents’ opened in 1942 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His first toy was a swatchbook and he would take naps under the clothes. The first shirt he designed was at the age of twelve after the one he was wearing was torn during a pickup football fight. It was a blue shirt and when he took it to his father’s tailor to be mended, he requested for it to have a yellow collar. When he wore it to school the next day, the most popular girl at school asked him to talk about it, and thus his career in fashion design was born.

The first jacket he designed was when he was fifteen and his first store was opened after he turned twenty-one. Alexander ghosted his first collection at age twenty-three and then he moved to New York at age twenty-six. He won the Coty Award with his second nomination and became the youngest member of the Fashion Hall of Fame when he was thirty-three. After receiving the Industry’s Career Achievement Award at age forty, he decided it was time to move on to designing furniture. It only took him ten years to finally get his foot in the door with Universal Furniture.

The Business Today

Today, Alexander still designs fashion and sells his products in brick-and-mortar stores. Most of his products are sold at boutiques in other stores, though he has recently re-opened 300 of his own stores in Japan and Italy. His most expensive, top-line brand is Alexander Julian and his mass-produced, less expensive line is Colours.

As for his furniture, he only works on one design at a time. Networking is a large part of his career because, without the right relationships, Alexander claims, his brand would not exist. While he does value the relationships he makes through work, he values the customer even more!

In addition to furniture and fashion, Alexander has also done vinting. He was a vintner for three years and now has plans to produce vodka. If given the opportunity, he would also like to design cars.

Alexander’s Reflections

Alexander says that if anyone wants to excel in any creative field, they should first learn to recognize the difference between ordinary and exceptional. He claims that knowing that difference is the best way to add depth and meaning to one’s work. Along that same vein, he believes that the most important part of someone’s personality is their taste. When doing interior design, he advises that you be in touch with what makes YOU excited to wake up in the morning and feel like the best version of yourself.

Despite his enormous successes, Alexander notes what he considers to be his greatest disappointment: His inability to paint. He wanted to be an artist, but the right brushstrokes escaped him. Over time, he says he became afraid to paint. Creating textiles and designs works for him because they provide a more solid basis for his materials than wet paint.

He also wishes he had paid more attention in college. He was once deeply invested in the sciences and experimented with chemistry for a time, but ultimately never graduated. Even still, he spoke as a distinguished alumni for a graduation ceremony at his university, proving that a college degree is not a prerequisite for success.

When Mark asks Alexander if he will ever retire, he says yes… but not until he’s six feet underground.

As Mark and Alexander wrap up the interview, Alexander says that he is most proud of his seven children, four grandchildren, and wife.

Learn more about Alexander Julian at www.alexjulian.com and follow him on Instagram.

  • 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

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!

Source for feature photo: Southern Hospitality Blog

165 – Shayla Copas: From Homeless to Luxury Interior Designer

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.

                           You can follow Shayla on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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

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!

154 – Cheryl Durst: From School Teacher to CEO of IIDA

Cheryl Durst: From School Teacher to CEO of IIDA

Today in The Lounge, we have a special guest. She’s not a designer… but she is one of the biggest movers and shakers in the interior design world. Welcome Cheryl Durst: savior and CEO of IIDA. Find out how Cheryl went from school teacher to CEO and how she saved The International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

Changing the Furniture Manufacturing World One Hinge at a Time

Benchmade Modern is trying to disrupt the furniture manufacturing world by providing quality furniture at a reasonable price. Not only quality furniture but CUSTOM products at regular prices as well! Whether a customer comes to the interior designer to use the designer discount code or goes straight to Benchmade modern themselves, their services are available!

Learn more about Benchmade Modern and their Trade Program at www.benchmademodern.com

Getting to Know Cheryl

Cheryl joins us from Chicago but she’s usually on the road traveling about 35-40 weeks a year. Cheryl grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and went to school at Boston University for Journalism and Economics with a minor in Art History. After Cheryl graduated she moved to Washington, DC where she became a substitute teacher. One of the parents of her students liked the way she managed her class, as well as her level of enthusiasm, and asked if she ever thought about a career in sales. Bada bing bada boom, he hired her at Westinghouse Furniture Systems where she wrote product literature and worked as the showroom manager. Cheryl became very involved in the commercial side of design. Afterward, she was whisked away to work in marketing at the Washington Design Center. Interior design legislation was coming to the forefront in DC and Maryland so Cheryl was in charge of putting together curriculum and continuing education courses to satisfy those jurisdictions and requirements for designers. Later she was transferred to Chicago with her husband who worked for the Merchandise Mart as a trade show specialist. By now they had their first child, so Cheryl decided she could take a part-time job with two-year-old IIDA. She was hired to be the Director of Education and little did she know, 3 years later Cheryl would be CEO.

This is Cheryl’s 20th year with IIDA and her 17th as CEO. Her quick transition to CEO was brought about because of financial issues with the organization. The Board of Directors came to Cheryl and asked if  she wanted to step into “fix it.” They needed a complete financial turnaround, IIDA was essentially bankrupt and was going to cease to exist. So Cheryl worked to make big changes like instituting an annual audit – nothing sexy at all- but all necessary to build sound infrastructure for an organization. Cheryl had always intended to go back to school for her MBA but ended up having on the job training for a real-life MBA AND she did ALL OF THIS while she was months PREGNANT.

IIDA’s Mission

IIDA is a professional membership organization that has created an international network to connect members worldwide and most importantly, advance the profession of interior design. IIDA connects and creates a community to educate designers about the incredibly complex profession. Cheryl says that interior design is growing evolutionary leaps and bounds, as humans demand so much from the spaces we inhabit: from hospital rooms to homes, to hotel rooms. The people who create those spaces should be and be seen as utmost professionals. When it comes to creating a physical space there are so many choices: Do you use an architect, a contractor, a decorator, or an interior designer?

IIDA promotes the profession of interior design by talking about its value. Interior Designers have the challenge of explaining their value to clients. Cheryl relays that we live in a world that loves design, without being able to articulate the value that design brings. We know that people feel better in a well-designed place and children learn more effectively in a well-designed classroom so IIDA works very hard to create materials to explain WHY. This includes continuing education programs, publications, and the book series: What Clients Want. A client might go into their project wanting a beautiful efficient home, but will come out on the other end with a better understanding of themselves, their culture, their business or value proposition. That is the goal. “Design is a strategy, not just an end to a means” Cheryl shares. “Many people do not have the vocabulary for design beyond its aesthetic.”

What’s New?

IIDA just debuted their new space in Chicago at Neocon in June. The goal of the space was to encourage collaboration amongst their staff, give them mobility within the workplace, make it beautiful, and offer flexible choice to their employees. They had to keep in mind that they are a huge representative of contemporary commercial interior design, so IIDA wanted to exhibit the best practices in the world of workplace design.They have an Idea Studio, which is a revenue-generating space (which is important as a nonprofit organization). It is open to be rented out by groups and organizations for assembly, gatherings, training, focus groups, social events, design awards programs, panel discussions and so much more. Anyone who needs a meeting space can rent it out, as well as their conference rooms.

Why Join IIDA?

IIDA allows immediate access to a worldwide community of design professionals and networking. No matter how you attach (via the publications, the website, or joining in your city) there are a multitude of opportunities to connect with other designers and learn more about where the profession of interior design is headed. They run about a dozen international design competitions including regional and specialty competitions (such as healthcare and hospitality). Healthcare is currently one of the most intriguing and complex arenas in the world of design. Good design directly correlates to how people heal. The time people spend in hospitals has grown shorter due to design considerations such as exposure to daylight. On the flipside of the coin, a hospital is also a workplace. Efficiency in design can look like conducting motion studies on the time it takes a nurse to move from a nursing station to an ICU bed. Interior Design is a multidisciplinary practice, it requires collaboration with the professionals that inhabit the space designers are designing.

Cheryl relays that research is an inherent part of design. Design is about what happens on the receiving end and can’t just rely on anecdotal evidence. It has to rely on metrics, and qualitative and quantitative data, as there is a level of accountability to increase performance in a space. Cheryl tells us that people tend to think design is just about beauty (and beauty is a very important part of design) but it is also about effectiveness and efficiency. There is an entire intellectual side that slowly the public is becoming aware of. Every single entity and organization is a consumer of design, so forging those relationships and having those higher level conversations about the goals of design is integral to IIDA. They have conducted research to study happiness and satisfaction in the workplace. Is indoor air quality, access to natural daylight, mobility and choice just as important as a 401K and vacation days? The answer is yes.

Cheryl’s Advice to Students and Industry Newbies:

“Study people, study human beings, they are the art and science of design. While you may be proficient at sketching, Revit, and CAD, the tool that enables design at the end of the day is human beings. Be observational, be curious, ask great questions, but also observe people in place and in space. You need to be a student of human beings to be a successful designer.:

Learn more at www.iida.org 

Chaise Lounge Updates

Make your travel plans for Highpoint now!!! Each day at 2:30 Nick will be doing an interview with a different designer in a different showroom. He will also be having breakfast at 8:30 at the Universal Showroom on Saturday the 14th. His talk Passion Sucks It’s All about the Money will be at 11 am at Universal Furniture. To RSVP click here!

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  • Upcoming Events

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market Oct 14 – 18

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

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 InstagramFacebook 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!