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81 – Betsy Burnham: California Interior Designer on a Mission

Burnham design


Betsy Burnham:  California Interior Design on a Mission

On Today’s show of The Chaise Lounge, Nick interviews Betsy Burnham, with a former career in Fashion that turned into a lucrative career in Interior Design. Be sure to check out the end of our show notes for how you can connect with The Chaise Lounge, Enjoy!

We start off today’s show by getting to know Betsy;Betsy Burnham headshot what’s her favorite fashion accessory and where is her favorite place to vacation? Tune in to hear Betsy’s answers, especially her description of her recent trip to India. Oh her background Betsy says, “It (Interior Design) was my second career in a sense, a lot of people find their second career kind of later in life, I found mine kind of early in my working life. I studied Fine Art in college and I went on to work in the fashion industry, I lived in New York City, and I was working at the time for the design part of the Gap, so I was in product development in New York doing Men’s design, travelling all over the world, right out of college. It was such a remarkable opportunity to travel and to learn so much about the process of fashion in the mass market.” After moving to Los Angeles in the late 80’s, Betsy had a hard time finding the same kind of opportunities in fashion that she was privileged to have in New York and found herself disenchanted with that career. After having two kids, Betsy decided to go back to school, and attended UCLA to study Interior Design. “Interior Design was something that I could do on my own time, it was creative, it was relative to fashion in that I was already sort of skilled with color and fabric and I understood my own personal taste and style and I was confident in that.” Betsy talked about the struggle she had with a formal interior design education, and how she found herself drawn toward residential rather than commercial design. After a job with a large hotel design firm, Betsy focused her talents on smaller projects and personal client interactions. “Practical experience in interior design is so important, I can’t stress that enough,” Betsy says of her first job after school and what it taught her.

winning small house burnham design“The day that I got the phone call from someone I didn’t know in any way, was the day I knew I was really in business,” Betsy describes the moment she knew that a career in interior design was where she wanted to be. Burnham design today is “a residential design firm, right now we are three people, I have two women working for me and are junior designers, one is on the architectural side and the other is on the fabric and furniture side, and we also have a part time office manager and a part time bookkeeper.” Betsy talks about the ebbs and flow of the business of interior design, and how difficult it can be to foresee the jobs that are or are not going to come.

When Betsy is looking to hire someone new for her firm, she looks for “some interpersonal skills, I look for confidence in an aesthetic, I don’t want any wallflowers that don’t have an opinion. I challenge people who work for me to say ‘I hate it Betsy, let’s do something else,’ I want a studio of people who are contributing.” Nick and Betsy talk about how she finds new employees, and the vetting process for a team member.

Nick describes how he actually connected with Betsy, which came wayfair trade programabout when Nick was scrolling through Facebook and saw a Wayfair ad that was featuring Betsy for their to the trade program. Betsy became connected with Wayfair while working on a show house, and as one of the sponsors of the show house, Wayfair and Betsy continued a professional relationship that later led to the advertisement that she was featured in.

Nick brings up the topic of marketing with Betsy, “Honestly, and I can honestly tell you, it has all been word of mouth, and I have been fortunate enough over the years to get a fair amount of press and press generates more press.” Betsy talks about the show house that brought attention, and how just saying yes to things and networking more can bring in clients. Nick asks Betsy about her social media presence, and how she likes to have total control of that part of her business. “I have a long-time friend who is a database builder and coder, and he made Burnham Design our very own software, I’ve been doing this longer than most of these software companies existed, and this is something that we’ve built over the years since 2002.”

Instant SpaceBetsy talks about another business venture she’s launched, called ‘Instant Space,’ “It’s design for a flat fee, one room at a time, and we do everything online. So you can come from all over the country, with a room that you want designed, give us a lot of information about yourself, fill out a questionnaire, do some drawing, just basic drawing and measuring and tell us your likes and dislikes, and then in 6 weeks we send you a complete room design.” Tune in to hear how Betsy came up with the idea for Instant Space and the great feedback she’s received on the concept and function of it.

To connect with Betsy, follow her on Instagram @burnhamdesign or visit her websites at burnhamdesign.com or www.instantspacedesign.com.

If you are interested in joining me up in Vail, CO next week, please register for the Vail Social Media Summit for Aug 2-3.

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!

78 – Atlanta Market Show 2

AmericasMart show 2

On today’s episode, we have the second installment of our series from the AmericasMart Home Furnishings and Gift Market in Atlanta, Georgia. Nick May will be interviewing a handful of designers and retailers that are featured at the Market. (Note: the episode intro includes an interview with Josue Franco; this interview will actually be a part of the third installment of this series.)

Julia Buckingham: Buckingham Interiors & Design

Nick and Julia open the interview talking about Julia’s role on a Julia Buckinghampanel for marketing and licensing. “I’ve been doing licensing for two years, and it was my very first foray into licensing with a fantastic mega company called Global Views, a world leader in home accessories, they are everywhere!” Julia’s background in design started in Chicago, where she started as an interior designer. “I was originally in fashion and worked for Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue, I’ve studied Fashion Merchandising at the University of Arizona before moving back to Chicago. My mother was always an antique-er, and now I’ve turned into that mom as well, and that gathering of antiques has turned into my business.” After retailing these pieces from her collection of antiques, Julia’s career turned toward interior design. Be sure to keep following the Chaise Lounge because we will definitely be having Julia back in the lounge for a more in-depth interview in the future, in the meantime learn more about her firm by visiting www.buckinghamid.com.

John Ishmael & Susan Victor: Nandina Home & Design

Nandina Home at AmericasMartJohn and Susan of Nandina Home & Design is another team of designers that were chosen to create a vignette in the vignette gallery at the Market. “It’s exciting because it’s actually the first time that John and I have gotten to work together on a design project! We were asked to create a vignette about six months ago, our thought process was ‘we both are designers and we do design constantly,’ and one of the things we are asked to do is this room in people’s homes that is the multi-functional room, and it needs to look fantastic, so that’s what we based our vignette around. The pair speaks about their opposing design aesthetics, and how they merged them together to create a cohesive look. Nick asked where they started with the design, and if it was difficult to select items only from the market. “We see so much and we are creators so our creative juices get flowing and we think ‘oh my gosh,’ and we were way outside the box initially and then we brought it down to what we could actually get done!” says Susan. Nick talks with the team about their unique set-up, John and Susan are actually brother and sister, they started with a retail storefront that turned into a full-fledged design business. John says, “Our work in the store is an extension of us, so what we try to create is an environment that will display a feeling.” Susan shares with Nick all of the things she has to do at market, the events and also the shopping, tune in to hear tips from the team on how to approach such a large event with so much merchandise. To learn more about Nandina Home & Design, visit their website at www.nandinahome.com and follow them on Instagram @nandinahome.

Julianne Taylor: Taylor Burke Home

“My background is in interior design, I went to the University of Georgia, I’m formally trained as an interior designer, I also have a background in business, and when I decided to get married my JULIANNE-TAYLOR of Taylor Burke Homehusband and I moved overseas, and I did a lot of work for ex-pats like me!” Julianne shares her background with Nick, and how her business grew by word of mouth during her time spent living in many different countries. She discusses how she had to create custom pieces that reflected western aesthetic where those types of pieces weren’t readily available. This led Julianne to really appreciate the process of creating furniture and eventually led her to Taylor Burke Home. The design studio and customer service is based out of North Carolina, and the majority of her products are manufactured in the southeast United States. Julianne advises on the importance of being a part of markets, whether it’s High Point, AmericasMart or Vegas. “We’re excited to be back here, we want to get back in front of our customers again and show them what’s new and meet them and talk to them about what they are seeing in the marketplace. We can then take that feedback and create things based on what the customers have said.” To learn more about Julianne and her work visit www.taylorburkehome.com and all social media channels!

Michel Boyd: Branding & Licensing

Michel Boyd speaking at AmericasMart on Branding Michel was on a panel at AmericasMart on branding and licensing. Michel speaks with Nick about his product lines and the licensing deals he’s made in the past. Of his background Michel says, “I was a fashion junkie and that brought me to New York,” after a visit to a design center he was immediately intrigued by the interiors world. While originally interested in Architecture, Michel decided to follow a path in fashion, but ultimately decided on interior design, which he describes as the perfect merger between those two worlds, with the hard lines and the soft lines. After his education, Michel went straight into working for himself, which he describes now as arrogant and uninformed, however, he talks about how the mistakes he’s made has made him a stronger designer now. Of the biggest things he had to learn, Michel talks about balancing a budget and professional practice, specifically how to deliver bad news to clients. “The most important thing has become, the right team.” Find Michel on Instagram or visit his website at www.michelsmithboyd.com to learn more!

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!