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ellen o’neill

67 – Industry: Ellen O’Neill – Creative director for Benjamin Moore

Industry:  Talking the business of Interior Design

On today’s episode of The Chaise Lounge, we are talking Industry and specifically are talking about the task of Time Management. Nick May, your host, interviews his friend and designer Phyllis Harbinger, and the Creative Director of one of our favorite Sponsors of the show, Ellen O’Neil of Benjamin Moore. Tune in to learn more about organizing your business and your time!

Phyllis Harbinger: DCI Interiors

On the week’s show, I first talk to our good friend Phyllis Harbinger from Harbinger Design Consulting and designer at Design Concepts/Interiors, LLC.  In this episode of Industry, we talk about time management, and how to determine when it’s time to hire someone to help. Phyllis speaks from recent experience regarding the loss of a team member to which she says, “I was presented with my own time management dilemma, but also a dilemma on many different levels, because we bring people in, we spend a lot of time training them, and then we start giving away a lot of the tasks and areas of expertise that we might have owned previously and then we finally have trust and someone who can take that over so we can pursue other parts of the business, and then all of a sudden you are like ‘uh-oh’ because someone can’t come in in two weeks and take that person’s place.

Phyllis talks about how her business has changed, and how her interest within the business has changed. Phyllis is much more intrigued by other parts of her business, other than the design aspect. “I decided to take a step back and think about a course correction, I want to look back at what really worked for me in the past and I made a list of all the pros and cons of building my team with a different methodology.”

“I want people who are listening to understand that just because something works for a certain period of time, doesn’t mean that’s the only way things can work, and to be open to exploring things and course correcting, looking and taking a pulse of our business.” Phyllis talks about the importance of having reserves, and being able to weather the storms that can be typical to the interior design field. Nick runs with what Phyllis is speaking about, and speaks about how he has gone about organizing his business.

Phyllis talks about hiring a social media expert, and how quickly her presence on social media has grown in just a short period of time. With social media, Phyllis talks about the importance of keeping your voice in your content that is being posting. Nick and Phyllis talk about the different ways they go about archiving content, whether it be an internal Facebook page or a shared photo stream.

“I think that we all effort too much, about too many things, you just said it perfectly, you’re trying to put a square peg in a round hole, we effort, and when you don’t effort and you just say I’m going to do what I need to do and put it out there and the right people are going to show up, and they always do, if you worry about it, nothing good happens.” Phyllis talks about missing things that are right in front of you, and how easy it can be to get caught up in the minutia. Nick, as well as Phyllis, gives advice on how to get started, taking that first step, to save your time for higher value tasks that you are actually passionate about. Phyllis also talks about how fulfilling it can be to hire someone just starting out, who can save you time, and also learn so much from you and your business.

To learn more about Phyllis, connect with her Phyllis@harbingerdesign.com, or follow us on Instagram @DCIstudio, Phyllis offers strategy sessions and full coaching programs available. Reach out!

Ellen O’Neil: Creative Director of Benjamin Moore

Nick gets to know  Ellen O’Neill, who is responsible for pickingBenjamin Moore the color of the year, and this year proved to be quite controversial.  The color of the year for Benjamin Moore ended up to be Simply White; her “baptism by fire” into interior design was being hired by Ralph Lauren as a freelance stylist to help design the vignettes that their tabletop collection was using. Ellen was supposed to have a 3 weeks contract, which turned into 13 years.

Ellen studied journalism in college and had some background in journalism. More recently, Ellen has worked for Benjamin Moore for the past 3 years. As the Creative Director, Ellen has created the department from the ground up, “it was time to form a formal marketing department and reign in all the work internally, so that you had a consistent brand, view, message and visual vocabulary.” Ellen talks about how she has tailored messaging to each constituency within the field, “I was presenting a product that was indisputably the top of its class.”

Ellen talks about her background with Ralph Lauren, Benjamin-Moore-Simply-White-OC-117and how that has helped her with her current position, especially with her knowledge and experience with color. She discusses how she picks colors for color pallets; she tries to embed color theory into her schemes. Ellen also looks at other trends, like what’s happening with bedding trends, lighting, and furniture, etc. and how that affects the colors she chooses.

Ellen and Nick discuss the press that was received regarding the color of the year, which was simply white this year. “It was a really important color discussion for the interior design community.” Ellen talks about how a lot of other paint companies outsource to color trend forecasters, however she states, “I want our stuff to be original and I also want it to reflect the color conundrum that we read and answer questions about from the consumer, so I want it to be true and authentic and applicable to people’s design issues, so color forecasters don’t necessarily dig down onto that level. We look for different signals.” Lastly, Nick asks Ellen what colors she chose to paint her apartment, tune in to hear!

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!