109 – Phillip Thomas: Kips Bay Designer Extraordinaire
Phillip Thomas follows his passion
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Phillip Thomas, a New York interior designer on today’s podcast. Phillip talks about how he stays organized, his participation in Kips Bay, and utilizing a publicist.
Getting to know Phillip
Phillip Thomas is joining Nick from Midtown, Manhattan. Though he thrives in the city, Phillip enjoys relaxing and recharging his creative muscles in Bellport, a small town on Long Island. He stays organized with a neat stack of folders on his desk, a form of contained chaos. Phillip enjoys his library and his view of Central Park.
How did Phillip get involved in Interior Design?
Phillip Thomas was very involved in design as a child, creating beautiful spaces and attending auction houses with his parents. Later, after Phillip completed four years at Georgetown for Diplomacy, he decided to go back to school at the New York School for Interior Design. He graduated in the top of his class with seven job offers.
Phillip started working at Ingrao, where on day one he was tasked with transforming Jim Henson’s old townhouse into a contemporary family space. Phillip stayed for six years before starting his own firm. He always knew he wanted his own firm, but a project with someone moving back to the US afforded him the opportunity to make the leap.
What the Business Looks Like
Currently, Phillip’s company is made up of four full time and one part time employees, a bookkeeper, project managers and designers, who see the project through from the beginning to end.
Within the first year, Phillip hired his first employee as an investment in the company to enable growth. Each project has lots of moving parts. Phillip completes all of the design work and the project managers help him source what he needs.
How to get the word out
Phillip loves what he does, but is not the best at self-promoting. Just over a year ago, he started working with a publicist. The firm pushes him to try new things and make connections. He decided to start working with a publicist after he had created a library of work. Now he is grateful for the opportunities that come along and even remembers the moment when he found out that Elle Decor was going to publish one of his projects.
Phillip has attended and been involved with Kips Bay for years. While it takes time to get business from the show, Phillip mentioned he always creates new contacts. He has also learned to finish his show rooms in advance to compensate for anything that comes up at the last minute. Beyond Kips Bay, Phillip and his team have projects all over the world, including New York, Paris, and Chile.
Much of Phillip’s business comes in through referrals. He uses social media to post meaningful content and reflect his personality. He also uses Design Manager to create presentations for clients, organize proposals, and keep the projects moving forward.
Phillip is continuing to grow his business and build relationships, organically and gradually. In the future, he would like to design fabrics and furniture. He believes everything happens for a reason.
Learn more Phillip’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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