Podcast

239 – Live from Las Vegas Market: From Creation to Consumer

Today, Nick is live from the 2018 Las Vegas Market in an all-star panel with Julia Buckingham, Angela Pickens, Joshua Rose and Rafael Kalichstein, Kelli Ellis and Katherine Kalen of Sunpan. Get to know these incredible designers and marketers while learning just why collaboration can be so valuable during this IFDA DesignEDGE panel: “From Creation to Consumer.”

238 – Roger Thomas: From Vegas to Venice

Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Roger Thomas of The Roger Thomas Collection. Roger is an incredibly interesting designer to listen to and an artist with a diverse background in fine art.

237 – Cecilia “Keki” Cannon: Blogger Extraordinaire

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Cecilia “Keki” Cannon of Cecilia Cannon Staging & Interiors. Cecilia tells us how she got started in interior design and the staging business, and how blogging was a marketing catalyst for her interiors business. Find out on the episode how she strengthens her business through her blog, “Home with Keki”.

Getting to Know Cecilia

Cecilia started her home staging business about a decade ago, but that was quickly eclipsed by her interior designing. Not only being a designer and a mom, she also runs a robust interiors blog, “Home with Keki”. She blogs about decorating, home makeovers, paint, market updates, and design tips. Interestingly, she used her blog as a tool for marketing and eventually added it to her professional website when clients began associating her with her blog.

Design Resources

As her blog became more popular, Celia educated herself on the entire process of online writing, from research on trending keywords to writing, photography, editing, and SEO. She uses digital tricks to bump her posts up in Google searches and takes the process very seriously — although it is a lot of fun. Recently, Cecilia wrote about the Datacolor ColorReaderPro, a fascinating tool that quickly matches color on any texture with paints from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Behr, and half a dozen other paint companies. It’s personally saved her so much time trying to match customer’s preferences with paints.

Learn more about Cecilia at www.ceciliacannon.com — and visit her blog!

Chaise Lounge Updates

Hope you didn’t miss our Instagram takeover at Las Vegas Market! Catch up here.

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

236 – Michael Bedner: A Living Legend

Today in The Lounge we host special guest Michael Bedner, the co-founder of Hirsch Bedner Associates and a living legend in the hospitality design industry. The interview comes from the black carpet lounge of BD West 2018, when Michael looked back over his fifty-some years in the industry to reflect on drinking his first beer in Malibu, designing the first Western hotel in China, Trump, and disruption in the industry – all with a characteristic wit.

Michael’s Beach Residences

Michael owns the first three houses in Malibu, and the house that he lives in was designed specifically to have kids and dogs running around. His grandchildren live next door, and on special days, they’re the first things that he sees in the morning! Plus, his three guest rooms are always full, creating a “hotel” style atmosphere. On his coffee table, Michael has the New York and Los Angeles Times, and other papers that he calls “left-wing propaganda,” as well as an anti-NRA sign in the window made by his granddaughters. Abroad, he loves Kyoto and China, but he prefers Malibu to every place he’s been.

Route 66 to Malibu

When he was 19, Michael left Detroit and drove across the U.S. on Route 66, which ends on the Santa Monica pier, and began his career as a “print boy” under Howard Hirsch. Eventually he began drafting, sketching, and rendering, but without an increase in salary for some time. He went back to school in Berkeley and, that summer, worked under John Lautner, a Frank Lloyd Wright protegee, until Hirsch hired him personally. After twelve years he became a partner in Hirsch Bedner Associates, but Michael still calls himself “Howard’s first employee.” He then lead the company for an incredible twenty five years, designing the finest hotels all over the world.

Design Aesthetic

When designing, Michael believes that form should follow function. Good architecture always starts with the interior and should focus on service, not beauty. “Service is hospitality,” he says. Changing the color of a bedspread can be important, but arranging beds in a guest room or planning a service station in a dining area are much, much more important. When service fails, guests remember their experiences for the wrong reasons. “You’ll forgive a bad meal; you will not very often forgive bad service,” he says. In fact, Michael’s definition of a hospitality designer is one who enables the staff to provide good service. Of course, as you can see in the photo below, HBA still creates magnificent spaces.

Changes in the Industry

Losing skills to technology and computers is awful, Michael says. Drafting, sketching and creating by hand is an emotional process; without it, designers lose touch with planning. Instead of relying totally on CAD, draft a design by hand and then punch it into the program. This way, says Michael, the designer retains an intimate relationship with the creation.

Advice

Michael’s spent 50 years in the hospitality industry. Here’s a roundup of his advice.

1. You can make more money in other types of design. In hospitality, you have to love it to do it.

2. To millennials: put the phone down and notice your surroundings. Glean inspiration.

3. Be a patron. Go into every bar and hotel you can to find inspiration and better design.

4. Glean information from brilliant designers, and prioritize learning.

5. And when you’re finally in charge of a firm, you’re not just a designer. You can lose the passion that drove you into the business in the first place.

To learn more about HBA, visit their website!

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Events

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

235 – Wade Weissmann: A Multigenerational Architecture Firm

Today in The Lounge we host special guest Michael Bedner, the co-founder of Hirsch Bedner Associates and a living legend in the hospitality design industry. The interview comes from the black carpet lounge of BD West 2018, when Michael looked back over his fifty-some years in the industry to reflect on drinking his first beer in Malibu, designing the first Western hotel in China, Trump, and disruption in the industry – all with a characteristic wit.

Michael’s Beach Residences

Michael owns the first three houses in Malibu, and the house that he lives in was designed specifically to have kids and dogs running around. His grandchildren live next door, and on special days, they’re the first things that he sees in the morning! Plus, his three guest rooms are always full, creating a “hotel” style atmosphere. On his coffee table, Michael has the New York and Los Angeles Times, and other papers that he calls “left wing propaganda,” as well as an anti-NRA sign in the window made by his granddaughters. Abroad, he loves Kyoto and China, but he prefers Malibu to every place he’s been.

Route 66 to Malibu

When he was 19, Michael left Detroit and drove across the U.S. on Route 66, which ends on the Santa Monica pier, and began his career as a “print boy” under Howard Hirsch. Eventually he began drafting, sketching, and rendering, but without an increase in salary for some time. He went back to school in Berkeley and, that summer, worked under John Lautner, a Frank Lloyd Wright protegee, until Hirsch hired him personally. After twelve years he became a partner in Hirsch Bedner Associates, but Michael still calls himself “Howard’s first employee.” He then lead the company for an incredible twenty five years, designing the finest hotels all over the world.

Design Aesthetic

When designing, Michael believes that form should follow function. Good architecture always starts with the interior and should focus on service, not beauty. “Service is hospitality,” he says. Changing the color of a bedspread can be important, but arranging beds in a guest room or planning a service station in a dining area are much, much more important. When service fails, guests remember their experiences for the wrong reasons. “You’ll forgive a bad meal; you will not very often forgive bad service,” he says. In fact, Michael’s definition of a hospitality designer is one who enables the staff to provide good service. Of course, as you can see in the photo below, HBA still creates magnificent spaces.

Changes in the Industry

Losing skills to technology and computers is awful, Michael says. Drafting, sketching and creating by hand is an emotional process; without it, designers lose touch with planning. Instead of relying totally on CAD, draft a design by hand and then punch it into the program. This way, says Michael, the designer retains an intimate relationship with the creation.

Advice

Michael’s spent 50 years in the hospitality industry. Here’s a roundup of his advice.

1. You can make more money in other types of design. In hospitality, you have to love it to do it.

2. To millennials: put the phone down and notice your surroundings. Glean inspiration.

3. Be a patron. Go into every bar and hotel you can to find inspiration and better design.

4. Glean information from brilliant designers, and prioritize learning.

5. And when you’re finally in charge of a firm, you’re not just a designer. You can lose the passion that drove you into the business in the first place.

To learn more about HBA, visit their website!

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Events

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

234 – Julia Molloy: Bold Business Logistics

Today in The Lounge, Nick is joined by interior designer Julia Molloy for a conversation on today’s interior design business models and the ways that designers are generating revenue. Plus, she details strategies to bring your business to the optimal industry-wide gross profit margin.

In addition to having ten years of professional experience, Julia is the founder of BOLD-Business of Luxury design summit and is considered an expert on the business of interior design. Her events are organized at various times throughout the year, all over the country. She recently wrapped up events in Dallas and Costa Mesa, and her upcoming event is in Portland, Oregon on September 17th and 18th. Check back on her website soon to see the dates for the 2019 summits, which will be hosted in either early spring or fall.  

Business Logistics Today

Julia knows that business models differ from region to region and type of design firm. Most of the clients she works with are boutique model firms with about 2-7 staffers. Regardless of the size, Julia says that designers generally struggle with two challenges. The first: keeping an organized workflow, info structures and systems in place — and the second: optimal billing and a high profit margin. And on top of this, new technology and product competition is decreasing product revenue. Hence, a majority of her work focuses on re-framing the billing structure of an interior design business, which we describe in more detail below.

Methods of Generating Revenue

Julia says that there has been a huge shift from past to present billing models and, as a result, the industry standard has shifted. Generally there are three methods to generate revenue: the margin on the product, time billing and service profitability, and fee billing. She calculates overall revenue for a project by what the client has spent on the project divided by the cost.

The optimal gross profit margin per project should be at a target of 40%. This percentage comes directly from Mark Collins, the managing partner of Designer Advantage.

Generating Optimal Gross Profit Margin

No matter which firm you’re at, there are various systems to generate the optimal gross project margin. One is markup on product: try to purchase products with a discount 40-50% off retail. With this method, you can markup 35% with the low- to mid-level clients, while being competitive. In the contract, offer a 10-20% discount off retail — that way, you are not obligated to pass the extra discount to your client.

Another method is focusing on time efficiency. She says that, if you are doing all the work, you should be charging the company no less than $50/hour. She recommends charging $125-300/hour as a principal designer, even if you are starting out. Hiring a junior or assistant designer is a money machine, especially is they are attached to the project. For example, if you hire a junior or assistant designer, plug in $50 an hour, paying a junior/assistant $30/hr, with days off and compensation etc., and markup 30% buffer for payroll, insurance, and so on. If you are doing most of the work on the project versus a junior or assistant, you are costing the company $20 more per hour for the company. This method frees up 10% of your time by hiring a junior/assistant for $400-600/week, with a net profit of $3,000/month for the company. “When you get the efficiency and structure in place,” she says, “there is more creativity and you are serving your clients faster and better.”

To learn more about Julia, attend a Bold Logistics summit, and buy her profit calculator, visit her at www.juliamolloy.com.

Chaise Lounge Updates

The Student Lounge is up and running! Visit us to hear podcast episodes produced for students, by students.

Nick has an exciting series of events at Las Vegas Market. Check out those and the rest here.

Not attending market this year? Get all of the action on our Facebook and Instagram! Don’t miss our Instagram takeover.

Resources

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market July 29 – Aug 2

High Point Market October 13 – 17

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

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!

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