Industry: Interns! Interns! Interns!

Benjamin Moore Paints continue to be the best on the market. It’s the only paint Nick May uses and believe us, he has used and tested them ALL. Benjamin Moore is the BEST there is for the dollar investment. As a designer, make sure your painting contractor uses the right product, not something cheaper because it might not hold up. Unfortunately, if something does go wrong with the paint in a client’s home, it’s usually YOU on the line, not the painter. So make sure the contractor is using the EXACT product you are specifying so that they don’t go with something inferior. Also, if you don’t have a Benjamin Moore architect and design color kit, reach out to Nick on the Question? tab and he will make sure one is shipped to you at NO cost!

Today on The Lounge, Phyllis Harbinger joins Nick from her outdoor office on her very own chaise lounge. Design Manager has started a social media campaign to support designers making purchases and Phyllis has hopped on board! When customers buy online, they are not getting the same type of service designers provide to their clients. Additionally, if you buy from a big box store at a cheaper price, it’s not just cheaper because they buy in bulk but also because they use different parts that aren’t the same quality. Phyllis has since blasted her social media channels to support the campaign and gave a shout out to her trusted vendors. The relationship that designers have with their vendors is taking care of the designer and their clients as well as championing their design process and endeavors. That doesn’t happen to a client who goes online and buys something. Phyllis is advocating for designers to step up and educate their clients! Interior design is not a commodity, but a value-added service. Go take a look at Design Manager’s campaign on social media with the hashtag #designmyths. Phyllis is also hosting a webinar with Design Manager on September 7th so go sign up here and join in!

Interns! Interns! Interns!

Phyllis started using interns back in 2004 when she was in the early stages of her career and could not fill a full-time position. She had two interns who worked two days a week as 3rd-year students. They went to job sites and did everything, mirrored her AND helped her. Hiring interns is an amazing experience for a small business to grow their team. Furthermore, if the internship goes well, it’s a great idea to keep he/she on the team so they can start them full-time when they graduate. Even if they’re not the right fit for your company, the experience helps them to get other jobs outside of it and enriches your practice too. Phyllis’ interns usually stay with her for 3 years and after the first year, they come on board full-time. In terms of compensation, the first year starts out with paid expenses and the second year transitions to a paid internship. If your school has an internship course like FIT, you can get school- credit for it as well.

Not all schools have internship programs but Phyllis believes that every student should seek out an internship no matter what. They give you perspective and incredible work experience. So if you are a student and don’t already have one, seek out the opportunity because so much value is added to your entire educational experience. Work for experience, not for free.

What should students look for in an internship?

Look at firms whose company culture and vibe you like. Look at the kind of work they do, the size of their office, and their values. Think about what YOUR unique brilliances are. As an intern, you will likely be asked to do more than what you are best at, but it’s important to highlight what you ARE best at in your resume. Think about all of the experience and education you will get out of the opportunity: designing, sketching, attending meetings, fabric shopping, working on installations, seeing through deliveries, creating proposals and invoices, seeing projects reach fruition, THE WHOLE NINE-YARDS. Even if you aren’t doing all of these things on your own, you are learning HOW to do them. Phyllis even bought one of her interns the professional version of Auto-CAD instead of the student version so she would have access to the entire platform. If you are hiring an intern, invest in this person! It is a win win.

Looking for an intern?

Find someone who aligns with the work culture, work ethic, and environment that you have created. Maybe even spend the few dollars it costs to give a Strengthsfinders test or Kolbe test to make sure they are the right fit for your organization.

Do your homework and plan! Figure out how you are going to work with this person and what you are going to have them do. There will be some training involved, so don’t forget to be a coach and a mentor: show them the ropes. Once you get to know this person you can find out what they are good at and assign tasks related to their strengths. That is how you (and they) will be successful. Be patient and help them learn.

Phyllis advises to give yourself about a year as new business owner before you hire an intern. First, create your company and its brand, figure out who you are and how to be your own boss, before being someone else. Mature enough in your business ethic so you can mentor and share the experience to make it meaningful for an intern. Feel free to let people work with you virtually if they prefer but don’t forget to engage with them physically as well. The comradery and collective, collaborative, thinking that happens when you are physically with someone is just as important. Understand who your intern really is, how they speak, how they write, their timeliness. Write up an internship employee manual to write up good, clear, expectations.

If you are looking to find an intern or are looking for an internship ask your local interior design schools, go on craigslist, the ASID job board, Net Impact, Intern Jobs, and/or Editor at Large. Employers might want to think about making a video! So people get a feeling for you who are, what you do what, where you work, and your company culture.

You can contact Phyllis at info@harbingerdesignconsulting.com and also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Updates

The Designer’s Lounge has gone live! Presented by The Chaise Lounge, The Designer’s Lounge is an up and coming community of students, designers, and industry newbies made just for YOU! If you are a student anywhere in the world we would love to connect you with other designers, give you resources, and post jobs for you as well! All you have to do is visit The Designer’s Lounge on Facebook.

The Chaise Lounge is building our internship program as well! We are looking to hire students from all over the country so they can work the hours fit best into THEIR schedule. Inquire through the Question? tab, apply through our online job board or directly to admin@thechaiseloungepodcast.com.

Porcelanosa has 24 locations throughout the U.S AND 3 new showrooms opening in Walnut Creek, SF; San Diego; and Miami. They have a fantastic amount of breadth in their products and the quality is off the charts, from cabinets to furniture and plumbing! Not only this, but Porcelanosa also manufactures the products for installation as well.

High Point Market is around the corner, we hope you all have your plane tickets and hotel rooms! Don’t forget to visit interiordesignsummit.com if you want to attend IDS enter code CHAISELOUNGE to get $100 off your ticket.

  • Upcoming Events

Casual Market Sept 12 – 15

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!

About the Author
Here in The Lounge, Becca is in charge of 'all things podcast' from management, marketing, branding, graphic design, social media, event planning all the way to managing our interns. Her background is in art and design but that didn't stop her from diving headfirst into the unfamiliar worlds of business, marketing, interiors, and podcasting. Growing up in a small, coastal, New England town, Becca has now been in Denver for five years and doesn't plan to leave the mountains and sunshine anytime soon! On the weekends you can catch Becca hiking, skiing, dreaming about the beach or enjoying the local food, art, and shopping. If you have any questions about the show, Becca is your girl.

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