57 – Jennifer Wagner Schmidt – Designer and Box of Chic Founder

JWS Interiors

In today’s podcast, you’ll get to know the driven and talented designer and entrepreneur Jennifer Wagner Schmidt. Nick interviews Jennifer at the Interior Design Society’s National Convention in Dallas, Texas. At the convention, Nick and Jennifer connected as co-panelists on a special event called “Building a Break-through Brand,” which is precisely what you can hear more about in today’s show!

Jennifer holds a degree in Public Relations, and after a successful career in corporate PR working with high-tech PR, Jennifer slowly and deliberately transitioned to a career in interior design. After 6 or 7 years in the corporate world, Jennifer was ready for a new lifestyle that included raising her children and an encore career in interior design, eventually starting her own firm, JWS Interiors, located in Washington D.C. Jennifer states the following when asked how it all began, “I distinctly remember my mom buying me a new bedspread and it was the best day of my life!” She spent hours rearranging her room and folding down the bedspread just so like she’d seen in the magazines. So looking back she feels “Interior design was in my DNA since I was a child.”

Interior Design 101
Believe it or not, Jennifer has taken just one single JWS interiorscourse in Interior Design, Interior Design 101. From there Jennifer started working with friends and neighbors, designing individual rooms. Starting up, she had 1-2 clients and made less than $1,000 in profit the first year. When first starting her design business, Jennifer was still working in her PR position. Eventually, her new business grew, with more clients and higher profits each year. Her advice to starting a new business is this, “You can do it, but you have to take your time and plan, do your research.” Jennifer knew she was taking a big risk leaving her corporate job, but it was a calculated risk. Any extra time she had was spent attending any and every free seminar she could find on small business development. JWS Interiors has now been in business for 10 years.

Order yourself a Box of Chic!
Not only is Jennifer a successful Interior Designer, she has recently launched a start-up business known as Box of Chic. Jennifer followed the rapid growth of the product-based startups like Birchbox and Stitchfix, that provide custom selected samples mailed directly to the consumer, and she thought “where is this in the Home Décor world?” With that thought, Jennifer started Box of Chic which sends customers 4-5 personally selected; value priced home décor items that come with custom styling advice from Jennifer. Within two weeks of the launch of Box of Chic, Jennifer received extremely exciting news from none other than The Today Show, who wanted to feature her business on air! Jennifer states that along with the influx of new orders, her presence on The Today Show gave her new business credibility and leverage as an entrepreneur to say, “Hey, The Today Show contacted me, not the other way around.”

Jennifer Wagner Schmidt

Pick up the Phone and Tell your Story
With her background in PR, Jennifer has never been shy about making the call to promote herself and her business. Her advice to students and new professionals is this, “You have to get over the fear of calling people up and talking about your work, pick up the phone, have confidence and tell your story and the story of the space you’ve created”. Nick and Jennifer continue their talk with advice on photographing your work, creating a portfolio and utilizing social media and your web presence to showcase your work. Tune in to hear some great tips about when the best time of the day is to post to social media and get your name out there.

What’s next for Jennifer Wagner Schmidt
Looking to the future, Jennifer hopes to keep her business small to continue her ability to directly interact with each and every one of her clients. She is also excited about some new opportunities that she has been approached for as a brand ambassador to some of the best home décor companies out there. Through the use of Instagram and other social media platforms, Jennifer sees a true shift in the way home décor design and products will be marketed, and she wants to take full advantage of that change.

Updates from The Chaise Lounge
The Chaise lounge wants to give a shout out to two of our favorite sponsors, Benjamin Moore paint, which host Nick May has personally endorsed as a paint contractor for more than 25 years and to Design Manager, a fantastic cloud-based solution to run your very own small business.

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 designing a great design business and enjoy!

51 – Design Bloggers Conference: Day 3

It’s been a great few days here at the Design Bloggers Conference is Atlanta, GA. Thank you for everyone that stopped by to say hi! We are very grateful to all the amazing guests that were featured on The Chaise Lounge! See you at our next event at High Point Market.


Carla Aston, of Aston Design Studio, discovered The Chaise Lounge Podcast on a Facebook group and has been hooked ever since. The Woodlands, TX designer and blogger has built an online following as well. She started blogging 4 years ago and has grown using “evergreen” content. Carla’s blog is very solution based with a focus on how to deal with kitchen and bath remodels.


Mitzi Beach is an interior designer/blogger from Wichita, KS. This is her 6th year at the DBC; the networking and face to face interaction brings her back every year. Mitzi has found her focus on the demographic change in needs and design for the baby boomer generation. Her website is a valuable resource for helping a large generation understand and live the lifestyle they want. Her book, “Boomer Smarts Boomer Powers”, is available on Amazon.

50 – Design Bloggers Conference – Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of the Design Blogger Conference in Atlanta, GA. Nick May of The Chaise Lounge has another round of amazing guests!


Amanda Gates of Gates Interior Design talks about the difference of life and people in California and Nashville, TN. She runs her interior design business out of her home which is what a lot of highly successfully designers are starting to do. Amanda’s design style is very green and Feng Shui. She is enjoying the southern grace design that Nashville has to offer.


Audra Wrightson, of Audra Interiors, is an interior designer that has just started diving into the blog world. She is hoping to mentor and educate via the online world. Her design style is very timeless and classic. Audra also started a company called Suite Dreams. It caters to designs for nursery, kids and teens as well as playrooms


Bruce Andrews Design is a luxury furnishing design brand. Bruce Andrews started the company with a line of chairs. The collection is expanding to ottomans, sofas, lights and fixtures. Everything is handcrafted and handmade. Each piece will be limited edition, only 100-170, of each. They are timeless, heritage pieces that are collector items.


Krystine Edwards is a realtor and interiors designer that will be starting on her own HGTV show called “Charleston Charm.” It’s a family show featuring both her sons as well as her contract husband. The pilot will air on Sunday March 20th at noon (check local listings) on HGTV. She is also featuring giveaways on her social media sites.


Lisa Rickert shares her love for furnishing with her new company Ave Homes. Ave Home is a specialty furnishing company based out of New Orleans. They currently feature 4 collects of vintage styled furniture. The main focus is furniture for the living room and dining room. Ave Home is a new company, started in January 2016 but already had a showroom in Las Vegas and will open another at High Point Marketplace.

49 – Design Bloggers Conference – Day 1

The Chaise Lounge is LIVE! Nick May is at the Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta, GA.DBC

Adam Japko, the founder and creator, greeted us with talking about what the Design Bloggers Conference is all about. After 6 years, the conference keeps growing in size and culture. The blending of interior design, fashion, food, photography, etc work together to create an inspiring atmosphere. 80% of attendance is each year is new because of the constant growing and expanding of brands and blogging. The Design Bloggers Conference makes a difference with building an online brand for years to come!


Colleen Duffley is an amazing photographer that has shot everything from food to fashion to cars to interiors. She has shot all over the world with her company, Colleen Duffley Productions. She hosted a panel at the DBC on iPhone Photography which is tips and tricks of shooting professional photography on your iPhone. She will also be hosting webcasts on her website of more tips and tricks.


Jill McKenzie, of Steve McKenzie’s, has been in the furnishing business for 4 years. They are a retail and “to the trade” showroom in Atlanta, GA. Along with having beautiful collections of home furnishing and fabric at their brick and mortar, they also provided all the furniture that The Chaise Lounge used at the DBC.

LB logo

Laurel Bern is a blogger/designer with Laurel Bern Interiors. She is also very excited to announce her new line of paint which will feature 150 colors with Benjamin Moore. This was her forth year at the DBC and she keeps coming back for the amazing guests and the networking. She feels with blogging and website it’s very important to remember that your site is mobile friendly and responsive.

RH logo

Refined Haystack is a curated interior design network at a local level that is used for the general public. Sabrina Vodnik sat down with us and explained the design and propose of the engaging site. All the resources that are recommended to the audience are from designers. Resources can be from trade items and sites to unique little shops and everything in between.

22 – Jerry Jacobs a Timelessly Minimal Interior Designer

 jerry Jacobs Design

“I’m interested in all aspects of Art, Architecture, Design and History. Though a Contemporary minimalist, I love styles such as Art Deco, Bauhaus, Neoclassical and Palladian. I like to describe my design style as Classic Simplicity.  I believe in Philanthropic causes, giving back and helping others… and in giving back to the community and to the planet through Sustainable practices.”

-Jerry Jacobs

Jerry got his start into interior design through a career iaca joen commercial architecture.  Jerry traveled the world working with a company called Aca Joe, a chain of retail stores based out of Mexico City.  He has since moved to the United States and currently lives and works just outside of San Fransisco, CA.

Jerry works with a lot of clients doing “turn-key” project where he works on the design, and managing the project.  This can be challenging as many of his projects are not in his own back yard.

For more information on Jerry, please go to his website at

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at 


09 – Jenny Provost: World Designer

Today in the Lounge Nick sits down with international designer Jenny Provost. Jenny is the owner and Principal of, K2 Design. She has created an amazing design and architecture firm that specializes in taking projects from “dirt to drapes”. This, combined wither “Fearless Design” philosophy and creating anything that can be imagined has won her the reputation for fantastic design and execution around the world.

Jenny Provost and K2 Design

Jenny originally studied architecture but after seeing how few architects who could be considered wealthy. This lead her to looking at architecture not only as a profession but as an end. The mindset of design as a business was what lead to the creation of her firm K2 Design in 1992. She wished to create a design and business model that allowed her to work on them from beginning to end. She called this model “Dirt to Drapes”. Using this mindset Jenny was able to open not one but two locations in North America, on in Naples, Florida and the other in St. Gabriel, Quebec, Canada.

“Dirt to Drapes and Solving “Impossible” Problems

The “Dirt to Drapes” model of Jenny’s firm allows her to be apart of the design process from the landscaping all the way to the finishing touches. The firm provides a very comprehensive project to clients because they can look at as a whole, rather than in pieces. K2 Design is not only known for its comprehensive design style, they are also known for their problem-solving skills. They are often called into projects that Jenny describes as being “like putting lipstick on a pig”. The bring “impossible” projects back to life and use their problem-solving skills to “mold” problem projects into something that suits their client’s needs.

Designing Fearlessly

To Jenny, designing fearlessly means that when she faces roadblocks, she doesn’t allow them to get in her way, she removes them. She doesn’t allow things like what is typical, or what “can’t” be done, etc. hold her back, she instead challenges them and works to out unique ways to overcome them. If the design has never been done before, that’s not only accepted but welcomed. Another part of designing fearlessly is the ability to accept that sometimes ideas are not going to work out and that sometimes things really can’t be done. This does not mean that you shouldn’t try, it simply that you have to think of another solution that can allow your idea to see fruition.

Chaise Lounge Updates

We’re covering High Point Market fall 2018! Stay in the loop on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

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


Upcoming Markets

BDNY Nov 11 – 12

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at 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!