Farah Merhi

111 – Industry: Life Hacks and Personal Branding

Industry: Productivity Hacks & Personal Branding

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with industry experts Phyllis Harbinger and Farah Merhi. Phyllis shares her tested and approved productivity hacks and Farah jumps in on building your personal brand.

Productivity hacks with Phyllis Harbinger

Phyllis’s year is off to a great start and some this can be attributed to changes she has made personally to help her be more productive. Here are Phyllis’s productivity hacks:

  1. Work out in the morning: Working out in the morning gives you a jump start on the day to be more productive and have more willpower. Often, it is hard to motivate yourself to exercise after a day of work. It may hard to get this practice put in place, but you may find more success by making small adjustments and changes over time, which can include going to bed earlier. Phyllis and Nick also stay in hotels with gyms, so there is no excuse to miss a workout, even when traveling.
  2. First thing, scan your email, but don’t get sucked in: It’s easy to spend hours or even days putting out fires in your inbox and not get any “real work” done. Phyllis recommends scanning your inbox in the morning as well as using rules and filters to help prioritize your actions for the rest of the day. It can also be helpful to turn off email notifications on your desktop or phone and make time to intentionally check. me can help reduce your influx of mail. It can also help to schedule emails to go out at specific times.
  3. Don’t skip breakfast: Phyllis recommends fueling yourself for success, which can mean not skipping breakfast and eating smaller, more frequent meals. In time, you can feel so much better by eating the right things that eating something that just tastes good doesn’t seem worth it.
  4. Prioritize your To-Do’s: It is easy to procrastinate and put things off, but Phyllis says to do the hardest item on your list first. For example, if you dread estimates and put them off for days, you may be losing business. By turning those estimates around within a day, you can capitalize on your customers’ readiness to purchase your services.
  5. Standing meetings: Standing during your meetings with your colleagues or clients can save time and increase productivity. It can also allow for quicker decisions.

Phyllis has incorporated these practices into her day to day. She also spoke about creating a morning ritual and meditation.

To learn more about Phyllis, email her or visit Facebook.

Personal Branding with Farah Merhi

Farah Merhi is a designer, stylist, social media influencer, and founder of Inspire Me Home Decor. More recently, Farah has started curating questions from Instagram to answer on her Youtube channel. What has started as an outlet for her passion for interior design has turned into a brand.

Personal branding is the way you represent yourself to the world. Farah recommends staying true to yourself, your design aesthetic, and your fans. Also, make sure that brand collaborations make sense. Your credibility is crucial and can affect how people perceive you and relationships with other brands.

It matters how you present yourself online for networking purposes and getting new clients. You have to start somewhere and every post is important. Farah recommends having a goal where anyone who sees your posts or photos to know that it is from you and to be recognizable.

To learn more: about Farah, visit Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Inspire Me Home Decor.

  • 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!

 

 

 

 

 

65 – High Point Market Wrap Up

Hello Chaise Lounge Listeners! Today we have a final wrap-up episode of the 2016 Spring High Point Market. If you listened to the episodes from the High Point series you probably noticed that some of audio was not of the greatest quality, so we reached out to a couple of the designers we interviewed at High Point for a second interview. On today’s show you’ll hear completely new content from Amy Flurry, updated audio from Cheryl Kees Clendenon and Farah Merhi and a special interview with the CEO of the High Point Market Authority, Tom Conley.

Amy Flurry : Recipe For Press 

Amy Flurry spoke at this year’s High Point Market, with a session called “The Press Release is Dead.” Her background is in publishing and recipe for PressAmy shares her expertise in the subject with people who are trying to get their work published. Amy talks specifically about the relation of publication of work to interior designers and how important that can be to success. Amy’s experience in the publishing world came from editorial work spanning almost 20 years for nationwide publications. She would essentially be pitching stories to the publications, and was very successful at doing so. Her success was not unnoticed, and Amy began receiving requests to “grab a coffee” with people who wanted to know what exactly it took to get their work published.

That said, Amy published a book entitled “Recipe for Press” that provided as she puts it “everything all editor’s want you to know” in order to get your work published. In the book and on today’s show, Amy dispenses advice to those working to get published, including where and where not to invest your money and the three key things an editor is looking for in your initial pitch. Amy and Nick also discuss the biggest mistake people make when reaching out to editors and publishers and the importance of doing your homework on the publication up front.

Farah Merhi: @Inspire_Me_Home_Decor

The next interview on today’s show is with Farah Merhi, a prominent persona in the Instagram world with her page @Inspire_Me_Home_Decor. You may have heard Farah in the Chaise Lounge previously as Nick interviewed her live at the High Point Market. We were so impressed with Farah we wanted to have her back again, to make sure our listeners were able to glean as muchInspire Me Logo advice from her as possible. Farah says of her time at High Point, “Everyone in this industry needs to experience this at least once!” Farah and Nick speak further about their time at High Point.

Farah’s road to her massive success in social media as it relates design really started with a remodeling project of her own home. After searching for inspiration photos on the web, and finding the content to be lacking, Farah decided to start her own Instagram account to collect imagery that inspired her. She would find images from professional designers to design enthusiasts or simply snap photos of things or places that inspired her. Her Instagram page has grown to a platform now where professionals and non-professional alike can find inspiration. Farah’s Instagram following is topping out at over 3.2 million followers!

Nick and Farah talk about the process of tagging your posts to get the most exposure and impact and how to best reach your audience. They also discuss the time frame it took for Farah to get to her level and the exponential growth her page has encountered through the use of re-posts. Tune in to hear more about Farah’s aesthetic, her goals for the future and the obstacles she’s faced in getting to where she is today.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon

Next up, Nick re-joins designer and retail store operator Cheryl Kees Clendenon from Pensacola, Florida with a follow-up interview to the one recorded at High Point Market.

Cheryl holds a background in sales and marketing, and eventually transitioned to a successful career in interior design. Cheryl talks about the start of her design business and how it really started just through friends and family asking for her help with their spaces, and as she puts it, “it just snowballed from there.” With no formal education in interior design, Cheryl talks about how her portfolio has been the platform for which she has presented her work. In her business, Cheryl describes her favorite “hat to wear” as the creative side, she is really driven and inspired by materials and loves to sit in her space and just go through materials that inspire her.

1514 Home Logo

Nick and Cheryl talk about the business side of her firm, she states “You are fooling yourself if you think there isn’t a sale component to what you do,” as a designer. It’s just as important to have that expertise as it is to have the creative expertise. Beyond her successful design firm at In Details Interiors, Cheryl has recently launched into the retail side of the business, with a storefront open in Pensacola, called 1514 Home. Nick and Cheryl talk about how she selects lines to carry in her store, and how she varies the price points of the pieces she carries.

Tom Conley: CEO of High Point Market Authority

Last up on today’s show we are honored to talk with Tom Conley, the man behind the scenes of the highly successful High Point Market. As the CEO of the High Point Market Authority, Tom’s job is to set the dates of the show, promote the speakers and showrooms that will be present at each show and organize the registration and overall transportation system throughout the town to make sure attendees can easily get to where they want to be. Nick talks firsthand about his experience with the outstanding customer service that the Market provided during his time there. Tom organizes over 400 employees at each Market event and also talks to Nick about the fantastic App they the Authority created to provide fast and convenient customer service for those attending Market. To close, Tom talks about the prep for the next High Point Market, which will be held the last week of October 2016 and Nick shares his advice for attending market.

High Point Oct 2016

 

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!

61 – High Point Market: Day 4

We are the nearing the end of the 2016 Spring High Point Market, but your host Nick May still has several great interviews lined up for you live from the Market. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see pictures and videos taken at Market! Today Nick has three interviews for you with a range of topics including the social media side of the interior design business and last but not least Nick interviews a world renowned “International Colour Expert.” Tune in today to learn how to continue to design your design business and if you’ve enjoyed our coverage of the 2016 Spring High Point Market, please leave us a review on Itunes!

Farah Merhi and #Inspiremehomedecor

Inspire Me Logo

In the first segment of today’s show, Nick sits down with Farah Merhi, a well-known blogger and social media expert, with over 3.2 million followers in Instagram alone! Farah was born and Raised in Congo, Africa and attended an American school in the Congo. Farah attended college in the states, in Michigan to be exact, where she is based out of today. Farah talks about how interior design was always a part of her life, as her mom was an interior designer. Farah started out studying political science, however with just 3 semester short of graduating with that degree, Farah took a sharp turn and decided to pursue a degree in Interior Design.

Farah’s road to her massive success in social media as it relates design really started with a remodeling project of her own home. After searching for inspiration photos on the web, and finding the content to be lacking, Farah decided to start her own Instagram account to collect imagery that inspired her. She would find images from professional designers to design enthusiasts or simply snap photos of things or places that inspired her. Her hashtag #inspiremehomedecor has grown to a platform now where professionals and non-professional alike can find inspiration. With an initial goal of 500 followers, obviously Farah’s presence in the social media world has grown exponentially. Farah and Nick talk about why the visual aspect of Instagram and similar social media platforms are so successful in promoting design. The two talk about the process of tagging your posts to get the most exposure and impact and how to best reach your audience. To close, Farah states, “I had no idea it was going to get this big, but it’s not about how many followers I have, it’s about what inspires me and what inspires others.”Farah will also be creating a special Pinterest specifically for her finds at this year’s High Point Market, get online and check it out!

Cheryl Kees Clendendon: In Detail Interiors and 1514 Home

In Detail Logo

Next up, Nick joins designer and retail store operator Cheryl Kees Clendendon from Pensacola, Florida from the Chaise Lounge. Cheryl holds a background in sales and marketing, and In Detail Pic 1eventually transitioned to a successful career in interior design. Cheryl talks about the start of her design business and how it really started just through friends and family asking for her help with their spaces, and as she puts it, “it just snowballed from there.” With no formal education in interior design, Cheryl talks about how her portfolio has been the platform for which she has presented her work. In her business, Cheryl describes her favorite “hat to wear” as the creative side, she is really driven and inspired by materials and loves to sit in her space and just go through materials that inspire her.

Nick and Cheryl talk about the business side of her firm, she states “You are fooling yourself if you think there isn’t a sale component to what you do,” as a designer. It’s just as important to have that expertise as it is to have the creative expertise. Beyond her successful design firm, Cheryl has recently launched into the retail side of the business, with a storefront open in Pensacola, called 1514 Home. Nick and Cheryl talk about how she selects lines to carry in her store, and how she varies the price points of the pieces she carries.

This being her 7th year at the High Point Market, Cheryl talks about how exciting it is to see all the new trends and how important it is to her clients for her to attend events like High Point.

Maria Killam: “Colour Me Happy”

Last up on today’s show, Nick interviews Maria Killam, an expert color consultant based out of Vancouver, BC. Maria starts off by telling us what exactly it is she does as an international color consultant, “I help people transform the way they see color through my proprietary understanding undertone system.” Maria has a very highly demanded course called “Specify Color with Confidence” where she teaches professional designers among other students how to select colors based on a color system she has developed. Maria’s course is available digitally on her website, but will be including 8-9 U.S. courses in major cities this year. You can also connect with Maria on Instagram.

Maria Killiam Headshot

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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