Interview

S22 E13 – Laura Umansky, Creating a Legacy Through Story Telling

Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Laura Umanski of Laura U Interiors, a Houston Texas designer who runs her firm with her wonderful staff and comes home to her loving family. Laura has a vision that each client and space should get their own look, finding unique objects for her projects while mixing with the client’s personal objects creating a story for their space. Laura calls her designs Classically Current, her spaces are bold, dramatic, colorful, and never the same from client to client.

S22 E7 – A Hot Look at Interior Design with Michelle Rohrer-Lauer

Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Michelle Rohrer-Lauer of Michelle’s Interior. Michelle has fabulous sophistication mixed with modern elements to gives that special magical feeling that fits you and your home.

136 – Anthony Michael: Chicago Designer of High-end Homes and Yacht Design

Anthony Michael: Chicago Designer of High-end Homes and Yacht Design

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Anthony Michael of Anthony Michael Interior Design. Anthony is passionate about design and shares his 30+ history in the industry, how he manages clients and his enthusiasm for yacht projects.

Getting to know Anthony

 Anthony Michael is calling in from Lincoln Park, but didn’t grow up far from there. He loves Romantic Comedies, especially Under the Tuscan Sun. Anthony loves bracelets, shoes, and sunglasses – and owns an abundance of all three! Though Anthony can’t even think about not being a designer, he imagines that he would be a teacher, writer, chef, or even an archaeologist.

How Anthony got into design

Growing up, Anthony’s mom always had a project going. The house was in chaos, but he was always intrigued with the process and transformation. As a young kid, he found himself reading Architectural Digest and House Beautiful, not comics like his friends.

Anthony went on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and ultimately a Master’s abroad, in Paris. His mindset totally switched from survival to expanding his knowledge. After school, Anthony worked for someone else but found it difficult to not follow his own thoughts and opinions. He understood the value of working your way up in a business, as his parents always owned restaurants, but found it tough in this instance. Anthony opened his own firm with a $5000 loan. His first client, Mrs. Banks, is one of his best supporters, and the rest is history.

What the business looks like today

Anthony mentions the ebbs and flows of the business. He currently employs about 8 individuals who work on 20+ projects at a time within the US and Puerto Rico. The projects include repeat customers, high-end residential, and restoring yachts.

Anthony believes in giving clients what they want but knows to keep in mind that he was hired for a reason- his expertise. He lives vicariously through his clients. Anthony and his team do not work in phases, but rather on whole homes. His firm does not stage homes to sell, but when a home designed by him is on the market, it is often furnished and sold quickly.

Managing a client

Anthony and his team have honed in a process for interacting with clients that includes: a first meeting to get an idea of each other’s personalities, budget, and expectations; then a presentation of image boards, textiles, and floor plans; next a follow up with all details, elevations, etc; followed by a budget meeting. Around week eight, project work begins. Anthony kicks the client out for about a week until the project is installed and revealed. He then meets with the client the next day to review and walk through tutorials. Anthony and his team take care of this client all year, even decorating for the holidays! The approach is very proactive and tends to eliminate issues that could pop up.

Designing yachts

Growing up, Anthony’s parents had a boat that they restored over 15 years ago, Anthony found a boat in bad condition and ended up restoring it himself over the next nine months. People noticed the boat and Anthony. He was able to make a nice profit and continue the process every year. Each year, the project grows and Anthony continues to learn more and more about the materials and design for yachts. His next boat is launching on June 15.

                         

Getting the word out

Anthony relies on word of mouth and repeat customers. He saw a need for keeping up with marketing and decided to employ an in-house team for social media, editorial content, and influencer relationship management. He cited the old adage, “Spend money to make money.”

Anthony and his business continue to evolve, and he hires people who are smarter than him! Learn more at Anthony Michael Interior Design.

  • Upcoming Events

NeoCon – June 12 – 14

PCBC – June 26 – 28

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

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 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!

114 – April Force Pardoe: A Force Within the Interior Design Industry

April Force Pardoe

April Force Pardoe: A Force Within the Interior Design Industry

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with April Force Pardoe of April Force Pardoe Interiors. She shares her experience of starting her own business, how she translates graphic design to interiors, and her support system within the industry.

Getting to know April Force Pardoe

April is calling into The Chaise Lounge from Elkridge, Maryland and is a long time listener of the podcast. April has been running her business for nine years. A few of her favorite things include House Beautiful magazine, a Mac over a PC, and a Cape Cod vacation. She also enjoys a gin and tonic and a good Netflix binge.

How did April get into design?

April received her Master of Arts in Publication Design with a focus in graphic arts and design. She has always been creative and good with color. April started working in event planning where she gained experience in logistics and coordinating using 3D structural layouts.

Eventually, the event planning schedule was too much with young children, and April decided to get into interior design and start her own business.

April has not had any formal education in interior design but is always looking for webinars and seminars. It took her about six months to launch her business. Her intuition, graphic design, and logistics experience have served her well, even down to the fine details.

How does April find clients?

April has only advertised once (in a mom’s club newsletter), and she got one client from it. She also took a design class on how to approach the design of a room. April asked a friend to be her guinea pig and her friend has been an advocate ever since.

April also has a touch base program internally where she schedules phone calls, mailings, and cards to stay top of mind with current and past customers. She also writes a newsletter and blog, manages her social media accounts, and creates video content.

What’s April’s business like today?

In the past, accounting has been April’s least favorite part of the business, but now she has a person to help with that. April mentions that having the right people to help is wonderful. She likes being able to take a vacation and unplug. April is still learning to delegate more and the art of doing it well. On the other hand, April geeks out on the data behind her business. On a quarterly basis, April reviews her business and time spent on certain tasks and strategies on how to become more profitable.

April attends High Point in the spring and networks with a group of designer friends every other month. This is a great and supportive group that shares resources, contractors, challenges, and more.

April has been consistently busy for the most part but has experienced a slow spring. She decided not to get down or worried, but rather reached out to past customers, visited them, and even sought out speaking engagements. April recommends to keep putting yourself out there no matter what.

Learn more at April’s website, Instagram, Facebook, or email.

  • 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

109 – Phillip Thomas: Kips Bay Designer Extraordinaire

Phillip Thomas

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 The Lady Lair at Kips Bay Showhousethat 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.

What’s next?

 

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.

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!

108 – Edyta Czajkowska – Solo Chicago Interior Designer

Chicago interior design

Edyta Czajkowska: She does it all as a Chicago Interior Designer

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Edyta Czajkowska. Edyta talks about why she eventually chose interior design over architecture, what she loves about keeping her business small, and what’s on her roadmap for the next ten years.

Getting to know Edyta

Edyta is joining Nick in The Lounge from right outside of Chicago. She would love to know how to sew, specifically window treatments. Edyta was a ballroom dancer and currently indulges in reality TV, including Flipping Out. Along with some white wine or a mojito, Edyta loves the paint color Revere Pewter and frequently uses it in her designs because its warm and fresh.

When Did Edyta Become Interested in Interior Design?

Edyta’s mom was always into creating a beautiful home, but since she didn’t know any other way, Edyta didn’t realize she was specifically interested in design. Later in high school, Edyta was able to choose interior design electives and knew she was heading in the right direction. She continued on to design school and started working after graduation.

Edyta thought she wanted to get her Masters in Architecture, but soon identified she was pursuing this for the wrong reasons. She determined that she enjoys the details and personal aspect of design. Edyta is not the type to spend so much time in front of a computer in a CAD program.

Edyta acknowledged that she learned a great deal in school, but that it’s not the only way to learn and get into the profession. She enjoyed being able to choose courses that help steer you in the direction you want to go and mentioned that the business classes were helpful.

Edyta has worked in both commercial and residential settings. She likes the processes and formalities in place when working on commercial projects, but soon identified that she really enjoys working with individual people to help them create a lifestyle.

In 2009, Edyta set out to start her own business taking on small projects including decorating an apartment. This first project soon snowballed into more business. Edyta & Co. Interior Design was off to a great start!

What the Business Looks Like

Currently, Edyta runs the show, with the help of an assistant as needed. Her interior design projects are primarily residential, and she takes on two to three at a time, ranging from a single room to whole home.

She is still challenged when it comes to sitting down and completing the business side of things, including taxes, bills, etc. She knows this is a necessary evil to keep the business running, but would prefer to spend this time finding creative fulfillment. Edyta’s best clients are referrals and repeat clients. Even lately, Edyta’s designer friends are referring clients her way due to her Mid-Western, Chicago location.

What’s next?

Over the next ten years, Edyta has some lofty goals in place. She would like to still be involved with interior design and working with clients, but in addition would like to take on more projects in different states or even abroad. She would love to create or license a textile line and have a showroom.

Learn more at Edyta’s website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Artists Delight: Modra Studio

Modra Studio

Nick chats with Fernando Apodaca and Tamalyn Shea from Modra Studio.  Fernando and Tamalyn discuss their passion for transforming fine art into so much more and Edyta talks about why she eventually chose interior design over architecture, what she loves about keeping her business small, and what’s on her roadmap for the next ten years.

How Modra Studios Began

Fernando Apodaca and Tamalyn Shea are joining Nick from La Jolla, California, where they create fine art pieces in 3D and translate them into 2D forms of fabric, drapery, upholstery, pillows, etc. Fernando and Tamalyn met at a charity event eight years ago with a dream of merging a creative studio with textiles. They soon began working together.

When Did Fernando and Tamalyn Become Interested in Interior Design?

Fernando’s parents were artists and musicians. They shared their lifelong pursuit of fine art with their son. Initially, Fernando worked as a director for film and music videos, but then found his home as a textile designer\, where he can marry all art forms together in an immersive space.

Tamalyn has a background in print production as a Director, which has proven invaluable in her current work. As a creative outlet, she loves oil painting.

What the Business Looks Like

With a smaller selection of stocked SKUs (around 50), Modra also offers a large library of ideas and patterns, with the ability to customize. Within the last year, they have established a sampling and distribution program, in addition to selling through showrooms in California and New York.

When asked about selling to the trade, rather than straight to consumer, Fernando responded that it’s exciting to see what designers do with their fabrics and that it is exciting to be able to offer tools to designers to create meaningful and inspiring environments for clients.

What’s next?

Within the next five years, Modra Studio wants to have showrooms both locally and globally as well as make their scarves more readily available to those interested.

Learn more at Modra’s website, Instagram, and Twitter.

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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