Nick May

139 – Kim Vance: Creating Color in a Whole New Way

Kim Vance: Creating Color in a Whole New Way

On this episode of The Lounge, Kim Vance of Whyte and Company joins us from Dallas to talk about creating color in a whole new way: in sinks! Kim discovered a niche that didn’t previously exist and then filled it by manufacturing colorful sinks. Nick and Kim originally met at ICFF.

How it all started

Kim didn’t have any sort of background in plumbing but was actually a marketing person. One day she and her girlfriend started talking about how fun a colorful sink would be and googled ‘purple sink’, but nothing came up!  Unless it was glass or old, a purple sink was nowhere to be sold in the USA or in Europe. Kim pondered why we can order a spatula from Amazon and receive it on the same day, but we can’t buy a purple sink. The sink industry’s colors were so limited that they were essentially black, white, gray, beige, beige, and beige. So why was no one doing it?

Kim decided to take matters into her own hands. Now for the first time in 40 years, color is taking over plumbing in over 30 standard colors, but this time in an updated, clean, European inspired look. And people are ready for it. Not only do designers LOVE it but the clients are reaching out to designers because they HAVE to have it.

The Logistics

With no plumbing background, Kim had to learn all about sinks, sink manufacturers, and all of the who? what? where? when? how? questions of the sink industry. Today, she can’t believe how fun product design really is and loves inventing amazing colors with her “colorista” team (including Kerrie Kelly, and Michel Boyd).

Originally, Kim dove right in and began manufacturing in Mexico but after realizing how important quality control is, she moved her team to the U.S. All of the sinks are made to order with only a 4 week turn around, and while there are standard designs and colors, Kim says,”if you can dream it we can make it.” Custom is the word. If there are quirky spaces and niches to fill, she can do it and at the SAME price point. The solid surface material that they use is so malleable that it costs the same to manufacture, meaning there’s no upcharge on them or YOU. Their style suits contemporary to transitional.

The hardest thing early on was figuring out the properties of the materials. Making sure they are durable and won’t chip was very important to Kim, so she had to figure out what could and couldn’t be done with the materials from both a color and a design perspective.

Why Whyte?

Kim tells us that the color white is the encapsulation of all color- she wanted a name with meaning that felt relatable. Growing and getting your name out there is definitely a challenge. She was nervous about being able to sell color to the clients and not just to designers, but clients have been the ones most excited about it. A lot of people find them through Instagram.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Kim’s favorite color, it’s the first color she fabricated and a customer favorite. The most sought after color though is Sweet Plum by Lisa Escobar which is very popular for small urban spaces. Shay Blue is a cobalt blue and also very popular. Blush is the most requested sample, and not just for kids spaces.

What the business looks like today

Whyte and Company have only been selling since January so 6 months in, it’s still early. She’s thrilled that people are stopping in their tracks at the showrooms to look at the sink. People are very excited about using color and having another dimension to it. No one can compete with it! People are actually getting excited about plumbing, who knew that would ever happen? Kim’s advice? Don’t install these sinks in your bathroom if you don’t want everyone who goes through to take a sink selfie.

Whyte and Company sell to the trade, so not directly to clients, but they are carried by build.com and you can go to their website and apply to be a member of the trade.

E-mail info@whyteandcompany.com if you have any questions and learn more at www.whyteandcompany.com

  • Upcoming Events

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!

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!

134 – Sarah Wilson: Career Reset into Interior Design

Sarah Wilson: Career reset into Interior Design

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Sarah Wilson of Chansaerae Interior Design. Sarah shares how she restarted her career in a new industry, working for herself, and also shares her goals for 2017.

Getting to know Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson joins Nick in The Lounge from Palm Springs, California, where she owns and operates Chansaerae Interior Design. Sarah loves to vacation in St. Croix, where she grew up. Her favorite room is her bedroom, but she would love even more to have a walk-in closet. Sarah admittedly is not a pet person; she would rather have the freedom to go wherever she wants, whenever she wants.

How Sarah got into design

Interior design is Sarah’s third career. She started in school for graphic arts and worked in that field for three years. Sarah had her son, then went back to school for her Bachelor’s degree. Wanting to earn more money, Sarah earned her Masters in Information Technology.

She eventually realized that she missed the design aspect of her profession. Sarah had always designed her own spaces and didn’t want to work for someone else so she made the switch. Starting next month, she will have been a business owner for two years. She loves the reaction she gets from clients when the space she designs is done.

Getting the word out

In terms of marketing, Sarah participates in both digital and traditional methods, including Instagram, local newsletters, and Facebook ads. Sarah has also had luck developing mutually beneficial relationships with contractors and joining networking groups.

Making the switch

Sarah mentioned that she embraces change. It doesn’t scare her. When she wasn’t happy with her previous job, she knew it was time for a change. It may have seemed like a quick decision, but it was on her mind for at least ten years. Sarah started with seeking out design education, then followed through with internships, and ultimately opening her own firm.

It was never her goal to work for someone else, so she used her internships to learn what she needed to open the doors to Chansaerae Interior Design. Sarah identifies with how personal design is. She wanted to do things her own, way with her own point of view.

Current projects include a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodels, a fireplace refresh, furnishing a whole home, and even home staging. In 2017, Sarah hopes to expand even more into home flipping. She knows what sells homes and wants to employ her expertise.

Learn more at Chansaerae 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!

133 – Sanja Radovanovic: Home Staging from Rome

Sanja Radovanovic: Home Staging from Rome

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Sanja Radovanovic on home staging, her ambassadorship with IAHSP in Europe, and what’s next for her in the world of home staging.

Getting to know Sanja Radovanovic

Sanja Radovanovic, born in Serbia, currently lives in Rome, after residing in at least eight other countries. She met Nick at the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP). Sanja speaks five languages and loves men’s watches, sunglasses, and high heels. She also enjoys Nutella and wine.

How Sanja got into design

Sanja states that interior design has always been a part of her. As a child, her mother’s job kept the family moving, which meant constant renovations and redesigns. Now, she is married to a diplomat, which keeps her family moving as well.

She has been involved with IAHSP over the last year and is on the board of directors. IAHSP is the longest running industry association and is dedicated to advancing the education for stagers and realtors. The organization provides ongoing education throughout the US and is expanding into Europe.

For Sanja, the switch from interior design to home staging came naturally. She was always attending open houses, though she mentions it’s a tough market educating clients on what staging is. She prepares a home to bring in top dollar in the least amount of time.

Sanja initially established her business in Chicago but has moved, again and again, restarting from scratch, feeling like she has to work twice as hard. She relies on social networks, industry associations including IAHSP, and professional relationships to build her business wherever she is.

What her business looks like

Sanja has never worked for someone else. She has always run her own firm. Interior design clients ask for home staging when selling, and then ask for help designing their new home after they’ve moved. Much of her business has been brought in through word of mouth.

Sanja mentions that interior design requires designing for someone else, which means you need to listen and understand what they need and want, whereas staging is for a home must appeal to a wide number of individuals, so it can sell, not the current owner.

What’s next

Sanja is investing a lot of time and effort with IAHSP expanding across the globe. In Rome, there is less design work currently due to economy, but IAHSP founder, Barb Schwarz, says, “The world is full of money, you have to find it.”

Learn more at Staged Homes and The Art of Staging.

  • 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!

132 – Betsy Helmuth: Affordable Interior Designer

Betsy Helmuth: Affordable Interior Designer

On this episode of The Louge, fellow podcaster and interior designer, Betsy Helmuth joins us to talk about Affordable Interior Design and how to design your own home on a budget, at your leisure. Her podcast, Big Design, Small Budget runs every Tuesday and is available on iTunes where she spills inside tips on design and how to do it yourself.

Getting to Know Betsy

Betsy waits all week for her Saturday night tradition of going to Outback Steakhouse with her family and ordering a martini. She recently became a suburban mom, moving her life to from NY City, where her business began, to Westchester. Her business has expanded from Manhatten to the suburbs and now, across the globe online.

Inside Affordable Interior Design

Besty’s company only consists of 5 designers and 2 handymen yet they get 8-15 new clients every week, and design 500-700 spaces a year! They’ve worked with everyone from hoarders to billionaires.

What makes Affordable Interior Design, affordable, is offering flat rate plans that tell clients exactly what to do and buy, so they can execute it on their own time and at their own rate. The whole process only takes 6 hours! 2 hours are spent meeting in person or online, 2-3 hours are reserved for the designers to ‘shop’ online and build a mood board, and the last hour is to meet back up on the phone to look at and tweak items. All that is left is for the client to execute the vision! Now they can budget accordingly. 90% of Betsy’s business consists of this plan that clients implement on their own, but they do offer packages where the designers do everything as well, it’s just more expensive as you have to pay for their time.

Marketing

Betsy never spent a lot of time on advertising, if any at all, as her name advertised for itself. If anyone googles “affordable interior design,” her website pops up. Which, is exactly what the user is looking for. Then her reviews, referrals, history, and designers’ degrees and high-end experience leads people to stick around and use the service.

Recently though, for the last 3 months and for the first time in 10 years she has started marketing and hired people to help. As the company grows and more designers are added to the team, she wants to make sure clientele is still growing also.

Betsy has an impressive repertoire of PR but has never paid for any of it. Each exposure has its own story and some were as simple as a Google search. Find her on the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, LifeTime, NBC, CNN, USA Today HGTV, the DIY Network and more here. Betsy shares with us that TV exposure doesn’t really translate to clientele at the time, but instead, after the fact it gives credibility and interest. A lot of marketing is about good photography and Nick tells us his secret hack on how to get high-quality pictures for cheap.

Inside The Podcast: Big Design, Small Budget

Betsy’s had her podcast now for a year and a half now. She believes that knowing how to design is a right, not a gift. You shouldn’t have to hire someone. The principals of design can easily be learned by anyone, you don’t need a magic eye. Betsy is passionate about giving away her design secrets and imparting everything she knows on others. You have to live in your home, so you should be comfortable doing so. Betsy also tells us how she got started in the podcast world and how it has helped reach and boost her online platform which includes design classes, design packages, and her book.

Of everything, Betsy loves that the items she chooses can really make a difference in people lives. She tells us that she truly believes furniture can change people’s lives.

Contact her at betsy@affordableinteriordesign.com and learn more on her website www.affordableinteriordesign.com

 

131 – High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #4

High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #4

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