Success Story

148 – Randy Fiser: The Big Cheese at ASID

Randy Fiser: The Big Cheese at ASID

Today in The Lounge we have a SPECIAL guest, CEO of ASID aka The Big Cheese: Randy Fiser. He might not have an interior design background and he isn’t an interior designer but Randy is definitely one of the most influential people in the industry.

As always please reach out to us as Nick LOVES to hear from you guys, tell us what you’re doing, what you’d like to hear on the show and ask us questions if you need advice!

Secondly, don’t forget to check out Porcelanosa‘s Life Style Magazine either online or order it by mail because guess what, it’s FREE. They feature tons of great commercial/hospitality designers and images. Their 3D rendering service is also FREE so you utilize it guys! Remodel a kitchen or bathroom for your clients. Learn more about it here.

Getting to Know Randy

Randy was born in Southern California and lived there until he was 11 when he moved to Arizona and finished high school. Later, he went to Georgia for grad school and eventually moved to Washinton DC where he has been ever since. He received his masters in Counseling and Human Development as well as an MBA. Ever since he was little Randy knew he wanted to be in business and work with people to make an impact and leave the world a better place. So, he invested his time in consulting and large scale organizational transformation work. Later Randy’s managing and consulting work were mission driven and soon he transitioned to non-profit work on affordable housing development and education reform. He was a client of Brad Pitt’s to help rebuild New Orleans as well.

Randy’s favorite place to vacation is Bali. As long as there is an adventure and he can hike, bike, be active and go to the beach, he’s there. Good food is, of course, important too. Randy lives in a small 700 square foot apartment in DC, space isn’t important to him as he’s never home! BUT it is very well designed and FUNCTIONAL. Canadian designers built the apartments using Universal’s Design Principles so anyone could live in it, such as someone in a wheel chair or someone not in a wheelchair. This is why Randy believes design matters, it took him a year to notice and think about the wide-range functionality in his apartment because it was so well designed. Design can be both beautiful and functional to the point where you don’t notice or think about!

If you ask Randy, “beer, wine or a cocktail?”… it’s wine AND a cocktail.

A Day in the Life

Well, it’s never a typical day in the life of Randy but usually, he’s on the road. He meets with members of ASID, attends chapter events, and talks with manufacturers who want to bring their product in front of members. He meets with other associations that represent the surrounding areas of design and construction. He meets with government officials at the state and federal levels.He meets with clients who run companies, healthcare facilities, or who are homeowners. He talks about WHAT designers do and WHY design matters. Design impacts life. Randy informs us that we’re spending 93% of our time indoors now!! So human interaction with the spaces we spend the most time in defines us as human beings and affect our health. Randy does a lot of public speaking on these topics and loves it because it is what he is passionate about.

Randy thinks ASID needs to continue pushing this message and furthermore elevate it with case-studies. It’s one thing to tell people that design impacts lives but it’s another thing to prove it. One interesting thing Randy brings up is how we design spaces for people but we never take pictures of the spaces with people in them! Aesthetic is defining design but in reality, design is for functionality and for people, every space has a purpose. If you let beauty take over you dilute what design is all about! In every image of ASID’s new Head Quarters, they have people in it, the goal is to show design intent by putting people within the space who are using it. It’s like clothing, it’s better to photograph it on someone than off, as you get a better idea how the clothing works. Randy believes we need to focus less on luxury, lifestyle, brand, and aesthetics as that’s just consumerism and design is so much more.

The hardest part about Randy’s job is the misconception of what designers do, which both motivates and frustrates him. Clients don’t always understand what a designer is doing and often times the design community undersells themselves which is frustrating. This is why Randy travels around to talk about these subjects. People either benefit or hurt from a space which means they can benefit or hurt from designer’s work. The intent of a space can change an entire culture of an organization. Designers have the skills to achieve intent i.e build happiness, interactivity, acoustic comfort, or light into a space.

NEOCON Announcements

Aside from building up their glutes at Neocon, ASID’s goal is to connect with the design community. They use these communities to announce their up and coming events and messages. First off, they have an amazing example of workplace design at their new HQ. It is the first LEED and WELL platinum office in the world and they are doing pre/post-occupancy research and case studies on how the design improves productivity, engagement, and attention in staff. The second announcement is the merger of ASID’s magazine Icon (comes out 6 times a year) combined with IDC ‘s D Magazine. The name is still to be determined so SEND IN YOUR IDEAS. ASID will be holding a brand new Leadership Experience conference in San Diego for emerging professionals consisting of 300+ people representing ASID chapters and 300+ people doing leadership skills (leading one’s self, team or practice). Leadership isn’t a skill we’re trained for in design school so here is the opportunity to learn how to be one. Lastly, Platform is their other brand new retreat for principals, partners, and owners in Victoria, BC. They will have keynote speakers outside of the design industry with conversations in between discussing how to change practices or run businesses accordingly.

  • 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!

142 – ICFF with Chad James

ICFF with Chad James

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick meets with Chad James at ICFF NYC to talk about long time client, friend and country singer-songwriter Luke Bryan; PR; and Chad’s progress since their last interview about a year ago. It’s Chad’s first time at ICFF and he is very excited about the unique vendors and getting small glimpses into each one’s best work. Later, Nick talks to Shell Broadnax of RESA who will be speaking at Las Vegas Market about whether or not you might want to become a home stager.

Special thanks to Benjamin Moore for making this week’s show possible. Walls By Design exclusively uses Benjamin Moore paints which can be bought online at Guiry’s. This week in the office we did a paint test between Benjamin Moore and Sherman Williams‘ four lowest end products, as they’re the most commonly bought paints. Hang tight for a link to the video on the Walls By Design Facebook. Also, Lindsay Paoli of Design Manager just featured us in her article, 11 Binge-Worthy Design Shows That Aren’t on HGTV, which talks about the top design movies, TV shows, books and podcasts to check out this summer. Design Manager is the best way for your business to stay organized, get rid of spreadsheets and Microsoft documents, and put all your projects, accounting, and inventory in one place.

Catching up with Chad

Currently, Chad is on a 12-week travel schedule so he hasn’t spent much time at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. When he does make it to his lakehouse though, he enjoys wake surfing from his boat.

Chad is always very private about who he works with but once a client’s project is published, he’s able to talk about it. Two years ago he designed Luke Bryan’s Florida beach home and recently, his work was picked up and put on the cover of Traditional Home, so Nick dug in to learn all about it. Check out the article here. His photographs (featured below) were done by architectural photographer Alyssa Rossenheck who will be on the show this month!

Chad gives us some insight into the pros and cons of PR in the interior design industry and how he is able (or unable) to get his work out there. He tells us, after spending so much time on a beautiful project, often times the only people who get to see and enjoy it are the homeowners. From the very beginning of a project, he and his client talk through his photographic rights and come to an agreement about what this means. He will always respect a client’s privacy even if he is disappointed he doesn’t get to show off his work. His firm never talks about a project due to the fact that with social media and digital press, information spreads quickly… no one wants what they’re doing and spending to be in the public eye. All of his employees sign a confidentiality agreement. Occasionally though, he get’s to take photos of a project and send it out to multiple avenues in order to see who will ‘bite,’ just like with Traditional Home and Luke Bryan.

Last time Nick and Chad chatted, at Highpoint, he told us that he hired a PR company to encourage his business and his work. Before that, Chad just kept his head down, took pictures, put them in his portfolio, and that was it. He never was a self-promotor so his PR took away the burden and discomfort of having to promote himself. Now, he’s has participated in speaking engagements and has traveled to Italy, to Paris, and all over the U.S. His PR handles all online and print media, gained him name recognition, and created a BRAND- the only way to make your business grow.

Lastly, Chad talks about his new house, which he closed on his birthday, but is only just now starting to design the space. He has decided to publish his home when ‘s finished because this house is very different than anything he’s ever done before – it’s contemporary! He describes it as a ‘modern box’ and so, he wants to let his pendulum swing in the other direction and show off this new side.

Chad predicts that after a 7-year span of bright, light and crisp designs, we are now returning back to warmer darker palettes with brass and rich luxurious fabrics, color and interiors.

Learn more at chadjames.com, follow @chadjamesgroup on Instagram or Chad James Group on Facebook.

Meet Shell Brodnax CEO and Founder of RESA

Shell is our first guest of many who will be speaking at and participating in Las Vegas Market‘s special events.

Shell joins us from Valley Springs California. Her favorite place to vacation is in the mountains but she admits she’s a workaholic and hasn’t taken enough time off to get to them. Her inner cowgirl informs us that spurs and her belt buckle are her favorite fashion accessories and a recent book she has read and recommends is It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows YOU! by David Avrin. Nick loves marketing books and also recommends, Marketing Outrageously.

Shell founded RESA in 2007 but is NOT a home stager. She loves all things staging but actually doing the staging is a whole other story. She says that it’s a specific kind of creative balance between the right the brain left brain that she just doesn’t have. What she did love doing were the sales and marketing but couldn’t find a partner to do the rest with her. So instead, she founded RESA: a trade association organization that brings together stagers. Her platform allows all different types of stagers and business models to come together as one support group.

Her talk in Las Vegas will be about why you should or shouldn’t ever start in the business of home staging; it’s for some people but definitely not for others. She wants to save the juicy details for the event, but she does give us some insight. The main point she’ll drive home is that staging and design work are very different business models. If a designer wants to get into the business, they do have the design aspect going for them but people often make the mistake of overdesigning. It’s not a not personalized home, but a marketing strategy. The main goal is to merchandise your asset.

Learn more about RESA at realestatestagingassociation.com

Find Shell on August 2nd from 10:30-11:30 at her event, “Staging to Sell, Is This The Career For Me?” in the Building C Seminar Room, C174. Learn more about the event here.

Let us know if you are heading to Vegas as it’s coming up quickly! Nick is going LIVE at 4 pm PT every day of Market with Barry Livingstone, his very first guest on the show, Kelli Ellis, Christopher Kennedy and Dann Foley. There will be wine and it WILL be a good time!

  • Upcoming Events

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

  • 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!

140 – Therese Virserius: A Worldly Hospitality Designer

Therese Virserius: A Worldly Hospitality Designer

On this episode of The Lounge, Therese Virserius joins Nick at Porcelanosa in New York to talk about her design business. She may have started out in law but today she is a multinational interior design business owner, there’s nothing unlawful about that. From Paris, Montreal, Berlin, to Brussels, Tunisia and New York Therese designs for hospitality all over the world.

Getting to Know Therese

Therese’s favorite fashion accessory is bracelets. She doesn’t have a favorite restaurant though because it honestly just depends on her mood and the weather. Home is Sweden, even though her offices are in New York and Paris, and truly she just loves all things Italy. Her friends might agree that wine is her drink of choice, whether it’s a light red or a Sauvignon Blanc. Therese travels 50% out of the month so its safe to say she’s a busy woman, but one place she’s never designed in is the Maldives, and she would love the opportunity (hint, hint).

How Mandarin Started it All

Therese never thought she would be doing interior design or end up in New York because her background is in law. When she was young, Therese was very interested in Asia so she left Sweden for China to get a BA in Mandarin. In China, she strictly did management and logistics for IKEA but soon began oil painting and having her own exhibits in Shanghai. Therese wanted an outlet to express herself, even more, so she opened up a store for product design. Her drawings were brought to life and made into products. She created anything from silverware to glassware, candles, fabrics, and napkins.

After 3 years of chaos in Shanghai, Therese moved to New York and went back to school at New York School of Interior Design to get some formal training. She worked and interned for Jeffrey Beers where she was tossed directly into the hospitality fire. Her first project was to renovate The Westin Fort Lauderdale.

The Business Today

The clients who come to Virserius Studio are ready for a change. When sourcing she looks for slim, delicate lines, but must remember hospitality pieces have to be durable. She wants products that could stand alone in an empty room and still ‘wow’ you. Her style is eclectic, and she enjoys mixing colors and patterns.

Therese’s New York office houses 13 people, from architects to designers, and her Paris office is more quaint with only 4. Therese often finds herself wishing she could be in both offices at once as meetings can sometimes overlap. Time is her biggest challenge – since she’s always traveling back and forth. Therese doesn’t micromanage her team as she believes they should be able to run without her. They need the freedom to be creative and let their minds flow on their own, but she also doesn’t want them to feel alone, so she checks in multiple times a day. Her role is to make sure the ship doesn’t go off course, make life easier for her designers, and make sure her people are happy (both clientele and her team).

There’s no slow period in Therese’s life. On top of it all she also still designs products, does custom furniture for every project, and owns an art company in Paris. She does everything from art printed on floors and walls, to sculpture, mixed media, prints and even an outdoor furniture line. See more at www.walterswicker.com

Dealing with bookkeeping and accounting are her least favorite task but she knows it is a necessity to be involved. Therese doesn’t have a favorite space to create because the experience of staying in a hotel is a journey. It begins when you enter and ends when you leave, so you must tell a cohesive story.

Current Projects

Her firm has been working on a year-long competition and was awarded The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, a 3,000 room renovation. It’s got “just the right amount of bad” Therese says, and the target completion is in 2018

They’re also repositioning a hotel in Tunisia to change the way it operates and facilitates. For example, adding in a sky lounge and move the presidential suite to a different location. She tells us the creme de la creme stay in this hotel, so no pressure.

She also collaborates with students to do artistic expressions in hotels like in Hotel Bloom. At any given point, she is working on 10-15 at a time.

Learn more at www.virseriusstudio.com

Chaise Lounge Updates

We’re gearing up for 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.

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!

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

 

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