Lauren Stern knows a thing or two about owning and operating a successful interior design business, and she will share her tips on launching a design firm at a seminar on Dec. 10 at the Brooklyn Brainery. Entitled "Nuts & Bolts of Starting an Interior Design Business," Stern’s seminar will help designers turn raw design talent into a viable business. In a nutshell, “large doses of patience, dedication and scrappiness,” said Stern.
Editor at Large got a chance to chat with Stern about her vision and goals for her business, and also what designers can expect to learn from the seminar. Here’s what she had to say:
What made you want to give this seminar?
There seemed to be a need for a more formal setting to discuss these topics. I’ve done lectures/critique student work at the New York School of Interior Design, and people often ask how difficult it was to start a business—both logistically and legally—about the actual steps involved in forming a business, and strategically what have I done to stay in business and to grow my business.
What kind of tips will you share with designers who attend the seminar?
Everything from the basics of forming a business to the strategy behind making your business succeed.
What would you say is different about opening up an interior design business in New York City compared to another place in the country?
New York City is a magnet for creatives. We have a lot of talent and thus a lot of competition. But we also have a constant stream of projects—spaces need to be rebuilt, remodeled and reworked. This fast-paced, competitive climate requires that designers consistently produce excellent work—it's sink or swim—which is actually a great thing!
That being said, is it harder to keep a business afloat in NYC?
There are so many talented designers in NYC, which makes it harder to stand out, but it's not impossible.
What are some tips you'd give for marketing your business?
The best marketing will come from a happy client. Do your job well and those you've worked with will do a lot of marketing for you through positive testimonial.
What are some things designers can really do to get their names out there?
I'm from the Midwest and my husband always complains that I'm too friendly and always chatting with strangers. I think there's something to be said for making genuine connections with people and keeping in touch.
What is the key to keeping a business strong and moving forward, even when economic times are tough?
Believe in your company and never give up!
Stern will share tips like this and much more at her seminar on Dec. 10.
Photos courtesy of Michael Grimm