Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Business, Branding, Blogging and Booze..not necessarily in that order

First, I want to apologize for not posting yesterday. As you can imagine it's a little hard at times to juggle my client work with writing the blog and having any semblance of a personal life. That's why I love talking to other designers about how they started their own business because they all went through the same things and always have great advice.

I got together with June House Beautiful cover star/interior designer David Lawrence last night and he definitely motivated and inspired me. David and I used to work for the same designer, not at the same time, and he understands having so many things to do that sometimes you don't even know where to begin. The business of design is not easy and he really stresses the importance of being organized and getting your business infrastructure in place before you even begin working with clients. He spent a lot of time on the business side of his operations and just four years after he went out on his own, he has the cover of a magazine and a beautiful new showroom/office. I will definitely be listening to everything David tells me!

Sometimes I feel like I landed in business school with no idea how I got here and no idea what I am doing. There is a reason why I majored in art history and not business so I appreciate all the people who have been kind enough to answer my questions, give advice and pass on references of professionals who work with designers. One of my goals has always been to write about my experience and what I've learned so I can help others who want to start their own design businesses. I spoke with a design business consultant and we might partner up on some posts so look for those in the future.

I also attended a great lecture this morning at the D&D Building about branding that was moderating by Newell Turner of House Beautiful magazine. The panelists were Keith Granet of Granet & Associates, a management consulting firm for the design industry that I didn't even know existed, as well as interior designers Suzanne Kasler and Amanda Nisbet. Granet helped both designers set up their product lines and the how that process works is fascinating. I will definitely be putting together a more in depth post about how Suzanne developed her new furniture line for Hickory Chair and Amanda's lighting designs for Urban Electric and both of their new fabric lines.

One of the questions after the lecture was how you get to the point of having product lines and magazine coverage and everyone agreed that you need to build relationships. You may be a great designer but if you don't put yourself out there and meet editors and others in the design community, how is anyone going to find you. Everyone teases me about going to lots of parties but for me it's just as much about work as it is having fun. I couldn't do half of what I do if I didn't get out and meet other designers and interesting people to profile, events to discuss, and exhibitions, artists and authors to support.

I actually have a lot of great things on the back burner that I have to write about and post so I am hoping that I can get caught up over the long weekend. But first I have some client projects to finish and an event to attend. Remember what they say about all work and no play...

Photo from Suzanne Kasler


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