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Finding Your Why: How to Differentiate Your Business Through Your Brand Story

I don’t need to tell you that the interior design industry is arguably more noisy and competitive than it’s ever been. In addition to distinguishing yourself from the other 67,000 interior designers in the U.S., you’re going toe-to-toe with platforms like Houzz which are taking a whole swath of the market into DIY. So what’s going to truly differentiate you from similar interior design brands with similar products and services and similar access to the same resources? Your brand story.

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Make More Money by Specializing

Niche. Specialty.

Do a quick scan of the feelings that come up when you read those words.

Do you feel resistance? Excitement? Annoyance? Defiance? Apathy?

Despite all the years that I have been in business teaching other designers how to make more money by specializing, I still feel a little bit resistant to it.

And I am guessing you do too.

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Video Recap: Navigating the Art World

Selecting art for your clients' spaces is inherently an intimidating process—is cheap art OK? How do you advise on quality? How can you motivate your clients to make a decision?

Art advisor Katharine Earnhardt, President of Mason Lane Art Advisory, came into the Studio to discuss art market resources, how to assess quality, unexpected costs when purchasing art, and practical tips for making the sale. 

This video provides tips for expanding your scope, finishing your clients' spaces, and ultimately increasing your revenue through art sourcing. Check out the whole discussion below:

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Don't Let Big Corporations Sell Directly to Your Clients

Like it or not, the interior design profession is under attack and changing right before our eyes. The art of interior design, the to-the-trade business model, the way you earn money, and how you get jobs are all in jeopardy. If you are as passionate about interior design as we are, you should be asking yourself what can be done to help protect both the industry and your business.

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Independence in Marketing: Maury Riad on the Business of Design Podcast

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Video Recap: Insurance Advice for Interior Designers

This week Fuigo's CEO Maury Riad sat down with Greg Shaefer of Schaefer Enterprises, Inc to discuss how design firms can protect themselves. 

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The Brand Brief and Why You Should Create One

A lot of fuss is made about brands these days, so much so that the very idea has become alienating, overwhelming, and a little larger than life. But the truth is, branding isn't so complicated that it’s out of anyone's reach. Interior designers have a lot to juggle already, but don’t stress—your brand already exists, and it plays out in how you do business every day.

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Don’t Negotiate Your Design Fees!

Interior designers should never negotiate their fees with their clients.

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Video Recap: How the New Tax Law Affects Interior Designers

Our CEO Maury Riad sat down with Lawrence Kweit of Kweit, Mantell & DeLucia, LLP to discuss how the new tax law affects interior designers and interior design businesses.

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3 Bookkeeping Tips for Designers Who Hate Bookkeeping

This article is written by someone who also hates bookkeeping.

Like 95% of the designers I know, I view bookkeeping as a necessary evil. Thankfully I work with a talented group of bookkeeping professionals that, believe it or not, actually enjoy it. The reality is you don’t have to like or even understand the importance of good bookkeeping. However, if you want financial peace of mind, you need to maintain clean books or—better still—have someone that you can trust maintain them for you.

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Hourly, Markup, or Flat: What is the Best Fee Structure for Interior Design Projects?

Maury brings over 20 years of experience of working with interior designers and bookkeepers. He brings his passion and respect for the arts to Fuigo, where he wants professional interior designers to have the tools and community to help them build successful and impactful businesses.

When choosing a fee structure for your design firm, you should factor in both short-term revenue, which relies on a profit-maximizing fee structure, and long-term growth, which depends on happy clients and referrals. The three most important questions to answer when considering your fee structure are:

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The Key to a Successful Design Project is Communication

Let’s imagine your in-laws have invited you to dinner in Boston, and you live in NYC. You know from experience that the drive is roughly 4 hours, so you leave the city 4 hours before dinner begins to make it on time. Everything is going smoothly until hour 2, when you hit massive unexpected traffic. Google Maps says it’ll take you an hour to get through the jam. My question to you is, when do you call your in-laws to tell them you’ll be late for dinner?

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Fixed-Fee Design Projects: Charging Fairly and Profitably

I think it’s fair to say that among the various ways designers charge clients, the fixed-fee (or “flat fee”) basis (at least as residential designers are concerned) is not as popular as others—e.g., presented price, cost-plus, etc. That’s unfortunate, particularly today, when projects are fewer in number, budgets are down, and prospective clients are more reluctant to start a project without having a real understanding of ultimate costs. Interestingly, over the past 12 to 15 months in my practice counseling designers, I notice more and more are being asked by their prospective clients to work on a fixed-fee basis.

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