A personal experience with interior design & style

Book Review: "Branding + Interior Design: Visibility and Business Strategy for Interior Designers"

March 24, 2018


When I first saw this title, I knew it would be promising. Plenty of interior design professionals I follow were reading it and their social media accounts and websites were usually "on point".


Why would they need to read this book?


Well, why not?


Professionals need to refresh their memories or simply want to see if they could do something better/differently to become more efficient and be ahead of the game.


Then there is me, a beginner. 


I'm a young professional collecting all the resources I can to make this dream a reality. Books like this are like gold. 


You want to teach me how to successfully market myself on social media?


You want to teach me how to define my brand? 


Sign me up! Where can I purchase this book?

Oh, Amazon?

I'm in there like swimwear. 


I didn't purchase it, but I had it in my cart for about two months, waiting for my bank account to say, "Hey, remember that book you wanted? Treat yo' self."


That never happened.


Christmas shopping season rolls around and my mom asks what I want for Christmas. At first, I didn't know until I accidentally signed into my mom's Amazon account and added all the books I wanted to her cart. Seriously, I thought I was on my account, but I had logged into her account to check the status a few days prior for a gift she was getting my son. So, I tell her about my mix up and I tell her any of these books in the cart would be a perfect to gift me. This had to be the first Christmas I actually asked for books.


When I received the boxes from Amazon, I was so excited!

Almost actual footage of me

Honestly, I knew my mom brought every book I had on my list because that's what my mom does and that's what moms do when they are able to. I could hardly wait to open my freshly new books. On Christmas, I cracked open my book and started to read. 

It was interesting to see that, like most interior design reference books, this book included a brief on the history of interior design, how interior design came to be, including the game-changers (Sister Parish, Elsie de Wolfe, etc.)


"Business is a reflection of you and your values"


Definitely true and why branding is important. Branding allows you to get to know your company so that you can be sure potential clients get an idea of who you are and what you can do for them before even speaking with you. My personal brand is youthful, artsy, but sophisticated. I'm not sure if I have the right visuals like my logo and brand colors yet, but I think the general idea is present. Back to the drawing board...


I do believe your personal and professional values become the guidelines of the business and as a business owner you have to lead with those values in mind. Every great leader is one who will roll up their sleeves and work hard alongside their employees and colleagues. I loved that Kim Kuhteubl created a list of traits that the most successful leaders have:


Top-tier leadership traits:

  • Organized

  • Decisive 

  • Honest

  • Intelligent (& we're not talking IQ numbers)

Every great leader needs have a system they follow to be organized so they can clearly give their employees and colleagues proper instructions. When faced with an issue, great leaders do need to make decisions in a timely manner, decisions that are in the best interest of the business. A great leader does need to be honest and a part of being honest is being transparent, a huge quality people today value. When talking about intelligence here, it is not about your IQ or having attended an Ivy League school, it's about "street and book smarts". Those come from experience and from always learning and being open to new innovations.

I really enjoyed and found the "Style Sheets" helpful especially the ones for topics like "Vision" , figuring out your "Story", & finding "Your Client Fit".


"The right story about you & your experience will resonate with your audience"


This quote definitely made me go look at my "About Me" page and make some adjustments! I never wanted my "About Me" page to sound dry and generic, but it kinda did without me trying. I used the Style Sheet questions to get a better idea of what to include and how to let my potential clients learn a little bit about me.

"...[think] of someone you really get along with...Assign qualities of your relationship with them to your ideal client profile...


From reading this book and other places like the amazing Facebook interior design group, "What They Don't Teach You In Design School ", I learned that it is a great idea when starting out to just talk to one person when writing your blogs or in your marketing on social media platforms. Think of the type of person you work well with and then think, "What do you need to know or want to know? What is something that will catch their attention?"


For me, my ideal client doesn't drive a specific car or live in a specific neighborhood. I just ask that they be level-headed, open-minded and have a sense of self. I do love when the client wants to be involved in the idea-to-concept process. It helps if the client has a vision already of what they would like to have in their home, but I do enjoy being handed the reigns at times.

The book includes interviews from big-time celebrity creatives and designers such as Kelly Hoppen, Vicente Wolf, Christine Lemineux, etc. who talk a little about their backgrounds and how they got their feet in the door of the industry. This is the part of the book where I kinda felt like I wanted to hear something else, hear other perspectives.


I wish there were more People of Color, especially Black women interior designers. There are plenty of Black women who are big name designers in our industry, but, still, it remains that Black women are underrepresented. I'd love to hear more details of how designers got their start instead of, "I just worked really hard" or "I woke up one day and decided I was going to start my own business...". I feel these statements are the "easy" go-to answers. I want the nitty gritty, at least a little taste. I'd love to hear about people with a similar background as myself meaning their parents were not creative professionals, they didn't live in a house growing up, their parents were not business owners, they were products of the public school system in an inner city. I guess in a book like this it may not have been a the best place for all of that information, but when people are asked how they got started, I like to hear about the underdogs, the one's whose odds were not in their favor, at least not at first. 


Overall, this book was helpful and I took notes and made necessary adjustments to my website and portfolio. It is a good reference book for getting started in interior design and even as a refresher for veteran designers.


P.S. If you want to read a little bit of about how I found my calling to interior design, check out my blog post which I titled, Finding My Calling: A Love Story. 



P.S.S. If you are interested in checking out the book, Branding + Interior Design, I added a link to the right where you can purchase it on Amazon. Also, if you make a purchase using this link, I may be paid a small commission. 





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