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Being a successful designer can open the door to new opportunities for growing your firm’s revenue besides taking on more clients or projects or raising fees. Use your knowledge of design and product to explore licensing and partnership deals with manufacturers. Leverage your reputation on social media to generate revenue as an influencer or brand ambassador. Establish a retail business. Let your passion guide you to a rewarding new venture.
In this podcast, Gail talks with interior designer Bria Hammel, CEO and creative director of Bria Hammel Interiors in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Bria also is the founder of Brooke & Lou, an online retail business featuring a curated collection of furnishings, wallpaper, décor and one-of-a-kind items.
Bria began her design business ten years ago as a small firm with just a couple of employees. Today, she has a thriving practice with more than ten employees, a highly successful retail business, and more than 200,000 followers on Instagram. She attributes her success, in part, to having a vision for her businesses, being goal-oriented, developing a strong brand, and being passionate about everything she does.
Gail asked her what were some of the biggest challenges she’s faced in growing her business. Bria said growth is hard. Over the years she has learned the importance of who you hire and how your manage your staff. “People stay for you, not the business,” she said.
In addition to her retail business, Brooke & Lou, which she named for her children, Bria also has developed partnerships or licensing agreements with some vendors. She only works with those whose products she knows, who are excited about working with her, and whose brand is in line with her own. The items need to be of high quality, at the right price point, and a great value.
At Gail’s prompting, Bria spoke at length about how such partnerships usually develop, from initial contact through to signing a deal and developing and selling the product. She said it usually is at least a two-year process. Sometimes she may be asked to invest in the development but often not. In any case, her firm earns a royalty on each item sold, usually between 6 to 15 percent. She also generates revenue by serving as a brand ambassador for some lines.
In closing, Gail asked Bria what advice she might have for other designers on how to grow their businesses. Bria said,
- Understand what success means to you.
- Set goals for things you can control, not those you can’t.
To hear more about Bria’s business ventures and her unique use of Pinterest for shopping for and planning her outfits, including her comprehensive closet board, listen to the entire podcast.
If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, read the full shownotes here: https://thepearlcollective.com/s6e6-shownotes
Mentioned in This Podcast
For more information about Bria and her firm, go to the website for Bria Hammel Interiors at briahammelinteriors.com.
To explore her retail store, Brooke & Lou, go to brookeandlou.com.