DSA Newsletter - January 2010

Notes from Natasha

Happy New Year! Don't you just love a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate? This year can be whatever you want it to be, so set your goals and go for it! One idea might be to learn something new to offer your clients - Feng Shui ReDesign.

The School of Graceful Lifestyles (TM) is offering a five day certificate course in Feng Shui ReDesign especially for members of Designer Society of America. This program uniquely integrates the principles of Feng Shui and green design with interior decorating and home staging.

Your new Feng Shui design skills will add confidence and generate additional revenue streams for your business. This program is ideal for the Feng Shui professional and interior designers looking to enhance their business. The program will provide the tools to enhance and support a new career opportunity in the interior decorating industry. Realtors can benefit by introducing the home staging tips to their clients. Simply use the basic Feng Shui intentional designs and decorating skills acquired in this course to craft a sophisticated and elegant home for your clients.

Patterned after the many popular makeover classes, you will be taught how to blend what's already in the space with new design elements. The focus is on maximum impact with minimum cost. Incorporated in this five day program is a template that can be used again and again. Acquire basic skills such as palette selection, floor plan designs, furniture styles, vendor alliances, portfolio assembly and successful business procedures.

This course differs from other designing and decorating programs in that Graceful Lifestyles looks beyond the surface, decorating into the very soul of the space. Feng Shui ReDesign addresses the harmony and balance unique to each dwelling, as it supports the person/place connection. You will create sacred spaces.

Included in Tuition:

• Student binders containing all PowerPoint slides, as well as original handouts and article reprints
• Fun afternoon snacks
• Free listing as a Certified Consultant on our website

You will be certified as a Graceful Lifestylesâ„¢ Consultant upon completion of this five day program. Special DSA member tuition rates available during the month of January. This early bird gift for sign up will save you $300!
Hotel is not included. Special rates are available with early sign up.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And it gets even better! For all you snowbirds, the certification class will be held in sunny Orlando, Florida, March 24-29. To register, call (321) 939-2774 or click here for more information.

Limited seats available so don't delay!

Natasha Lima Younts
Designer Society of America

Psychology of Color

Wade Robins

Do you believe that different colors, when used in interior design, have effects on us of which we are sometimes unaware?

We do know that certain colors soothe while others provoke aggressive emotions in us. However, the psychology of color for interior design has only been recently introduced and applied in business, advertising and personal home design.

In business, colors are used to come up with eye-catching logos and advertisements. In the psychology of color for interior design, colors are carefully analyzed to determine which of them increase workers' productivity and which ones tend to have a detrimental effect to production.

The psychology of color for interior design is also used for restaurants, salons, hospitals, schools and - believe it or not - even prison cells! Psychologists know that subtle qualities, such as a room's color, can have a great impact on its occupants. This is why the psychology of color for interior design should not be taken for granted.

They say that the color red - bold and provocative - awakens the senses, stimulates the appetite, and raises the blood pressure. Restaurateurs take advantage of this concept in the psychology of color for interior design by using colors that tend to attract customers and keep them coming back for more.

Muted colors such as sky blue, on the other hand, evoke feelings of calmness and peace. Researchers studying the psychology of color for interior design several years ago have even gone to the extent of painting prison cells blue to alter a person's moods and temperaments.

In consideration of residences, the psychology of color for interior design is used to determine which colors to use, depending on the homeowner's needs and objectives. For instance, a person who wants his bedroom to become a sort of haven or refuge after a hard day's work would appreciate cool and calming colors such as celadon or sky blue.

Different Colors for Different Tastes

The wonderful thing about planning your own room design is being able to choose your own colors. The psychology of color for interior design also depends on how colors have been used in the past and the person's knowledge of these facts.

Dark green, for example, is associated with money and is the color of choice for offices, dens and game rooms. Dark purple, on the other hand, is the color of royalty. Those who are believers of the psychology of color for interior design know that the interiors of a room play a large part in shaping a person's lifestyle and behavior.

Lavender is preferred by tweeners because of its cool aura. You could also complement the room's color by using scented candles that match the room's dominant shade. In this case, you could use lavender-scented aromatherapy candles to establish a prevalent theme.

In the psychology of color for interior design, gray is known to be a color that is anti-productive. It tends to make a person withdraw instead of move forward and is therefore not recommended for use in offices where action and a lot of energy is desired.

Black is too strong for stand-alone use and is thus only appropriate for accents, according to the psychology of color for interior design. Yellow, too, should be used with caution as it tends to provoke different feelings in various individuals.

Although yellow is used to bring in a bit of sunshine into children's rooms or kitchens, the psychology of color for interior design has also found that it may tend to make people give in to anger quickly.

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wade_Robins

Business Building Blocks: The Difference Between Success and Failure is Asking

© www.melissagalt.com

Too often the difference between and success and failure is simply in the asking. You neglect to ask for the raise, you fail to ask for the sale, you forget to ask for referrals. It is all about asking, both in business and in life. There are five ways to Ask Your Way to Success:

Ask for Business

We all know sales people that fail to ask for the sale. I hope you aren't one of them! It isn't enough to educate, inform and even entertain the prospect; you've got to ask for the sale. Whether you are offering a service or a product doesn't matter, you must ask for the sale. Simply pausing when you are finished doesn't mysteriously invite the prospect to buy. You have to ask "When are you available to schedule that first appointment?" or "Would you like this in red?" or whatever question will get you the sale.

Ask for Testimonials

Way too many people neglect asking their customers and clients for testimonials or rave reviews. Are you one who neglects this too? It is easy. When you have completed delivery or an installation simply invite them to write a short note on a card you provide and be sure you have their permission to quote them. If you wait until a later date, this becomes much more challenging as they are no longer in the moment and feeling the elation and immediate benefit of the service or product provided.

Ask for Referrals

Yes, you can ask for referrals simply and easily. Be sure first that the person you are asking fits your ideal client profile, as they are likely to know more people like themselves. If you didn't enjoy working with them, don't ask! When you do, simply say "I've so enjoyed working with you and would truly appreciate the opportunity to be of service to your (friends, colleagues, family - whatever is most appropriate)." Invite them to fill in a note card with the names and contacts of 2-3 friends or associates. Always follow up a referral with a thank you gift, such as a restaurant gift card, a bouquet of flowers or a gift basket, with a personal note attached.

Ask for Information

This is like asking for directions, and you know how tough that is for many! If you don't know something, ask someone else. You could be asking about a job opening, compensation, a trip, a resource, a restaurant, someone's feelings. If you don't know, don't guess - ask, ask, ask!

Ask for Feedback

You have a choice: do you want to guess or ask? Often we spend our lives second guessing others when all we need to do is ask. When you want feedback on something, on anything, simply ask. It could be about a service you provided, a product you ordered, a communication you sent, clothing you wore, food you made, an event you planned. Whatever it is, if you want to know more, ask others. This is as simple as saying "I'd like your feedback on . . . . ."

Asking doesn't have to be complicated or scary. What is scary is operating in ignorance, selfishness and stupidity because you didn't ask. Your world will expand exponentially when you learn to ASK, ASK, ASK!

Do you want more great tips for growing your creative business? Check out www.todaybydesign.com for timesaving shortcuts, easy tips and simple tools to take your business higher. When you are ready for a FREE strategy session, head over to www.sixfigureprofessionals.com and register for a private call guaranteed to mean more profit in your pocket.

Do you want more great tips for growing your creative business? Check out www.todaybydesign.com for timesaving shortcuts, easy tips and simple tools to take your business higher. When you are ready for a FREE strategy session, head over to www.sixfigureprofessionals.com and register for a private call guaranteed to mean more profit in your pocket.

A Sustainable Resolution

For interior designers who haven't embraced sustainability in their practices, doing so would be a great New Year's resolution. That is if it's an ongoing goal and not one of those resolutions that begins fading by mid March and becomes a distant memory by springtime.

After all, we need to approach resolutions in ways that sustain their momentum and nurtures their continued evolution. It's commonly advised to state simple goals and stay focused on those. Allow for revision as the year progresses as long as it supports the original resolution.

As interior designers, we could consider a few simple goals in two categories: education and implementation.

Our simple goals for education could include committing to engaging in one sustainability related educational experience each quarter such as reading a book or article, attending a seminar or conference, participating in a webinar, attending a U.S. Green Building Council meeting or sharing our knowledge with others.

For the category of implementation, we could commit to upgrading our libraries with three new sustainably responsible products each quarter. Then, based on our growing knowledge base and upgraded libraries, we can specify the most sustainably responsible products available for every project.

We can take a step in both the categories of education and implementation by reaching out to our clients, encouraging them to embrace sustainability.

Interior designers who have already embraced sustainability can focus on education and implementation as well to boost their resolve and continue their professional growth. Maybe education would include a more in depth comparison between products or a lifecycle thinking approach to materials assessment rather than a single attribute approach. Understanding the embodied energy and toxicity of materials are two good places to begin when expanding an analysis. Implementation could include weaving sustainability into our practices on a regular basis, making it business as usual.

Keeping the resolution action-oriented with a few simple goals will help us sustain it throughout the year. Another good idea is to form a sustainability resolution partnership with another designer. Work together on some of the goals or check in with each other every quarter and assess your progress, share your newly acquired knowledge and hold each other accountable to your goals. We all know we achieve more when we're held accountable.

Resolve to be a more sustainably responsible interior designer by assessing where you are now on your sustainability journey and commit to a few simple attainable goals that will help make this year a Happy (more sustainable) New Year!

Sue Norman
Managing Editor

Does Florida's Interior Design Practice Act protect the public?

Under oath, advocates say "no!"

When questioned under oath, not a single proponent of the Florida licensing law was able to cite any benefits to consumers from licensing interior designers or harm that had occurred to the public in the 47 states that do not license interior designers.

  • When asked under oath if she had any information, or some empirical or quantifiable way that the Florida licensing law protects the public health, safety or welfare, Lisa Waxman, Ph.D., interior design faculty at Florida State University, BOAID expert witness, was unable to provide any substantiation for the law.
  • When asked whether the quantifiable costs of Florida's interior design law exceed the quantifiable benefits, Professor Waxman was not able to provide any data to support the law.
  • When asked if she had any factual evidence that at least one state that regulates interior designers did it not by enlisting a legislator to "ram it through," but on the basis of an actual study concluding that regulation was needed, Professor Waxman's answer was, "no." (Note: 12 states have studied whether interior design profession needs to be regulated, and all concluded that regulation would add absolutely nothing to protect the public beyond measures already in place.)
  • In her November 24, 2009 deposition, when asked under oath whether she was aware of any evidence that Florida licensing requirements have in fact (not could, which is an important distinction) benefited the public with respect to health, safety or welfare, Joyce Shore's, chair of the Board of Architecture and Interior Design, State of Florida's representative to the NCIDQ, past president of IDAF, past president of ASID Florida South, licensed designer (grandfathered), answer was the same as given in the Board's sworn answers to written interrogatories, i.e. "The Board has no specific information."
  • When asked under oath if he was aware of any evidence that the licensing of interior designers in Florida has benefited the public in any documentable way, Emery Johnson, self-proclaimed author of the current Practice Act and former BOAID enforcement expert, testified that he could not give any written evidence (nor did he offer any verbal evidence).
And perhaps even more importantly, the Board of Architecture and Interior Design responded to IJ's Written Discovery that they are unaware of any bona fide public welfare concerns.

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

1 Deposition of Lisa Kinch Waxman, Ph.D. taken by Counsel on behalf of the Plaintiffs, in Tallahassee , Florida, November 12, 2009 link
1 ibid
1 ibid
1 Government Reports, IDPC website, link
1 Deposition of Joyce Shore taken by Counsel on behalf of the Plaintiffs, in Dania, Florida, November 24, 2009 link
1 Answer no. 7, Defendants' Responses to Plaintiffs' First Set of Interrogatories (Served: 8/14/09; Unsworn Resp. Rec'd 9/17/09) Verified Resp. Rec'd 10/6/09) link
1 Deposition of J. Emory Johnson taken by Counsel on behalf of the Plaintiffs in Glynn County, November 23, 2009 link
1additional info

The Unspoken Word

Lloyd Princeton

So often when working with my clients I find myself having to lure information from them to find out what is truly bothering them. That's not to say that I trick them into telling me things, but I definitely have to prime the pump a bit so that they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with me. In essence, I need to make them feel comfortable talking about intimate details so that they will share necessary information with me in order for me to help them.

What does this mean to you? I believe that you are in the same position working with your clients. Clients talk but they often don't reveal anything. It is critical for you to give them permission to open up and share their true thoughts with you. This "permission" is granted when you make suggestions about the true nature of their needs.

When there are multiple decision makers on a project (husband and wife teams being the usual situation), you might casually ask if the other person not present is "on board" with the project. Are they pleased to be proceeding or just politely participating? This would be an indication that you need to engage the other person and find out what would matter most to them in completing the project. Their needs must be addressed before you can have a truly satisfied customer. The problems and disturbances are all near the surface. Go deep, and you'll find your way beyond them.

For many of my veteran readers, this is probably obvious advice, so let's take this a step further. Say what's on your mind from the first time you interview. All too often designers miss opportunities to quickly establish rapport with potential clients by not being candid. Whether you are speaking on the phone or meeting in person, go ahead and tell them what you think or speculate on what they are feeling.

For example, if there is a gasp after you ask for an initial consultation fee or an "I'll get back to you" after you quote a design fee, then you should immediately ask if they think it is expensive. While you know it's on their mind, you need to draw this out in conversation. This will give you an opportunity find out what their reaction is based on. Have they spoken with anyone else who charges differently? Have they ever engaged professional services before? You need to understand them first before you try to explain yourself to them.

So much of our industry is based on a lack of knowledge by consumers. While there is a dearth of information available to them, their perceptions of design professionals are formed on a retail model, in other words, expecting services for "free," included with the cost of goods. In order to dispel this, you need to dive in and start asking questions of them and interpreting what they are not saying, the unspoken word, and opening the doorway for you to educate them.

Lloyd Princeton

Design Management Company
(212) 777-5718

Member Spotlight

Pat Gericke

DSA member who holds a BFA degree in environmental design from the Parsons School of Design, is an accomplished interior designer with over 20 years of experience in the tri-state area around New York City, where her firm is located.

There is no secret to design, says Gericke. "It is not about buying furniture or even creating a 'look'. It is about reflecting your personality and how you live." Gericke reminds her clients that she designs for them, not for herself. "My job is to help you create a living space that makes you feel good and reflects who you are as a person, not me as a designer."

That being said, her approach of partnering the client's vision and desires with her vast expertise and knowledge to create something the client loves is reflected in every project she takes on, from residences, to medical practices and corporate offices.

Gericke began her career working with several different firms in New York City. This extensive hands-on training made her an expert in design, project management, cost control and construction. She also became very skilled at taking projects from the design concept to construction, from furniture and furnishings selection to supervising their installations.

Pat Gericke's passion for painting and travel has given her a special insight into diverse cultures and conceptual thinking, which has brought innovation and sophistication to all her projects.