Betsy Helmuth (@BetsyHelmuth) is an interior designer & decorator in New York City. Her company, Affordable Interior Design, offers, well, affordable interior design. Over the years, she’s designed rooms in over 1,000 apartments, allowing her to create a systematic approach to working with busy clients.
Betsy’s latest book, Big Design, Small Budget, will be available Dec. 10, 2014. Pre-order a copy and give it to the interior design geek in your life this holiday season.
Our conversation centers on the eccentricities of New York City apartments — and apartment-dwellers — as well as the systems Betsy has used to build a thriving business.
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- Download The Busy Creator Podcast, Episode 35 (MP3, 47:31, 23.0 MB)
- Download The Busy Creator Podcast, Episode 35 (OGG, 47:31, 38.5 MB)
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Show Notes & Links
- Betsy is the first Busy Creator representative for the Interior Design industry.
- People who shop at Ikea and Target are Betsy’s key customers
- New Yorkers feel a lot of anxiety about their space, and their storage (or lack thereof)
- New York City apartments can be “insultingly small”
“Small is a relative term.”
- Betsy has worked with over 1000 apartments; each year she works with 250 clients
“It's a cookie-cutter plan, but within that there's a lot of individuality.”
- West Elm
- Betsy has developed a core 20 questions to determined how her clients live in their
“After 1000 apartments there's no judgement. I've seen it all.”
- Client On-boarding/Discover Process
- Best business advice Betsy every received: “If the name of your business doesn’t say exactly what you do, change it.”
- The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch
- Clients find Betsy by Googling “Affordable Interior Design”
- The Ikea Effect — If you built it yourself, you create an emotional investment
“Never ever ever, ever, build your own Ikea (unless you're a professional).”
- 80/20 rule applied to Ikea (80% crap, 20% gold)
- Japanese school of thought for actors who clean their own stage, it builds awareness of the world
- “Honor your space”, give it attention
- “Your space is like committing to a partner”
- Multi-variable Differential Equation
“The limitations define 'the box', and that's where the magic happens.”
- Eames Chair with Ottoman
- Cable Management is key; get a “raceway”
- Prescott’s new desk (forthcoming blog post)
- Our previous podcast episode about Project Management software and collaboration
- Develop a core series of questions to ask your new clients
- Offer plans or packages so clients can choose based on their need
- Build your room around an “inspiration item”, especially one with three or more colours
- Mix woods within colour families
- Get a storage unit if you need to hold on to something
- Utilise open-close storage, such as a desk with cabinets and drawers
- Staple cables to walls and furniture to keep them out of the way
- Re-evaluate your workflows around your growing and changing business
- Locate outlets when you enter a room, especially in NYC
- Answer your own phone
- Work late hours, after the kids to go sleep
- Get to the coffee shops where you can get stuff done
- Turn the TV on (in the background) for creative flow
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