Interior design business strategist and manager, Barbara Viteri, organizes the part of the business most interior designers hate – systems, strategy and operations. In addition to organizing designers, this fall, she is reaching out to some amazing trendsetting designers to hear what makes them tick in her new 5 part series, Designerlebrity ™ Talk airing on The Design Network. We sat down to find out a little bit more about the show, Barbara and the business of Interior Design.
“Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.” ~ Barbara Corcoran
Ceviche (Ecuadorian Style)
Anyplace in the world as long as my family is with me.
Think Big and Kick Ass- Donald Trump
The Daily Basics: Barbara, your business name is Viteri Style Management. What is a Style Manager?
Barbara Viteri: I don’t think of myself as a “Style Manager”, but my company certainly has a unique style of doing business. Viteri Style Management caters to interior designers and the design industry. VSM offers practical business management solutions and creates engaging speaking events. What VSM is, is a brand of distinctive business services tailored to the designer’s needs and the industry’s wants.
TDB: How did you get your start in your business?
BV: For almost 20 years I worked at the administrative and bookkeeping level for interior design firms and showrooms. I revamped companies ranging from sole proprietors to larger firms. I saw a void in the industry for customizable strategic services. While there were plenty of business consultants and coaches offering corporate style programs and packages, none really focused on specific needs for the designer or firm. So, in 2012 I launched Viteri Style Management, LLC. Today, I personally handle at max 12 clients per month and service close to 30 design firms.
TDB: In a nutshell, what do you do for most of your clients?
BV: When I started out, I was offering transitioning and training services on cloud based software. I love and exclusively use Design Manager Cloud for this. In less than two years in business my company evolved and expanded to one on one team training, bookkeeping, and most recently, advisement. I tell my clients, “Never call me the ‘C’ word…Coach”. It’s a funny joke, but surprisingly a portion of my business is on retainer from designers seeking unbiased, straight shooting, and unfiltered advice. It’s having direct access to someone with an opinion; someone who can share possible solutions to help the designer make an executive decision. I don’t get paid to be a “yes” person and I’m certainly not the competition. It’s flattering to know I am a trusted voice for my clients.
TDB: What was your most notable success in business – private or public?
BV: My company is still in its infancy stage. My vision board with “goals to achieve” is still up waiting for a dry easer to cross something off the list. I can share one notable success story I think many entrepreneurs can relate to.
When you are an entrepreneur, you never forget the day you made a profit or the amount. Like a good entrepreneur, I was going to continue reinvesting my profits back into my company. A friend of mine just had a baby and her husband gave her a “push present.” On a whim and having 45 minutes to spare before heading into a meeting, I decided to walk into Trump Tower. Ivanka Trump has been a virtual mentor of mine for years. It was befitting to purchase my “business push present” from her jewelry store. I’ll admit I went a little overboard buying a gigantic gem that was a bit gaudy for my taste; but, it is an unforgettable piece of fine jewelry that reminds me of the sleepless nights and countless hours nourishing my baby of a company. (You can read the full story on my blog. Even Ivanka sent me a public tweet with her congratulations.)
TDB: Designerlebrity ™ Talk – Let’s talk about your new show. What is it all about and how did it come about?
BV: I would like to set the record straight that this is not a new direction I am taking. As the saying goes, “I know where my bread is buttered.” I was surprised to get calls and messages asking if I was giving up VSM to go into show business. Definitely not! When the opportunity to have a show crossed my path, it required a lot of thought. I’m running and growing a thriving business. So signing on to do Designerlebrity ™ Talk is more of a passion project with a deadline.
To make a long story short, I decided to originate, executive produce, and host my own talk show for The Design Network. I’ve been a long time fan of TDN and admire the revolutionary platform they are creating. It’s no secret I am obsessed with interior designers, especially the game changers. I’m creating a show that gives the viewers a “fly on the wall” experience. The celebrity designers featured on this show are coming armed and ready to talk about their extraordinary design projects, personal stories, and invaluable DIY advice. Of course there will be a few surprises with prizes, but, overall it’s an educating, entertaining, feel good fix to your day. I’m looking forward to its debut this fall.