Business of Home
Summary: In Business of Home, host Dennis Scully explores the changes and challenges facing the interior design community in face-to-face conversations with thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives who are shaking up the industry and helping pave the way forward.
Holly Hunt made headlines four years ago when she sold her eponymous company to Knoll for $95 million. But it’s never been about the money for the Texas-born designer, who started her business as a recently-divorced mother of three boys in 1983—without "a big hairy plan." She built what was then a new concept: a multi-line showroom, bringing on makers like Carl Springer, Jim Thompson and Rose Tarlow before designing and manufacturing her own line. In this episode, she shares the ups and downs of the last 30 years—from designer Christian Liagre's departure to adjusting to life post-acquisition, and what the future holds. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.
It's fitting that Maxwell Ryan was a teacher for seven years prior to founding Apartment Therapy. He’s now teaching readers—20 million of them—how to live beautifully and happily. By featuring homes that are “juicy, lived-in, and accessible,” he appeals to the “broad middle”—a lot of people with a little to spend—and is the go-to for Millennials who love decorating. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.
Crans Baldwin reflects on 30 years running to-the-trade companies such as Donghia and Dedar. Now, after starting his own consulting outfit, he is on the road talking to designers and hearing about their struggles and successes firsthand. In this episode, he outlines the current problems facing the industry (design centers on the whole aren’t working) and offers solutions (more road reps). This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.
With stints at McKinsey, Google and Birchbox, Maiden Home founder Nidhi Kapur has applied her digital brand-building skills to upholstery—sofas and chairs. On this week’s episode, she shares the good, the bad and the ugly of creating a direct-to-consumer custom furniture company—from sourcing and product development to marketing. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.
Modern design is at John Edelman’s core: Andy Warhol did the graphics for his parents’ leather company; he cultivated a renowned Milo Baughman collection; and as CEO of Design Within Reach, he is ensuring that authentic modern design endures. Edelman shares how his parent’s business (which evolved from door-to-door snakeskin sales to purveyors of water buffalo hides to a global luxury textile company—and plenty of stints in between) lead him to the world of interior design—first at Edelman Leather which he sold to Knoll and now to DWR which he sold to Herman Miller after rescuing it from the brink of financial ruin. Plus, hear his impassioned thoughts on knock-offs and what DWR is doing to fight them.
Maury Riad’s connection to the trade goes back decades—from running Fortuny, the storied Italian fabric brand his family owns, to Fuigo, the design management software and shared workspace he co-founded in 2016. His vision for the industry, which he likes to call “To the Trade Trade 2.0,” includes making the interior design process more transparent in its pricing and business models. This week, he chats about how the trade has become devalued in the digital world and how this can be reversed through collaboration, organization and community-building.
Designer Mat Sanders jokes that his design business launched with a ceramic middle finger. Scratch beneath the surface of his playful sensibility—which is reflected in his personality, interior designs and product lines—and you’ll find an ambitious business plan backed by a clear vision (and some anonymous funding). The Consort co-founder chats about how mid-budget customers are underserved, why boutique design services are hard to scale, and how he’s planning to conquer the design world by addressing both problems. This episode is sponsored by High Point Market.
Home furnishings brand maven Christiane Lemieux chats about her fast furniture endeavor, The Inside, and the other companies she founded along the way. From growing up in Canada, to launching her first company and selling it to Wayfair, Lemieux shares her insider knowledge of the furniture business and where she thinks it is going. Plus, find out how she thinks consumers will be investing in their homes and how the trade can keep up with their demands. This episode is sponsored by High Point Market.
Homepolish co-founder Noa Santos champions interior designers and creates transparency in an infamously opaque industry. Santos shares how Homepolish has evolved over its five years into a design platform, how it’s taking on big-budget, full-service renovations, and how it matches clients with contractors and architects. This episode is sponsored by High Point Market.
Beth Brenner, chief revenue officer of Domino Media Group, shares her firsthand experience of the founding of Domino magazine, diving deep into its cult-like following, sudden fall and recent reincarnation. She shares how the brand continues to grow in an ever-changing media landscape and the importance of brick-and-mortar. Plus, find out what it’s like to have a Condé Nast bigwig as your dad. This episode is sponsored by High Point Market.