What Level is Your Design Business?

Debbe Daley: Sharing Experience Learned From 30+ Years in the Interior Design Business

Episode 431 of A Well-Designed Business®

Welcome to today’s show! We have Debbe Daley, an interior designer in the New England area, on the show with us. Debbe is also an installed designer in the Boston Design Center’s Designer On Call program, now called Design Services program. In today’s episode, Debbe talks to us about the way she handles her initial consult, about the items that she puts in a folder for her clients, and how she provides suggestions for her clients. She also talks about the book she is writing, Monetizing Your Passion- Turning Your Hobby into A Business, which is due to be launched in the fall of 2019 and she discusses the two-day seminar that she will be running in Portsmouth, in June, for interior designers. Listen in, to find out what Debbe has to share on the show today.

After obtaining a business degree, Debbe took a slight detour and taught herself how to sew custom window treatments. She also spent some time doing hands-on work in the paint, wallpaper, and furniture industry. In doing this, she gained valuable knowledge and she also expanded her industry network of friends and colleagues. Now, some thirty years later, Debbe is well-respected in the industry and she is often invited to speak at industry conferences. She also writes a weekly lifestyle column for the Lowell Sun, where she covers topics about design, travel, DIY, and cooking, for the Merrimack Valley audience. Tune in now for more.

Show Highlights:

  • The five-day course in decoration and interior design that Debbe teaches to the non-design professional who is hoping to become a design professional.
  • Debbe gives an overview of the two-day course she teaches, called Design For Today, that is geared towards professionals in the design industry. The next course will be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on June the 27th and 28th.
  • Debbe’s two-day workshop was developed at the request of some of Debbe’s seasoned colleagues from the Association of Design Education.
  • Debbe’s clients are looking for software platforms that they can use to enhance their businesses, to make their lives a bit easier.
  • Debbe uses Design Files, a platform that is designed to do e-design.
  • The thing that really got Debbe going in the right direction and gave her the motivation for the book she’s writing.
  • Why sharing her knowledge is so important to Debbe right now.
  • Some of the lessons that Debbe learned from Fred Berns.
  • Debbe’s take on whether or not to put your packages on your website.
  • How Debbe handles her initial client consultation.
  • The mechanism that Debbe uses to stay on time.
  • What the folder that Debbe gives her clients initially contains.
  • Why Debbe always has her clients sign a photo release form.
  • Debbe talks about her initial consultation rate and her hourly rate.
  • About Debbe’s Pick Your Brain segment.
  • How Fred Berns helped Debbe to increase her rates.
  • Debbe has set things up so that there’s a package for everyone.
  • Attracting the client that is right for you.
  • The importance of putting yourself out there, introducing yourself to your local reps, and setting up your vendor accounts.
  • Debbe talks about her new book, Monetizing Your Passion- Turning Your Hobby into A Business, and she explains who it is geared towards.
  • It takes a lot of hard work to be an interior designer.
  • As a new designer, any kind of store experience is valuable.
  • People notice it if you’re driven and you really know what you’re doing, as a designer.


Debbe Daley, an award-winning interior designer with more than 30 years’ experience, is known for the extraordinary service she provides prominent homeowners in New England and around the country.

She supplies a complete range of design services for new and existing homes nationwide, but she focuses on working with clients in the Boston Back Bay, the North Shore of Massachusetts, Cape Cod, coastal Maine, and the New Hampshire seacoast as well as the Merrimack Valley. In addition, she is a gifted professional speaker who delivers programs to both interior design and general audiences nationwide. She presents keynotes, seminars, and workshops on topics ranging from design business success practices to the Power of Positive Energy.

Debbe is the winner of numerous Houzz customer service awards and gets 80% of her business from referrals. She designs multiple homes for the same clients and works with different generations of the same family. Clients use words like “fantastic,” fabulous,” “exceptional,” “impeccable,” “outstanding,” and “a pleasure to work with” to describe her. Debbe has designed new homes and remodeled existing residences for more than 700 clients, including Fortune 500 executives, CEOs, high tech leaders, medical specialists, business owners, and other successful professionals. Her commercial design projects include funeral homes and professional offices.

Debbe Daley Designs is based in an elegant design studio in the historic Abraham Shaw House in Portsmouth, NH. The firm is backed by a team of some of the region’s premier contractors, carpenters, painters, flooring specialists, cabinet experts, electricians, and other professionals, as well as a nationwide network of vendors and suppliers.

Debbe, who earned interior design degrees at three leading institutions, shares her extensive design expertise in her weekly lifestyle column in the Lowell Sun, the Huffington Post and her own blog. She keeps current on the design industry through her involvement with the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Furnishings and Design Assn. and the National Speakers Association. Her clients today benefit from the customer service, problem-solving and administrative skills, and the product knowledge she gained during her highly successful earlier career working in the industry through retail establishments, an interior design firm and four leading New England companies.

Debbe has an office in the Boston Design Center, where she is involved in the Design Services, Designer on Call program as well as the new office location in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, serving regions of the Merrimack Valley, Boston, and the Portsmouth seacoast.

Previous episodes mentioned in this show:

Fred Berns: #289, #226, #174, #96, #48, #22

Darla Powell #330, #203

Wendy Glaister #386

Kristan McLaughlin #319

Barbara Sallick owner of Waterworks #131

Wendy Woloshchuk #316

Links and resources:

Debbe Daley Designs LLC

379 State Street – #1

Portsmouth NH 03801

Daley Designs

Instagram: Debbe Daley

Facebook: Debbe Daley Designs

What Level is Your Design Business?