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What Level is Your Design Business?

Sarah Von Dreele: When you turn a creative outlet into a career.

Episode 629 of A Well-Designed Business®

Today with Sarah Von Dreele

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Today, LuAnn is diving into the world of textiles with designer Sarah Von Dreele. Sarah began painting as a creative outlet which soon transformed into a successful business producing wallcoverings, fabrics, and textiles. She relied on her branding background, her relationships, and her own talents as she launched her line. She’s sharing the lessons she learned along the way and how her business is shifting for the future.

Pick it apart

  • [16:05] Sarah shares how staying “in the moment” opened the door for her to build toward something big.
  • [19:09] LuAnn and Sarah discuss the importance of outsourcing and how difficult it can be to make the decision to let go.
  • [20:11] Sarah explains how her background in corporate and consumer branding gave her a valuable skillset in her business.
  • [23:00] LuAnn and Sarah dive into the importance of building relationships, both in your personal and professional life.
  • [35:38] Sarah shares some insights on how she manages to maintain her creativity even while she operates in business mode.

LuAnn and Sarah’s “Ah-Ha” Moments

“When your life blows up, everything is out of control, and you actually have to live with that and adjust to that. That life experience, in addition, to the professional experiences I had really helped me navigate starting a new business in a completely different way.” -Sarah

“That is one of the toughest decisions we face as business owners—that hurdle of when to hire. We all know intellectually that when you hire your business will grow and the revenue will grow, because you’ve taken yourself away from activities that are not your highest money-generating activities. But internally, you go ‘That’s a lot of dollar bills though!’” -LuAnn

“When you package it and you talk about your brand story, and you figure out where your niche is, and your marketplace is—that’s how you breakthrough in the sea of all the other wallpaper companies. And for you to have had that skillset yourself, I’m sure was a nice leg up.” -LuAnn

“When I am painting, the work is so iterative, and one leads to the next, but then it starts to shift. When I can recognize that it shifts in a negative way and things start to look muddy and with no direction, it’s over. You got the best of it.” -Sarah

More About Sarah Von Dreele

Sarah Von Dreele has spent much of her professional life as a branding consultant, employing her strong visual communication methods to facilitate large and small-scale branding campaigns for over the last twenty years. What began as a simple creative exercise at the end of the day quickly evolved into a collection of surface designs, painted exclusively in gouache. Her latest works explore repetition of abstracted floral and geometric forms, which are ethereal and calm,  and lend themselves to a variety of applications for the curated home. Sarah Von Dreele’s line of bespoke wallcoverings and textiles are available to the trade through Hewn Showroom in San Francisco, Lepere in New York City, and Twill and Texture in Miami. Sarah received a BFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Between developing new products, painting what she sees, and keeping up with her fourth-grader, she patiently pursues her interest in learning the French language.

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A Big THANK YOU to Today’s Podcast Sponsor:

Kirsch is always at the forefront of innovation when it comes to window treatments. They have been an industry leader in drapery hardware for more than one hundred years, and they also have a custom window coverings program. Kirsch is dedicated to providing great resources to educate the design community about their product. Go to kirsch.com to find out more.

Mydoma Studio: Kitchens have always been the heart of the home, and in 2021, they will be the heart of the thriving design business – and if you want to break into, or up your game in one of the fastest-growing residential interior design specialties, then 19 Hours: Kitchen Project Ready is for you! This one-day seminar put on by Mydoma Studio will give you the process, templates, and confidence to add kitchens to your menu of design services, and have you primed to take advantage of one of the biggest (and most lucrative) trends of 2021. Just head on over to mydomastudio.com/19hluann to register! And just for podcast listeners, the early bird pricing has been extended right up until the day of the event. Get kitchen project confidence at 19 Hours: Kitchen Project Ready!

Other Shows Mentioned:

#77 Katie Deedy- Founder of Grow House Grow- Inspiration, Guts, and Hard Work in Creating a Business

#125 Nicole Heymer- How To Brand Your Business. Yes, again! Do not miss this one!!!

#466 Power Talk Friday: Nicole Heymer: You’ve Defined Your Brand…Now What?

#39 Andrew Joseph- Advice From the Principal of an Elite NYC Public Relations Firm

What Level is Your Design Business?