What Level is Your Design Business?

Power Talk Friday: Susan Inglis: Sustainable Furnishings Council, What You Need to Know.

Episode 670 of A Well-Designed Business®

Today with Susan Inglis:

Welcome to a Well-Designed Business. When you hear the phrase “sustainable furnishings,” what comes to mind? Is it something you already know about, something you are bringing forth to your clients on a regular basis? Is it something you vaguely know about but aren’t sure of all the ins and outs? Or is it something that isn’t quite on your radar yet?

No matter which category you fall into, today’s conversation is relevant for you. Susan Inglis, Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, is sharing with us why sustainable furnishings matter, the power that designers hold when it comes to the future, and how you can embrace these ideals in your business.

Pick it apart:

  • [8:10] Susan and LuAnn discuss the power that interior designers hold when it comes to sustainability issues. 
  • [11:12] Susan breaks down what the Sustainable Furnishings Council is and what it offers for designers. 
  • [21:39] Susan gives us insight into the research behind sustainable furnishings and consumer interest.
  • [32:59] Susan dives into her inspiring backstory of how she came to be executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. 
  • [48:15] Susan explains how to become a Green Leader or align your firm with the Council.

LuAnn and Susan Inglis’ Ah-Ha moments:

“Our supply chains are extremely complex, but our relationships are very, very important…so if one link in the chain says ‘I’m making a commitment to lower my carbon dioxide emissions…I’m going to change the lightbulbs in my warehouse…” they have the opportunity to share that news up and down their supply chain, inviting their vendors and everybody else to also take whatever is an easy first step, because all of us can do a little bit of something.” -Susan Inglis


“If each one of us is consciously trying to do what we can, it does have an overall effect on the end product being delivered in a less damaging way to the environment.” -LuAnn Nigara


“The interior designer is in a position of great power in being able to tell clients what the attributes of one piece of furniture over another might be, and this is important because 97% of the consumers we surveyed say they would be very interested in buying environmentally safe home furnishings (if, of course, they liked the style and the cost was within their budget).” -Susan Inglis


“The first step is often the most significant one you take, so I really encourage people to start with whatever is easiest for them, because you’re going to see that it makes a difference, you’re going to get excited, you’re going to be inspired, you’re going to want to make more changes and improvements within your operation, and, especially within the case of designers, you’re going to want to learn more and more because you’re going to see the significance of the information you’re garnering and sharing with your clients.” -Susan Inglis


More About Susan Inglis:

Susan Inglis is Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, and resident expert with the organization she helped found in 2006. She has led SFC to work with industry leaders to establish criteria to gauge the sustainability of furniture products and practices; develop programs for educating all sectors of the industry; and attract hundreds of companies to membership. Inglis is also founder and owner of From The Mountain, a company that imports hand spun cashmere yarn from Afghanistan, providing safe income for over 100 women there. Inglis serves on the Board of the American Sustainable Business Council and was awarded a 2017 Visionary Leadership award by the NC Business Council. She lives in North Carolina.


About SFC:

MISSION: SUSTAINABILITY.  The Sustainable Furnishings Council is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry. Our mission is to help companies reduce their environmental footprints as they grow, and to help consumers find healthy furnishings.  To accomplish these lofty goals, we provide the best education, promotion, and networking opportunities available.  We raise consumer interest in environmentally safe furnishings and promote the development of many more sustainable options. SFC urges the use of Life Cycle Assessment as the best method for analyzing the environmental and health impact of products and a verifiable chain of custody as the only acceptable method for tracking wood flow. SFC members support the triple bottom line of PEOPLE – PLANET – PROFITS and lead the industry in best practices throughout their supply chains. Members are committed to continually work toward a healthy future, inside and out.


OUR GOALS: Raise awareness of sustainability issues. Assist companies in adopting eco-friendly practices. Serve as an information clearinghouse. Provide a symbol of assurance for consumers.

Connect with Susan Inglis:

Susan’s 2021 consumer report for free for a limited time







What’s new with LuAnn Nigara:



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A Big THANK YOU to Today’s Podcast Sponsors:


Kravet has been with me since the beginning of the show and I love them for it! They helped me to build this amazing community.

Please check out Kravet if you’re looking for fabrics, wall coverings, trims and even quick ship furnishings. Go to Kravet.com and use coupon code AWDB10 – You’ll love their excellent service and your clients will appreciate the Kravet quality for years to come.

What Level is Your Design Business?