What Level is Your Design Business?

Kate Bendewald: High End Commercial Design to Motherhood and Entrepreneurship.

Episode 671 of A Well-Designed Business®

Today with Kate Bendewald:

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Sometimes, we start our own business because we always knew that’s what we were meant for. We want to be our own bosses, have flexibility in our work, and take charge of our lives. Other times, we’re pushed into it due to changes in our circumstances. For my guest today, Kate Bendewald, the second category is true. After she had her first daughter, she left a prestigious job in a commercial design firm and struck out on her own. Her design experience didn’t prepare her for the business side of things—that, she had to learn on her own. Today, she’s sharing with us the lessons she learned and how she has stayed the course through it all. 

Pick it apart:

  • [7:16] Kate shares her journey from commercial designer to running her own firm. 
  • [18:11] Kate discusses how she navigated the transition into business owner without any knowledge of business fundamentals.
  • [22:00] Kate dives into how she figured things out along the way, including improving at sales and messaging. 
  • [37:19] Kate explains her “FOCUS” strategy for not losing sight of what’s important and maintaining movement toward success. 
  • [45:38] Kate and LuAnn discuss the Designer’s Oasis and how designers can take advantage of its upcoming relaunch.

LuAnn and Kate Bendewald’s Ah-Ha moments:

“Sometimes we are just counting the hours until we can leave a job—maybe it’s because we are going to make a move in location or a family change like having a baby—and other times it’s that, what you just said, that you enjoyed it and it was kind of a surprise that it wasn’t manageable with a baby.” -LuAnn Nigara


“That conversation was the starting point and after that, it was pen to paper, creating a spreadsheet, talking about the low-end possibility, the high-end possibility, and stretching and saving in other areas in order to make it work for our family.” -Kate Bendewald


“Once I started to realize that my call to action needed to be much simpler, my success rate went from 20% to 90%, so knowing your call to action and how to wrap up that discovery call has been an important part.” -Kate Bendewald


“We tend to get hung up on the term ‘sales.’ But the truth is that if you have any intention to run your business, you have to get good at sales, so you need to embrace it and you need to become comfortable with it.” -Kate Bendewald

More About Kate Bendewald:

Kate’s work is a celebration of approachable luxury informed by her lifelong love of antiques. Her unfussy livable interiors are classic in nature but remain fresh by the unapologetic mix of contemporary art and furnishings with collected items. The result is effortless mix of color, pattern, materials, styles, and eras.

Over the last 10 years, she has built a career in interior design working on projects ranging from luxury residences in the Texas Hill Country, to public spaces for children like the Rose Andom Center and Denver Children’s Museum. She’s had projects from Alaska to South Carolina. Additionally, she has designed for many clients with special physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Last year, 100% of her new clients were word-of-mouth referrals and over half of her clients were repeat clients, that not only love how she translates their ideas into reality, but also elevates the process into a true experience.

Kate grew up in a creative family and developed her technical skills while earning a degree in Interior Design from Texas State University. Today she’s married and a mother to two young daughters that constantly teach her better ways to live beautifully with children.

Connect with Kate Bendewald:




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A Big THANK YOU to Today’s Podcast Sponsor:

Mydoma Studio: Mydoma is your complete designer toolkit, the place for you to manage all of your projects, from time tracking to communication to product approvals, so that you can free your time up to focus on your business and serve your clients. You can get started today and save 20% off your first three months at mydomastudio.com/awelldesignedbusiness.


Other Shows Mentioned:

#37 Lesley Myrick – Strategies I Used to Build My Business

#584 Lesley Myrick: Building a Business From the Ground Up, Again

#656 April Jensen: How to Establish Client Expectations for Successful Projects


#654 Jenny Madden: Navigating Maternity Leave in Your Interior Design Business

What Level is Your Design Business?