What Level is Your Design Business?

Lane McNab: Broaden Your Interior Design Business with a Furniture Line

Episode 699 of A Well-Designed Business®

Today with Lane McNab:

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Today I’m joined by Lane McNab. Lane runs a successful interior design business, Lane McNab Interiors, but, like so many of you, she found herself wanting to diversify. That desire eventually led to the birth of Guild by LMI, Lane’s furniture line. 

Starting a furniture line, or adding any facet of the business, takes a lot of work. Today, Lane is sharing a spotlight on the challenges she faced and how she overcame them along the way.

Pick it apart:

  • [1:41] Lane shares what drove her to start her line and how her core values guided her in her endeavor. 
  • [20:08] Lane discusses how she navigated production for her line, and how that has changed as the line has started to thrive. 
  • [27:45] Lane details how to balance a commitment to sustainability and high-quality. 
  • [32:02] Lane shares insights into the process of working in showrooms and the lessons she had to learn as she navigated that world. 
  • [48:27] LuAnn and Lane discuss the nitty-gritty details of what financial impact went into the creation of the line.

LuAnn and Lane McNab’s Ah-Ha moments:

“You have to determine along the way where you’re going to make a compromise, because you can’t make everyone happy all the time. So you have to determine what is the foundation of what you’re trying to do, and then that can inform those decisions as you’re trying to make them. There are hundreds of decisions that go into developing something like a furniture line.” -Lane McNab


“You know what I love about that, is it’s so typical of any entrepreneur’s journey, but of course to a designer’s journey. I can imagine that if you analyzed the projects you’ve done and the way you priced them twelve years ago, you’d probably say the same thing: ‘in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to get another client or if the phone was ever going to ring again, so I was pricing projects at a lower rate. But I eventually understood that my value was worth more.’” -LuAnn Nigara


“Once I know what I’m going to do, and that my risk tolerance is ok with it, I’m just going to do it. I’m not going to hit a wall of ‘oh it’s too hard or too expensive.’ You just get to the next fork in the road and figure out how to make it work.” -Lane McNab

More about Lane McNab:

A Southern transplant, Lane grew up in Tallahassee, FL and completed undergraduate studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. Soon after she moved to the West Coast where she attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Graduating with advanced degrees in vocal performance, she pursued her music career spending several years as a highly-acclaimed operatic soprano in leading roles throughout the Bay Area.

After years of extensive travel and studies abroad, Lane left opera singing to manage the demands of a growing family. When she returned to  the working world, she focused on her other artistic passion: designing interiors. Before founding Lane McNab Interiors in 2012, she apprenticed with a local design and construction firm as a designer and project manager which gave her an invaluable hands-on experience and a deep knowledge of the design and construction process.  

A continuously curious learner with a passion for beauty, uniqueness, detail, and quality Lane has created a firm with a team of like-minded professionals giving her a devoted clientele and close relationships with vendors and tradespeople throughout the Bay Area. Her designs have been featured in numerous publications and tastemaker sites. When not passionately pursuing design, Lane spends her free time with her three children and husband in their 115 year old house in Berkeley, CA.

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A Big THANK YOU to Today’s Podcast Sponsor:

Kravet: Kravet’s commitment to innovation and their ability to bring in new technology works to make life easier for you as a designer.  Their new website redesign makes finding quality home furnishings even easier for you. With the new redesign, you can quickly access all of your tools, like your account settings, price lists, current and past orders and more. The product has also been enhanced to offer more tailored results to get you what you’re looking for quicker. Designers can now also search more specifically by color with Kravet’s new advanced color search, which allows you to create the exact custom color you are looking for and get filtered search results that best match your selection. Visit Kravet.com today to see it for yourself! Be sure to use coupon code AWDB10 for 10% off your first order!  


Mydoma: Mydoma is the designer toolkit. Not only does it offer a workflow software to keep your projects organized from beginning to end, but it also offers a valuable, thriving designer community. Mydoma is created by designers, for designers, so you know that it can truly offer everything you need to stay organized and free up your time. You can get 20% off your first three months by signing up at mydomastudio.com/awelldesignedbusiness.


Other Shows Mentioned: 

#205 Lane McNab: How Interior Designers and Contractors Work Together


#540 Robin Baron: Strategic Thinking on Product Development


#73 Kim Kuhteubl: Understand the Value of Your Creativity and How to Find Your True Tribe


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

What Level is Your Design Business?