What Level is Your Design Business?

Sonal Kotecha: When the Student is Ready, The Teacher Will Appear.

Episode 776 of A Well-Designed Business®

Today with Sonal Kotecha:

Welcome to a Well-Designed Business. Today we have on Sonal Kotecha, founder of Rumah Interiors, a Dubai-based boutique interior design firm.

Sonal and I were going back and forth on Instagram and she was telling me all of the lessons that she had learned from the show. As we were chatting, a light bulb went off and I knew I had to have her on as a guest. I am so appreciative of her sharing her lessons that I know you will benefit from hearing her story. Enjoy!

Pick it apart:

[6:38] Sonal tells us about the first big lesson she learned from A Well-Designed Business.

[17:30] Sonal explains her second lesson from the podcast regarding your talent as a designer is not enough for success. 

[27:49] Sonal and LuAnn discuss the third lesson Sonal learned. 

[42:25] Sonal elaborates on her fourth lesson.

[50:22] Lesson 5- we all need a “Vin” man. 

[54:40] Last lesson of work-life balance is key.

LuAnn and Sonal Kotecha’s Ah-Ha moments:

“The discovery call is a sales presentation and the way we choose to discuss something, like trade discounts, will impact not only that conversation, but all of the following conversations.” – LuAnn Nigara


“We know what we are good at and we lean into that, and we hire people for the areas that we aren’t “good.” – LuAnn Nigara


“We need to strategically prepare for situations when we are not being driven by a state of emergency.” – Sonal Kotecha 

More about Sonal Kotecha:

Sonal Kotecha is the founder of Rumah Interiors, a Dubai-based boutique interior design firm, dedicated to providing a stellar design service for her clients in the Middle East and beyond. 


She calls herself a child of the world – after growing up as a second generation Indian in the United Kingdom, to parents born and raised in Kenya – she moved and set up her own home base in Dubai at the young age of 24, where she continues to live with her husband from yet another corner of the world, South Africa – and she credits this diverse background as being the reason she is able to connect on a deeper level to people & clients from all over the world. 


She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture & Design from Nottingham Trent University in 2007. Shortly after graduating, fate led her on a one-way ticket to Dubai, where she built up experience working both as an in-house designer for a private developer, then for a multi-disciplinary interior design studio, before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship and starting Rumah Interiors in 2017. 


Sonal likes to keep her ear to the ground when it comes to movements in her local property industry and has witnessed first-hand the astronomical leap in residential projects in Dubai over the last 12 months. Sparked by a post-pandemic heightened appreciation for a well-designed home environment, and several new UAE’s government backed initiatives, such as more accessible residency visa options, an influx of new residents moved into the country that she has proudly called home for the last 12years. As a result, the floodgates to new projects opened up, and she had to quickly adapt from being a one-woman show, to a small team of powerful [female] design professionals, who could take on multiple projects in parallel from concept through to completion.  She realized that some of her old processes & contracts were no longer viable, and then along came A Well Designed Business Podcast – and in the conversations, she found answers to the questions that had been keeping her awake at night…

Connect with Sonal Kotecha




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Other Shows Mentioned:

#449- Design Biz Live: What We Learned at LuAnn Nigara Live, It’s About the Conversation.

#454- Power Talk Friday: Jamie Lieberman: Hashtag Legal: Lawyers That Speak Designer. 

#638- What Would Lu Do?: Processes and Contracts: They Aren’t Made to Be Broken.

#640- Power Talk Friday: Ashley Connell: Founder of Prowess: Helping You Find Your Next Hire.

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

#721- What Would Lu Do?: Year End 2021-Questions to Ask.

#723- What Would Lu Do?: Let’s Do a Revenue Generator Review.

#725- What Would Lu Do?: Year End: How to Plan Your Marketing.

#727- What Would Lu Do?: Year End Review: Apps, Tech, Memberships and More!

Thank you to today’s sponsor!

Did you happen to go to the new Kravet Showroom in HP last month? They unveiled the Kravet Home. Kravet has furniture, rugs, lighting accessories and fabric for every room in your house, including your outdoor rooms. The new showroom in the Steel Building is beautifully set up as a home. From the foyer as you enter, all the way through the living room, great room, dining room, bedroom, home office suite and the outdoor patio space. It is a treat to see the fabrics, wallpapers, sofas, desks everything all displayed just as you would specify them in your projects. And the rooms have been designed by some of your favorite designers. Thom Filicia, Carrier & Co and Mabley Handler to name a few. So if you are planning to go to HP in the fall, be sure to put Kravet on your list of must see stops. And in the meantime, go to kravet.com and get your trade acct set up today. No opening minimum orders, no yearly minimums and true trade pricing, so you can make money. Check it out and tell them I sent you.

What Level is Your Design Business?