Christina Richardson: Expanding Your Design Business Internationally: What You Need to Know
Today With Christina Richardson:
Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Today we’re traveling outside the country. My guest Christina Richardson from Christina Richardson Interiors. Christina is a Scandinavian native who grew up on the charming coast of Northern Sweden. After moving to the U.S. with her husband and two daughters, Christina earned her interior design degree from the New York Institute of Art and Design. With 20 years of interior design under her belt from Sweden, Christina has learned a lot in the business of starting over in another country. She is here to share the “musts” of what she learned you should do if considering taking projects in another country.
Pick It Apart
[5:00] Christina shares her experience coming to the U.S. and becoming an interior designer.
[9:10] How Christina got clients being from a different country and not knowing anyone.
[15:27] What to think about if you are in the U.S. and want to start a project in a different country.
[20:20] Christina explains the Vienna Agreement.
[34:42] Tips on vetting a contractor when you are doing an out of country project.
[44:05] Christina explains how things work when there are cultural differences.
LuAnn Nigara and Christina Richardson’s Ah-Ha Moments
“People like you give newer designers hope where you go through the stages of fear, but you plow through,” – LuAnn Nigara
“It’s important for everyone to know about the Vienna Agreement
More About Christina Richardson
Christina Richardson is a Scandinavian native, she grew up on the charming coast of Northern Sweden, in the small town, Skellefteå. After moving to the U.S. with her husband and 2 daughters, Christina earned her interior design degree from the New York Institute of Art and Design. Having previously earned her masters degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelors degree in construction engineering, and with over 20 years of interior design experience in Sweden under her belt, she’s able to capture the best of both worlds and deliver an alluring blend of function and style that is uniquely her own.
A completely female-owned, led, and run business, Christina Richardson Interiors boasts a rich portfolio that includes design elements like Scandinavian, contemporary, coastal, bohemian, and transitional. But Christina doesn’t believe in imposing a style onto her clients. Instead, she figures out what their authentic style is, and then works to make it look absolutely amazing. “I want people to feel like they are seen and heard.” she says. The team is spread out all over the world, Yasmine in New York handles Christina’s PR and communications and Ida in Sweden keeps track of Swedish trends, projects and she also does all the copywriting work and is responsible for all the newsletters.
Installation crews are hired close to the sites. Christina works tightly with selected contractors that all have a trained eye for details and design, with several zoom and facetime calls per week to make sure the result is perfect. “Zoom really has changed the design industry”, Christina says, “ I only visit my projects once or twice before install and it works amazingly well when you have good and reliable contractors” The common theme that ties every project together is that each design is created through Christina’s beautiful Swedish lens.
Her well-balanced style is fresh, warm, functional, and full of light. It’s sophisticated with a playful edge to wake you up, and unexpected pockets of humor to keep you on your toes. For example, in a recent Hilton Head home design project, upon a classy Serena and Lily end table, sits a rebellious set of coasters that state in all-caps, “Don’t f up the table”. It’s little surprises like these that are indicative of a fabulous mind having designed the space. Speaking of surprises, all of her clients get to experience the treat of her signature design move, “the red thread”. In each design project, Christina creates one area that makes a big statement; bolder than the rest of the space. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll discover she has left little clues, or a “red thread” throughout the rest of the interior, showing you what lies ahead in the big statement area. To the untrained eye, her signature Scandinavian style may appear modern, but as Christina explains, there’s a big difference between the two. “Modern style is colder, minimalistic, and not as functional.
Scandi style is all about warmth and light, and very, very functional!”. It makes perfect sense that Christina’s Scandinavian style combines an abundance of both warmth and light. She grew up in an environment that lacks daylight for a substantial part of the year, so playing up light is a big design focus for her. And cold environments like Sweden inspire all things cozy and comfortable, hence the need for generous warmth and function.
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