What Level is Your Design Business?

Marilyn Watson-LaVergne: Clients Don’t Buy What We Do, They Buy What We Believe

Episode 916 of A Well-Designed Business®
916: Marilyn Watson-LaVergne: Clients Don’t Buy What We Do, They Buy What We Believe

Today With Marilyn Watson-LaVergne:

Today on A Well-Designed Business I am joined Marilyn Watson-LaVergne. In her first career, Marilyn worked in marketing and public relations in New York City, witnessing the progression of branding for products and creative services, including interior design.  Now a seasoned designer and owner of Marilyn LaVergne Interiors, Marilyn is teaching us that we can’t be all the things to all the people—and what to do instead. It all starts with identifying what you believe and finding your point of differentiation, because clients don’t buy what we do. They buy what we believe.  Listen now to my chat with Marilyn to learn how to take this first step and where it will lead you.

Pick It Apart

[4:50] Marilyn explains the nuances and expertise that go into interior design.

[10:11] Marilyn talks about how she became passionate about design and transitioned out of marketing to become a designer.

[14:39] LuAnn and Marilyn discuss the impact a designer can have on their clients’ homes and lives, and what opportunities will bring the best outcomes.

[21:01] Marilyn suggests once you find your “only,” narrow your focus and seek customers who need that specific trait.

[27:35] Marilyn emphasizes that designers are not a commodity.

[39:00] Marilyn and LuAnn discuss the challenges of working in a creative industry, but understanding that what you offer will solve a problem or create an opportunity for your clients will benefit you both.

LuAnn Nigara and Marilyn Watson-LaVergne’s Ah-Ha Moments

“Clients don’t buy what we do, they buy what we believe.” – Marilyn Watson-LaVergne (quoting Simon Sinek)

“You have a specialized service [as a] designer. That means you have a specialized client.” – Marilyn Watson-LaVergne

“If we mean everything to everybody, then we actually mean nothing to anybody.” – Marilyn Watson-LaVergne

“You have something. You may not see it. And it might be because it’s so close to what you do that you don’t realize how valuable it is.” – LuAnn Nigara

“You have to know that what you’re offering is a solution to a really big problem or you’re capturing an opportunity. But either way, you are leaving your client in a better position than they were before the two of you met.” – Marilyn Watson-LaVergne

More About Marilyn Watson-LaVergne

Marilyn designs residential and boutique commercial interiors for clients seeking to enjoy spaces that showcase their values and amplify their aspirations.  Her work features modern lines punched up with aesthetic elements from African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indigenous cultures. She begins each project listening to understand clients’ vision, then collaborates to create exceptional living environments.  “Design is about my clients’ future,” Marilyn observes, “So, we aim to transform their highest dreams into living reality. We delivery original spaces filled with inspiration, comfort and pleasure.” Before design, Marilyn was a New York City publicist — working, at times, in the interior design industry.  Later, she collaborated with architects coordinating façade improvements to downtown buildings.  She earned the Certificate of Interior Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.  Then opened Sepia Home, an interior design showroom and art gallery in Montclair, NJ.  Later she joined Cabinets to Go, a leading cabinetry retailer, where she designed 100’s of kitchens and bathrooms for clients in the greater New York City area. In 2019, She launched Marilyn LaVergne Interiors, a full-service interior design studio, to serve clients ready to step into living spaces that magnify their imagination!

10 Marilyn FACTS:

1.      She’s evangelical about collecting fine art

2.      Believes she smiles way too much

3.      Takes Comfort in candle light

4.      Holds intense disdain for fluorescent lighting

5.      Plays guitar, sings the blues … but is shy about performing

6.      Would kill for a private tour of Prince’s closet

7.      Thinks the word “amazing” is over-used

8.      Once hated Vegas so much she cried

9.      Loves her curls

10.  Adheres to a design principle that involves Diana Ross – ask her!

Connect with Marilyn Watson-LaVergne



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Other Shows Mentioned:

AWDB #174: Power Talk Friday- Fred Berns- Own Your “Only” Word & Tips to Discover Yours

AWDB #908: Jessica Bantom: How to Be a Culturally Competent Design Activist & Why You Want to Be One (Part 1)

AWDB #912: Jessica Bantom Continued: Take Action With the Six Habits of Culturally Competent Designers

Other Resources Mentioned:

Simon Sinek TED Talk

What Level is Your Design Business?