Month: February 2011

I can lead you to great design, but I can’t MAKE you love it.

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I really thought about that old quote the other day, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.” when my client blamed me for selecting the wrong paint color! And I thought to myself: HUH, what went wrong here?

Before the walls were painted my client gave me a magazine picture of what she wanted. I matched the paint color based on the overall style of the room, and did a few test samples for her to approve. Then once I got her approval on a color, I had my painters go ahead and paint the place.
However, I got a call that same day and the client hated the color! So I drove there at 7am the next morning to see what had happened. I walked in a bit confused because the color looked beautiful and it was exactly what I had planned for the design, but she was not happy with it.

Well obviously I want my clients to love the selections I make, whether it’s paint or furniture, and so I told her that I would try some other samples and reselect.

After weeks of testing samples, my client selected a color she liked. We had it painted and she was thrilled with the color. Keep in mind that this color hadn’t related AT ALL to the color from the magazine clip she originally showed me.

I remember this from Patti Stanger on’ “The Millionaire Matchmaker”. She always talks about how she can bring the perfect woman to you, but she can’t force you to fall in love with her, especially if you are not open to changing your old ways.

So to go back to my title of this blog…here is what I am talking about. Sometimes you hire a professional with the intensions of letting them do their job. In my case, I create the complete vision for a space down to every last detail. I guess what happened here is a case of not being ready to accept someone else making decisions and not willing to give up the control. Therefore I can’t expect each client to fall in love with what I create for them…C’est la vie!

Re cap of my student lecture – Owning a business!

Shirry Dolgin - Owner, A.S.D. Interiors



As some of you may know, I often guest speak and give lectures to students studying interior design. I talk with them about running an interior design business and all the facets of being a business owner.
Well, yesterday I was invited to speak in a class of students studying at FIDM (my alma mater) who were all business majors. Each one of these students had a different type of business goal, from opening a clothing boutique all the way to opening a restaurant, and wanted to hear a professional speak about running a business.
It was a great lecture and we had some real fun and candid discussions of how I run my business and how I have grown my career. So I thought I would post some highlights from my lecture for you all to enjoy. I talked a lot about the daily activities I do (and all the hats I wear) as well as trends I see in technology and how the consumers really drive the demand of the services I offer.
I really focused on 3 main themes for this lecture, and they are:

1. Finding a mentor – virtual or in person
2. Research your competition
3. Have passion about what you do!

Mentorship – The reason I have become such a huge advocate of mentorship and encourage young people finding one, is because there has to be some element in building your business that bridges the gap between student life and real life. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about getting an education and graduating from college. But the reality is that there IS a big gap from what we learn in school compared to reality, and a lot of questions that need to be answered. Unfortunately, your parents and/or your friends cannot always be there to help you with your roadblocks and may not have the knowledge to help. So to have a business mentor and someone who you can look at and say you really idealize their business model can help the trajectory of your business growth by leaps and bounds.

Research – There cannot be enough said about research! Now I know the word sound awful to some people and it probably brings up some old feelings of term papers and extra boring work. But owning a business is a lifelong agreement to constant research! I spends hours educating myself and doing research on a daily basis. The truth is that it never ends when you own a business and when you strive to be the best at what you do. You can do research about your competition, about new technology, and about people in your industry. There is an endless amount of information out there and the truth is that if you want to set yourself apart as an “expert” or a voice of authority in your market, you better have done your research and be well versed in your area of business.

Last is passion…and this is the most important one! Passion is the driving force behind all successful businesses. The real people who love what they do have such a strong passion about it and it doesn’t feel like work to them. It’s something they feel like doing and the passion oozes out of them. We all know people like this. It can be a car enthusiast or a tech geek… Whatever the subject that drives you should be the one you choose to build a profitable career.