Episode #0053 West of Main’s Sasha Lafleur on Organically Growing her Interior Design Services

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer, host Crystal Collinson, chats with fellow designer and the Principal Lead Designer and Co-Owner of West of Main Design, Sascha Lafleur.

Sascha had a passion for design for as long as she can remember so she  moved to Montreal to study Interior Design. She is committed to design spaces that are not just a valued addition to the client’s varied lifestyles, businesses, and environments. She believes that spaces are a true reflection of who they are, where they’ve been, and where they are going.

West of Main was initially established as an interior design services business. Over time it organically became a multi-faceted business. I includes a brick & mortar furniture store as well as a newly added e-commerce store. By launching an online e-commerce store, it allows the business to reach audiences across Canada & the United States. 

Sascha shares how her amazing team collaborates on the concept development to nail down the design direction.  When moving on to the planning phase, this allows for the implementation phase to run smoothly as possible. When you implement something completely unorganized in your interior design services, people live in chaos for a year to two. Which is extremely frustrating for the client, construction, and the design team. Take the proper time to plan the entire project before starting construction. Then the implementation experience can be a pleasurable journey for everyone involved.

So join in as Crystal and Sascha talk about Sascha’s interior design services and how she has expanded her team and furniture store . Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for” and listen to this episode. 

How to reach Sascha:

Website – westofmain.com

Facebook – Westofmainshoppe I      Instagram – westofmainshoppe

Sasha Lafleur on TPD episode on how she organically grow her interior design services

Recommended podcast : Gut podcast

Episode #0052 Designing for Mental Health with Carrie Leskowitz

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer, host Crystal Collinson, interviews fellow designer, certified life coach and author, Carrie Leskowitz.

Carrie is an award-winning interior designer with over 20 years of experience. As the founder of Carrie Leskowtitz Interiors, she helps clients nurture the holistic connections between their homes and their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Through self-exploration and reinvention for beautifully created homes. Focused on designing for mental health connections to promote overall well-being and abundant life.

Carrie shares the journey that led her in being a life coach. She believes that things happen for a reason. And that we don’t always know what they are when we’re in them. She decided to become a life coach to help herself to change her perspective. She started her coaching her design clients because she had seen how the interior space of home mirrors their minds. 

In Carrie’s book, OM for the hOMe, she shares her holistic approach to intentionally curating an environment where you’ll thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is your complete guide to designing for mental health space with your authentic self in mind to achieve Zen. Full of design philosophy, creative lifestyle tips, and introspective activities.

Carrie also shares that she’s working with people and companies where sustainability is of importance. She likes to use non-toxic paints which every company makes now. She also recommends reducing cleaning supplies by applying the 80/20 approach. Finding more and more people are interested in going green in cleaning supplies & beauty products.

So join Crystal and Carrie as they talk about Carrie’s book about designing for mental health, her interior design business, and the holistic connection between our homes and our health as a whole. Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” and pick up Carrie’s book.

How to reach Carrie:

Website : carrieleskowitzinteriors.com I Instagram :  @carrieleskowitz

Facebook : carrieleskowitzinteriors I LinkedIn : carrie-leskowitz

Carrie Leskowitz as guest on TPD episode Designing for mental health

Recommended podcasts: 

A Well Designed Business, The Genius Life and Meaningful Conversation

Resources mentionedOM for the Home – A Holistic Approach to Interior Design for Your Overall Wellbeing, Body, Mind, and Spirit

Episode #0051 Our Sense of Smell and Depression, How They are Related

Featured on today’s episode The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson interviews TEDx speaker, author of WHY the NOSE? and Chief Executive Officer at The Scented L’air, Tracy Pepe.

Tracy has over 30 years of experience developing her superpower, which is the connection between mental health and our sense of smell. She is a perfumer specializing in essential oils, aromatics and chemicals. She created various scent solutions to rethink practical synesthesia (Tracy explains what synesthesia is) in architecture and interior design. Most of her design collaborations explored the idea of sensorial expansion. Adding the intertwinement of scent strategy and color to create nearly deepened ways of visitor sensation.

In this episode, Tracy breaks down scent design and essential oils for consumers to understand that scent design is more than a scented candle.

Tracy talks about her book which was her personal journey as a perfumer and the fear of getting COVID. And the chance of losing her sense of smell would be like a Designer losing their eyesight. Tracy explains how COVID impacts the central nervous system. In which the number one symptom is people losing their sense of smell and their sense of taste. Noting that the unfortunately the medical community downplay this. However, in the scent world, that’s a huge red flag. She shares the research information about people who loses their sense of smell is close to 76% chance to experience some form of depression.

So join Crystal and Tracy as they talk about Tracy’s scent business, the relation of smell and depression, and the qualities to look for in buying essential oils.

Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”. And contact Tracy to get your copy of her new E-book, free smelling kit, or workbook.

How to connect with Tracy

Website: smellingpink.ca

LinkedIn:  Tracy Pepe

Tracy Pepe as guest on TPD episode Our sense of smell and depression

Recommended podcasts/books

My Love Story by Tina Turner

Greenlight by Matthew McConaughey

Resources mentioned:

Free workbook on how to regain sense of smell

Episode #0050 – The Planning Fallacy (Solo episode)

Planning fallacy refers to an optimistic prediction bias in which people underestimate the time that it will actually take to complete a task. Despite knowing that similar tasks that you’ve performed in the past have typically taken longer. We tend to exclude many variables that are out of our control and only think of some parts of the task that we can control. Therefore, we grossly underestimate how long something is gonna actually take to complete. When it comes to projects this depends on what type of fee system you are working with. Whether you’re on an hourly or a flat fee, we are all guilty of not charging for every hour that we have worked.

There are studies that show how we can overcome this fallacy. That is learning to break down our projects into more bite-size and manageable tasks. By doing so, we have a much better idea of estimating the amount of time each of those specific tasks is going to take. This is where time blocking comes in. The challenge is actually sticking to what you planned to do in that specific time. Because there will always be something that will try to distract you from your intended action.

There is really no one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming the planning fallacy. Things are going to happen that are not on your schedule, but has there ever really been an actual “design emergency”? The answer is NO! The trick is breaking things down into bite-sized pieces, setting out your intentions on when and where to do these tasks and then sticking  to actually following through…yes easier said than done.

So now go do something today that your future self will thank you for and listen to this short episode.

If you enjoyed the episode, show your support by buying me a coffee buymeacoffee.com/TPDpodcast

TPD solo episode titled The Planning Fallacy

Resources mentioned:

Time Blocking episode


Why do we underestimate how long it will take to complete a task?

Episode #0049 How to Generate Referrals for your Business Without Asking with Stacey Brown Randall

Featured on today’s episode The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson interviews multiple award-winning author and podcast host Stacey Brown Randall.

 Stacey is the multiple award-winning author of Generating Business Referrals Without Asking. She’s also the host of the Roadmap to Grow Your Business podcast. She has been featured in national publications like Entrepreneur Magazine – Investor, Business Daily, Forbes. CEO World and Fox News.

Stacey shares her high-level philosophy on how to generate referrals which always comes from relationships. And relationships have to be maintained by frequent connection. Business owners are juggling both professional and personal life, and in order to maintain connections, you need to create a referral process so that you can do it consistently. The best way to maintain these connections is through touchpoints. This ensures that we’re connecting the right way, with the right language. And the right amount of times in a year.

We have been taught on how to generate referrals that we must ask for them. Stacey & Crystal discuss easy and effective ways to stand out amongst your competitors. And how to easily receive more business referrals without asking.

Honoring the relationship with referral sources is more impactful when using the right language to direct how they think about us, which is ultimately how the referrals consistently happen. Additionally, the piece that most people miss is that referral generation needs to be strategic with a system in place so that you maintain those consistent touchpoints. 

So join Crystal and Stacey as they discuss on how to generate referrals and hope to inspire you to think differently about growing and maintaining your business through referrals. 

Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for” and reach out to a past client.

Connect with Stacey

 Website – staceybrownrandall.com

 Facebook – StaceyBrownRandall

Stacey Brown Randall as guest on TPD episode How to generate referrals for your Business Without Asking

Recommended podcasts/books

 Podcast  – The Simple Life Gardener

Book – Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Being the H.O.S.T of your life with Andrea Freeman

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson interviews mindful business coach, Andrea Freeman.

Andrea is a celebrity event planner turned mindful business coach. She works with service-based entrepreneurs around the world to help them up-level their businesses to multiple 6 to 7 figures through a couple of different vehicles like authentic thought leadership and visibility and mindset. Cultivating the habits, practices to create a business that is soulfully sustainable.

Andrea shares that her personal journey as an entrepreneur where she had a number of different businesses. Andrea realized that going through her business evolutions really helped her to cultivate a new mindset. She also mentions how she created her coaching program which is based on the idea of being at a party. Andrea points out that there are two ways to be in life, to be a “guest” or be the “host”. When you’re a guest at someone else’s party, you don’t have a say in a lot of things about the party, but being the host you have the choice to create something that’s uniquely and authentically yours.

Andrea is the creator of the H.O.S.T your life Accelerator program. A program to learn how to honor your why so you get really clear about why you do what you do. So that you can build a business that makes a massive impact, stands the test of time, and creates true entrepreneurial freedom.

Andrea and Crystal discuss the topic of burnout. Andrea believes that you cannot talk about burnout without the discussion of boundaries. Which she thinks is going to be a critical part of being able to come out of burnout, and be successful. Andrea mentions that the more you cultivate your mindset, the easier it is to get there.

So join Crystal and Andrea as they talk about Andrea’s entrepreneurial journey and her coaching business. Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”.

How to connect with Andrea:

Website – andreafreemanconsulting.com I Instagram – @afreeman_insta

LinkedIn – afreeman-consulting

Andrea Freeman as guest in TPD episode Being the H.O.S.T of your life

Recommended podcasts:

Revisionist History I Get Rich Lucky Bitch

Episode #0047 How to effectively use local SEO for your Interior Design business

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson interviews local SEO Expert, Jessica Morrison. 

Jessica runs a local SEO agency where she helps small businesses really increase their search engine rankings and their online visibility. Her passion has always been local business and not just local but small businesses across the world. She talks about a class of really large companies that will have a completely different SEO strategy than a business that exists in a city or a smaller town. And there are definite advantages to really increase your ranking locally. She thinks that it’s often a benefit that’s overlooked by small businesses. Because they think that SEO is kind of one of these things that only big companies do. Listen to learn why it is beneficial for small local companies too.

Jessica discusses the three different pillars that you want to look at with local SEO. Your first one is optimizing your website. Where you want to take a look at your website and make sure it’s optimized for mobile viewing. Because most people are now looking at things on smartphones. The second is social media even if it has an indirect effect on your SEO. What it does is it’s increasing your brand awareness allowing your company to be “top of mind”. She continues to discuss the third factor which is the local ranking factor,. Which would be having a Google my business profile. And it can go so far as to text you if people want to interact with you. If you’ve optimized GMB then you can show up in the top three on the map.

So join Crystal and Jessica as they discuss positioning your business through local SEO efforts. Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for” and head on to her website to check the PDF free resource to know more about the three pillars Jessica mentioned.

How to reach Jessica:

Website seasidedigitaldesign.com     

LinkedIn – seasidedigitaldesign     I     Instagram – @seasidedigitaldesign

Jessica Morrison on TPD episode How to effectively use local SEO for your Interior Design business

Recommended podcasts:

Speaking Your Brand      I     Sales Maven     I     Hello Seven

Episode #0046 Learn how to focus with “Focusologist” Penny Zenker

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson chats with Focusologist, Penny Zenker. 

Penny is, an international speaker, business strategy coach, and best-selling author of the book “The Productivity Zone” which was an instant Amazon Best Seller. And her TEDx, “The Energy of Thought”, has gained attention around the world. She is featured on NBC News, Forbes, Inc, ESPN, and Wharton Business Radio among others.

In this episode, Crystal and Penny discuss how we need to bring awareness to life and works’ distractions or how and why we lose focus. Penny explains how can we start to take steps towards being more focused. And being more intentional with where and how we direct our attention. 

Crystal believes habitual change is tough, and it is going to take a real effort to make these changes happen. 

What is a “Focusologist”?

Penny explains what a Focusologist is, it is someone who focuses is on the right things at the right time. It is someone who studies and practices the art of controlling and directing the energy of our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions to produce a positive, meaningful result. At the simplest, it’s the art of studying how to focus so that we get the results that we want. 

She emphasized that humans are a thousand times more driven away from pain than we are towards pleasure. Where, avoiding the pain by doing almost anything other than what we are supposed to do.

Crystal asks how Penny works and what are methods she uses to help people to stay focused. Penny mentioned that the first step is awareness. She has a distraction quiz. Where she invites everybody to take a look at. And find out whether they’re a squirrel or a time zombie. What the quiz meant to do is to create that heightened awareness as to what’s distracting us. People should be aware that we’re being distracted. And, that we’re impulsively behaving in a certain way.

Listen in on this episode where Crystal and Penny talked about the ways how to focus and be a little bit more productive. And, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”. And learn to notice what your triggers are for losing focus. 

How to reach Penny:

Website: pennyzenker360.com I LinkedIn: pennyzenker I Facebook: PennyzPerspective

Mentioned Resources: Distraction quiz

Books Productivity-Zone-Stop-Tug-Time by Penny Zenker and Ruthless-Elimination-Hurry-Emotionally-Spiritually by Jon Mark Comer 

Penny Zenker on TPD episode how to focus

Recommended podcasts: Tim Ferriss and Brene Brown

Episode #0045 TPD Chats with Phyllis Harbinger the author of The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox: Checklists and Best Practices to Manage Your Workflow

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson interviews fellow interior design professional and author, Phyllis Harbinger. 

Phyllis is an Interior Designer, Educator, Strategist, Speaker, and Author of the Interior Design Productivity Toolbox. She has owned and operated her award-winning boutique firm, DCI Studio, for almost 30 years. Serving the luxury residential market.

In this episode, Phyllis shares the story of how she came to writing her book. It all started when she was in a mastermind class. And her mentor challenged them all to create an evergreen product. Then she thought about the budgeting tool and checklists she had created. It could become an evergreen product, and it did.

Crystal and Phyllis move the conversation to discuss the best methods for scaling a business. Phyllis points out that we all live in a very different world now. One that allows us to work remotely, and therefore the ability to hire part-time or “fractional” is very easy to do. This allows small business owners the flexibility and freedom to hire. Without having the responsibility of a full-time employee especially when you’re starting out.

Phyllis shares her best hiring practice. As an Educator she has an advantage she likes to call her “secret sauce”, and that is to hire through her class.  She gets to really know who the students are. As a Teacher, she gets first-hand knowledge of their work ethic. Their personality traits, and their unique brilliance. She sees all that because she is interacting with them on a regular basis. And she learns of their capabilities. And nine out of 10 times, they exponentially show more than anticipated.

Phyllis and Crystal briefly touch on fee systems. Phyllis’s preferred method is a substantial design fee for the conceptualization and creative services portion. And then her DCI Studio team move into purchase management. DCI Studio keeps all of their client’s credit cards safely password-protected. Using their cards to make purchases on their clients’ behalf. A “Purchase Management” fee is then added on which allows for complete transparency. And worrying about her clients “shopping” her.

So join Crystal and Phyllis as they discuss her book, ideas on scaling and managing an interior design business. Then, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” and pick up Phyllis’s book.

 How to reach Phyllis:

Website : phyllisharbinger.com  I  Instagram : phyllisharbinger   I Facebook : DCIStudio

Phyllis Harbinger as guest in the episode titled TPD Chats with Phyllis Harbinger the author of The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox

Recommended podcasts: Deepak Chopra

Recommended books: Get A Grip by Gion Wickman & Mike Paton, Traction by Gino Wickman 

Episode #0044 Design Package Options for Working with Contractors, with Mehnaz Malik

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson strategizes with fellow interior design professional Mehnaz Malik.  

In this episode, Mehnaz is interested in learning about Crystal’s relationships with Builders and Contractors. And how she charges for her services. Crystal provides insight, explaining how having a different design package available is a great option for both the Contractor and the Client. These packages are priced based on the scope of work and level of design involvement. 

Mehnaz & Crystal also chat about how to discuss budgets with Clients.  This can sometimes be a challenge for many Design Professionals. A design package option to consider is working with a project total instead of showing an itemized list. This can be helpful when working within an overall budget.  Some clients prefer to know exactly what they are paying for each item. While other clients are okay as long as the budget is met. 

So, join Crystal and Mehnaz as they discuss ways to approach money, budgets, and contractors. Then, do something today that your future self will thank you for. And try some of these suggestions for yourself.  

How to reach Mehnaz:

Website – www.nataridesign.com

IG: @nataridesign

Mehnaz Malik as guest on TPD episode Design Package Options for Working with Contractors

Recommended podcasts: Paloma Contreras podcast