In this episode I speak with Amanda Arcone, about her decades of experience in the corporate and banking world and how her entrepreneurial spirit eventually led her to start her own design business.

She describes searching for structure, framework and community and the specific ways my courses and Designer’s Room resonated with her. You aren’t going to want to miss her ideas on cultivating confidence and investing in yourself to make decisions that benefit your business’s ecosystem as well as you future forward self. Finally she talks a bit about her brick and mortar showroom and strong and developed business goals for the next 10 years.

You aren’t going to want to miss out on how Amanda applies her experience and expertise to design firm ownership.


  • Join us in Designer’s Room here
  • Learn more about Amanda Arcone on her website and follow her on Instagram

This episode is sponsored by Devix Kitchens

Read the Full Episode Transcript ⬇️

[00:00:00] Amanda Arcone: You know, I see the vulnerability. I see the sharing that is there in that room and that’s authentic and you cannot get that in, let’s be honest, right? Like there’s all these free interior design groups in Facebook that you can join, and sometimes they’re not very nice and it’s a public forum, so they’re, they don’t want to spill the tea, right?

[00:00:17] They they’re, they’re holding back. So in this community, it’s all about sharing, being vulnerable, being authentic, helping each other grow. And to me, I’m a collaborator. I approach my designs that way with my clients. I like to get the essence of the people and the people in the home and all the things they do.

[00:00:33] And that’s how I like to collaborate.

[00:00:35] Rebecca Hay: All right. I’m Rebecca Hay and I’ve built a successful interior design business by trial and error, podcasts, online courses, and so many freaking books. Over the last decade, I’ve grown from an insecure student to having false starts to careers. And now I’m finally in the place where I want to be.

[00:00:58] Throughout my journey, [00:01:00] it’s been pretty obvious that I’m passionate about business and helping other entrepreneurs do the same. Each week I’ll share tangible takeaways from my own experience and the experiences of other badass women to help you build your confidence and change your business. Hey, hey, hey, it’s Rebecca and you are listening to resilient by design.

[00:01:23] Today I interview Amanda Arcon of New England home and interiors. Amanda is a super savvy businesswoman who’s located in New Hampshire and has started her interior design firm. only in the last few years as a second career. I mean, maybe more than a second career because she was in corporate for 30 years and spent 10 years in the banking world.

[00:01:48] What I love about Amanda is that she comes to running an interior design business with really incredible education, experience, and business savvy. She took power of process [00:02:00] in the fall of 2023 and has immediately elevated her ability to deliver to her clients. She’s now hiring. In this episode, we talk about what it took for her to take a brand new spanking business, literally a little bit later in life.

[00:02:17] She’s an empty nester and scale it. Very quickly, we talk at the very end about her plans, her exit strategy, which I think is a fun conversation because not a lot of designers talk about that. Like, are you going to sell? Are you going to retire? Like, what is the plan? And we talk about thinking big and making decisions.

[00:02:36] Amanda is a true inspiration. I love how she brings her experience from banking to really speak to some of the practical things that I teach about inside my courses inside designer’s room. She’s also a designer’s room member. She joined immediately after finishing power of process. I’m so excited to see her as a mentor inside the group, sharing her knowledge and [00:03:00] her experience.

[00:03:00] But for now, let’s just dive in to listen to our conversation with Amanda.

[00:03:09] Hello, Amanda. I’m really excited to have you on the podcast. Well, thank you. You’re one of our new members, new like shining stars. I’m so excited. I feel like you’ve had so many incredible milestones, even just inside the course. Yeah. With your own business and maybe just like give a little bit of background.

[00:03:27] Amanda Arcone: I come from corporate. I was a commercial banker. I was an energy trader. I was in tech and they were all kind of, they all kind of folded in together at some point towards the end of my career. But, you know, I kind of go in and out of this business with. Entrepreneurial spirit, but I also I’m constantly throwing my banker hat back on because I’ve had to do that.

[00:03:47] I’ve actually had to say, Amanda, you need to sit on the other side of the desk and answer all the questions that I used to probe my clients for in banking. You know, you want a million dollars. You’re going to tell me a lot more than what you’re saying. You know, [00:04:00] so. A lot of where I’m coming from in my business comes from my background.

[00:04:04] I had a passion for interiors. I flipped my own home. I designed my own kitchen. I did a few free projects, you know, all the things that everybody starts out in that hobbyist mindset of, Ooh, I really love this, but I come with this. In two ways. I love business. I love the strategy, the operations, the client experience, like all of that stuff has been extremely fascinating to me in my, in my career, but I also love interiors.

[00:04:29] And when I was really looking at transitioning, you know, I was an empty nester and I’m like, do I, I don’t want to drive around Boston and look for parking for two hours anymore and all the things. And so I started exploring the interior design industry, did a lot of research, listening to podcasts, read books, all the things, and I had a lot of conflicting information that was coming at me that didn’t make sense to me as someone who has some business experience, who used to mentor and coach my clients when I was trying to underwrite millions of [00:05:00] dollars in money that they wanted to walk out with.

[00:05:02] Right? So I take a risk management perspective. Um, this like of insurance, how are you getting the money? How fast are you getting the money? How fast are you paying the people like all the things?

[00:05:13] Rebecca Hay: I think that’s amazing. First of all, can I just stop you there? Because I love that. That’s your background.

[00:05:17] Like how many creatives have that background? Not many. I know a lot of creatives. I know a lot of designers now like that is. A really unique background that I know we’ve talked about this inside power of process, but it really does give you a leg up and it helps to reframe your mindset. Also, you know, you know, you didn’t just graduate school.

[00:05:36] Like you have life experience under your belt. Like how many years were you in the banking world before you decided to sort of branch out? Over

[00:05:44] Amanda Arcone: 10 years in banking, but I have 30 years in corporate, you know, I say I have 30 years from my, my first big girl job where I was getting a salary in that hourly, you know, it’s been

[00:05:54] Rebecca Hay: 30 years like that is amazing.

[00:05:56] Like, you’ve 30 years of learnings and experience that you can apply. [00:06:00] And like, that to me explains why I mean, I. I’ve seen you in the such a short time that I’ve known you immediately implement something, get it and like move forward, which is really, it’s so amazing to see. And I just think that’s really helpful for people who are listening because a lot of listeners are maybe about to leave corporate.

[00:06:21] Or have thought about it and are just listening to the podcast. They’re binging and they’re like, Oh, I don’t know if I can do it. Or they’ve just left and they’re just starting out on their own and they’re thinking, Oh my God, I didn’t go to design school. Like, how do I do this? How do I figure this out? I mean, I want to hear more of your story, but how you pull from your background and your own life experiences to put that into your business is just so awesome.

[00:06:42] Amanda Arcone: I think you have to put it in perspective, you know, and I think it’s 1 of the reasons why you and your programs resonate with me because you were really and I’m being very honest when I tell you this, Rebecca, you were the only 1 that really spoke to me in a way that was smart. I won’t say names, but I read [00:07:00] some books and listen to some other interior design coaches.

[00:07:03] And I was like. No, no, no, no, no, no. Don’t tell the people that don’t tell the people that because if those same people came to me as a banker and asked me for money, I would be like, well, have you lost your ever loving mind? You know? And so that was why I joined cop. It’s why I decided to go into pricing with confidence.

[00:07:23] It’s why I’m in the designer’s room. You have to kind of think about your business in how you operate in the world and how you spend your own money and how you think about that. You have to set yourself in that because if you think of professionals. I mean, this is really applies to POP, but more to designer’s room.

[00:07:42] If you think about professionals in your life, and I think this is where you can get some confidence. All of those courses gave me confidence, of course. It set some, a framework and structure that I was looking because, you know, there is some instability when you leave corporate. You’re like, all of a sudden, I’m like, Oh, where’s that system that I log to in every morning and I could do my [00:08:00] thing and ask the people the things and then record the things and do the next thing.

[00:08:05] You have to have a structure. You provide that structure. And, you know, you’ve talked about, I think it’s a Canadian restaurant chain that you work for, which is probably Yes,

[00:08:14] Rebecca Hay: Earl’s. Or a plug to Earl’s. They have them in the U. S. now too. And, you

[00:08:19] Amanda Arcone: know, I’ve read and I’ve listened to Dan Sullivan’s E Myth.

[00:08:22] And it fits that model because you know, you have to think of yourself as a franchise. And if you think about how you spend your money and the confidence that you spend your money, there’s 2 things. There’s systems and processes in place that make you feel comfortable that you’re handing your money over to someone.

[00:08:39] Rebecca Hay: Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s a key thing. And what I for those who don’t know, I talk about in the course a lot about one of my experiences working in a restaurant, which is like really a well oiled machine. Earl’s is incredible. And they’re actually a franchise model, but not a franchise. Which is actually interesting.

[00:08:55] Every one of their restaurants is actually corporately owned and run, [00:09:00] uh, which is a unique model, but it’s essentially like a franchise because you could go open and they open in Boston, they open these different cities and everybody knows what to do because it’s like, right, like right from the line cook to the hostess to the servers, you know, you know exactly what to do from a to Z.

[00:09:15] And what I like that you’re saying, Amanda, is that, and especially from your life experience, is that that actually gives your customer confidence in you. So why do you keep going back to Starbucks? Because you know the system. You can use the app. It’s super straightforward. They’re going to ask your name, right?

[00:09:31] Why do you go back to this restaurant? I know that within two minutes, I’m going to get a drink. And if there’s an issue, they’re going to take care of it. Like you feel taken care of because you know that they have a system or a process to handle everything that comes their way. And the exact same thing is true inside a design business, but I’m curious.

[00:09:47] So you didn’t have that structure initially because you were like, Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t, you didn’t go to design school, right? No, I took a certification.

[00:09:55] Amanda Arcone: Okay. Awesome. Because I, I felt that’s just me. You do not have [00:10:00] to do this. I tell people do what makes you feel confident. Right. If that’s a course, a mini course, your courses, any courses.

[00:10:07] I went through my university. I, you know, I’m just a researcher and a curious person by, by nature. And I was used to having credentials and I wanted more credentials because that’s just the world I kind of. So, I took a, I took a 9 month certification course through my university. They had a continuing ed, residential interior design certification.

[00:10:28] So I took

[00:10:28] Rebecca Hay: that. Wow. So you have that. But at the same time, when you started your business, you didn’t have a system. Like what was like, when you started running your design business, did you start working for friends and family? Like, how did that kind of start? Did you leave corporate first? Or are you kind of doing both at the same time?

[00:10:44] Amanda Arcone: I did it for a year. And when I started doing business plans and looking at numbers, I knew I couldn’t do both. There is no way I don’t know how people do it. At least if you want to grow a business. If you want to grow and scale a business, you cannot. Maybe there is a [00:11:00] unicorn out there. Um, but you cannot do both.

[00:11:03] Not, you can’t do both well, right? So you kind of have to make a decision, and that’s kind of my first nugget. Make a decision, because I know we tell that to clients. Like, you can’t decide on that floor. Like, you gotta make a decision, because we can’t take the next step. So, same thing here

[00:11:16] Rebecca Hay: for us. Oh my gosh, that was like a mic drop.

[00:11:19] Mic drop! Make a decision like that is life. You’re so right. How frustrated do we get when the client can’t decide between the blue or the green fabric? And yet you’re straddling both worlds, like both sides of the fence when you’re still trying to do your main job and you’ve got it on the side. Now that said, I do think there is something to like you did it for a year.

[00:11:41] If you are looking to start a design business, like maybe dabbling in a little bit to make sure it is really what you want. And like you did, which is amazing. start looking at a business plan and start being intentional with it as opposed to just taking a leap of faith. Now, if you hate your job and it’s absolutely terrible, then of course leave.

[00:11:58] But there’s something [00:12:00] to be said to have that financial security at the beginning until you start to really figure it out because it’s a lot of trial and error. It

[00:12:06] Amanda Arcone: really is. It really is. So you’ve got to do a lot of research, research, find what resonates with you. And, you know, because we’re skipping ahead a little bit, but, you know, designers room for me is community, but it means more than just community to me, because going back to all of those professionals that you hire, that you hand a high average.

[00:12:26] Hourly dollar rate to like CPAs, medical professionals, dentists, all of those professionals, which, by the way, in the U. S. when you file your taxes, you have a, you have a U. S. tax code. I think it’s 31. Don’t don’t quote me, but that’s your tax code. That’s that means you’re a professional services person. And that’s how you that’s who you are.

[00:12:46] And so every single 1 of those professionals, HR executives, all of them. They belong to professional organizations that help them navigate the world that they live in, that they serve, and how they grow their [00:13:00] business. As a matter of fact, those communities often create the standards for the industry and even sometimes set the stage for legislation.

[00:13:08] So, those communities are really important to be consistently involved in and a part of. You can’t do it without it. You cannot.

[00:13:17] Rebecca Hay: And also, I mean, don’t forget, these are business expenses when you invest in a course or joining a program or I don’t know, a membership or an organization, the money you spend, I mean, at least in Canada, I’m sure it’s the same in the US that can be written off against your income, right?

[00:13:37] And so it’s not free. But you don’t want to pay tax on that. And so I think that that is, it’s a good reminder to invest. I mean, I, I was just thinking the other day I’ve invested, I don’t even want to calculate. I feel like I should probably calculate like how many courses and coaches have I worked with over the years.

[00:13:53] I think it would be like kind of interesting just to share. But I’ve invested a lot of money in personal and [00:14:00] professional development. And I really believe that’s how I was able to grow my design business so quickly. That’s how I was able to get into a different mindset and do all the things that I’ve done because I can’t do it alone.

[00:14:11] Like there’s only so much we know. And I love that now, especially with the internet, we can. Makes me sound like I’m from the internet, but I actually do. And I feel like I’m probably one of the last generations that didn’t have a computer when I was in elementary school. But now there’s, you have access to so much information, to so many people, to communities, and it’s just almost like a no brainer to continue to level up so that you can continue to improve your business practices, which obviously you saw like right from the get go.

[00:14:41] So how long were you running your design business before you decided to take power of process? A

[00:14:47] Amanda Arcone: year, I started listening to I listened to your podcast. I found you about 4 months into it and I listened to you got really comfortable with you did some more [00:15:00] research and started looking at what the programs you had and saw that power process was coming up.

[00:15:05] And I thought, um, and maybe it was a year and a half and decided to. Sign up for it and take it. And I will say, and I can say this 100%. And I think you’ve probably seen this and comments and interactions within the private group. I was solidly slightly shaky. When I look at your road map, you know, the designer’s journey road map.

[00:15:28] I was stage 3. I am confidently now in stage 4, if not on the cusp of stage 5. I know I just got goosebumps. I know. I tell you with the designers room, I’m pretty sure at some point in 2024 and I’m still I, I have watched the recording and I’m still doing my 2024 planning, but I’m confidently and I’m not just at the beginning of stage four.

[00:15:52] Like I’m at the end of stage four.

[00:15:54] Rebecca Hay: Okay, let’s just take a pause there for a second. So for those who don’t know what we’re talking about, I’m actually [00:16:00] just going to see if I can pull it up because I mean, I don’t remember all the wording, but I think this is really Oh, this is so amazing. So basically, this idea that as you build and grow a business, you are going to go through various stages, right?

[00:16:14] As you scale as you grow, and you don’t necessarily need to scale, right? Because not everybody’s looking to have 10 plus employees, etc, etc. But there’s a designer’s business journey. And so stage one is where I say, you’re just getting started. And first of all, I’ll just say, before I walk you through the five stages.

[00:16:31] Is that this was developed to remind designers design firm owners that no matter what stage of business you are in, you are welcome inside our community. You will learn. It doesn’t matter if you’re early or if you’re living the dream. And so stage one is getting started. So You’re moving from a hobbyist to a business owner, you’re finding community, you’re starting to find mentors, maybe courses like ours or our membership.

[00:16:56] And then you’re determining your pricing, you’re still kind of figuring it out, [00:17:00] landing your first client and setting up those trade accounts. So you’re just getting started. Stage two is finding your footing. So you’re dedicating time to work on your business, not just go from project to project. Maybe you’re working on one or more job.

[00:17:13] at a time. You’re establishing relationships with vendors. You start getting referrals. Stage three, which is Amanda, what I’m hearing you say, which is when you found power process, you were at stage three, which is gaining confidence. So you’re beginning to establish those systems in your business. You know, you need that.

[00:17:29] You’re outsourcing some of the work, maybe to like a freelancer or an assistant or an intern. You’re beginning to create an internal checklist, some PDFs. Some repeatable systems. And you probably have some trusting clients who really value your design aesthetic and you have more confidence. That’s why stage three is gaining confidence.

[00:17:46] So you’re saying Amanda, that’s kind of where you were at and now stage four is hitting your stride. And I will tell you, these stages could take decades for someone, they could take months. It really [00:18:00] just depends on you, your business growth, and obviously your desire to grow and learn. But hitting your stride stage four is following your unique process with every project.

[00:18:09] So I want to talk to you about that, building a team, maybe starting to hire, getting people in place in the right roles, getting rave reviews from your clients. And you’re consistently profitable with every project. And I put that in stage four, because let’s be honest, sometimes that takes a while until you’re really consistently profitable.

[00:18:26] And then stage five is living the dream. Your team manages the day to day without you, every client’s a repeat or a referral. You make more money than you dreamed of, and you are ready to mentor and give back to others. So Amanda, can we talk about this? So you, you were in stage three and you were like stage four or five.

[00:18:43] Like what did you do to get to those later stages so quickly?

[00:18:48] Amanda Arcone: Well, I think POP and Pricing with Confidence were huge, you know, because I was able to feel a little bit more comfortable qualifying and quantifying who I am and how I do it [00:19:00] and how much I’m charging you people to do this. The calculator in Pricing with Confidence was huge because I really grappled with that and I know that’s a big one for interior designers because it’s this It’s this unknown, right?

[00:19:12] It’s like, how’s everybody doing it? What does it cost? No, it still takes some research and understanding your market and who you’re serving, but this leads you down that path. And I can say that from the beginning of prop, I was in the middle of a proposal for a very, a whole house project, a smaller whole house, more decorating project.

[00:19:32] And then, uh, Half house project, you know, so three about three things in the pipe. One thing I did not do consistently before because I was it was squishy for me was paid consultation. This nailed down the paid consultation for me and I followed that with every single one of them. That I had in the pipe that led me to a hundred percent conversion rate.

[00:19:52] And I think it was because I was confidently saying, this is how it works. This is my way. This is the new England home and interiors way. [00:20:00] We kick it off with this paid consultation. You’re going to get a ton out of it. I don’t let them off the discovery phone call without my calendar open. So, you know, we’re booking things.

[00:20:10] We’re like, boom, boom, boom. I’m making decisions. They’re making decisions. They know what I’m doing. I know what I’m doing. All those things. I love

[00:20:16] Rebecca Hay: that. You keep them in the call. Can I just tell you, Amanda, yesterday, my husband took my kids to the last swimming class. I’ve been getting emails over the past few weeks, like sign them up for the next session, sign them up for the winter session.

[00:20:28] And I’m like, I’m not signing up for winter because we ski and it’s just going to be too much. So he’s at the last swimming lesson. And is the, is the head coach not walking around with a clipboard going to every parent? Closing the sale and my husband was like, it was freaking brilliant. So our kids are signed up for March already.

[00:20:46] I’m like, that is the same thing as in that discovery call. Open up your calendar. Let’s get the consultation booked. I freaking love that. It’s fair for everyone because it’s

[00:20:56] Amanda Arcone: not fair to the client. Now you’re going to go on email and you’re going to [00:21:00] bug these very busy professionals with an email. What do you have Tuesday or Thursday available at 10?

[00:21:04] And then they email you back and the back and forth to me. It’s so it’s

[00:21:07] Rebecca Hay: unprofessional. But also tells me, you know, your client right there in that moment when you just said that you’re going to try and get these busy professionals to check their email and then check their calendar. And because I’m that busy professional and I’m like, Oh God, how many emails do you get like that?

[00:21:21] And it’s not that you don’t intend to do or to want to do it, but you’ve got a million other priority items. So Amanda, you know, your client and likely it’s because maybe of your past experience, either working with them or being that person.

[00:21:34] Amanda Arcone: But remember, Power Process kind of walks you through that, too.

[00:21:38] It gives you, you know, and I want to speak to that. A lot of courses and programs that I looked at and took did not give you actionable steps. And I went through it. I finished the whole thing. I think there’s a couple things I maybe sped up through because I’m like, Oh, I’ve already done that, so I’m just going to keep going because I wanted to keep going to the end.

[00:21:53] You have worksheets. I stopped, I paused, I put it on my calendar, all of the meetings that we [00:22:00] were having and then one hour to do this and one hour to do that and be prepared for this. You know, it’s hard. We’re all, you know, especially if you’re already in in the business and you’re trying to do the things you have to commit to that.

[00:22:11] It’s another decision you need to

[00:22:12] Rebecca Hay: make. Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s not enough just to take just to say, Okay, I’ve bought the course, or I’ve put a deposit on the course. I’m good. And I’m just going to show up for a couple sessions. I’m going to absorb the information and boom, I’m going to move from stage three to five, just like Amanda, like, that’s not how it works.

[00:22:28] You do have to engage with the content. You don’t have to show up in the community if you don’t want, but you do have to do the work so that you’re not. Yeah. You can start to see the results and I think that’s a really good reminders like blocking off that time. Obviously you’re an A plus student. I don’t think I’m as good a student as you are.

[00:22:46] That’s

[00:22:47] Amanda Arcone: amazing. You know, there’s still a lot for me to learn, which is why I joined designer’s room. I want to be a part of a group of women and I’ve, I’ve gone in and already listened to some of the things I did. One night my husband was traveling. So I binged a few episodes. I’m like, there’s nothing on Netflix I [00:23:00] want to watch.

[00:23:00] Maybe I’ll just go into designer’s room. Nice. I love that. You know, I see the vulnerability. I see the sharing that, that, that is there in that room. And that’s authentic. And you cannot get that in. Let’s be honest, right? Like, there’s all these free interior design groups in Facebook that you can join. And sometimes they’re not very nice.

[00:23:17] And, and there are people that are, it’s a public forum. So they’re, they don’t want to spill the tea, right? They they’re, they’re holding back. So in this community, it’s all about sharing, being vulnerable, being authentic, helping each other grow. And to me, I, I’m a collaborator. I approach my designs that way with my clients.

[00:23:34] You know, I’m not the kind of designer that says, here, you will do this to the, no, I’m a collaborator. I really, I like to get the essence of the people and the people in the home and all the things they do. And that’s how I like to collaborate.

[00:23:47] Rebecca Hay: I love that. All right, designers. If you have been looking for a millwork company, a custom kitchen fabricator, then you have to check out Devix Kitchens.

[00:23:59] [00:24:00] They will make your life easier without all that freaking drama. Damon, the man behind Epic’s Kitchens, has streamlined the entire process, hello, you know I love a good process, making her project a breeze from start to finish. Seriously, though, you will wonder why you haven’t found them sooner. If you need to reach out with questions or ideas, you can always give Damon a call or email him.

[00:24:22] even send him a text message. He is that easy to work with. He personally supervises every single project. He is never going to leave you hanging. But what about the installation? Right? Because sounds great on paper, but then sometimes it can be frustrating. Not with DevEx Kitchens. They only hire skilled installers who not only get the job done, but do so with the utmost politeness.

[00:24:45] And guess what? They are masters at leaving zero mess behind. Halla fricken looyah! Your clients are going to be wowed and you won’t even have to deal with any embarrassing situation. No drama here. [00:25:00] They are as reliable as it comes. Devix Kitchens will ship anywhere in North America. Go check them out and give Damon a call.

[00:25:11] When this episode airs. This will already have happened, but I made the difficult decision to close my free Facebook group, which I have had for four years. And it wasn’t a decision I took lightly because it was active and people would, you know, Oh, hey, can you recommend this? And where can I find that?

[00:25:29] And I think there is some value to that, but, you know, it was one more thing on my list of things that I need to monitor things that I need to manage. And. Uh, when I really thought about where I’m getting the biggest impact, it wasn’t there. It was inside designer’s room. Like, yes, power of process, but designer’s room is where people really get to do the work on an ongoing basis.

[00:25:51] It’s great to do a course and you get some quick wins, but to be able to be in community and to have continual education, like continuing education is [00:26:00] actually exactly what it is to help you better your business practice. That’s where I was seeing the impact. And like you said, Amanda, I love that you said that.

[00:26:07] The vulnerability that happens. That you don’t see in a free public forum, because there’s always going to be those few people that like spill their guts ashore. But in general, that can only help you get so far. And so I made that decision because I’m trying to conserve my resources and really hone in on what I do best and help people to a greater degree.

[00:26:29] I don’t want to be spread so thin. And so that was also validating for me to hear you say that, that, you know, they do have their place, those groups, uh, and there are lots of them, but there is also something to be said about being in a private community where you are with other like minded professionals, where you can talk about things without judgment.

[00:26:49] And that to me is so, so important.

[00:26:53] Amanda Arcone: It is. And I think. That’s a good message for everyone to bring a little bit of quiet and calm into how you’re [00:27:00] approaching this at some point, even if it’s at the beginning. I know you tend to go after a lot of research and try to find as much information as you can.

[00:27:08] But some of those early investments do pay off much better. And I think it’s a good model for you to say, you know, I’m not going to do this anymore. I actually started unfollowing and unjoining those groups because the noise and chaos sometimes is just like, I can’t, I can’t, I need to go focus. So that is an important thing to think about is how do you hone and quiet and get the information you need, no matter where you are in your

[00:27:37] Rebecca Hay: journey.

[00:27:37] Yeah. Yeah, it’s like, it’s like what I do. I like start reading one professional development book or a business book, right? Or it’s on audible or I’m reading it and then like, I’m like three quarters of the way through and then someone makes a recommendation like, Oh, I definitely need that. So then I moved to that book.

[00:27:51] And then if I don’t stop myself, I don’t end up doing any other things that I’ve learned. I’m like, Oh, that’s so brilliant. Oh, that book was amazing. That [00:28:00] was that. So it’s the same concept, right? You kind of just need to sort of stay with at least Yeah. Yeah. One, not to say you can’t get information from other sources, but like pick the source that you think is the most, is the best fit for you.

[00:28:14] And that, you know, I’m personally not for everyone. And there’s other people out there who are also not for everyone. And that’s what makes learning from different. people in different communities so great because you kind of have to find your tribe. You do. I’m very proud of this little tribe that we have growing here inside Designers Room because I mean, like attracts like.

[00:28:34] I feel as though I do attract people who are open because I’m open myself. And I do encourage sharing in the groups. I, I really encourage Turning on your camera if you’re going to show up for the hot seat Q and A and someone’s going to be vulnerable enough to tell you about how they’re going to court against this client and it’s like 50, 000 and they don’t know what to do, have the respect to turn on your camera so they know that it’s you and it’s not, [00:29:00] I don’t know, who knows, right?

[00:29:02] Is it a room full of people? Like you don’t know. So those things, those are like those little things that matter to me to create a really safe space for the people who are there.

[00:29:11] Amanda Arcone: I agree. I think it’s really important finding that community that is giving you enough of what you need to do to take the next step.

[00:29:20] You know, and like I said before, there’s there’s space in in designers room for everybody in their journey. You don’t have to take all these courses to get there. There’s room for you there. And I like that.

[00:29:31] Rebecca Hay: Yeah. And that’s where for me, especially like opening up designer’s room, I was joking internally.

[00:29:35] I’m like, we’re going public. Here comes our IPO. But actually that’s not the right terminology because it’s not open to the public. It’s just for design professionals, but by allowing designers in who haven’t necessarily taken the power of process because it, Um, historically, I only had POP or poppers in it.

[00:29:54] It actually opens up the conversation to bring in designers that maybe already have a process. They [00:30:00] didn’t need to take the course. Like they feel like solid. They’ve been doing this for 10 years and they’re killing it, but they want a community. And so bringing in people, maybe a little bit further along who can then give back.

[00:30:09] Or people that are a bit early on and they’re not quite ready to make that investment, maybe they’re younger. Maybe they’re just out of school and they really want to learn, but it’s going to take them a little longer and taking power of process isn’t maybe financially. They’re not ready to make that investment.

[00:30:22] And so that to me was important. I wanted to make it more. inclusive, it’s still exclusive. Like I can’t, like my husband can’t join, like the guy down the street can’t join. Like it is still for design professionals, but it’s no longer just limited to people who’ve taken my course. And I’m excited to see what that evolution looks like.

[00:30:41] I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunity for us to, to You know, leverage our power, harness that and bring in incredible guest speakers, maybe even get better discounts with certain vendors. Like those are the types of things that I envision for this group as it grows, because all I want to do is make [00:31:00] it easier for designers to make money and be happy in their business.

[00:31:05] Amanda Arcone: Yeah, I think that’s key. And you know, even if you are an established designer, maybe you’re coming from another design firm or you have been in business for a few years, this industry changes lightning fast, you know, I mean, sometimes if you just use high point as a marker, like spring to fall, you’re like, Whoa, what happened?

[00:31:20] Well, this industry has changed just in that six month timeframe frame, you know, so the industry itself changes and not just the shape of a sofa or the fabrics or the colors, but you know, who’s still in business, what, what vendors are, um, Went out and why and how are people doing things?

[00:31:37] Rebecca Hay: And what’s going on?

[00:31:39] How did Mitchell gold and Bob Williams fall or whatever?

[00:31:43] Amanda Arcone: Yeah, totally. You need to be aware of that. You know, you need to be aware of that. You know, I actually had a client come in. I have a studio with a showroom and I had someone come in and they were like, We ordered a metal gold sofa last year and we were terrified that it wasn’t to be delivered.

[00:31:57] And you know, I need to be able to speak to the industry, right? You need to be able [00:32:00] to speak to your clients because remember, we’re talking to professionals who read the Wall Street Journal, who know all the things that are going on in the world. My husband’s always reading the lifestyle section of the Wall Street Journal.

[00:32:09] Oh, did you see this house, you know, and all the things. So, you know, you need, you need to be at that level. At the people. So you need to understand, well, why did they go out of business? So just being so being part of groups like this, you can really, you know, talk about that, be aware

[00:32:23] Rebecca Hay: of it, share and so forth.

[00:32:25] Yeah. And that’s that’s why people say, well, why do you go to high point market? You know, I didn’t I don’t go every year, but I’ll go every couple of years and. Especially as a Canadian, they’re like, well, why do you bother going? Cause you can’t buy direct from a lot of those wholesalers. Not yet. Anyways, designers room is going to make it possible.

[00:32:40] But, um, I say, because it’s so important to be in community with the industry, just by being at high point market, like you, you talk to designers, you, but you learn information just from overhearing a conversation or talking to a vendor. And to your point. What I’ve always said to designers is it really helps you with your [00:33:00] clients, because then when you’re trying to sell that sofa, or you’re trying to, you want to talk about the quality of a certain line, you can say, I went to high point.

[00:33:08] Did you know that it’s like the, you know, biggest furniture market in North America and blah, blah, blah. And it shows your clients. That you are the expert, you’re the professional and that you are really tapped in. And I think it’s just another level of you can use in your marketing, but it also just adds another level to how you can deliver and add value to your clients.

[00:33:28] Amanda Arcone: Yeah, absolutely. And I say power of process too. I mean, that is something that you can utilize and leverage in your marketing. It really touches on everything you do in your business. And I can say, you know, my website has evolved a little bit because I can speak to my process more confidently. My pricing structure has evolved because I can speak to it more confidently.

[00:33:49] I enter into conversations, discovery calls, and then consultations more confidently. I am now looking at hiring a senior designer. I can talk to her about my process and how she’s going to approach my [00:34:00] clients, you know, and she understands it. And I showed her my process, you know, in the interview, I flipped the table and said, here’s, look, here’s a proposal.

[00:34:07] Here’s how I approach this. What do you think? And she was like, wow, this is amazing. That gives her the confidence to maybe really want to come on board with me. So it impacts the whole ecosystem of your business. You have to get that in place.

[00:34:21] Rebecca Hay: You have to. I love that. You know, it’s funny. I never, I all these years doing this, I never thought about that of how I’ve always thought about how it helps the design firm owner, but you’re right.

[00:34:31] I mean, you can attract better talent and hopefully retain them because. Let’s face it, most designers in our industry are still operating on a mode of chaos, and I know because it was me and I have so many regrets with, you know, I was actually thinking about this this morning, um, about all the people who’ve worked for me in the past, like, in the early years, like, I have a lot of regrets about how I was as a leader and how I was as As a manager, so I just wasn’t very good and it was freaking chaos and I expected them to [00:35:00] know and I expected them to read my mind and don’t you know this and I would get so frustrated, but I didn’t set any expectations.

[00:35:05] I didn’t have systems. I didn’t have do this than that. And so I didn’t set them up for success. But if you are a designer, a junior and intermediate, or even a senior, who’s been in that chaotic model for period of time, you will really value going to work for a firm that is established. But more than that has like, this is how we do things.

[00:35:25] This is how we do proposal. There’s, there is a template for this. This is the seven steps, or these are the, this is what we do to get to trade day or whatever it might be. So that’s a really good point. So I want to hear about this. So hiring, like who’s on your team? What does this look like? What is the trajectory for new England home interiors?

[00:35:43] Amanda Arcone: Well, according to stage 5, um, and my goals for 2024, I love it. I love it. It’s definitely hiring. You know, I didn’t really take a vacation this past year just for a number of reasons, um, a lot of personal like family health issues. You know, we all have those [00:36:00] things that get in the way of life, but. I need to take a vacation.

[00:36:03] You know, my friend called me the other day. She’s like, we need to go back to Europe, you know, and I’m like, yes, we do. We need to get out. We’re empty nesters. Why are we here all the time? Right? We were at this point where we can do things. Some things I want to do personally, but I have to set the business up to be able to support that.

[00:36:17] Still, I feel comfortable doing it and not losing work. So hiring a senior designer is key. Someone that has the same value system as me, who’s willing to get on board with my processes, uh, understanding my pricing model, and feel comfortable talking to clients. She has a lot of experience in the industry, you know, so I want her to feel confident that, you know, when she’s out there now representing herself, um, as New England Home and Interiors, that she’s not afraid to go to past clients and network with builders and the trades in all of our Folks here in New Hampshire.

[00:36:47] So it’s important for me to build that up for her. It’s key to my business. I have a couple of part timers that are in the showroom studio that just covered, you know, the space for me, but then I’m also looking at developing, you know, how do you, [00:37:00] where do you see yourself? Because I do like that aspect of developing people.

[00:37:04] Where do you want to be? Where do you see yourself in this project? You know, so pulling them into that other than just day to day busy

[00:37:09] Rebecca Hay: work. Amazing. So you have a showroom. I think most people listening want to know a little bit about that. Did you open a showroom first? Were you decorating and designing for clients first?

[00:37:20] Like tell me about how that came to be. I just find that so interesting. Yeah.

[00:37:24] Amanda Arcone: So as I was getting into the business, um, I realized that the things that I love to do. I like to touch things and sit on

[00:37:31] Rebecca Hay: things. , I love that. I like to touch things. I, I can relate. I know

[00:37:35] Amanda Arcone: I, I wanted to be surrounded in fabric because I love, you know, fabric.

[00:37:38] Yes. I say that all the time.

[00:37:39] Rebecca Hay: Fabric, fabric, everything starts with fabric. Ugh. I love it. I, I,

[00:37:42] Amanda Arcone: I tell, I tell my clients, I’m like, fabric is my superpower. Um, because I love putting pallets together and things. Um, I worked for another designer for a little while. When I left my bank, I did some part time work and kind of got into her world.

[00:37:56] She had a showroom and I really liked the interaction with [00:38:00] bringing the client into the studio. That felt very authentic for me. It’s not for everybody, but I come from such a professional place that had all of the structure that a brick and mortar and a studio, a physical studio felt very right for me.

[00:38:14] Um, and so, you know, business plan, investments, all of the things. Having that space to share with my clients was really important. So that’s why I took that step. I also have big goals. Like, I’m not getting any younger, and I want to sell my business in 10 years. Like, I just know that’s what I want to do. I want to build up a really very profitable business that I can hand off to somebody else in 10 years.

[00:38:34] And I want to sell it. That’s my goal. So everybody has to look at what’s comfortable and what they can do to make investments now, for their future

[00:38:41] Rebecca Hay: forward south. I love that. I love that you have that you want to sell in 10 years. We’ve got to get someone into I’m not, I’m thinking like, I want to bring someone into designer’s room who can talk specifically about setting up your business for sale.

[00:38:54] Someone who I heard speak, I’m going to reach out to them. That would be a good one. Yeah. But again, that’s what I like. So that’s what’s so interesting is like, [00:39:00] you are really hitting your stride. If not already living the dream, you’re already planning your exit. You just entered and you’re planning your exit.

[00:39:06] I love it. That’s what real businesses

[00:39:08] Amanda Arcone: do, right? Not that whatever you’re doing or whatever the listener is doing is not a real business. That is a real business. This is a real business. This is my passion. This is me. But we all have goals. You have to have a goal. Like your roadmap design journey, you know, you can’t get from this point to this point without doing something in

[00:39:24] Rebecca Hay: between.

[00:39:25] I love that. I think that’s amazing. And I think it’s a, it’s a conversation we don’t have enough. Actually, I think is this idea of like, what happens later? What happens, you know, once you’ve hit that stride and once you’re living your dream, is that, is that your intention forever? Or do you just want that to hum along on the side while you like, for me, my interior design business is coming along on the side because it fuels that creative.

[00:39:47] Ness creativity for me and I have a great team sort of running all that and it allows me then to stay tapped into the design industry to be very current while I really focus on growing the [00:40:00] podcast and designers room and all those things. That’s my path, but somebody else might say, yeah, I can’t wait to like, let’s get this thing to a certain size.

[00:40:07] Let’s sell it and let’s go retire on a beach. And I think there there is no 1 right way of doing things, but I love that we’re having that conversation. Yeah, I think it’s

[00:40:15] Amanda Arcone: important. It does set the stage for why you’re doing what you’re doing. Yeah.

[00:40:20] Rebecca Hay: Okay. So this has been such a great conversation. I’m so happy that you, uh, offered to be on the podcast because literally, you know, I’ve only known you for a few months, you hopped into POP.

[00:40:29] I’m like, who is this woman? I’m loving it. I love her style. And I love what she’s doing with everything she’s learned. Like your business is just flourishing before we kind of wrap everything up today. Is there any last nugget of wisdom that you would like to share with our listeners?

Amanda Arcone: I think it goes back to making a decision. You need to decide. What you’re going to do and it sounds a little harsh. I’ll put my banker hat back on, but you really do need to make a decision. Are you building a business? Where do you want that business to go? You need to answer a lot of your own questions, you know, and find that community. I found it in P.O. P. I highly recommend it. Obviously, I can’t say nothing about it, but you do need to make some decisions. It’s really just that simple. What does Nike say? Just do it. You know, you have to make some decisions.

[00:41:19] Rebecca Hay: Yeah. And there is no right or wrong decision. And that’s something that I know as creatives, we tend to struggle with because we’re perfectionists.

[00:41:27] And oftentimes we’re afraid of, but if I do that, Ooh, then what? Or is that going to, you know, what’s going to happen? And we want to kind of know the outcome and what I’ve learned are now in these years that I’ve been running my own businesses, you can never predict the outcome. You cannot. But you got to make a decision.

[00:41:43] Amanda Arcone: Exactly right. But find that community. That’s

[00:41:46] Rebecca Hay: really important. Yeah. So guys, if you want more of Amanda, which I’m sure you’re going to want to pick her brain, you got to join us inside designer’s room. It is now open and available. So you can just go to rebeccahay. com forward slash join and you can read all [00:42:00] about it.

[00:42:00] Amanda, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I feel like we’re going to have you back. Because I know that there’s going to be a lot of change in the next six months. And I can’t wait to like document it here on the podcast and have you share with everyone who’s listening, where can they find and follow you?

[00:42:15] Amanda Arcone: My website is New England Home and Interiors and Facebook and Instagram are at New England Home and Interiors

[00:42:20] Rebecca Hay: Easy peasy. I love that. I’m like, why did, why, why did I complicate my life? I’ve got like Rebecca. com then I got Rebecca Designs. I’m resilient. I’m like I hear this is how you sell a business, right?

[00:42:30] You’ve got a very clear name and identity. I love it. Well, thank you again for being on the podcast. You’re welcome. My pleasure. That was so great. Amanda comes to this with really interesting insights and just with a very different perspective. And I mean, that’s what I love about this community. That’s what I love about designers room is that you get to be in community with designers who are coming at it from various different stages of life.

[00:42:57] I mean, it’s very common, [00:43:00] actually, that designers have had previous careers. I would say that’s more common than not. And her insights in her conversation about the banking world, honestly, after we stopped recording, she and I stayed chatting for another 15 minutes, just about thinking big and how it’s so important to make a decision and why you really should not.

[00:43:20] Pass on your discounts to clients, regardless of what other people in the industry are saying. She’s just such a wealth of knowledge and honestly, very collaborative and giving. If you guys are, you know, thinking about joining us inside designer’s room, Amanda is there ready and filled with knowledge to share and give back while she continues to learn.

[00:43:40] And that’s what I think is really neat about this community that I’m building is it’s where we continue to grow. We continue to learn and So I hope you guys enjoyed this episode with Amanda. Please let me know on Instagram, and send me a DM. What did you think of it? Don’t forget to also please rate the podcast.

[00:43:58] We’d love a five-star review [00:44:00] from you. It helps other designers who are maybe early in their business and you’re still trying to figure it out. Helps them find our podcasts so that we can help more people at this crazy game called life. I don’t know why I said that. Okay, have a great day. See you soon.

[00:44:16] The Resilient by Design podcast is produced by Vera Marques, edited by Abby Cerquitella, and hosted by yours truly, Rebecca Hay.