This week’s designer spotlight is on Kate Bendewald. Kate runs her own client-based interior design boutique where she loves to design with intention and make the design process enjoyable for her clients. She also started Designer’s Oasis, an online community to help designer’s start, launch, and grow their own design business. We hope you enjoy this interview with Kate!
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
My favorite part about being a designer is watching the transformation actually happen. Of course I love the materials too, but when all the hard work starts to manifest into an actual completed space, that’s when I remember “It was all worth it”.
We heard that you have another business in the interior design world that helps designers start, establish, and grow their business. Could you tell us more about Designer’s Oasis?
Yes! Designer’s Oasis was born from this desire to help other Interior Designers run their business more efficiently and profitably. There are big plans for courses and entire tool kits. Right now, Designer’s Oasis is a hub to get one-on-one mentoring as well as templates, tools, and checklists to run a better business so they can enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
What made you want to start a mentoring/coaching business like that?
As a working mom with 2 kids who also happens to be career driven, I wanted to grow my business but not at the sake of missing my actual kids grow up. I realized I could help other designers who also wanted to start/grow their business without the burnout.
What is something that designers can learn from coming to you?
When I talk to designers, so many of their struggles come from a lack of confidence in a particular area. I’m creating resources to help boost their confidence to do things like, raise their rates, set firm boundaries with clients, hire help etc.
Do you still do a lot of interior design work? If so, what is your personal brand?
Absolutely! I don’t know if I can ever stop designing. Kate Bendewald Interior Design is my business.
What is your favorite color palette to work with?
I love color. These days I find myself drawn to more muted and saturated colors like olives, rust, camel, mustard, and of course greiges.
If you could travel back, what advice would you give yourself as you start this career?
I love this question! I think I’d tell myself to “Always be setting expectations” with clients, staff, trades, everyone we work with. If you set clear expectations early and often, so many headaches and confusion can be avoided. In our industry there are many moving parts. It's easy to understand how mistakes happen that cause designers to experience burnout. We take the fall for a lot of stuff. But when I dial into the issues and get curious, 95% of the issues we face could have been prevented with better and clearer expectations.
What do you like most about DesignerInc?
Designer Inc. has been a game-changer for our business. I love the concierge type service it provides. It’s literally like having another staff member (but I don’t have to pay them!).