Archive for the ‘Design Camp’ Category

Are You Operating Your Business Like a Hobby?

Posted by

If you’re an interior designer, I have a question for you: How seriously do you take your business? I can hear you say, “Tobi, my business is my entire life! I don’t even have time for anything else! I take this VERY seriously.”

But are you treating your business like a BUSINESS? By that I mean, do you know to the penny what your overhead is every month? Do you know how much money you have coming in over the next six months? Are you paying yourself? Are you acting like the CEO that you are?

It is tough to be an entrepreneur and a small-business owner. Most of us get into this business by focusing on the parts we love – maybe for you it was a love of color, or the idea that you are transforming people’s homes with gorgeous interiors. The part we don’t focus on, in most cases, is the enormous amount of hard work, of tough financial times, and of serious business management that it takes to be a business owner.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.03.43 PMYou may be just starting your business, or you may have been in business for a long time and the new economic reality has you reinventing yourself and your company. Either way, it’s basically a start-up process for a small business. We need to all remember that 60% of small businesses fail within four years. I’m not telling you that to scare you or to shake your confidence in your own ideas or your own company. I’m telling you the reality because only when you KNOW what you face can you really meet it head-on.


If you have the tools and are ready to do the hard work to make YOUR business one of the 40% that does make it, that will help put your company – and YOU – on the path for success.

Trust, me I have been there! And I am still living in the design trenches – just like you are – every single day. That’s why I developed my Designer MBA intensive course, to help designers learn how to charge what they’re worth, to help you operate “lean and mean” for maximum profitability,” and to help you find and attract your BEST clients!

This fall, I’m offering Designer MBA on Nov. 11-12 in Dallas at the historic Stoneleigh Hotel. It will be two intense days that will give you the tools you need to REALLY improve your business, and it will give you the tools you need to design your own roadmap for success!

Don’t just take my word for it – read what previous attendees have to say:

  • “Since attending Tobi’s event, I had a 500% increase in profits! What Tobi will spoon-feed you is a roadmap to making money.” Mara Malcolm
  • “Tobi Fairley & Associates helped me immensely. I’ve gone from being unhappy with my business and processes to now having more confidence, enjoying my projects, getting great ‘magazine-worthy’ full-room jobs and, most importantly, increasing my profits.” Heather Blue Harkovich
  • “Tobi is so generous with her time and her knowledge. I walked in frightened about the future of my business. I walked out a confident designer! I have the tools to restructure, and I am rebuilding for success.” Alison Johnston
  • “I would have paid twice as much for the results I have already reaped!” Suzy Watkins, ASID

To kick things off for you, here are three of my top business tips that will give you a small peek at the incredible amount of information, tips, and tools you will receive at Designer MBA:

1. Be Yourself. Without a strong sense of what makes you unique, you’ll never be able to build an authentic brand that has the power to attract your ideal clients, captivate a wide audience, and command the attention of online and print publications. Be honest with yourself, resisting the temptations either to idealize or to judge yourself too harshly.

2. Create Diverse Revenue Streams. Identify multiple services or products that you can offer that satisfy the demands of your audience. Consider a Good/Better/Best option, and you will multiply your income channels.

3. Keep Your Eye on the Ball. I live by this quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s absolutely true. Not only does comparison put us in a negative frame of mind, it also distracts us from our goals. Know just enough about your competition to keep you motivated, but don’t detract from your own path by thinking the grass is greener for some other designer.

So what are you waiting for?! Click here to find out more about Designer MBA, and I look forward to seeing you and getting started on your business TRANSFORMATION!








A New Home For My Design Trainings in 2014: Dallas!

Posted by

That’s right! Since I now have a design office in Dallas, it only makes sense that we would share the LOVE and bring my signature trainings to you THERE in 2014!

Moving our events to Dallas will offer so much more opportunity for YOU to join us.  The site is right next to our new Dallas office, and being in Dallas provides many more direct flights, hotel choices, and restaurants for ultimate convenience. We’re cutting down on your travel time and expense, and turning up the volume on your experience! It also allows us to bring you even more exciting, high-profile speakers and special guests.

The location I’ve chosen for the events is the entirely fabulous Stoneleigh, a historic 1923 Art Deco Le Méridien hotel that is close to businesses, museums, shopping, cutting-edge cuisine, and more.


The  Signature Event dates that are already set for 2014 include:

Design A-to-Z, March 18-19: If you are a Design-lover or a Designer, you can’t miss this course on decorating and design. This is my all-access training in how I approach each and every design project including the ones you’ve seen on the pages of top shelter magazines! In just two days, I cover the fundamentals of design and answer all of your burning questions, whether you are looking for tips and techniques to update your own home or you are a designer and you want to reconnect with what inspired you to create a career in design in the first place or you’re looking for brand-new inspiration to get you excited about design all over again.

Designer MBA, May 6-7: If you are ready to really build the profitable design business you’ve dreamed of, this course is for you! Whether you’ve been struggling to build your design business or you are making design a new career for you, you will not want to miss this life and business changing event. It’s a real (but fun) business education for design industry professionals. In it, I share the lessons I’ve learned as a business owner in the interior design field for over 15 years now. From fees to staffing to marketing, I bring you my tried-and-true strategies to give designers at all levels of training and experience the confidence you need to professionalize your processes, charge what you are worth, define your niche, and to sell your services with conviction.

And there are more date announcements coming for Fall 2014!

And in honor of my 15th business anniversary, I’m discounting each and every ticket to my signature events in 2014! There won’t be any additional promotions, but but we are talking about MAJOR savings: How exciting, right?! More convenient location + more value for your money = Put it on your calendar quick! 2014 is definitely the year to take advantage of my signature trainings if you have been waiting for the perfect time, because you can’t beat savings like these.

To sign up for Design A-to-Z and to sign up for Designer MBA click the link below. The great news is you are saving money with your ticket and your travel, the bad news is that space is still limited to don’t miss out on these amazing trainings in 2014. Sign up TODAY so you are sure to have a seat!!

Will I see YOU in Dallas in 2014?! I hope so.


Tobi Signature

Alex Papachristidis and Pantone’s Color of 2014

Posted by


Yes, I’m jumping into the 2014 Color of the Year buzz today.  In the design world we’ve all gotten accustomed in recent years to hearing about Pantone’s Color of the Year announcement for what HOT color to expect to see most in design and fashion for the coming year. And 2014’s color was announced today to be Radiant Orchid, a lovely and fresh pinky version of lavender. Which I, for one, think Pantone has gotten exactly right for next year. Purple has been coming on strong in the design world for a while, and I think it will hit its peak next year.


One designer who uses Orchid and other glorious shades of purple masterfully is the brilliant Alex Papachristidis who was our special guest yesterday at my Getting Published event along with Sandra Gilbert-Freidus, senior editor at Rizzoli books and Alex’s personal book editor. And, as you can see in his charming photo above, Alex even wears purple well.


Just yesterday I told you about my favorite design books of this holiday season, but don’t forget about Alex’s glorious book, The Age of Elegance, that came out last year, and I am thrilled to now add an autographed copy to my collection. It’s an exquisite monograph that includes plenty of purple inspiration on its glossy and colorful pages.


Here’s a fun photo of Alex and his partner Scott Nelson with me at our event this week. Our attendees and I were mesmerized by Alex’s presentation and his work along with his genuine, unpretentious and endearing personality. And if you don’t already, you MUST follow Alex on Instagram, his self-professed new obsession, where he is known as “Alex’s Viewpoint” to appreciate his attention to detail. His feed is truly eye candy!

But for now let’s take a look at how Alex helped set this trend of Radiant Orchid and other beautiful purples including on the pages of Elle Decor




I particularly love this room of Alex’s and though the purple here is richer than orchid, the layering of purple with rich teals and cobalts will be very strong next year and works beautifully as Alex shows us here. In my opinion, a close second to purple for the color of the year this coming season is cobalt blue. So if you are a blue lover like most people are, you are in luck!


And I enjoy seeing red starting to make a big comeback in Design. In the coming years, I predict we will see a red resurgence and here Alex has expertly mixed red with purple for a super chic result.

past pantones of the year

Just in case you were wondering about past colors of the year, here are the  last 6 years including last year’s Emerald Green. Oh you know how I love GREEN. And you can see other past colors of the year on Pantone’s site, here.

So…what do you think? Are you a purple lover? Can you jump on board with Radiant Orchid for your home or wardrobe? Well, like Alex Papachristidis, I’m 100% on-board.

Happy Decorating Y’all!


Tobi Signature


More Fabulous Guests at Getting Published!

Posted by

I have BIG news about the Getting Published event I’m hosting in December! We are honored to have two MORE publishing superstars sharing their wisdom and advice: Beth Brenner and Michelle Adams, the brilliant women behind the re-vamp and re-launch of Domino magazine!

Michelle Adams

Michelle Adams

Beth Brenner

Beth Brenner


In addition to our already-amazing lineup of experts and personalities (not to mention high-powered content) having these ladies join us virtually for a discussion is really just the icing on the cake! This training event is going to be THE place to be if you’re looking for inspiration and guidance on breaking through in the world of print and online publications. Can you tell how excited I am?!

To learn more about the Getting Published and Social Media Strategy “sister” events we have in the works for December, CLICK HERE.


Tobi Signature




p.s. Two quick reminders for you:

#1 If you love my blog, please vote for me in the Lamps Plus Best Home Blog 2013 Contest. Each time you vote (up to 1 time each day) you’ll be entered to win a $500 Shopping Spree at the Lamps Plus online store. Just follow THIS LINK to the contest page.

And #2 time is running out for you to sign up to be a member of my virtual audience for a FREE live training on creativeLIVE. To learn more about how to enroll in my workshop on Using Color in Home Design, CLICK HERE.

Tobi Fairley & Associates thanks our event sponsors:

Think Tank is Underway!

Posted by

I’m so inspired this morning to be kicking off my first on-the-road training, Tobi’s Think Tank! An exclusive group of 15 amazing and powerful designers is working with me today at the O. Henry Hotel on transforming their core business practices and visions so that they can achieve the success they’ve always dreamed of! They have all carved one day out of their time at High Point Market to buckle down with me and get my no-holds-barred take on what this industry demands!


I am also so grateful for the support of our amazing sponsors: Madcap Cottage, C.R. Laine, Bernhardt, Kravet, and The Gilded Stag!

This event is sure to make my High Point experience even more dynamic and exciting than usual! I’ll be keeping you posted!


Tobi Signature




p.s. Two quick reminders for you:

#1 If you love my blog, please vote for me in the Lamps Plus Best Home Blog 2013 Contest. Each time you vote (up to 1 time each day) you’ll be entered to win a $500 Shopping Spree at the Lamps Plus online store. Just follow THIS LINK to the contest page.

And #2 time is running out for you to sign up to be a member of my virtual audience for a FREE live training on creativeLIVE. To learn more about how to enroll in my workshop on Using Color in Home Design, CLICK HERE.